December 7, 2016
High School Science Newsletter #6


Argument is the soul of an education because argument forces a writer to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of multiple perspectives - Niel Postman

Arguing from evidence is an integral part of what scientists, engineers, and engaged citizens do. Scientists argue from evidence to reach agreements about the best explanation for a natural phenomenon. Engineers argue from evidence to identify the best solution for a design problem. And if they want to be credible, citizens back up their claims with evidence. Therefore, students need to be taught to defend their own ideas with evidence, as well as “listen to, compare, and evaluate competing ideas and methods based on their merits” (
Appendix F, NGSS). From healthcare to transportation to environmental stewardship, a myriad of personal and societal issues require citizens to make informed decisions based on their ability to decipher “good science” from “bad science” or claims that are supported with sound evidence from those that are not.  
grounded in evidence" respectively.  
(Adapted from Appendix F of the Next Generation Science Standards)



In November 2016, California became the first state in the nation to approve a science framework that supports teaching based on the Next Generation Science Standards. 

The California State Board of Education (SBE) moved to approve the new science framework. "The f
ramework provides guidance to teachers, administrators, and textbook publishers for the teaching of the NGSS from transitional kindergarten through twelfth grade... [it] expands and refines discussion of climate change and for the first time includes engineering, environmental literacy, and strategies to support girls and young women in science." (Read the entire SBE news release here.)
An extensive public process was undertaken to develop the framework.  The process spanned almost 3 years and included over 3000 public comments during review periods. The California Science Teachers Association coordinated dozens of public focus groups up and down the state to inform the development of this important document.


The California Department of Education confirmed in an October meeting that, starting in spring 2017, it will NOT administer the old California Science Test (based on science standards from 1998).

Science Pilot Tests: The pilot versions of the California Science Test (CAST) and California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science will be included as part of the 2016–17 CAASPP administration. In addition to grades five and 8, the pilots will include an assigned high school grade. The high school grade assignments for San Francisco school sites can be viewed here.

The CAST Pilot will take approximately one hour for students to complete and will consist of 25 discrete items and one computer-based performance task. The pilot will not be scored. Information from the pilot will be used to develop the new science assessments. 

More information on the pilot and components of the CAST and CAAS assessments

From Judy Gerber, Science Safety Officer

Chemical Waste pick-ups requested last Spring should have been completed last month. If your site has any questions, please let Judy know. We will have more information about the next round of pick-ups after Winter Break. In the meantime, please continue to label the waste containers with reactants, products, and date created. Contact Judy if you need additional waste labels. 

Any safety questions? Check and if you can't find the answer there, send me an e-mail and I'll help you out:
  • SFUSD Spring 2017 Evening / Saturday High School Credit Recovery Teachers Needed! The Office of Extended Learning and Support oversees the High School Credit Recovery Evening/Saturday and Summer Programs. We are looking for teachers who are interested in teaching creative, hands-on biology, chemistry, physics, Algebra 1, Geometry, or Algebra 2. Curriculum is provided for most courses. Application information. Calendar information. We will begin reviewing all interested applicant beginning November 16 until positions are filled. Notification will be in December-mid-January.
  • AGU's Information for Teachers (GIFT) Workshops: This year the GIFT Workshop will take place on 12-13 December during AGU’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco. Workshops allow science teachers to hear about the latest geoscience research from the scientists making the discoveries, explore new classroom resources for their students, and visit exhibits and technical sessions of the AGU meetingGIFT Agenda. More information.
  • Earthwatch Teach Earth USA Fellowships: Spend one to two weeks on an Earthwatch expedition with other K-12 teachers and develop your skills and understanding around environmental concerns. Each year, teachers from all subject areas are chosen to assist scientists on expeditions by collecting data on climate change and sustainable resource management. You’ll be trained on everything you need to know in the field. Your fellowship will cover the full cost of your expedition, including meals, accommodations, research permits, equipment, and on-site transportation. Fellowships also provide a stipend to offset some out-of-pocket travel expenses to and from the expedition site. More information & to apply. Deadline: 12/18/2016
  • Nautilus Live: Do you or someone you know have a passion for ocean exploration? A drive to communicate the thrill of discoveries to the world? Ocean Exploration Trust applications are now open for the Science Communication Fellowship and Science and Engineering Internship Programs! More information & to apply.  You can also ask SFUSD’s Jan Bautista ( about her experience on the Nautilus. Deadline: 1/13/2017
  • The Exploratorium’s Teacher Institute presents: Making Science Count: Integrating Math into an NGSS Classroom.  Discover engaging, hands-on ways to integrate math Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) into your middle- or high-school classroom. Join the Exploratorium's Teacher Institute for a full-day conference. $46.46. Saturday, January 28, 2017, 9am-4pm.  More information & to register! 
  • ONLINE CLIMATE COURSE for K-12 TEACHERS: The American Meteorological Society is offering a FREE online Climate Studies course for K-12 teachers this spring. The online course includes e-books, online activities and resources useful in earth science classrooms. Teachers that complete the course receive 3 units of graduate credits in earth science. For more information and application forms contact Steve LaDochy at More information & registration.
  • 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 415-715-1426 


