January 31, 2014
High School Science Newsletter #9

Spotlight on Scientific Argumentation (Let's Agree to Disagree)

Third grader Tyrell states his case for why the Sun is necessary for us to have cheese in the world.

Aisha will explain to you how she knows that the Moon is waxing and not waning.

Joseph draws upon past observations to argue that his shadow will look different at different times of day.

These students and their teacher are engaging in Scientific Argumentation as part of their science learning. Engaging in Argument from Evidence is Practice 7 in the Science and Engineering Practices dimension of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Scientific Argumentation is a way of reaching agreements and designing solutions. It is important for students to practice so that they understand the world of scientists and how they communicate to arrive at consensus. In addition, the practice of Argumentation supports the development of citizens who are better able to evaluate the validity of science-related topics in the media and in their own lives. Students are expected to listen to, compare, and evaluate competing ideas to make their own decisions on scientific truths. It should be noted that the criteria for engineering decisions could be different than those for science. Engineers have to consider such things as cost-effectiveness, risk, aesthetics, and marketing.   

There are social benefits to Scientific Argumentation. It requires courage for a student to assert their opinions, especially if they are in the minority. They must be skeptical, they must listen carefully, they must be open to changing their viewpoint, and they must learn not to take disagreement personally. Teachers need to listen carefully to their students and exploit opportunities of differing ideas when they arise. Last week, a teacher switched gears in her lesson to take advantage of students’ disagreements about rock origins. She lined the students up on opposite sides of the room and they engaged in a discourse on the subject.

Some sentence frames that students have been using are the following:
I think ________________ because ______________________.
I agree with____(name)____ because _____________________.
I changed my viewpoint because ____(name)___ said _______.

Classroom teachers are encouraged to incorporate scientific argumentation with their students. Unless you practice this explicitly with your students, they may not have the opportunity to develop those skills. Keep in mind that it requires consistent practice for the students to become proficient at Argumentation.


NGSS - Middle School Implementation in SFUSD

During these two-hour sessions, learn about the proposed middle school standards progressions and provide your feedback regarding implementation. This session is open to all teachers of science who are interested in the NGSS implementation in grades 6th-8th. Teachers will be paid extended hours for their participation (please only attend one session).

Teachers will gain an understanding of the proposed middle school NGSS progression and will have an opportunity to provide feedback and describe the support necessary for implementation.

Wednesday, February 12, 4:30-6:30pm, at the SFUSD Science Resource Center
Register on Cornerstone* here

Thursday, February 13, 4:30-6:30pm, at the California Academy of Sciences
Register on Cornerstone* here

*First time users on Cornerstone, use your SFUSD ID and the password Welcome1 (case-sensitive). You will then be prompted to create a new password.

Opportunities and Resources for High School Science Teachers!

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) SFUSD PDs
    February 11, March 4, March 22, and April 10

    These SFUSD workshops are designed to introduce the major shifts in science education the Next Generation Science Standards will bring.  The workshops can be taken individually or as a series, and will incorporate hands-on science activities and planning resources.  All workshops are planned in partnership with the California Academy of Sciences.  
    Search and register for any of 4 NGSS workshops here through Cornerstone*.  Extended hour pay provided for all attendees. Flyer here

