February 17, 2016
High School Science Newsletter #9


The natural and designed world is too large and complicated to investigate and comprehend all at once. Scientists and students learn to define small portions of the world for the convenience of investigation. The units of investigations can be referred to as ‘systems.’ Visit for information and resources related to the Crosscutting Concept of Systems and System Models. 


A Framework for K-12 Science Education identifies seven overarching or Crosscutting Concepts that bridge disciplinary boundaries, uniting core ideas throughout the fields of science and engineering. The Crosscutting Concepts collectively comprise one of the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards.


Advancing Achievement in Science through Curriculum Design: A Project within the Partnership between Stanford University and SFUSD: The Stanford Center for Assessment Learning & Equity (SCALE) has collaborated with SFUSD & other Bay Area districts to develop a project-based science curriculum, "Learning through Performance in Middle School Science." Hear from SFUSD participants & SCALE at this panel talk. RSVP to Open to the public. Information here. Thursday, February 18, 6-7:30pm, Hoover MS.

(Teachers of Grades 5-9)  Ecoliteracy PD: Learn about an NGSS-aligned unit designed by 2 SFUSD teachers to teach our students about monitoring and minimizing negative human impacts on our environment. We will focus on watersheds and how to be mindful of the Earth’s hydrosphere. Flyer here. SFUSD teachers will be paid 2 extended hours Register on CornerstoneWednesday, March 2. 4-6pm, Aptos MS.
SCIENCE SAFETY UPDATES From Judy Gerber, Science Safety Officer

Chemicals & Chemical Waste: Do you have chemicals sitting on shelves and counters around your classroom that you haven't been using? You know that they need to go back in the storeroom, but you've been so busy keeping up with what comes next. Now is a good time to take a few minutes to put those chemicals back where they belong. When you use a chemical, if it doesn't yet have a green dot sticker on the container, add one so you know you need to keep it. Otherwise, we'll be asking that everything you haven't used this year get picked up in the next round of chemical waste pick-ups this summer.

It is also a good time to label the bottles of chemical waste produced by lab activities with the chemicals used to create the waste, along with a hot pink "chemical waste" sticker. That will make it one less thing to do before your department creates its chemical disposal request in early May. Make sure the waste materials are also stored by compatibility. Remember, the storeroom fume hood is NOT an appropriate storage area.

Speaking of labels and waste bottles, feel free to request more of them at any time and I'll send them right out.

Coming soon:
1. A survey about what personal protective equipment (PPE) you have at your school and what you expect to need for next year.
2. A copy of your previous chemical inventory to update by the end of April.

