August 27, 2014
High School Science Newsletter # 2


Elementary Materials Update: A big task of our department is to remove arguably the biggest barrier for teaching science: materials. We are working with 25 schools at a time to rebuild their FOSS kits. This means that teachers are inventorying what is missing, and placing orders with our department. These schools will continue to inventory their kits yearly so that we can order replacement consumable materials. By the end of the 2015-16 year, we expect all SFUSD elementary schools to have rebuilt FOSS kits. Please contact Leah Plack at if you have questions about this process for your individual site.

Looking for materials for your classroom? There are a variety of places to get free or reduced-cost general supplies and science specific materials for your classroom. In addition to the locations listed below, Craigslist, garage sales, and your family/friends may have items that you can repurpose. Use the power of social media to connect with people looking to donate to your Donor's Choose campaign, office supplies, or their old laptop/tablet.  

  • Donors Choose - sign up for free, create a project/supplies list worth up to $400, and get funded by people looking to support students and teachers! Use these key terms to increase your success: Common Core, Science Literacy, Next Generation of Science Standards, STEM , STEAM. Check out partner funding that fill automatically fund part of your project. They also offer $2 for every $1 donated deals frequently if you are signed up for their emails.
  • The Daly Ralston Resource Center at UCSF Parnassus (100 Medical Center Way, (415) 514-0585, Mon-Fri, 3-5:30pm or by appointment) is a FREE lending library that houses more than 3,000 science materials for hands-on science and health lessons including "kits" (a lesson in a box), preserved organs, models, microscopes and other equipment.
  • The resource center at SEPAL (Science Education Partnership & Assessment Laboratory, 415-338-6968) at SFSU loans out hands-on, minds-on science education materials, such as books, videos, equipment, models, specimens, charts and posters, slides, and activity kits.
  • Excess Access is a San Francisco-based online facilitator linking surplus to need.  Free to post a wishlist and connect with donors.
  • RAFT (Resource Area for Teaching) collects surplus materials from companies and repurposes them into super inexpensive educator supplies and standards-aligned activity kits at their Redwood City (open Wed, Thurs, Sat) and San Jose (open Tues-Sat) locations. You must be a member.
  • SCRAP is a non-profit creative reuse center, materials depot, and workshop space that has many items available for cheap. They also do educator giveaways on the first Saturday of the month from 1 to 4pm, October, November, December, February, March and April. You can also donate leftover supplies to them.
  • East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse was created by teachers for teachers to acquire classroom supplies at a low cost. Sign up for their free membership to get 10% off purchases and hear about free weekly giveaways.
  • Bio-Link Equipment Depot collects donations from biotech and other local companies to give away to educators for free at their open houses. Next one is Sat, Oct. 11.

Field Trips: Science instruction can really come to life when students leave the classroom for museums, outdoor spaces, special events and more. Now is a great time to schedule field trips for your classroom. Our department has prepared resources for teachers to plan their field trips. Please visit our Field Trips folder on Google Drive ( login required) to learn more, including field trip location ideas, sample checklists, and agendas.


2014-15 Central Professional Development Offerings:  We will be offering central professional development on FOSS, NGSS, 6-12 content areas, and more.  Our calendar of offerings and session descriptions is posted on our website.  Extended hours offered!

Professional Development at your School Site:  PDs are designed to fit into school-site common planning times, including early release days, while meeting the current needs of the science educators. View options here and sign up on calendar here ( login required).

Professional Learning Groups (PLGs): are for middle and high school teachers of science and will focus on the specific needs of the different science content areas. Every PLG session will be designed to support both new and experienced teachers with content-specific learning focused on relevant pedagogy, guest speakers and science activities. Attend one or all of these sessions for your content area. Content Area Groups: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth/Environmental Science.  PLG time and dates: 4:15-6:15 pm on 11/5, 2/25, and 4/8.  Extended hours offered! Sign up on Cornerstone.