    *First time users on Cornerstone, use your SFUSD ID and the password Welcome1 (case-sensitive). You will then be prompted to create a new password.
  • Siemens Summer of Learning - STARS & STEM Institutes: Apply to be one of 50 middle and high school educators to attend Siemens STEM Institute, an all-expenses-paid week (August 3-8) at Discovery Communications World  headquarters outside of Washington, D.C. Fellows will learn about hands-on STEM integration in the classroom, take field trips to leading institutions to observe real-world STEM applications, and network with STEM leaders and peers. The Siemens Teachers As Researchers (STARs) program, offered at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, gives middle and high school educators the opportunity to spend two weeks, all-expenses-paid, engaging with top scientists and researchers on short-term mentored research projects at a top U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory. STARs will be offered twice: June 8-20 and July 20-August 1. Information & apply online. Apply by February 4, 2014.
  • LiMPETS Introduction to Sandy Beach & Rocky Intertidal Monitoring: Get trained to do authentic, hands-on coastal monitoring experiences with your students to conduct real science at monitoring sites in SF and along the coast of CA. Get curriculum & support for field trips. $50 stipend & CEUs are available. Register for one or both workshops hereDates: Feb 15 (Sandy Beach in SF) and March 1 (Rocky Beach in Moss Beach).
  • IISME Summer Fellowship Program For Teachers: The IISME Summer Fellowship Program places eligible K-16 teachers from all disciplines into high-performance corporate and research environments for the summer. Teachers work full-time for eight weeks, complete a project for their host organization, and are paid $8,200 for their work. Teachers devote 10% of their paid time to focus on how they will transfer their Summer Fellowship experience back to their students and colleagues. For more information and to apply, please click here.  Applications are now open and educators are encouraged to apply by February 15, 2014.  
  • (6-12) Ocean Acidification Teacher Workshop:  We are pleased to invite you to our first WAVES teacher workshop of the year on Ocean Acidification.  This workshop will include two presentations by scientists who work at the frontier of this emerging science: Jim Barry is a senior scientist at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute studying ocean acidification effects on the biology and ecology of marine benthic communities.  Jill Bible is a UC Davis graduate student at Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory studying the effects of ocean acidification in oysters.  We will also be:
    • Conducting plankton studies to identify organisms that are likely to be affected by the lowering pH of the oceans.
    • Introducing teachers to hands on experiments about ocean acidification they can use in their classrooms.
    • Sharing an abundance of Ocean Acidification learning resources, from websites and videos, to activities and information about ocean acidification research organizations.  Click 
    here for more information.  Date: February 22nd 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM at GFNFNM Building, 991 Marine Drive, San Francisco CA.    Please RSVP with Peter Winch (415) 425 6450
  • Lawrence Hall of Science Saturday Seminars - Building STEAM: In this PD series for teachers, the focus is on the common ground & connections between science, math & reading. Keynote by Emily Pilloton. In this climate of economic uncertainty, America is once again turning to creativity as the way to ensure a prosperous future. Yet innovation remains tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – the STEM subjects. Art and Design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the 20th. Join us as we explore strategies to engage students in STEAM. Free. More information here. Saturday, March 1, 8:45 AM-12:45 PM at Albany Middle School.
  • Using Data to Understand the Bay: Join us for a morning of gathering and interpreting data from our pier - both from the museum's Wired Pier instruments and from our own investigations using mini data-loggers. These mini-temperature loggers can automatically record data at regular intervals and are great tools for designing your own experiments and testing your ideas while building data analysis skills. We will also explore online water-quality data sets which we'll show you how to use from your school's location and that we can compare to our own collected data during the workshop. What does the data say about what's happening in the Bay? Come find out. This workshop will be held at the Exploratorium and is co-presented by Sarah Ferner of the National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR). March 1, 2014 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM.  Click here for more information. 
