September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Region 2 News and Events

Posted: Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

by Eric Lewis

The summer is upon us, though we’re still grappling with our lingering winter weather. As a person who is critical of weather forecasting – especially living in San Francisco where there weather can be vastly different a mile in any direction – I’m always listening when I hear people talk about the weather and their own predictions.

While there is always room for skeptics in science, I’m pretty much convinced that Earth is getting warmer and that humans are to blame (OK – the occasional volcano eruption hasn’t helped, but still…). While we’ve been seeing colder than usual temperatures in our part of the world, I’ve been able to understand that our local weather is only a part of the picture – that while we observed certain patterns locally, the overall temperature of the Earth may in fact be rising. Even hearing my East Coast family talk about their “crazy weather” makes me realize all the more that our country’s wild temperature swings, hurricanes, tornadoes, and the like are all probably influenced by global changes in temperature.  With that said, I’m all the more convinced that we need to do a better job educating our youth about earth science, and even more disturbed that we’ve not been more aggressive fighting for making earth sciences a UC-D science (along with biology, chemistry, and physics).

Of course, one great thing about our region is that are always a variety of great opportunities for science enthusiasts in the coming months. 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 email me directly so that I can represent your questions and concerns with the CSTA board as a whole.

I hope you have a great summer break and that you’ll have an opportunity for following some of your passions.

I look forward to seeing you all down in Pasadena for our next CSTA conference!

Dreaming about better weather,

Eric Lewis

SETI Institute Open House
On June 1, 4:30 – 7:00 pm, the SETI Institute will hold an Open House in our new facility at 189 Bernardo Ave, Mountain View, CA (corner of Bernardo & Central Expressway). Please stop by and help us formally inaugurate our new home as we embark on our 2nd quarter-century of studying the universe!

Also, at 7:30 pm that same evening, the Open House will be followed by a highly interesting colloquium with Marc Kaufman of the Washington Post. Mark will speak about his new book “First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth”, and will then join Frank Drake, Seth Shostak, and Jill Tarter for a panel discussion.

Please plan to drop by and meet our Center Directors, scientists, and staff. We’d also like to encourage you to pass this invitation along to any scientists you may know who might be interested in learning more about the SETI Institute and what it’s like to work here.

6th Annual Math, Science, and CTE Teacher’s Conference
On Wednesday and Thursday June 1-2, 2011, City College of San Francisco is excited to host the 6th Annual Math, Science, and CTE Teacher’s Conference with the theme: Opening the Door – Increasing Access. Click here for the save-the-date flyer. Here are some tidbits about this year’s conference:

  1. Over 30 workshops will be offered which cover both specific Math, Science and CTE topics as well as general pedagogy, parent engagement strategies, environmental equity, equitable assessment, using movement as a teaching strategy and classroom management approaches to engage and support diverse learners.
  2. Keynote on June 1 with Antwi Akom, Research Scientist and Professor at San Francisco State and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Professor Akom’s current projects include Green Education Technology academies and the Environmental Sustainability Planning Network. His research interests include schools as centers of communities, the joint use of schools as places to improve individual and community health, clean energy, equity, sustainability and reducing children’s obesity.
  3. Workshops relevant to teachers of K-14 students will be offered.
  4. Science topics include: Scientific Inquiry, STEM access for diverse learners, Living Library, Earth Science, Citizen Science 2.0, and Using Specimens in Lessons.
  5. Math topics include: Math Engagement Strategies, Mathemagics, Math Festivals, and Hands-On Math Activities.
  6. CTE topics include DIY Engineering projects, Incorporating Biotechnology into Your Classroom, and Facebook in the Classroom.
  7. Presenters include representatives from CCSF, Foothill College, the Academy of Sciences, the Exploratorium, Science and Health Education Partnership at UCSF, Lawrence Hall of Science, Headlands Institute, Literacy for Environmental Justice, Project Commotion, and Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth.
  8. All-Day Institute as an option on June 2: Students Behind the Wheel: Accelerate Toward Excellence
  9. Fifteen or more community groups will be exhibiting at the conference to share resources for teachers and classrooms, ranging from field trips to guest presenters to books and other available resources.
  10. 10.  We offer continental breakfast, lunch, and afternoon cookies!


