May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

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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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.