  • Be a Bay Detective!  Exploring Issues Affecting SF Bay and Ocean Health with the Exploratorium: Come investigate what is happening in our bay and ocean by looking at trends in measurable chemical and biological properties. We'll focus on the mechanisms and instruments that help us detect pollutants in the San Francisco Bay. We will also explore the water quality of local coastal environments and how pathogens migrate through watersheds to infect marine mammals. This workshop meets at the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center at San Francisco's Crissy Field and will be co-presented by Justin Holl of the GFNMS. Directions will be sent to those who sign up.  Click here for more information.  March 15, 2014 8:30 AM 
  • The Exploratorium Teacher Institute's 3-Week Classic Summer Institute: Join us this summer for three weeks of nonstop science exploration! Each day, you'll participate in hands-on investigations led by Teacher Institute scientists and educators that will help your students learn both the content and processes of science. You’ll explore a variety of high school science concepts and get an insider's perspective of many of the Exploratorium's 400 discovery-based exhibits. The Exploratorium is the museum of science, art, and human perception, and the study of perception will be one of the many components of our program. We will focus on this and other interdisciplinary science topics such as light and color to teach content from high school level physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, and math. Time will be provided most every day for you to select from a menu of mini-workshop topics, create your own classroom exhibits in a machine shop, work on individual projects, and to meet in small groups with Teacher Institute staff to focus on your specific needs. The Teacher Institute will help you tailor what you learn in the summer to meet the needs of your students.  Happening Monday, July 7 - Friday, July 25 (9:00am -- 3:30pm, M-F). All applicants will be notified in the first week of April about their application status. $1000 stipend. Information & apply here. Application & resume due by March 15.
  • CTA Institute for Teaching Grants: Intended for CTA members and chapters to support strength-based, teacher-driven reform for students and public schools in the 2014-15 school year. Grants awarded to individuals & small teams of teachers up to $5,000. Chapter grants awarded to associations up to $20,000. Announcements of awards in June 2014. Information hereDue April 30. 
  • California Academy of Sciences Teacher Workshops: Explore many facets of science through teacher professional development at the California Academy of Sciences! Dive into science content, explore scientific and engineering practices, engage in effective teaching pedagogy, and develop a sense of how science really works. Topics this spring include: Climate Myths, Sustainability and Engineering, Infographics in the Classroom, and more! For details and to register, click here.
  • Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT): This annual snowshoeing course includes an evening session on Wednesday, 2/5 from 7-9 PM in Oakland and a day-long trip to Tahoe on Saturday, 2/8.  Participants will learn how to properly use snowshoes, plan winter trips, and some snow-based environmental education.  All graduates of the training will be eligible to borrow snowshoes, boots, and all other winter clothing from our gear library for friends and for classes of students.  Cost is $45 to $60. Click here for more information. Registration deadline: Tuesday, Feb 4.
  • SF Bay Area STEAM Colloquium: This 4th annual colloquium will address critical issues in implementing STEAM education, showcase best practices, build leadership capacity for educators, and provide opportunities to develop learning communities throughout the region.  $60 includes breakfast and lunch.  Click here for more information and to register. Friday, February 7th, 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM in San Ramon.  
  • (9-12) New CA Academy of Sciences Workshop: Infographics in the Classroom: his two-part workshop, discover how to use infographics to help your students engage in many of the scientific practices. Visualizing science data not only helps us see patterns in complex data, but also can be an entertaining way to tackle the new scientific practices of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Leave with concrete ways to bring real-world data and infographics into your own classroom. This is a two part workshop taking place on Saturday, March 1 and Saturday, March 15. In order to participate, you must attend both sessions.  Click here to register.  
  • Attend Nerd Nite at the Rickshaw Stop on the 3rd Wednesday of every month. Topics vary but are all STEM related. $8 cover, doors open at 8pm. It's recommended to buy tickets in advance and show up early to get a spot. More information here
  • UCMP Short Course: Where have all the species gone?  Spend a day learning about the complex web of interacting mechanisms that influence extinction both in deep time and today.  Information and registration here. $25. Saturday, March 1, 9am-3:30pm, UC Berkeley

