May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Region 2 News and Events

Posted: Friday, September 30th, 2011

by Eric Lewis

As always, it’s an exciting time for Science!  I’m not sure how many of you have had an opportunity to look over the new Framework for K-12 Science Education (download the FREE pdf here), but it seems to be a great move forward for Science Education.  I know that there is a lot of excitement over the new California Common Core Standards for English/Language Arts and Mathematics.  I hope that our standards are also so well received.  I’m also glad that California will be one of the lead states that will be working on creating the Common Core Standards for Science.

The first annual Bay Area Science Festival will be commencing at the end of this month.  This science festival will span 10 days, starting on October 29th and will incorporate science and technology activities throughout the entire Bay Area – from Santa Rosa to San Jose.  There will be all sorts of science events including lectures, debates and exhibitions, as well as concerts, plays, workshops, and even a science-themed pub-crawl in the Mission District of San Francisco (really, there will something for EVERYONE).  The festival’s FREE grand finale will be at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Sunday, November 6th, from 11am to 4pm.  There will be over 170 hands-on interactive science activities for students, families, and the community at large to enjoy.  For the complete program schedule, visit  Kudos to UCSF for choreographing this awesome series of science events!

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 you 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 look forward to seeing you all down in Pasadena for the CSTA Education conference from October 21st through the 23rd!

Eric Lewis,

Berkeley Lab’s ‘Cirque Des Sciences’ Open House on Oct. 15

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, step right up to experience amazing feats of cutting-edge science at “Cirque des Sciences,” Berkeley Lab’s Open House on Saturday, October 15th, from 10 am to 3 pm. A three-ring circus under the Big-Top, surrounded by nearly an acre of booths, will feature exhibits on nanotechnology, energy efficiency and conservation, climate change, solar cells, biofuels, batteries, physics, chemistry, and much more. Costumed stilt walkers and jugglers will roam the grounds to delight and entertain guests. The event also includes tours, hands-on learning activities, lectures, entertainment, food, and henna hand painters. Visit the Open House website at for more information and to register.  The event is free, but registration is required! All visitors will need a printout of their registration confirmation in order to enter the event.

Grant Writing Workshop for Teachers on Oct 5th

The Stanford Optical Society, along with the help of Ann Shioji, is hosting another grant writing workshop this year after receiving great feedback from past events! This workshop is intended for the teacher who is new to grant writing. Subjects covered include: how to keep an eye out for interesting grants, a quick overview of the grant process, anatomy of a typical grant, how to find information on your school’s breakdown, and pointers from a grant recipient.  The last part of the session will include outlining our typical grant and how to make your grant appealing for committees. A grant graphic organizer will be included! The details are as follows: October 5, 2011 from 6:30 – 7:30 pm (light dinner served at 6) in the Havana Room, Stanford Graduate Community Center, 750 Escondido Rd, Stanford University. Please follow this link to fill out the form if you would like to attend (there are a limited number of seats available):

Free Mars Workshop for Educators (Hands-on Activities): “Packing for Mars” with the Astronomical Society of the Pacific

WHEN: Saturday, October 1, 2011, 9:00am – noon. WHERE: Resource Area for Teachers (RAFT), 101 Twin Dolphin Drive, Redwood City, CA. Join the staff of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) for a 3-hour workshop including engaging hands-on activities to introduce the science and exploration of the red planet Mars to students and audiences of all ages.  All activities in the workshop are appropriate for presentations in libraries, community centers, museums, and classrooms. The instructors for this workshop will be:

  • Suzy Gurton, Astronomy Education Manager for the (ASP) and author of a whole series of family astronomy activities in use around the country.
  • Juanita Ryan, retired K-5 teacher from the Berryessa School District in San Jose.
  • Target Audience: 3rd – 8th grade teachers, informal educators, and amateur and professional astronomers who visit classrooms.

There is no cost for the workshop or the materials, but advance registration is required. To register, please go to: (click the box at left, scroll to the top of the page, and hit the enroll now button).

Expanding Your Horizons in Science and MathematicsTM Conference

Saturday, October 29, 2011 at San Francisco State University 1600 Holloway/19th Avenue from 8:30 AM – 2:45 PM. The Expanding Your Horizons in Science and MathematicsTM conferences nurture girls’ interest in science and math courses in order to encourage them to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. Our mission is to encourage young women to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. The San Francisco Expanding Your Horizons Conference (EYH) will provide STEM role models and hands-on activities for middle school girls. Our ultimate goal is to motivate girls to become innovative and creative thinkers ready to meet 21st century challenges. Registration Deadline: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2011.  Register at


At The Bio-Link / CCSF Depot our goal is to connect local California teachers with the science supplies and equipment they need.  As biotech companies restructure, move, or upgrade, they donate to the Depot. Donor companies gladly give us recycled high caliber biotech equipment and supplies. The next Open House is on Saturday, October 8th, 2011 from 10am to noon.  For more information (including how to get stuff from there to your classroom/school), go to:

Coastweeks is still going strong through October 9th

For more information about coastal and water resources events in your area, check out their website of events at:

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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  1. […] greeted with more and more news about the Bay Area Science Festival.  Just in case you missed this announcement last month, the science festival will span 10 days – it started on October 29 – and will incorporate […]

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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.