Any 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
  • Classroom Teachers for SFUSD 2016 High School Credit Recovery Summer Program – Apply Now! The Office of College and Career Readiness is looking for science teachers to teach Biology, Chemistry and Physics for the 2016 High School Credit Recovery Summer Program. You must submit your application electronically. More information & to apply. The deadline for applications is March 1, 2016.
  • FEAST: Fun Exchanges and Activities for Science Teachers Have you been looking for new, exciting teacher-tested ideas for your science classes? Or perhaps you're looking for a discussion group to explore issues you've encountered during your science lessons. FEAST welcomes you to Chabot Space and Science Center for an ongoing networking opportunity. Sessions take place Saturday mornings from 9-12. Bring a lesson or activity to share. More information can be found here.  Upcoming topics:
    • February 27 Mars Exploration and the International Space Station
    • April 30 Life Science
  • Exploratorium Leadership Program: Are you an active Teacher Institute alumnus interested in supporting local novice science teachers? Do you have at least five years’ science-teaching experience? Would you like to become a mentor or a classroom coach? The Exploratorium Leadership Program is a two-year training & support program for alumni of the Teacher Institute who mentor & coach novice science teachers in the Exploratorium Teacher Induction Program. The program includes participation in a three-week Leadership Institute at the Exploratorium (June 13-July 1) and coaching and leading workshops throughout the school year. Apply here by February 28. 
  • Industry Initiatives for Science and Math Education Summer Fellowship Program: The IISME Summer Fellowship Program provides paid, challenging summer work opportunities for K-16 educators of all subjects in corporations and university research labs. Teachers work full-time for 8-weeks & are paid $8,200 for their work. 90% of their paid time is dedicated to completing a project for their Host organization. Teachers devote the other 10% of their paid time focusing on the ways in which they will transfer their Fellowship experience back to their students and schools. More information & application here. Open until filled; recommended to apply ASAP.
  • Library of Congress Summer Science Teacher Institute: K-12 educators who teach science or collaborate with science teachers are welcome to apply. Topics include the nature of science, scientific practices, the lives of scientists, the historical context of scientific discovery & more. Using the Library’s primary sources, participants will draft an activity on a science topic related to their classroom content. No fee & includes breakfast/lunch. Transportation & accommodation not provided. Apply here by Monday, February 29. Science: June 20-24; All content areas: June 27-July 1, July 11-15, July 18-22, and July 25-29.
  • Wells Fargo Regional Sustainability Teachers' Academy The Well's Fargo Regional Sustainability Teachers' Academy is a professional development workshop designed to support teachers from all subjects that teach grades 5-9 to integrate sustainability curriculum, develop projects, and encourage community engagement. Units and $150 stipend available. Contact Erin Redman for more information. Flyer here. Registration deadline is March 1. Academy dates: Friday & Saturday, April 15-16.
  • Population Education Leadership: Population Connection is hosting a "train-the-trainer" weekend at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, CA for educators interested in learning to facilitate population education workshops for peers and pre-service. All expenses covered. More information & apply here by March 4. Workshop is July 22-24. 
  • Mitochondrial DNA Sequencing Workshop: Join BABEC for a workshop on mitochondrial DNA and its role in human ancestry. Learn PCR and sequencing and learn what SNPs tell us. Register here. Saturday, March 5, 8:30am-3pm, Skyline College in San Bruno.
  • Education & the Environment Initiative Workshops: EEI units, approved by the California State Board of Education, help students to be better informed when they make choices that affect their own health & the future of a healthy environment. EEI supports California Common Core Literacy Standards & can assist with the transition to the Next Generation Science Standards. Both workshops are free & include free EEI units:
    • Tuesday, March 15, 3:45-6:30pm, SF Maritime Museum: register here. Focuses on the Science & Engineering Practice - Arguing from Evidence. Includes a tour of the Balclutha. Info here.
    • Saturday, April 9, 9-11:30am, Chabot Space & Science Center: info/registration here.
  • Exploratorium Teacher Institute's Summer Institute: Each day, you'll carry out hands-on investigations of natural phenomena & highlight how they relate to human perception, physical science, life science, earth science, & mathematics. Many of our investigations will help you bring the NGSS into your curriculum. 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, & to meet in small groups with Teacher Institute staff to focus on your specific needs. Happening Monday, June 20 - Friday, July 8 (9am-3:30pm, Monday-Friday). $2500 stipend. Information here. Apply by March 15.
