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Please note: The Academy will be closing at 3:00 pm on 10/24 (final entry at 2:00 pm). We apologize for any inconvenience.

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Careers in Science 

October 17, 2008

Teaching Science in the Community

During the summer, the Interns gain teaching experience by visiting various summer schools or recreation centers. We typically teach two age groups: kindergarten-2nd grade and 3rd-5th grade. Our lessons are “Incredible Insects”, “Rockin’ Reptiles”, and “Shark Shakedown”. These classes are designed to teach students about the different characteristics and adaptations of these animals.

The parts of an insect from Incredible Insects

The parts of an insect from Incredible Insects

To prepare for teaching the lessons, Interns attend trainings to learn about the curricula and different teaching styles. When we teach the students, our older Interns give the actual lessons while the newer Interns observe. This gives the newer Interns the opportunity to gain a better understanding of different teaching styles, to see how the lessons are run, and how to control the classroom. Teaching in the classroom gives Interns practice for teaching on the public floor and helps us improve our public speaking skills.

Teaching about shark anatomy

Teaching about shark anatomy

We have taught at organizations including the Hamilton Family Center, Jose Ortega Elementary School, Gilman Recreation Connect, Garfield Recreation Connect, West Sunset Recreation Connect, Hayward Recreation Connect, and the Asian Women’s Resource Center. If you would like the Interns to visit your school, program, or recreation center, please contact Eric Godoy, the Careers in Sciences Manager, at 415-379-5109 or by email at

egodoy@calacdemy.org.


Filed under: Teaching Science — CiS Interns @ 12:42 pm

October 16, 2008

Conducting Science – Sand Crab Monitoring

Beginning in 2004, the intern program has worked with the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and their LiMPETS program (Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students) over the summer to collect Pacific mole crabs (Emerita analoga), otherwise known as sand crabs, at Ocean Beach.

Pacific mole crab, aka sand crab

Pacific mole crab, aka sand crab

The two main reasons we participate in this monitoring program are:

We collect and monitor the sand crabs because they are an important link in beach ecosystems; they are prey for shore birds, fish and sea otters. More importantly, sand crabs are intermediate hosts to Acanthocephalan parasites. If the sand crab is infested with parasites and then is consumed by a bird, fish or sea otter, then this new host becomes infected as well, which can lead to death.

The parasite in the body of the sand crab

The parasite in the body of the sand crab

Interns get hands-on experience in performing real research, such as collecting and dissecting specimens as well as data entry.

 Samples are collected once a week between June and August from the same area on Ocean Beach. We take ten samples from five random transects in this area. If the Interns find any sand crabs, we record the sex and length. After we finish, we pick fifteen sand crabs of varying size and sex to bring back and dissect.

Surveying the scene at Ocean Beach

Surveying the scene at Ocean Beach

Collecting a sample

Collecting a sample

Examining the sand crab

While we are dissecting the sand crabs, we record information such as the size, sex of the crab, where and when it was collected, and how many parasites are found. When we finish dissecting the sand crabs, we send the data to the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. They receive data from many other volunteer and school groups. This helps the researchers see the bigger picture and observe long-term changes and trends.

Dissecting the sand crab

Dissecting the sand crab


Filed under: Conducting Science — CiS Interns @ 1:32 pm

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