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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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or

New Information Now Available On-line:

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.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. 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 California NGSS k-8 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy:

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.