Upcoming Opportunities for your School and Science Students
  • Sutro Tower Field Trip...Bus now provided! Have you ever wondered how it actually works? Well, so have your students! Field Trip opportunities are available to interested teachers and students to visit the tower and have a guided tour and informational discussion with the General Manager of Sutro Tower inside the control room! This is a great opportunity for students to see physics concepts and electrical engineering in action.  Contact Katie Tobin ( or Dave Hyams ( for more information or to reserve a date.  
    Date and Time: determined by teacher
    Group Size: up to 25                Length of time: 1-2 hours       Transportation: Bus provided
  • Planetarium Show: Book a spring or summer field trip and pre-reserve seats in the 11:30 AM showing of Dark Universe! Venture into a new frontier in space exploration in this new planetarium show. Fly through distant galaxies, plunge into the atmosphere of the planet Jupiter, and learn how scientists are attempting to shed new light on dark matter and dark energy—mysterious components that account for 95% of our known Universe. Developed by the American Museum of Natural History (, in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences and GOTO Inc. There's an Educator Guide, too!  Click here for more information.  
  • BayMobile - Bringing the Bay Your Way!  Can’t make it to the Aquarium? Now the Aquarium can come to you.  During a visit from the BayMobile, your students will dive into the science of climate change and meet some of Aquarium of the Bay’s animal ambassadors, all without leaving the classroom. Through experimentation and demonstration, your students will engage in scientific practices and gain a better understanding of one of the most important issues of our time. All courses are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, and are taught by our talented education team, who are well-versed in classroom management and education best practices.  We look forward to bringing the Aquarium–and climate change education–to your school!  Click here for more information.
  • Youth Programs at California Academy of Sciences:  Applications are now being accepted for the following youth programs: Virtual Expeditions, Science in Action Summer Intensive, Food Sleuths, Science Action Club, TASC: Teen Advocates for Science Communication, Careers in Science Intern Program, and Student Science Fellows.  Visit programs for more information, associated deadlines, and applications.  
  • NASA's REEL Science Communication Contest: NASA is looking for talented high school students to create videos that engage younger students in earth science.  Students are consuming over 10 hours of media each day, and video is increasingly important to reach and engage this audience about science. NASA is hosting the second annual video contest, challenging high school students to produce a two-minute video for middle school students. The videos should communicate one of the following science concepts: how climate impacts ice and ice impacts climate, forest fire effects on air quality or water of the water planet. Deadline for submitting videos is Feb. 21, 2014.  For more information and instructions for submitting a video, visit
  • Gladstone Summer Scholars (GSS):  Calling all future scientists!  The GSS internship program is now accepting applications.  This is a paid internship in which students earn approximately $2500 over the course of the summer.  Gladstone is a non-profit biomedical research organization located on UCSF's Mission Bay campus.  During the program, interns are paired with a scientific mentor and work on an individual research project in one of our laboratories.  GSS interns work part-time (25 hours/week) over the course of 9 weeks (6/9 - 8/8) and participate in a final poster session where they present their research findings to the scientific community at Gladstone an UCSF.  Click here for more information, eligibility requirements, and to apply.  Apply by Friday, 2/28 at 5 PM.
  • iCLEM High School Biotech Internship Summer Internship Program: iCLEM is a summer research internship program for exceptionally motivated high school sophomores and juniors with an interest in biotechnology. The program is operated by UC Berkeley and takes place at the Joint BioEnergy Institute from June 17-Aug 7, 2014. Students work on a team-based bioenergy research project with four scientists and 2 credentialed science teachers. Stipend is $1500 plus a scholarship of $500 upon successful completion of the program. Students must commit to full time work (40 hours/week) for eight weeks. Applicants must be enrolled in high school in Alameda, San Francisco or Contra Costa counties, must be US citizens/permanent residents, must be age 16 by 6/1/14, and their families must have income below $60,000. Apply by March 1st at:
  • Summer Programs for free: Wishbone helped over 80 high school students crowd-fund the summer program of their dream last summer and is accepting applications for summer of 2014 now. Opportunities in many fields, including scienceInformation and application onlineDeadline depends on program selected.
Save the Date for Science Events!
  • SFUSD Science Resource Center Ribbon Cutting & Teacher Resource Fair:  Join us as we celebrate the opening of the Science Resource Center!  Meet other science-minded teachers and community organizations, learn about resources and support available to you and your students, and participate in hands-on activities.  Raffle, teacher give-aways, food, fun & science!  Info & RSVP here. Tuesday, February 4th, 3:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Contact us!  
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 in: 
  • Common Core Literacy Standards for Science
  • Next Generation Science Standards
  • Integrating science inquiry
  • Data-based inquiry to inform your science instruction 
  • Content and Language Objectives in Science
  • Strategies for English Language Learners
  • Curriculum development
  • Coaching
Dawn Rege, Secondary Science Content Specialist, Science Department (STEM @ C & I)
Katie Tobin, Secondary Science Content Specialist, Science Department (STEM @ C & I)
Eric Lewis, Secondary Science Content Specialist, LEAD - High Schools Division

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