May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Region Updates: Region 2

Posted: Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

by Eric Lewis

After a long wait,  the Next Generation Science Standards will be released on January 8, 2013!  It will be important for as many of us as possible to review them and provide feedback.

In general, I’m excited about the new standards though I’ve grown quite fond of our old standards.  Well, perhaps “fond” isn’t the right word… it’s more like I have grown comfortable with them.  I’ve been teaching with our current standards for my whole career.  I’ve never had to teach anything else and I’m excited and nervous about the changes that are coming to our science standards.

One aspect of the Next Generation Science Standards that I’m very happy about is the attention to communication of science by our students.  I think this part of the standards will be a boon to our English Language Learners by ensuring that science class is one that is language rich in reading, speaking and writing.  Of course as science teachers, this is an area where we will need to build new skills and be prepared to struggle and stumble.

I do think that science fairs are a natural fit for these expectations in science.  I’ve been becoming a bigger and bigger fan of science fairs and science symposia over the past few years.  If you are interested in getting involved in science fairs, check out the Bay Area Science Fair website and the Science and Humanities Symposium website.  And, please read my interview with Tokiwa Smith – the director of SEM Link – in this month’s eCCS.  Tokiwa’s organization might be really helpful in getting science fairs started in your classroom.

Finally, don’t forget to submit your ideas for workshops for next year’s Education Conference in Palm Springs!  And, please let me know if there are things that you’d like to add to our Region’s offerings.  Don’t forget to 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.

Eric Lewis, lewise2@sfusd.edu

Events in Region 2

Houge Park Star Party

Friday, 1/4/12, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

San Jose Astronomical Association, Houge Park, Twilight Drive, San Jose

Meet with members of San Jose Astronomical Society for a Star Party, weather permitting.

For more information visit their website at http://www.sjaa.net/.

Fabulous plants and stories from the East Bay flora

Saturday, 1/5/13, 10:30 AM

Regional Parks Botanic Garden Visitors Center, Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley

Join us for our popular series of free public lectures on a broad array of topics related to plants and natural history. Named in honor of its founder, the Wayne Roderick Lecture Series takes place in the Visitor Center of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. These illustrated presentations are enjoyable for beginners and professionals alike. All lectures are free and open to the public.  Speaker: Heath Bartosh

Note: Seating is limited, so it is advisable to arrive early, save a seat, and enjoy the garden until lecture time.
For more information, call (510) 544-3169 or visit their website.

Free Day of Science

Sunday, 1/6/13, 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak Street, Oakland

OMCA is free all day the first Sunday of every month.  Tour the building with members of the Museum’s Council on Architecture at 1 pm and enjoy a docent-led tour of the Gallery of California Art at 2 pm.

For more information, call 510-238-2200 or visit their website.

The atmospheric circulation of Pluto and Triton as predicted by a general circulation model

Tuesday, 1/8/13, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

SETI Institute Colloquium Series, 189 Bernardo Avenue, Mountain View

A variety of previous studies have investigated the 1D vertical temperature-pressure profiles of Pluto and Triton’s atmospheres, while another class of models has investigated the bulk north-south transport of volatiles on these worlds.  However, only recently have modern, 3D general circulation models (GCMs) been applied to Pluto and Triton.

GCMs are global models that solve for the primitive equations of the atmosphere and surface simultaneously, and can be used to predict surface, subsurface, and atmospheric temperature; atmospheric pressure; the three components of atmospheric flow; and surface ice thickness and extent in a physically consistent way.  Most importantly from a meteorological standpoint, is that GCMs are the best tool for predicting atmospheric circulation, since this property is difficult to measure remotely.

Dr. Zalucha will discuss the results from one such Pluto/Triton GCM based off of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology GCM dynamical core.

Speaker: Angela Zalucha, SETI

For more information, email info@seti.org, call 650.961.6633, or visit their website.

