May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Region 2 News & Events

Posted: Friday, July 1st, 2011

by Eric Lewis

Summer is upon us – a time to get relax and gather our thoughts about the school year that just finished up.  Of course, many of you take the summer to revise curriculum, participate in professional development, and collaborate with colleagues to strategize about meeting the needs of students at your site.  For those of you that tend to take the summer as a time to improve your curriculum the work never seems to stop.  Though everyone should be grateful for the extra effort that many of you take, I applaud the fact that you continue to improve your practice, even though our current system does little to recognize the work that you do.

Personally, I am doing an IISME Fellowship (, and getting paid to work with the talented folks at QUEST at KQED (  Through my work this summer, I’m getting very acquainted with QUEST’s resources and doing some strategizing around how to make their material more accessible to teachers.  I plan to take this experience back to my district and encourage more teachers to use their resources.  Check them out!

Regardless of what you’re doing this summer – be it traveling around the globe or working at a science laboratory at a local university or biotech company – may it bring you new ideas and excitement for teaching come the fall.

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

Eric Lewis,

Invasive Plant Removal at Peir 94 in San Francisco
Saturday, July 2, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Join Golden Gate Audubon at Pier 94 on San Francisco’s Southern Waterfront. Lend a hand at Pier 94 in San Francisco where we will learn about and participate in invasive plant removal and caring for native plants and trash pickup.  We will focus on removing Algerian Sea Lavender. The site is home to native California Sea-blite- an endangered plant, as well as habitat for shorebirds and water birds and a nesting site for several resident species of birds.

Directions: Take Third Street and turn east (toward the bay) onto Cargo Way and take the first left onto Amador Street.  This industrial road turns right (480 Amador St.) in San Francisco turn into parking area just before the chain link fence.  Ahead you will see a small sign next to the left of white barriers. This is the entrance to Pier 94.

Park in front of the barriers and join us at the marsh.

Public Transit: The Muni Metro T-Line stops at Marin, which is located a couple blocks before Cargo Way on Third Street. Please visit for a transit planner from your location. Follow the directions above from Third Street turning onto Cargo Way.

We’ll provide gloves, tools, and snacks. Please bring your own water bottle to cut down on trash, we’ll provide water. Wear sturdy shoes, a hat, sunscreen, dress in layers of clothes that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty – you’ll have fun while helping local birds. For details visit:


July 2 Saturday Walk the Wiggle
July 3 Sunday Water Walking
July 6 Wednesday Outside Lands walk

All walks start at 10:00 am. The water tour is 3 ½ hours and the others are 2 ½ hours. Check the Tours page at for full details and to RSVP.

Thinkwalks explore the overlap of urban and natural San Francisco. Life in the city, don’t forget, is life in a natural environment. The valleys and waterways may be filled in or paved over, but they still exist. Clues to their influence are all around us—especially when nature burps. Earthquakes, rainstorms, even the ever-present wind are forces still shaping the land and our habits. Cultural and political forces have heaved against the land forms, too—and for thousands of years! Human history is clearly part of nature’s big picture. Come scrutinize evidence about what really transpired. Let’s look at how SF got to be what it is. Thinkwalks are a chance to understand natural patterns in the broadest sense so we can shape our collective future wisely.

17th Annual San Francisco Butterfly Count
Sunday, July 3, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

The rescheduled date for the 17th Annual San Francisco Butterfly Count is Sunday, July 3, 9:00 am -5:00 pm. This is an intense, one-day inventory of all the butterfly species/individuals flying in SF city and county.  We will begin at the Randall Museum (199 Museum Way) before heading out with assigned groups.  The Presidio Group, lead by Matt Zlatunich, will meet there (contact to join his group).  Each group will have a copy of Nature in the City’s Butterflies of San Francisco Field Guide to make it easier on the novice. BRING YOUR LUNCH.

