September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

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 Is Now Accepting Nominations for Board Members

Posted: Friday, November 17th, 2017

Current, incoming, and outgoing CSTA Board of Directors at June 3, 2017 meeting.

Updated 7:25 pm, Nov. 17, 2017

It’s that time of year when CSTA is looking for dedicated and qualified persons to fill the upcoming vacancies on its Board of Directors. This opportunity allows you to help shape the policy and determine the path that the Board will take in the new year. There are time and energy commitments, but that is far outweighed by the personal satisfaction of knowing that you are an integral part of an outstanding professional educational organization, dedicated to the support and guidance of California’s science teachers. You will also have the opportunity to help CSTA review and support legislation that benefits good science teaching and teachers.

Right now is an exciting time to be involved at the state level in the California Science Teachers Association. The CSTA Board of Directors is currently involved in implementing the Next Generations Science Standards and its strategic plan. If you are interested in serving on the CSTA Board of Directors, now is the time to submit your name for consideration. 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher. The Science Finalists will be recognized at the CSTA Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 14, 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.

Thriving in a Time of Change

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

– Elementary school principal

Anyone concerned with the teaching of science in elementary school is keenly aware of the problem of time. Kids need to learn to read, and learning to read takes time, nobody disputes that. So Common Core ELA can seem like the enemy of science. This was a big concern to me as I started looking at the curriculum that my district had adopted for Common Core ELA. I’ve been through those years where teachers are learning a new curriculum, and know first-hand how a new curriculum can become the focus of attention- sucking all the air out of the room. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

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

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.