Beach Clean Up

Saturday, 1/12/13, Start Time TBA

Ocean Beach at Taraval, San Francisco

Meet on the  steps at the end of Taraval at noon. We’ll pick up trash and look for shorebirds along 1.5 miles of Ocean Beach. Bags and gloves will be provided. We’ll finish up with refreshments at the Park Chalet! Heavy rain cancels.

For more information, visit their website.

Grid Flexibility and Research Challenges to Enhance the Integration of Variable Renewable Energy Sources

Monday, 1/14/13, 4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Stanford University Energy Seminar, Huang Science Center, NVIDIA Auditorium, Stanford

Grid flexibility is a characteristic that is proposed to help the integration of variable renewable energy resources. However it has proven very difficult to quantify and this has spurred intense research efforts over the past few years. There are many sources, sinks and enablers for flexibility in the grid and these are all subject to numerous research challenges. Flexibility will be introduced, defined and a number of methods to quantify it will be described. This will be followed by an overview of research into unlocking flexibility in the power system e.g. demand side participation and power system operational strategies. There are potential hidden costs of flexibility and some of these will be highlighted, for example thermal plant cycling, and mitigation measures to reduce these will be formulated. Concluding remarks will try to give insights into how a future grid with very high penetrations of variable renewable energy may look like.

Speaker: Mark O’Malley, University College Dublin

For more information, visit their website at http://energyseminar.stanford.edu/.

From inventories to a mycoflora for North America – ‘Getting to Know California Mushrooms’

Tuesday, 1/15/13, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Mycological Society of San Francisco, Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, San Francisco

Speaker: Else Vellinga

Due to a scheduling conflict, the general meeting will be held downstairs in the Buckley Room.

For more information, visit their website.

The Sentinel B612 Telescope – Finding Asteroids Before They Find Us

Tuesday, 1/15/13, 7:00 PM

SETI Institute Colloquium Series, 189 Bernardo Avenue, Mountain View

We know how to deflect asteroids, but our technology is useless if we do not scan the skies to look for asteroids to know well in advance if one is on a collision course with Earth.  The Sentinel Space Telescope, the first privately supported deep space mission, is designed to do just that and to enable humanity to protect our planet from future asteroid impacts.   Sentinel is an infrared space telescope to be placed into solar orbit in 2017 from where it will find and track asteroids that threaten Earth.  It will discover more asteroids each month than the total discovered by all other telescopes combined up until the present.   In addition to becoming one of the humanity’s great scientific instruments, Sentinel will be unique in that its main purpose is actually to protect the Earth.

Speaker: Ed Lu, B612

For more information, email info@seti.org, call 650.961.6633 or visit their website.

Getting Comfortable with Global Warming

Wednesday, 1/16/13, 12:00 PM – 12:45 PM

Presidio of San Francisco, Building 105 (Temporary Visitors Center), Lincoln Boulevard & Montgomery Street, San Francisco

What emotional state are you in about global warming? Shock, denial, anger, depression… or acceptance and readiness for action? Bring a brown bag lunch and help move yourself toward action.

Meet Ranger Will Elder at the temporary visitor center, 105 Montgomery St. at Lincoln Blvd.

For more information, visit their website.

The Tigers of Market Street: Our Largest Butterfly

Wednesday, 1/16/13, 7:30 PM

Shaping San Francisco, Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics, 518 Valencia Street, San Francisco

Not long after the transit tunnels of Muni and Bart went in below Market Street in the ’70s, a San Franciscan butterfly – the Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus) moved into an ecosystem freshly lined with one of her host trees: the London Plane sycamore (Plantanus acerifolia). She lays eggs on this tree and much of the creature’s lifecycle has played out for years unheralded by the thousands who walk below this canopy daily. As the city re-imagines our grandest boulevard with the Better Market Street campaign, come this evening and learn of a creature that seems to be keeping up with how radically we’ve altered our landscape and add your two cents to this fascinating convergence of city coexistence. Lepidopterists and artists Amber Hasselbring and Liam O’Brien will “tell the tale of a swallow-tail” and propose novel ideas of connecting our species with this species.

For more information, visit their website.

