September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

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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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.

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw


This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region. Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.