  • Vernier Data-Collection Workshops: get your hands dirty with dozens of hardware & software titles from Vernier’s award-winning line of computer and handheld data-acquisition technology. Explore classroom-ready labs & leave ready to excite your students’ learning with data collection. Includes light dinner. Beginners through advanced users welcome.
  • Teaching Environmental Sustainability-Model My Watershed: In this Central Valley Science Project project funded by the National Science Foundation, participants & their students will use free portal-based activities that employ maps & models to study their own school’s watershed. Teachers will participate in two summer face-to-face workshops & two online courses. Travel expenses reimbursed. $1,000 stipend upon completion of all components & optional university credit available. Info & apply here. Apply by May 10. Monday, June 20-Thursday, June 23 in Sanger, CA.
  • American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Summer Meeting: Take a break this summer and go on an unforgettable and intellectual journey with some of the best and brightest in physics education. Over one thousand people will participate in thought-provoking talks, learn about new physics technology with days full of brilliant live speakers. The 2016 Summer Meeting will be held at the Sacramento Convention Center with workshops at Sacramento State University. More information. Dates: July 16-20, 2016
  • UCMP Short Course: SF Bay: Past, Present and Future: The San Francisco Bay estuary is one of the most important ecological habitats in California and its presence influences most everything unique about the Bay Area – the geography, the weather, the people.Join us to explore the state of the Bay and hear from experts on its history and future as we consider the human and non-human causes of change continuing to shape the San Francisco Bay. More information & registration. Cost: $25 for teachers. Saturday, February 27, 9am-3:30pm at UC Berkeley.
  • Cal Academy Teacher WorkshopsAll workshops here. $15 unless otherwise specified. Spend a day at the Academy for some fun (and useful!) professional development. Flyer here.
    • (K-12 2/3, 2/17, 3/2, 3/16) NGSS: Connecting with the Crosscutting Concepts: $35. Saturday, March 5 AND March 19, 9am-3pm. Sign up here.
  • LiMPETS Introduction to Sandy Beach & Rocky Intertidal Monitoring: Get involved in this exciting citizen science education program for students. Participants receive in-depth curriculum and are trained to survey the distribution and abundance of tidepool organisms and the Pacific mole crab at one of many monitoring sites along the coast. Flyer here. Cost: $30 refundable deposit required. $50 stipend provided to teachers upon completion of the workshop. More information & registration.
    • (6-12, 2/3, 2/17, 3/2, 3/16)Sandy Beach: Saturday, March 19 - Crissy Field
  • Patterns, Proportions & Process: An outdoor 2-weekend science PD in the Sierras Join scientists & educators for a 6-day residential exploration of patterns, proportions & quantities, connecting the Blueprint & NGSS to K-12 teaching practices. Attendees will learn how to include outdoor lessons, citizen science, environmental stewardship & wild-cams into their curriculum. June 17-19  & June 24-26.  $279 individual; $249 if attending with someone from your district. Early bird registration ends April 15. More information and registration.
  • Celebrating Yosemite National Park & Outdoor Learning Join California Institute for Biodiversity instructors for an outdoor camping & hiking experience between Sierra Institute weekends! Take this opportunity to continue to go deeper into your CIB field training and to enjoy camping, hiking and the natural history of Yosemite National Park. June 22-23. $60 includes campsite and meals. More information and registration.
  • Lick Observatory Teacher Institute (LOTI): Come learn ideas for NGSS & CCSS within the context of astronomy. Investigate ways of using astronomical data in your classroom using well-vetted, inquiry and standards-based classroom activities. The workshop at the University of California’s Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton, 20 miles east of San Jose, will feature tours and demonstrations of the research facilities, as well as nighttime observing with research telescopes. $575 to cover lodging, meals, registration, and instructional materials (not transportation). More information & apply here by March 21. Workshop is 3 days/2 nights on June 29-July 1.
  • Bay Area Wilderness Trainings Entry-level experiential courses providing teachers with the basic skills necessary to lead youth on outdoor wilderness excursions.
    • Car Camping, Tilden Park Pre-trip mtg, 4/12 more info $65
    • Car Camping, Sierra Mtns.Pre-trip mtg, 6/14 more info $65
    • Backcountry, Tahoe Nat. ForestPre-trip mtg, 5/14 more info $195
  • Collection of Science DVDs Cal Academy is culling part of their library and is looking for a home for about 50 DVDs. They are primarily nature documentaries (Nat Geo, Planet Earth, Life, etc.) and nature education shows (targeted towards youth). Contact Andy Breunig for a list of available titles.