Secondary Response & Development Group (R&D): The SFUSD Curriculum & Instruction STEM – Science Department is seeking middle and high school science teachers from across the District to join a Response & Development group for the 2014-2015 school year.  The R&D group will develop a scope and sequence for some middle school and high school science courses.  Expectations for the R&D group involve
participating in five release days to: learn about the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), identify the key science experiences for all SFUSD students in grades 6-12, and connect the NGSS with the Common Core State Standards for ELA and Mathematics. The deadline for this opportunity has been extended until August 29th. Release dates are: 10/29, 12/2, 1/21, 3/10 and 5/7.  More information & SHORT application here


Free and Compensated
  • Teacher Appreciation Sail: Aquarium of the Bay appreciates all of the amazing things teachers do. To thank you, we invite you and your family to join us aboard Alcatraz Cruises’ Hybrid Ferry for a day of fun out on San Francisco Bay. Explore the San Francisco Bay and get up close and personal with local wildlife. The sail will include a complimentary lunch. This free event will be Sun, Nov 9th 11am-1pm leaving from Alcatraz Landing at Pier 33. RSVP here.
  • BUBBLE Grant for Science Supplies: apply for up to $500 of scientific equipment, instructional materials, and supplies related to the proposed project. Sponsored by The Santa Clara Valley Section of the American Chemical Society. Information & application hereDeadline is Monday, September 1.
  • KQED Do Now Working Group: join & get your students to participate in a national debate about topical issues using Twitter. #TeachDoNow is a weekly activity for high school students around the nation to explore current issues using social media. It is a simple and excellent way for educators to integrate civic engagement and new media literacies into the curriculum. Information & application here. $150 stipend. Deadline: August 31, 2014.  
  • Inspiring the Next Generation of Scientists Through Our Local Waters: Water is essential to all living things, connecting everything on Earth, & is a common thread that flows through all disciplines of science. Discover how to use our local waters as a lens to create meaningful NGSS-ready science curriculum. The first 15 classroom teachers of any grade who sign up for each respective date will receive a stipend. RSVP here for a session. This workshop is available (all sessions are the same):
    • Wed, Sept 24th,  4:30-7:30 PM at the EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park
    • Thurs, Sept 25th, 4:30-7:30 PM at Aquarium of the Bay’s Bay Theater
    • Tues, Oct 7th, 4:30-7:30 PM, San Francisco Public Library (Richmond Branch)
  • Climate Change and Sustainability: An online, one-credit, self-paced course for secondary science teachers that will provide content knowledge, resources and strategies to teach climate change in ways that support Common Core and NGSS. 15 hours, optional Geology credit from SJSU. Information here. Course is Sept 15-Nov 21.
  • After Dark at the Exploratorium: Civic Hacks: How would you improve our city’s public spaces? Contribute your vision: play in a parade of pianos, design a miniature Market Street, and test whimsical exhibits in preparation for next year’s Market Street Prototyping Festival. $15, info hereThursday, September 4, 6-10pm.
  • Teacher Workshops at the Cal Academy: Information & registration for all workshops here. $15 for most workshops. More workshops on the website.
    • (K-12) Introduction to the NGSS: Sat, Sept. 6, 9am-3pm
    • (7-12) Evolution Kit Training: Sat, Sept 13, 8:30am-12:30pm
    • (6-12) Climate Myths: Wednesdays, Oct 1, 8 & 15, 4:30-6:30pm ($35 for series)
  • City of San Francisco Department of the Environment Offers Free Field Trips for SF Schools!  All Field trips include free charter bus transportation or Muni tokens and a pre-trip class presentation.  Selected teachers must attend an orientation workshop to schedule field trip dates and receive trip information and curriculum. Call 415-355-3713 for questions or view the application for detailed descriptions for each trip. Apply by Wednesday, September 3 at 5pm.
  • YMCA Point Bonita: Learn how to pack a waste-free delicious lunch that your kids would be eager to eat! Expand your horizons beyond PB&J sandwiches and complete the workshop by making enjoyable snacks that are easy and fun to prepare. Bring your kids so they can learn how to help you around the kitchen! Free ($8/$12 for lunch or pack your own). Information & RSVP here. Saturday, September 6, 11am-12:30pm.
  • TechHive Interns at the Lawrence Hall of Science: TechHive Studio on Saturdays. Interns will occasionally be requested to work shifts on Sundays and holidays for special events. Interns must commit to a monthly training the first Saturday of each month. Interns are responsible for their own transportation to/from the Hall. The commitment (like playing a sport!) is a minimum of 70 hours in the Fall semester and 90 hours in the Spring semester. Apply here by Sept 6!
  • Digital Learning TechTeens at Cal Academy: The Science News Team will research hot topics in science and communicate them to the public using social media tools like Twitter. The Science Viz Team will create videos, shows, and other digital assets about science at the Academy. Flyer & information here. September 29 - May 9, one session per week (plus additional days as needed), 4-6:30 pm at the California Academy of Sciences. Deadline is Sept 7 at midnight.
