May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Region 2 News and Events

Posted: Friday, April 1st, 2011

by Eric Lewis

It’s been another fantastic time for us in our region.  The NSTA conference in San Francisco just finished up and science educators from throughout California, in addition to the rest of the U.S., were joined with science educators from China, Chile and other countries from around the world.  Generally, the conference was really well received, though I personally, was both frustrated and pleased that we had so many folks attending from California that were not members of CSTA. (The pleased part was that many folks signed up to join CSTA during the convention–including teachers from out of state!)

There are a lot of great opportunities happening throughout our region in the coming months.  Besides PD opportunities during the school year, there are opportunities for summer learning as well.   Be sure to look over prior months’ information too, as there are plenty of resources that are still valid.

Please let me know if there are things that you’d like to add to our region’s offerings. Also, encourage your colleagues to join CSTA.  I’m hoping that we’ll have the opportunity to grow our organization and expand to meet your needs and your colleague’s needs.  To that end, please feel free to e-mail me directly so that I can present your questions and concerns to the CSTA board as a whole.

For those of you whose spring breaks are approaching, I hope you have a great one.  I look forward to seeing you all down in Pasadena for our next CSTA conference!

All my best, Eric Lewis,

Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies

San Francisco State University

Please join us for our Spring 2011 Estuary Ecology Day, co-sponsored by Romberg Tiburon Center and the SF Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.
When: Saturday, April 9, 2011, 8:30 am -4:30 pm
Where: Romberg Tiburon Center, 3150 Paradise Drive, Tiburon, CA 94920
What: “Invasive Species: What Can We Learn From Them?”

  • Talks by local research scientists on current research, related classroom, lab, and/or field activities

Who: Co-sponsored by RTC and SF Bay NERR

  • Featuring talks by Dr. Lindsay Sullivan on the effect of invasive zooplankton on local food webs
  • Graduate student Autumn Cleave on invasive species in local wetlands
  • And more to be announced

Why: To learn about the latest research on introduced species in San Francisco Bay, and explore ways to involve students in local research and eradication efforts.

For more information and to register, please call (415) 338-­‑3757, or email

The Watershed Project
Saturday, April 2, 9:00 am-4: oo pm, McKinley Elementary School, 1025 14th Street, San Francisco

Join the Watershed Project for a FREE water-wise gardening workshop for San Francisco educators, garden coordinators and parents. Participants will learn how to sustain your school garden by conserving water and eliminating pests without harmful chemicals. You’ll learn about activities to share with students about bugs, storm water pollution prevention and integrative pest management as well as water conservation and designing a garden to maximize water efficiency. Free, organic lunch included so reserve your space today. Featured presentations include Rainwater Harvesting Systems by Kat Sawyer, Tap the Sky Project and Low Impact Design Projects, Matt Freiberg, Greening Urban Watersheds. Registration: Please send an email to or call (510) 269-7TWP.

Golden Gate Audubon

Birdathon Takes Off
On April1 the Birdathon pledge website will be live. Be sure to sign up to take part in Birdathon 2011. All you have to do is go to and click on the Birdathon link. The new pledge system will let you put up photos and personal birding information, e-mail friends, and record your progress. It’s truly easy to send out e-mails from the site and you will be surprised at how many people will support your birding efforts. Prizes for top fundraisers include wonderful vacations and a $250 gift certificate to REI, among others. All proceeds benefit Golden Gate Audubon conservation and children’s education programs. Also be sure to check the March/April GULL for a great list of dedicated Birdathon field trips. You can organize your own trip or simply sign up for one already planned. Then ask your friends, family, work colleagues, and others to support your bird counting. Details are in the GULL. Full information, with checklists and rules, is on the website. You can also request a paper packet by calling 510-843-2222. Simply leave your name and mailing address and mention Birdathon.

Upcoming Classes:
Birds of the Sierra – I: Thursday, June 9, 3:00 p.m. through Sunday, June 12 at noon.

Birds of the Sierra – II: Thursday, June 16, 3:00 p.m. through Sunday, June 19 at noon.
Click here for details and on-line registration.

Lights Out for Birds
Now through May 31, 2011 is the spring migration.  Help birds, save natural resources, and cut energy costs by turning off unnecessary lights at night or closing window coverings.  If you are business owner, learn how to participate by contacting

Berkeley Speaker Series
Thursday, April 21 at the Northbrae Community Church at 941 the Alameda, Bob Lewis is coming to discuss “The Top and Bottom of Central America”. 7:00 pm refreshments, 7:30 pm program.  For more information, click here.

Urban Watershed Stewardship Grant Program, Spring 2011 Cycle
The SFPUC’s Urban Watershed Management Program has partnered with San Francisco’s Community Challenge Grant Program to offer grants for community-based projects which help manage the city’s storm water using green infrastructure. The grants are based on the idea that small actions by San Francisco community members can add up to large benefits for San Francisco’s watersheds and sewer infrastructure. The grants support the planning, construction, and maintenance of low impact design (LID) based storm water management facilities. Projects harvest rainwater, remove impervious surfaces, or implement other green infrastructure like bioswales and rain gardens. In addition to managing storm water, projects beautify neighborhoods, provide recreational opportunities, and educate residents about the city’s water and wastewater systems.