  • Association of American Educators Classroom Grants Classroom grants can be used for a variety of projects and materials, including but not limited to books, software, calculators, math manipulatives, art supplies, audio-visual equipment, and lab materials. The number of classroom grants awarded will depend on the total number of applicants. Grants are available for up to $500. Funds must be used within one year of the application deadline. Spring deadline March 1st. More information. 
  • 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!
  • Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide: The US Fish and Wildlife Service's Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide: A planning guide for creating schoolyard habitat and outdoor classroom projects outlines the steps for creating a wildlife habitat on school grounds. The guide is useful for K-12 teachers interested in encouraging stewardship through action. Download the guide in English or Spanish.
  • SF Giant Sweep Song Contest Win $1,000! Write a song to raise awareness and help reduce litter in San Francisco. One winning song will be chosen in each grade category. Winners will each receive a $1,000 award and their songs will be featured on the Giant Sweep Website. Deadline is February 28. Contest details can be found here
  • Young Eco-Hero Awards: Action for Nature is offering awards to dedicated individual young environmentalists, ages 8 to 16, whose personal actions and initiatives have significantly impacted the environment. Cash prizes. Classroom poster here. View previous winners and apply here. Deadline is February 28. 
  • The iCLEM Program offers a paid summer research internship opportunity at the Joint BioEnergy Institute to current sophomores and juniors at Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco County schools. The 8 selected students will work in a state-of-the-art research lab, gain college knowledge, participate in professional development, be exposed to many STEM careers, amongst other opportunities. Students are paid $2000 stipend at the completion of the internship program. More information & application.  Deadline: March 1. 
  • 2016 NASA STEM Enhancement in Earth and Space Science Internship: STEM Enhancement in Earth and Space Science, or SEES, is a nationally competitive summer intern program for students in grades 10 and 11. Scientists and engineers at UT/CSR are conducting NASA-supported research in astronomy, remote sensing and space geodetic techniques to help understand Earth systems, natural hazards and climate science. The SEES project provides selected students with exposure to Earth and space research. Participants will learn how to interpret NASA satellite data while working with scientists and engineers in their chosen area of work.The summer 2016 internship allows students to work remotely from July 1-15 and on-site in Austin, Texas, July 17-29. Housing, transportation and meals will be provided. Students are selected on the basis of their academic records, written application that includes essay questions, and interest in STEM. For more information, visit Deadline for applications: March 20, 2016.
  • Stanford Earth Young Investigators Internships: At the School of Earth Sciences, high school students spend the summer working in different laboratories. Students work on existing research projects and are supervised directly by graduate students, post docs, and lab managers. Focus on agriculture, biodiversity, the environment, and geology. More information & application. Applications due March 22, 2016.
  • Zero Waste Youth USA invites you to join us at the Annual Convergence in empowering the next generation to create a zero waste future! Hear from inspiring young professionals and community leaders about topics like food waste reduction, composting, reducing & reusing, and student-led projects. Saturday, March 26 at SF City College. More information & registration. $16.50, includes 2 meals.
  • The Teen Environmental Education Mentorship (TEEM) is a year long paid internship in environmental education and leadership for High School students. Transportation is provided. No prior experience is necessary. Students paid $500 stipend. Flyer and more information.  Applications due March 31. 
  • Youth Programs Applications are Now Open! The California Academy of Sciences is now recruiting youth currently in grades 6-12 for summer 2016 volunteer opportunities and paid internships! Applications for the Careers in Science, Digital Learning TechTeens, and Teen Advocates for Science Communication (TASC Force) programs are now open for youth who are excited about the natural world and interested in communicating their passion for science in dynamic and creative ways. Visit for more information. Applications close on April 3 for Careers in Science and April 24 for TASC Force and TechTeens. 
  • February 18, 4:00-6:00pm: SFUSD High School Science Department Chair / Lead Meeting - make sure your school is represented! Academy High School, Room 132
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.

Shahram Mostarshed, High School Science Content Specialist, Curriculum & Instruction
Dawn Rege, High School Science Content Specialist,
Curriculum & Instruction
Katie Tobin, High School Science Content Specialist, Curriculum & Instruction
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