What’s Trending? Sustainable, Prosperous and Greener Corporations

Thursday, 1/17/13. 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

UC Berkeley Extension, Room 212, 1995 University Avenue, Berkeley

Today, leading companies are using dramatically fewer materials, less energy and safer chemicals when they manufacture products. These innovations impressively address climate change and natural resources depletion while generating corporate profits, community benefits and professional pride. Engineers, managers and interested citizens hear a hopeful, future story based on real-world examples in this dynamic presentation.

Please register here and visit their website for more information.

Houge Park Star Party

Friday, 1/18/12, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

San Jose Astronomical Association, Houge Park, Twilight Drive, San Jose

Meet with members of San Jose Astronomical Society for a Star Party, weather permitting.

For more information visit their website at http://www.sjaa.net/.

Central coasting, with emphasis on our diverse marine algae

Saturday, 1/19/13, 10:30 AM

Regional Parks Botanic Garden Visitors Center, Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley

Join us for our popular series of free public lectures on a broad array of topics related to plants and natural history. Named in honor of its founder, the Wayne Roderick Lecture Series takes place in the Visitor Center of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. These illustrated presentations are enjoyable for beginners and professionals alike. All lectures are free and open to the public.  Speaker: Bob Case

Note: Seating is limited, so it is advisable to arrive early, save a seat, and enjoy the garden until lecture time.

For more information, call (510) 544-3169 or visit their website.

Jazz Under the Stars

Saturday, 1/19/13, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

College of San Mateo, Building 36, 1700 W. Hillsdale Road, San Mateo

Visit our roof top observatory and see the moon and Saturn thru our telescopes, while listening to KCSM Jazz 91 FM. Dress warmly.

No food or drinks in the observatory. Children are welcome and need to be attended at all times. Parking is free in lot 5.

For more information, visit their website.

Newly described mushroom poisoning syndromes

Tuesday, 1/22/13, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Bay Area Mycological Society, 338 Koshland Hall, UC Berkeley, Berkeley

Denis R. Benjamin, MD, grew up in South Africa, emigrating to the Pacific Northwest in 1970. He practiced pediatric pathology at the children’s hospitals in Seattle, Washington and Fort Worth, Texas. He became an amateur mycologist soon after his arrival in the USA. He recently returned to the east slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Washington to continue his passion for mushrooms, the outdoors and natural history. He was a consultant to the regional poison control center, a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Puget Sound Mycological Society and a past Chairman of the Toxicology Committee of the North American Mycological Association. He is frequent speaker at mushrooms clubs and societies. In addition to nearly 100 professional publications, he has contributed to the lay literature and mushroom magazines. He was chosen to be a community Op/Ed writer for the Fort Worth Star Telegram. His is author of the landmark book on the health effects of mushrooms (Mushrooms: Poisons and Panaceas) and recently published a collection of mushroom foraging essays (Musings of a Mushroom Hunter: A Natural History of Foraging).

For more information, visit their website.

Genomic Medicine

Thursday, 1/24/13, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

UC Berkeley, Stanley Hall, Room 105. Berkeley

Dr. Thomas White, former Chief Scientific Officer of Celera will be giving a talk titled Genomic Medicine: The Development, Economic and Ethical Challenges of Translating Basic Research Into Clinical Practice. There will be a reception immediately following the talk.

For more information, visit their website.

On the trail of Streptanthus (jewel flowers) from Lily Lake (Modoc) to Mt. Eddy, by way of southern Oregon

Saturday, 1/26/13, 10:30 AM

Regional Parks Botanic Garden Visitors Center, Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley

Join us for our popular series of free public lectures on a broad array of topics related to plants and natural history. Named in honor of its founder, the Wayne Roderick Lecture Series takes place in the Visitor Center of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. These illustrated presentations are enjoyable for beginners and professionals alike. All lectures are free and open to the public.  Speaker: Dick O’Donnell

Note: Seating is limited, so it is advisable to arrive early, save a seat, and enjoy the garden until lecture time.

For more information, call (510) 544-3169 or visit their website.

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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LATEST POST

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: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org 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.