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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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or

New Information Now Available On-line:

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.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. 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 California NGSS k-8 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy:

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.