  • The LIGHT Awards are a program of the Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation that seeks to improve the U.S. educational system in order to provide opportunities for all students to be productive members of their communities. Form a team, decide on a project idea and apply for a grant. Deadline for current grant cycle: January 12, 2017.
  • Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program 2017 Request for Proposals: The Five Star and Urban Waters program will award approximately $2.5 million in grants nationwide. Priority will be given to projects in urban, suburban and/or rural areas that advance water quality goals in environmental justice communities such as neighborhoods with high concentrations of minority and low-income populations. Projects that increase access to the benefits of nature, reduce the impact of environmental hazards and engage these communities in the project planning, outreach and implementation will have priority for funding. Requirements and funding details. Deadline for proposals: Tuesday, January 31, 2017
  • Captain Planet Foundation Grants: The Captain Planet Foundation is looking for projects that support environmental education through out-of-the-classroom activities that encourage students to get involved in saving the Earth. Projects should promote interaction between students and improve problem solving skills. Projects from urban and rural schools will receive preference. Grants range from $250 to $2,500. More information. Deadline typically January 31 for fall and winter projects.
  • New 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!
  • Human Population Through Time: Studying human impact on Earth? This American Museum of Natural History video gives students a good sense of how the human population has changed over time and is how it is projected to change in the future.
  • Exploratorium Teacher Institute Science Snacks: An Exploratorium Snack is a hands-on science activity. Science Snacks are divided into easy-to-follow sections that include instructions, advice, and helpful hints. Explore Science Snacks
  • 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!
  • It’s Computer Science Education Week (December 5-9)! There are many connections between computer science and science. Here’s a list of activities, many of which integrate science, that you should consider implementing in your classes this week or any! 
  • Classroom Lessons With Legoscopes: The UCSF scientists who developed Legoscopes (microscopes built out of Lego and 3D printed parts) are looking for interested teachers who might let them pilot lessons in their classrooms. They have small kits and accompanying lesson plans that are taken to classrooms to build microscopes to teach concepts like image formation and magnification. More information on Legoscopes. Please contact Harrison Liu, creator of Legoscopes, if interested:
  • Sign-up your class for live ship-to-shore events during International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 366: Mariana Convergent Margin, December 15 – February 7! Events are live and interactive from the JOIDES Resolution research ship. Requests for interactive, 30-45-minute Zoom interactions are handled on a first come, first served basis. Sign-up here!  
  • At Your School Marine Science Outreach Program! The AYS program brings specimens, live animals and engaging activities into classrooms around the Bay Area with the goal of connecting students with their National Marine Sanctuaries and increasing ocean literacy through hands-on learning. All programs are aligned with Common Core and the NGSS. $115 for one program, $180 for two programs, $255 for three programs, $340 for four programs. Scholarships are available. Program and contact information. Flyer (K-6) (5-12) Programs. 
  • Climate Action Film Contest, SF Green Film Festival 2017 Make a 3 min. film that inspires people to green our city! The contest is open to everyone. It is free to enter and there are no restrictions on style or genre, when the work was made, or how many entries you may submit. Finalists receive cash prizes, filmmaking software, plus a special screening of their film at Green Film Fest 2017. Youth submissions are particularly welcome! Contest details can be found here. Submission Deadline: Dec. 31.
  • CA Coastal Commission Coastal Art & Poetry Contest: Submit art or poetry with a California coastal or marine theme. Winners receive $100 gift certificates to an art supply or book store. Each winner's teacher will receive a $50 gift certificate for educational supplies. Art and poetry will be featured online and exhibited throughout CA. Contest guidelines & entry form. Deadline: 1/31/2017
  • Witnessing Change Video Competition: This competition gives students an opportunity to document local impacts of climate change, educating themselves, their communities, and the public. In addition to the video contest, the Climate Cost Project provides interdisciplinary educational materials on the economics of climate change, including a specialized climate change economics game and 101 environmental economics chapter. You can find out more about the competition on the website. Deadline in April, 2017. $500 and $250 cash prizes!
  • Center for Climate Protection Climate Change Programs available for your students sponsored by Center for Climate Protection. Contact Amy Jolly at with questions or to book presentations.
    • Book a Free Guest Speaker Series for your 9th /10th grade 2016-17 science classes!  Speakers will deepen students' understanding of human influence on climate, and the principals of climate science. Students will be able to assess scientifically credible information and make informed decisions with regard to action.
    • Global Energy Game Deepen students' understanding of energy, energy sources, generation, use and conservation strategies. Students will participate in simulations that demonstrate society's use of renewable and non­ renewable energy resources to better understand the impacts and consequences of energy use
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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