Critical dates for the Spring 2011 grant cycle are listed below:
Grant Cycle Opens: Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Grant Application Deadline: Wednesday, April 6, 2011

More information is available at

Give Your Students the Universe: Bring an Astronomer Into Your Classroom
Project ASTRO pairs Bay Area teachers in grades three—nine with astronomers who have a keen interest in sharing the wonders of astronomy with students. Together, partners attend a free 2-day summer workshop on August 12 – 13, 2011 to learn hands-on, inquiry-based astronomy activities.  Get great stuff for your classroom including The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0 (a large collection of resources for teaching astronomy on a DVD-ROM), posters, NASA goodies, a Galileoscope (a telescope perfect for classroom use), and more. The application deadline is May 23, 2011.
For more information and to apply, please visit:

June 6-10, 2011

San Francisco, CA

Science in the Park

An exciting, week-long teacher workshop presented by the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society and the California Academy of Sciences. Also featuring the de Young Fine Arts Museum. Take the time to look up and look down in Golden Gate Park this summer! Join the us with the to gain the tools, techniques and confidence to explore the outside world with your students. In this week-long workshop you’ll learn about ecological roles of organisms as you record and reflect on your experiences using a simple but significant tool—the science journal. Discoveries will begin with looking up and looking down in the natural areas in Golden Gate Park. This standards-aligned workshop will explore investigation skills such as: observation, investigation, interpretation, critical thinking, and creativity through the use of nature journals. Topics covered include ecology of the park and the plant and animal interactions found in our local environment. The workshop is designed to make science teaching more exciting and accessible for kindergarten through fifth grade teachers. Click here to download an application. Application deadline: May 1, 2011.

June 26-July 1, 2011

July 11-15, 2011

July 25-29, 2011 and

July 31-August 5, 2011

Monterey, CA

Monterey Bay Aquarium Teacher Programs

The Monterey Bay Aquarium will be hosting four institutes for teams of full-time classroom teachers this summer.
These free, grade-specific, week-long professional development opportunities use activities that are aligned with national and California state
science content standards, as well as Ocean Literacy principles. Teachers leave with activities, resources and materials for their classrooms.

  • Splash Zone Teacher Institute for Head Start and K-2 teachers, June 26-July 1, 2011 . The deadline
    to apply is March 25, 2011.
  • Coastal Systems Teacher Institute for grades 3-5, July 31-August 5, 2011 Both elementary institutes are open to teachers nationwide and are residential with meals and housing at Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, CA: The deadline to apply is March 25, 2011.
  • Project Based Science Institute for grades 6-8, July 11-15, 2011. The deadline to apply is April 8, 2011.
  • Connecting Marine Science for grades 9-12, July 25-29, 2011. The deadline to apply is April 8, 2011.

For details about all four teacher institutes and online applications, please visit Teacher Programs:

August 12-13, 2011
Redwood City, CA
Project ASTRO Training Workshop

Project Astro is looking for 3rd–9th grade teachers to work with volunteer astronomers who have a keen interest in sharing the wonders of astronomy with students. Together, you and your astronomer partner attend a free 2-day
summer workshop to learn hands-on, inquiry-based astronomy activities designed to involve students in the excitement of scientific discovery. Project ASTRO Teacher applications are now being accepted for the 2011–2012 school year. The deadline is Friday, May 23rd and space is limited. All participants are required to attend a free 2-day workshop held Friday August 12 and Saturday August 13, 2011, at the San Mateo County Office of Education
in Redwood City. Teachers do not need to have any astronomy experience to participate, but should have an interest in offering astronomy and hands-on science in their classroom work. APPLY ONLINE by May 23: Contact Project ASTRO Coordinator:, or 415-337-1100, x 126.

Eris Lewis is high school area science support in the San Francisco Unified School District LEAD office and is CSTA region 2 director.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Posted: Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here:

Please contact Rosanne Luu at or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Achieve released two documents examining some lessons learned from the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The initiative began in August 2014 and was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve.

Eight (8) traditional school districts and two (2) charter management organizations were selected to participate in the initiative, becoming the first districts in California to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Those districts included Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Joint Unified, Vista Unified, Aspire, and High Tech High.

To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Using Online Simulations to Support the NGSS in Middle School Classrooms

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

by Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

Middle school teachers in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), a CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative district, have been diligently working on transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) integrated model for middle school. This year, the teachers focused on building their own knowledge of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). They have been gathering and sharing ideas at monthly collaborative meetings as to how to make sure their students are not just learning about science but that they are actually doing science in their classrooms. Students should be planning and carrying out investigations to gather data for analysis in order to construct explanations. This is best done through hands-on lab experiments. Experimental work is such an important part of the learning of science and education research shows that students learn better and retain more when they are active through inquiry, investigation, and application. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) notes, “…learning about science and engineering involves integration of the knowledge of scientific explanations (i.e., content knowledge) and the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design. Thus the framework seeks to illustrate how knowledge and practice must be intertwined in designing learning experiences in K-12 Science Education” (pg. 11).

Many middle school teachers in KCUSD are facing challenges as they begin implementing these student-driven, inquiry-based NGSS science experiences in their classrooms. First, many of the middle school classrooms at our K-8 school sites are not designed as science labs. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the NGSS Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

Celestial Highlights: May – July 2017

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

May Through July 2017 with Web Resources for the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graphs of planet rising and setting times by Jeffrey L. Hunt.

In spring and summer 2017, Jupiter is the most prominent “star” in the evening sky, and Venus, even brighter, rules the morning. By mid-June, Saturn rises at a convenient evening hour, allowing both giant planets to be viewed well in early evening until Jupiter sinks low in late September. The Moon is always a crescent in its monthly encounters with Venus, but is full whenever it appears near Jupiter or Saturn in the eastern evening sky opposite the Sun. (In 2017, Full Moon is near Jupiter in April, Saturn in June.) At intervals of 27-28 days thereafter, the Moon appears at a progressively earlier phase at each pairing with the outer planet until its final conjunction, with Moon a thin crescent, low in the west at dusk. You’ll see many beautiful events by just following the Moon’s wanderings at dusk and dawn in the three months leading up to the solar eclipse. Learn More…

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.