  • June 1-2, 2011, 9:00 am-4:30 pm, CCSF Ocean Campus
  • Please pre-register in CDEV 41C for 1 unit (CRN 52045) now.
  • Reimbursement for the cost of the 1 unit to current SFUSD teachers available.
  • In-person class registration starts at 8:30 am, June 1, at Diego Rivera Theater.
  • Conference meets in Diego Rivera Theater, MUB, and Science Building.

Please feel free to contact Tracy Burt at 415-452-7171 for more information about the conference.

Annual Open House at Larner Seeds in Bolinas
On Saturday, June 4, from 12:00 to 4:00, tours of the 30-year-old Larner Seeds Demonstration Garden will be held at 1:00 and 3:00. Native edibles, such as our world famous chia and red maid seed cookies, agua de chia, and other goodies, will be served. The garden is blooming with our seed grow-outs, new species trials, a garden designed around the needs of California valley quail, and our NO TOLERANCE policy for weeds (particularly Oxalis pes-caprae). Seeds, books, tools, and unique items such as meadowfoam seed oil will be available in the Garden Shop. Many items will be on sale in the nursery, including such rarities as showy Indian clover and presidio clarkia. Larner Seeds is located at 230 Grove Road in Bolinas, and directions are available at our website. Signs will point the way. All are welcome. 415-868-9407,

Experience Species Diversity at McLaren Park – 17th Annual San Francisco Butterfly Count
When: Monday, June 6, 9:30 am to 5:00 pm

Where: Mansell@Visitacion parking lot

McLaren Park is second only to the Presidio for butterfly species diversity within San Francisco’s natural areas. The Butterfly Count is a fun way to learn about our local varieties while collecting valuable data about our environment – in other words, it’s citizen science at it’s best. Lepidopterist and event coordinator Liam O’Brien tells us “it will be very thorough and will take you about all over. We will give you a “Butterflies of San Francisco” brochure and maps to show what you might find where. You’ll have a blast!” Here you can review last year’s results and here are articles from the Marina Times and Bay Nature.

If you are interested in attending the McLaren count, please drop a note to We’ll gather at 9:30 am with coffee and pastries but please bring your own lunch and water. If you would rather participate at another park in the City-wide count, meet at Randall Museum at 9:00 am. For more information, please contact A $3.00 fee from each participant will go towards butterfly conservation through the North American Butterfly Association.

Free Children’s Dental Screening in the Bayview in SF
The UCSF School of Dentistry is partnering with Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, Supervisor Malia Cohen, and the Bayview Opera House to provide a Free Children’s Dental Screening during the June 12 Sunday Streets Festival. Details are below and in the attached flyer.


What:  Free Children’s Dental Screening (Including Fluoride Varnish Applications)

When:  Sunday, June 12, 2011, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Where: Bayview Opera House – 2nd Annual Bayview Health and Wellness Fair, 4705 Third Street @ Oakdale, San Francisco, CA 94124

There will be street closures and limited parking. Participants are encouraged to walk, bike or take public transit (Muni 23, 24, 44 or the T-Third). Free screenings are open to children ages 0 months – 18 years and no appointment is necessary.

If you have any questions, please contact: Heather Carroll-Fisher at 415-476-8431 or

Green Kids Conference…explore your passion
A conference dedicated for children!

When: Saturday, June 18, 2011, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Where: Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus, SVC, Building 1, 1065 La Avenida, Mountain View, CA 94043

Our goal is to educate kids and their families on environmental issues, make them aware of available resources and opportunities, and also to promote, encourage, and reward new innovative ideas.

Come and explore the latest developments and opportunities in the following areas:

  • Education and Research
  • Clean Technology
  • Alternative Resources
  • Waste Management
  • Air Quality
  • Land/Nature Preservation
  • Energy/Water Conservation

This is an indoor conference, hence registration is mandatory to enter the building. Children ages 3 to 18 can participate and need to be registered. The booths will be open for the entire time. Presentations and performance will take place at  scheduled times. Check the agenda for details. There will be snacks and refreshments. For more information visit:

Mount Zion Community Health Day
We invite you, your family, your friends, and your patients to join us at the Mount Zion Community Health Day on Saturday, June 18.

