February 6, 2017
High School Science Newsletter #8

NGSS SCIENCE & ENGINEERING PRACTICE: Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

In both science and engineering, mathematics and computation are fundamental tools for representing physical variables and their relationships. They are used for a range of tasks such as constructing simulations; statistically analyzing data; and recognizing, expressing, and applying quantitative relationships.

Mathematics is at the core of science and engineering. In science, it allows us to represent variables. In engineering, it drives the iterative design and testing cycle that improves products and solutions. 

One important aspect of computational thinking is using computers to create models. Computer models and simulations allow students to investigate questions that are too small, too large, too fast, or too slow to investigate in the real world. Additional benefits include emphasizing the practice of model building and providing an introduction to probability and sampling theory.

Quality Sources of Science Simulations:

More Resources:

Thank you to the 34 high school science teachers and over 3000 science students involved in the field testing of the SFUSD Science Core Curriculum during the months of February and March. Lesson Sequences include: 
  • Biology: Gene Variation in Skin Color
  • Chemistry: Energy Transfer in Sea Level Rise
  • Physics: Electromagnetic Induction 
The Response and Development Team met for the first of three dates during the spring semester. Biology, Chemistry and Physics teachers met on 2/1 to continue the work on the development and revision processes. Future dates include: 3/14 and 4/6.


In preparation for the implementation of the Science Core Curriculum and the consumable materials associated with it, we will be cultivating the aquatic plant Elodea anacharis at the Science Resource Center. Please contact Dawn Rege or Theresa Hall if you have a tank (glass or acrylic) that you would like to donate for our cultivation purposes. We're happy to drop by your site to pick it up. Thank you! 

From Judy Gerber, Science Safety Officer

We have received several inquiries about chemical/bio waste pickups recently. The process is going through a transition, so we do not have a target date for the pickups to restart. Please continue to store waste appropriately. Each time you generate waste, add it to the request for pickup form. That way it will be ready when we let department chairs/leads know it's time to submit the forms.

When in doubt, please ask. Are you planning a new experiment using a different set of chemicals? Do you have questions about whether it will raise safety issues in your particular classroom conditions? Check your resources like MSDSOnline or the CA Science Safety Handbook before proceeding. If you are still not sure, contact

Chemical inventory:
Help your department lead. If you are entering any chemicals you acquire for your classes into MSDS Online as you get them, you will be supporting the science teacher responsible for keeping your inventory up-to-date.

May 5th will be the deadline for schools to have your inventory on MSDS Online updated.

Other safety questions? Check and if you can't find the answer there, send me an e-mail and I'll help you out:


Free and Compensated

  • The SFUSD Summer 2017 High School Credit Recovery program is looking for innovative teachers in the core a-g subjects. You can earn $6,000 + for 5 weeks! If you are interested, and/or have a colleague who may be interested, please apply. Teachers must be employed by the SFUSD now through fall 2017. More information.
  • American Chemical Society National Meeting and Expo will be in San Francisco! Join with other chemistry professionals to share ideas and advance scientific and technical knowledge. The ACS national exposition gives you the chance to access leading-edge technical developments, with over 300 exhibitors showcasing state-of-the-art technologies. Early registration ends February 20. Cost: $110. More information. Advance registration form.
  • Stanford Online Learning Opportunity: Improving Argumentation Through Formative Assessment Practice: Formative assessment is an instructional practice to gauge where your students are in their learning by gathering evidence of their learning, assessing the evidence, and planning the next steps in instruction. The Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics, the Next Generation Science Standards, and new English Language Proficiency Standards all include a focus on argumentation, requiring that students construct claims supported by evidence and/or reasoning. In this course, we will explore how formative assessment practices can be targeted in improve student argumentation skills, an essential, cross-disciplinary practice. FREE! More information & to register.
  • Summer Institute for Teachers @ The Exploratorium: Join us this summer for three weeks of nonstop science exploration. The institute supports the content and pedagogy described in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).During the institutes, teachers work with each other and with staff scientists and educators to learn more about science teaching. 2017 Summer Institute Dates: June 19-July 7. Stipend: $2500. Application open through March 15, 2017.  More information & to apply! 
  • Project Atmosphere Workshop: a two-week teacher professional development workshop offered by the American Meteorological Society's Education Program. This project is specifically designed for K-12 teachers who teach science courses with atmospheric content. July 16-28, 2017 at the National Weather Service Training Center in Kansas City, Missouri. $600 stipend, lodging, airfare & food included. Deadline: March 27, 2017. More information & to apply.
  • Amgen Biotech Experience – Sign up for the Summer 2017 Workshop now! The workshop will be held June 19-22, 2017, at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley. The Amgen Biotech Experience Complete Series will be covered, including protein purification. More information on curriculum & labs covered in summer workshop & to apply. Deadline: June 2, 2017.
  • Summer Workshops at Penn State: CSATS partners with science and engineering researchers at Penn State and industries to improve STEM education through innovative outreach programs. We design, develop, and implement programs for K-12 and higher education focused on incorporating the practices of science and engineering into classrooms as well as informal learning environments. More information on opportunities
  • Education & Environmental Initiative Teacher Training @ Chabot Space & Science Center: Come learn about the Education and Environmental Initiative (EEI), a free K-12 curriculum that teaches critical-skills in science and history-social science using environmental topics such as water and energy as a lens. Date: February 11, 2017, 9-11:30am. Fees: None! - Plus receive a full class set of one of the EEI units. More information & to register! 
  • Astronomical Society of the Pacific: Get Ready for the Great North American Eclipse! On August 21, 2017, the Moon will pass directly in front of the Sun, a phenomenon viewable throughout the country! Learn how you can take advantage of this spectacular teachable moment at our workshop on February 18th from 9am-12:30pm. Register Here. For more information email or call: Brian Kruse bkruse@astrosociety.org415-715-1426 


