May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

News and Events in Region 2

Posted: Thursday, September 1st, 2011

by Eric Lewis

So school is underway here in San Francisco and will be underway across the state in the next week or two. I hope that you had a great summer and that you are fresh and ready to take on a new year! Did you spend time this summer doing professional development? This was my first year participating in IISME. I had heard about it for a long time and was thrilled to be placed at KQED for the summer working with QUEST. I really enjoyed my experience with IISME and will hopefully participate again in the future. What were some of your favorite professional development opportunities? I’d love to hear about some of the things that CSTA members engaged in this summer. Please email me with your experiences and I’ll try to highlight some of these programs in the future!

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.

Good luck with the start of your school year! I look forward to seeing you all down in Pasadena for our next CSTA conference October 21 – 23!

Eric Lewis,


National Science Teachers Association







Region 2 includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Solano counties.

Resources and Events in Region 2

Green Hairstreak News

Come steward Green Hairstreak Habitat on Saturday, September 17 from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm at 14th & Pacheco in San Francisco.

The Green Hairstreak workdays are now the 3rd Saturday of the month. Come for a half hour to socialize and enjoy morning treats with other neighbors, volunteers, and nature enthusiasts. The workday begins at 10:00 am promptly, when we will orient volunteers on the different sites.

Aquarium of the Bay

Important days for Aquarium of the Bay:

September 1, 2011: Registration for K-12 free classes and tours open all Bay Area teachers.

October 12, 2011: Teachers Night Out at Aquarium of the Bay! Get an exclusive tour of our exhibits and special preview of our classroom shenanigans.

October 15, 2011: Hybrid Ferry Discover the Bay Program scholarship applications due for 2011-2012 school year.

California Coastal Cleanup Day Is Saturday, September 17, 2011, 9:00 am-12:00 pm

Join more than 80,000 of your friends and neighbors and help protect our coast and shorelines!

What is Coastal Cleanup Day? California Coastal Cleanup Day, an annual beach and inland waterway cleanup, is the state’s largest volunteer event. In 2010, over 82,500 volunteers removed more than 1.2 million pounds of trash and recyclables from our beaches, lakes, and waterways. When combined with the International Coastal Cleanup, organized by Ocean Conservancy and taking place on the same day, California Coastal Cleanup Day becomes part of one of the largest volunteer events in the world.

Why are beach cleanups so important? California’s coast and waterways have historically been collecting spots for annual accumulations of trash and debris. This debris, if not removed, can be harmful and even fatal to all manners of marine wildlife, can damage our state’s economy, and can even become a human health hazard. Coastal Cleanup Day is a great way for families, students, service groups, and neighbors to join together, take care of our fragile marine environment, show community support for our shared natural resources, learn about the impacts of marine debris and how we can prevent them, and to have fun!

How do I participate? Participating in Coastal Cleanup Day is as easy as 1, 2, 3! For tips for teachers participating with their classes, see our Educator’s Guide.

The Coastal Commission is committed to eliminating the waste created at Coastal Cleanup Day. Please join our efforts by bringing your own reusable supplies to the Cleanup. Learn more on our BYO page.

Be part of the solution to marine pollution! Join us on Saturday, September 17, 2011, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm for the 27th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day. Click here to learn more.


Volunteer stewards needed for Alemany Natives

Find over 70 species of San Francisco native plants, enhancing the habitat resources for birds, butterflies, herbs, and other species, while also providing opportunities for visitors to learn about native plants, local ecosystems, and how to increase habitat value in agricultural practices, landscaping – all in an urban environment.

At the center of a 3.5 acre beautiful volunteer-run farm, we need good people to volunteer to manage this area ASAP! If this might be you, or you know the perfect person, please email Iris or call 415-312-2214.

And come by our 3rd Sunday workdays from 1:00 pm -4:00 pm. Our next workday is September 18 at Alemany Farm, 700 Alemany Boulevard in San Francisco.

Check out these photos at:

Ted Kipping Pot Luck/Slideshows

4th Tuesday of the month at 7:00 pm (slide show at 8:00 pm) at the San Francisco County Fair Building, 9th Avenue & Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park.

Served by Muni bus lines #6, 43, 44, 66, 71, and the N-Judah Metro.

September 27, Brian Kemble: Botanizing Northern Baja

*Please bring a dish and beverage to serve 8 people

What: A geological walk in downtown San Francisco retracing the events of the 1906 earthquake and fire
When: Saturday, October 15, 2011, 9:00 am
Where: Meet at 9:00 am at the City Center BART station on Market Street
Who: K-12 teachers only

A $30 refundable registration fee is require, the fee will be refunded upon attendance. Lunch will be provided in Chinatown.

This walk in downtown San Francisco is part of the Northern California Geological Society’s activities for teachers during the Earth Science Week program for 2011. We will spend the time reliving the events that occurred on that fateful day of April 18, 1906.

Earthquakes are an important part of our life in the Bay area. The walk is of particular relevance to teachers of all grade levels who are interested in including an earthquake lesson in their classroom. We will explore the downtown area in order to  discover the lessons and  knowledge we have acquired  in the past 100 years about the importance of earthquakes for those of us who live in an extremely seismically active area. A well illustrated guide book will be provided to enrich the walk and there will be many places to take photographs. Examples of possible sites we will visit  include buildings in the subsidence area in the South of Market, pre-1906 buildings along Market Street that survived the earthquake, the site of the first residence in San Francisco, and other historical places in the city.

We will assemble at 9 AM at the Civic Center Bart Station The first stop will be at Sixth and Howard streets in the South of Market. This location was “ground zero” for the 1906 tremor.  It was here that the greatest loss of life and the greatest damage occurred at dawn on that April day. It was in this area that most of the fires originated that destroyed the city in the following days. This part of the city was rebuilt following the quake but the area around Sixth Street has retained much of its character. The South of Market is undergoing redevelopment and the older building are disappearing so it is very appropriate to bring your camera and record this part of the city.

The walk continues along Market Street following the path of the fire as it spread outwards from the South of Market. We will see many of the “survivors” or pre-1906 buildings along Market. We eventually end up at Lotta’s Fountain, the site each year of the 1906 remembrance event. The fire reached this part of the City about late morning of the first day and we are on schedule to follow its path through the present day Financial District and Chinatown. NCGS is hosting a lunch for the group at a restaurant in Chinatown.

The walk will be led by Dr. Raymond Sullivan, Emeritus Professor of Geology at San Francisco State University.

For further information and registration contact Paul Henshaw at phenshaw@berkeley.edu925-673-8745, or 925-212-9492 (cell).

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 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.