  • CA Coastal Clean-up Day! On Saturday, Sept 20, school groups are encouraged to clean up our coast and inland waterways throughout California, as part of the 30th anniversary of California Coastal Cleanup Day. Locations & information here. New this year, schools can also do a cleanup at your school site through the official Schoolyard Cleanup Program! Find detailed lessons and instructions for participating in an international data collection and analysis online here.
  • (9th-11th grade) Get to the Coast with YMCA Point Bonita & Coastal Conservancy: This program is intended to provide first time overnight coastal outdoors experiences to Bay Area youth enrolled in Title 1 middle and high schools. This is for a teacher-led enriched or honor class (or science-themed club) of interested students to experience meaningful scientific research. Three days/2 nights will be full of YMCA outdoor education programming with integrated grade-level appropriate guided research with YMCA staff. $50/student with busing included. Apply here for dates in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015. Apply by Sept 30.
  • Cal Academy Field Trips: Sign up now for your 2014-2015 field trips! Visit the California Academy of Sciences before November 30, 2014 to see the new SKULLS exhibit before it closes.  Visit in the spring to bring your grades 3-12 students to the new Planetarium show on ecosystems. For information on the SKULLS exhibit, click here.  To apply for field trip dates, click here.
  • BayMobile - Bringing the Bay Your Way! During a visit from the BayMobile, your students will dive into the science of climate change & meet some of Aquarium of the Bay’s animal ambassadors, all without leaving the classroom. Through experimentation & demonstration, your students will engage in scientific practices & gain a better understanding of one of the most important issues of our time. All courses are aligned with the NGSS, & are taught by our talented education team. We look forward to bringing the Aquarium & climate change education to your school!  Click here for information & to request a reservation.
  • Aquarium of the Bay Field Trips: Reservations for all our FREE field trip programs (Exploration Tour, Sea Lion Center Classroom Program, or Self Guided Tour of the Aquarium) are now available via our online reservation form. The days & times offered for these programs have changed, so be sure to check out the program descriptions on our website before you book.
  • Food to Flowers Lunchroom Composting Program! Is your school composting? Need help? Call the SF Department of the Environment! Our support includes dynamic assemblies, compost monitor trainings, aprons, curriculum, posters, and bins. Contact AeJay Mitchell at 415-355-3713 or Information here.
  • “Giant Sweep/Stop Litter” Assembly! This popular 30-minute assembly teaches students the problems with litter, the causes of litter, and what we can do to help stop litter. Contact Tamar Hurwitz (SF Department of the Environment) at 415-355-3763 or Information here.
  • “Litterati” Photo Project + Assembly/Presentation: Litterati is a phenomenal photo-sharing project that uses Instagram to clean the planet one piece of litter at a time.  As you and your students participate, Litterati gathers data which identifies areas where litter is appearing and also the most commonly found items.  If you’ve already had the “Giant Sweep” Assembly, this is an excellent follow-up!  Contact Jeff Kirscher at for more information (sponsored by the SFDPW).
  • San Francisco Public Utilities Commission  “Our Water” Presentation or Assembly: Due to the severity of the drought, this presentation is now being offered as an assembly for all grades.  Students will learn the history of San Francisco’s water supply and a variety of water conservation strategies.  Contact Tamar Hurwitz (SF Department of the Environment) at 415-355-3763 or
  • The 2014 Bay Area Science Festival will return this fall from Oct 23 - Nov 1.  This year’s festival promises to be the best yet!  There will be 50 events over 10 days concluding with a day full of free hands-on science at Discovery Days in San Francisco at AT&T Park on Saturday, November 1st from 11am – 4pm.  This year, SFUSD is hosting a number of hands-on science and engineering booths highlighting many exciting STEM programs happening across schools.  For more information visit:
  • California Science Teachers Association and National Science Teachers Association Area Conference in Long Beach: join both organizations for only $105 for one year and save on registration for the conference held December 4-6. Information here and join here!
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
Katie Tobin, STEM High School Science Content Specialist, Division of Curriculum & Instruction
Dawn Rege, STEM High School Science Content Specialist, Division of Curriculum & Instruction
Eric Lewis, Science Content Specialist, LEAD - High Schools Division
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Visit our SFUSD Science Website
Copyright © 2014 SFUSD Office of Curriculum & Instruction, STEM - Science Department. All rights reserved.

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