  • UCMP Short Course: A new look at old bones: Insights on dinosaur growth, development and diversity: Dinosaurs are among the most successful group of vertebrate animals ever to walk on the planet. Their stunning morphological diversity and worldwide fossil record - coupled with their modern-day surviving lineage, the birds - continue to fascinate the student in all of us. Novel analytical tools and techniques allow paleontologists to probe, image, and decipher bone microstructure and preservation critical for testing previously held ideas on dinosaur growth and development. Recent dinosaur discoveries and research by our speakers are helping clarify evolutionary relationships and generate new and exciting questions on dinosaur growth and behavior. Please join us as our experts share their latest research and reveal changing perspectives on the evolution and paleobiology of dinosaurs. More information & to register. Date: March 4, 2017, 9-3:30, UC Berkeley. Fee: $30
  • Discovering the Colors of our Earth and Sky: This workshop is offered in partnership between CA Academy of Science and the deYoung. Spend two days investigating this question: What colors are our earth and sky? This workshop, designed for middle-school teachers, integrates content related to physical and life sciences with practices that help you prompt your students into deeper ways of thinking through engagement with art. Saturdays, March 11 and March 18, 2017, 9am-4pm. Fee: $25 that is refunded after your attendance. More information & to register! 



  • National Fuse Grants Now Available! FUSE is now accepting applications from schools across the US to receive funding to implement FUSE for two years. Each grant will provide support for two years of programming starting in the fall of 2017, including 3D printer, software, scaffolded STEAM activities, consumables and website access: a $26,000 value. Up to 21 schools will be awarded grants for the 2017-18 school year. Deadline: February 24, 2017. More information.
  • UC Davis C-STEM Studio: Robotics and Computing tools for Teachers Teachers can download free tools for teaching math, coding and robotics with C-STEM Studio from the Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education at the UC Davis. C-STEM Studio is a platform for teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics through computing and robotics for integrated learning. It includes code, comprehensive documentation, teacher guides and textbooks in one download. More information and to download C-STEM Studio. 
  • NGSS Infographic Poster! NSTA has released its newest infographic on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). How Today's Students Learn Science is presented in a fun, comic-book style and showcases science and engineering practices in action. The infographic is available now on the NGSS@NSTA Hub
  • Science Films for the Classroom: Cal Academy's award-winning planetarium shows are now available for educators to stream directly to your classroom! Check the shows out here!
  • The National Center for Science Education launched this initiative to defend and support the teaching of climate change. The site has four sections: Climate Change 101, Teaching About Climate Change, Climate Change Denial, and Taking Action. Explore the website here!


  • Looking for a paid summer science research experience this summer for high school students?  The iCLEM program offers a paid summer science experience at the Joint BioEnergy Institute to current sophomores and juniors in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco schools. The 8 selected students will complete a real-world biofuels research project in a state-of-the-art lab, prepare for the college admissions process, and explore STEM careers.  More information & to apply. Deadline: March 12, 2017.
  • International Young Eco-Hero Awards: Action for Nature, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, is looking for young environmentalists to apply for its 2017 annual International Young Eco-Hero Awards. The Eco-Hero Awards encourage environmental education, stewardship, and advocacy among youth. Qualifying applications should have projects that include environmental health, advocacy, research, or protection. The 1st place cash prizes are $500. Eco-Hero Award recipients will also receive publicity through Action for Nature's website, social media, video, and newsletters. For complete application guidelines, go to Action for Nature's website. For more information, contact Program Coordinator Sara Grimes. Or read the AFN Flyer.
  • The Stanford Horizon Scholars Program offers up to 15 low-income, high-achieving, Bay Area high school students the opportunity to attend High School Summer College at little to no cost. Horizon Scholars attend High School Summer College as commuting students. In addition to a generous financial aid package, Horizon Scholars have access to special programming during the summer and, as alumni of the program, quarterly events during the rest of the academic year. More info, list of courses (in all fields, not just STEM) and application.
  • 2017 Youth for the Environment and Sustainability (YES) Conference: The 2017 YES Conference is a FUN, free-of-charge, annual event that brings together middle- and high-school students from the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties to discuss solutions to the climate change crisis. The conference aims to raise awareness of how our transportation choices affect our families, our communities, our air and our planet. Date: Saturday, February 25, 2017 in San Francisco. More information & to register! 
  • Youth Programs Applications are now open! The California Academy of Sciences is now recruiting teens currently in 8th-12th grade for summer 2017. We're accepting applications for the Careers in Science and Teen Advocates for Science Communication programs. Deadline: Sunday, April 2 at 11:59 pm. For more information about our programs, visit
  • Kids to Parks Day National School Contest: This national contest is open to all Title 1 schools in the USA (pre-K-12). Classes can receive up to $1000 in funding for a KTP event at a park or public land/waterway in their community. Students must research and write the proposal themselves, although we encourage teachers to provide support! Deadline for entries is on Tuesday, February 14, 2017. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 via our website. Visit our website to apply. 


The Science Team at C&I is here to support your science education needs. In addition to centrally-located professional development opportunities, we are available to provide on-site individual and department-wide support.

Dawn Rege, High School Science Content Specialist, Curriculum & Instruction
Katrina Rotter, High School Science Content Specialist, Curriculum & Instruction 

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