You will have access to health screenings, educational materials and activities, along with local entertainment and food vendors. Our goal is to celebrate, educate and promote good health! There will be over twenty booths featuring various Medical Center clinics and services, including:

  • the Bloodmobile
  • Cancer Center
  • Division of General Internal Medicine
  • Headache Center
  • Nutrition Counseling Clinic
  • Osher Center for Integrative Medicine
  • Radiology
  • Sleep Disorders Center
  • Tobacco Education Center
  • Women’s Health
  • and more.

Event Details: Mount Zion Community Health Day Outdoor Street Fair will take place on Saturday, June 18, 2011, 11:00 am–4:00 pm, on Post Street between Divisadero and Scott streets.

Did You Know?: We are approaching the centennial of the Hellman Building at Mount Zion—the cornerstone of the twentieth century hospital. Mount Zion has played an important role in San Francisco’s rich history by serving the Western Addition neighborhood and the San Francisco community from the end of the nineteenth century through the twentieth and into the twenty-first century. It has been a part of the UCSF Medical Center since 1990.

Celebrating our Community: The leadership at the UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion, led by Associate Dean Jeffrey Pearl, M.D., is hosting this Community Health Day. It is a way to celebrate our local community, and to extend our thanks and appreciation to the neighborhood for its support of the Mount Zion campus.

We invite everyone at UCSF and in the community to join us in making this event a success. For more information, contact the Fishbon Library at Mount Zion, (415) 885-7378 or visit:

Headlands Institute June 2011 Climate Change Workshop for Teachers
On June 20-21, Headlands Institute is hosting a 2 day professional development experience for teachers called Bringing Climate Change to Your Classroom.

The workshop – designed for current classroom teachers, with a focus on grades 6-8 – aims to provide teachers with background information about climate science, a new set of engaging and student-centered activities, a deeper connection to National Parks, and the tools and time to create an action project for their classrooms.

The workshop is free and includes a $200 stipend, as well as food, lodging, and teaching materials! For more information or to register, please see the flier or visit our website:

Galaxy Forum USA
Awareness and learning about our Milky Way galaxy and humanity’s place in it, offers a transnational, transcendent focus and dynamic for a 21st Century Renaissance in American and Global Education — primary and secondary, public and private, university and advanced. You are cordially invited to attend Galaxy Forum USA: Galaxy Education and Galaxy Enterprise in the 21st Century, part of an international program of Galaxy Forums sponsored by the International Lunar Observatory Association and Space Age Publishing Company.

When: July 2, 2011,  9:30 am -11:30 am

Where: The Tech Museum of Innovation, 201 South Market Street, San Jose, CA. (408) 294-8324

Featured Presentations: Dr. Leo Blitz, UC Berkeley, “The Structure of Our Milky Way Galaxy”; Dr. Louis Friedman, The Planetary Society, “LightSail-1: Solar Sailing The Milky Way”;  Steve Durst, Space Age Publishing Company, International Lunar Observatory Association – Founder, “International Lunar Observatory (ILO) Galaxy First Light Imaging Program”;

This free event is open to the public. Seating is limited. Please R.S.V.P. today. or 650-324-3705.

SaveNature’s Director, Norm Gershenz “Answers the Call of the Wild”:
Norm Gershenz is speaking on July 9 at 7:30 pm at San Pedro Valley Park in Pacifica.  Mr. Gershenz, the Director of SaveNature.Org, will be speaking about how he and his organization reach hundreds of thousands of children, schools and adults around the country to save wildlife and wild places around the world. Norm will share some wild stories of his time in the rainforest and ideas on how to be successful in conservation for the 21st century. To get to San Pedro Valley Park’s Visitor Center, follow Linda Mar Boulevard east to its end at 600 Oddstad Blvd. The park sign is on the right and a parking lot gate will be open. Sponsored by The Friends of San Pedro Valley Park, the event is free and includes refreshments.

Build and Repair McLaren Park trails
Trail building Weekend in McLaren Park, Friday – Sunday, July 22-24.

Once again the stewardship organization V-O-CAL (Volunteers for Outdoor California) will spend a weekend helping San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department build and repair several different sections of the park’s trails, and you can help!

On Saturday and Sunday breakfast and lunch are provided, and Saturday evening there will be entertainment and an outdoor dinner. Bring boots, work gloves, and water. To sign up, contact us at or leave a message at the SMP Google Voicemail number, 650-516-7657 for more information.

Written by Eric Lewis

Eric Lewis

Eris Lewis is high school area science support in the San Francisco Unified School District LEAD office.

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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.