A $3.00 participation fee that goes towards butterfly conservation is collected. We broke all our records last year : 24 species, 775 individuals and 34 observers! We also had “National High’ on two species: Anise Swallowtail – 53 seen (Papilio zelicaon) and West Coast Painted Lady – 23 seen (Vanessa annabella). Even with over 300 counts throughout the nation, the SF count is starting to get noticed.  Come help us keep up the momentum! And, start learning your SF butterflies at

Contact Liam O’Brien  with any questions at The count is sponsored by The North American Butterfly Association.”

San Francisco Natural History Series July Lecture
July 21, 7:30 pm

Vanished Waters and the History of Mission Bay – Chris Carlsson

FREE at the Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, San Francisco. For more information visit:

Santa Clara County Biotechnology Education Partnership 18th Annual Summer Workshop: Biotech Basics
July 25 – 29, 2011, Santa Clara University
Find out how hands-on biotechnology can excite your students while meeting the standards. Be eligible to utilize the SCCBEP mobile kits or consumables only! Earn professional growth hour certificates and SJSU units.
This Workshop is FREE* for Science Teachers

  • wanting to implement hands-on biotech labs in their classroom
  • with various backgrounds and training in biology, molecular biology, biotech
  • teaching ALL levels of life science or biology classes

New to SCCBEP?  Please register only if you can attend the ENTIRE week. Current SCCBEPers?  You may register for specific refresher days. Register NOW! Learn new techniques! Upgrade your knowledge! Space is limited. Acceptance confirmations will be emailed with details.
Register by providing the following information via email to or 408.924.4814.

  • Teacher Name, School Name, School District
  • Contact info – email address (home & work), home address, phone# (home & work), fax#
  • Which workshops are you registering for? (New SCCBEP Teachers MUST attend the entire week)
  • What classes will you be teaching?
  • Any dietary restrictions?
  • What prior experience with biotech have you had?

NOTICE: Registration deadline is July 11, 2011.

*Registrants must mail in a reservation check for $50 to guarantee space in the workshop. Your check will be held and returned at the workshop, but will be forfeited in the event you are a no-show. Mail registration check to: SCCBEP, Dr. Katy Korsmeyer, Dept of Chemistry, SJSU, San José, CA 95192-0101.

Fintastic! Sharks Program at San Francisco Library with QUEST
Tuesday, August 2, 2:00 pm – 4:00pm and 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

San Francisco Main Library Branch

Aquarium of the Bay’s Fintastic! Shark Discovery Program

  • 2:00 pm -4:00 pm: Kids programming at the Children’s Center
  • 6:00 pm -8:00 pm: Film screening and discussion surrounding threats to sharks and Assembly Bill, AB 376

QUEST’s Emmy-award winning “Great White Shark: Meet the Man in the Gray Suit” will be screening at the SF Public Library as a part of a special program put together by Kati Schmidt, our partner at the Aquarium of the Bay. Chris Bauer, the producer of the segment, will be a panelist.  He’ll also be at the kids program.

August 3-4, 2011, Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, CA

  • Who:  Silicon Valley Education Foundation in partnership with Krause Center for Innovation/Foothill College
  • What:  2-day conference for K-12 public school administrators, teachers, and technology department leaders (1 day optional)
  • When:   August 3-4, 2011, 10 AM to 3 PM each day
  • Where:  Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, CA
  • Why:  Hear from keynote speakers Scott McNealy, co-founder and former CEO of Sun Microsystems; and Bernie Trilling, 21st century learning expert and author. Learn new ways to get more educational value from technology today (especially existing technology that is already available in schools)—and build a vision for how technology will support learning in the future.

Team concept

Participants will break out into teams to pool their expertise and talents and develop specific action plans to address educational challenges through technology integration and infusion. We recommend districts register three to five members from the same school or district. An ideal team will include one superintendent, assistant superintendent or a principal along with at least two classroom teachers and a technology department leader.

For more information please visit:

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.