Teachers’ Lounge

Archive for the ‘Science in the News’ Category

KQED Do Now: Science!

by megan on Dec. 17th, 2013 No Comments

Elephant Ivory: KQED Do NowKQED Do Now is a weekly activity for students to engage and respond to current issues using social media tools like Twitter.

And guess what? Do Now Science is a monthly activity in collaboration with us here at the California Academy of Sciences.

Every second Tuesday of the month, youth from the Spotlight team within the Academy’s Careers in Science Intern Program post a compelling topic, include background resources and media, and encourage discussion on Twitter.

The monthly content schedule is as follows:

Every Friday: Civic, Government & Politics
2nd Tuesday: Science – posted by Academy youth!
4th Tuesday: Arts & Popular Culture


For example, here’s the latest Do Now Science:

Dec 11, 2013 How Worried Should We Be About Space Junk?

Space JunkRecently China successfully launched their first moon rover, Chang’e-3, into orbit. Unfortunately later that day pieces from the launch rocket fell off and destroyed the homes of two citizens. Although nobody was harmed, the falling spacecraft still worried many people.

Do Now
Weigh the value of launching satellites, rovers, spacecraft and other items into space for our benefit against the risks and dangers of increasing the amount of space debris. Which is more important? Should we be worried about limiting space junk?


Do Now can help focus students at the start of a class period. Most activities are six to eight minutes in length. They can completed without teacher assistance and can be used to introduce ideas connected to the rest of the lesson.

There is a great tutorial on the KQED Do Now site that will help you implement this in your classroom.

Oh, and here’s some of the most recent science topics.

Nov 15, 2013 Will Crushing Ivory Reduce Elephant Poaching?
Oct 9, 2013 Should We Bring Species Back to Life?
Sept 11, 2013 How Should We Manage Forest Fires?


What’s more?

KQED is looking for a few good teachers to join their online working group! Educators who join and participate throughout the Spring semester will receive a $150 stipend.

The deadline to apply is December 22, so apply today!

Know a young environmental journalist?

by megan on Feb. 7th, 2011 No Comments

Action For Nature logoOur friends over at Action For Nature, an international non-profit based here in San Francisco, are recruiting youth bloggers willing to volunteer their time to update their new online blog with environmental news, eco-friendly tips, and their own opinions surrounding environmental issues.

Youth aged 9 to 18 are encouraged to apply; the best 7 candidates will make the cut — one for each day of the week!

Each blogger will be responsible for publishing at least one post on their assigned day of the week.

Example of common entries include those in the following categories:

Environmental News
Reporting on environmental news — in the United States or beyond! — including links to original source articles

Eco-Friendly Tips
Sharing tips for other youth & adults on how to make a difference in their day-to-day lives

Environmental Blogging
Writing editorial commentary on any environmental issue; reviewing books, films, music, or other media; and sharing updates on personal projects or work related to the environment

With a mission “to encourage young people to take personal action to nurture and protect a healthy environment on which all life depends,” Action For Nature also honors stellar youth who have created and conducted environmental projects. Applications for the 2011 International Young Eco-Hero Awards are due February 28, 2011, so if you know of a student who is a prime example, please encourage them to apply!

Explore birds and citizen science…at NSTA!

by megan on Jan. 11th, 2011 No Comments

2011 NSTA Conference LogoGreat news! Academy educators will be partnering with our friends over at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to deliver a half-day short course at the 2011 NSTA national conference.

NSTA National Conference
March 10–13, 2011
San Francisco, CA

To receive earlybird registration rates, visit the conference website by the Friday, January 14!

More than 1,400 presentations and workshops have been scheduled, covering a wide range of scientific disciplines and targeting audiences from preschool to college.

After entering contact information and registering for the conference itself, you’ll have the opportunity to select short courses, social events, and field trips — such as the short course hosted here at the Academy.

Short Course
“Exploring Birds and Citizen Science at the California Academy of Sciences!”

DATE & TIME: Friday, March 11, 8:00 AM – 12:30 PM
LOCATION: California Academy of Sciences

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, courtesy of DarhawkHow can you use your school yard for citizen science and inquiry? Join staff us for an indoor and outdoor adventure that will arm you with tools to conduct citizen science counts and guide your students through all aspects of designing and conducting their own science investigations—from carefully observing birds to asking intriguing questions, from collecting and analyzing relevant data to sharing their results with peers. Participants will test their new skills firsthand with an outdoor eBird citizen science count. Take home a BirdSleuth: Most Wanted Birds curriculum kit—lessons and supplies that will jump-start participation by your class! Learn more about BirdSleuth

NSTA will provide transportation to and from the Academy of Sciences. Course Cost: $96 (advance) or $101 (onsite). Purchase tickets when you register online or on the San Francisco Advance Registration Form.

PRESENTERS: Jennifer Fee (Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Ithaca, NY); Helena Carmena and Megan Schufreider (California Academy of Sciences: San Francisco, CA)

Psst…a little birdie told us that staff are arranging a behind-the-scenes tour of the ornithology collections at the Academy, in addition to a search for bird specimens within the museum exhibits!

Census of Marine Life

by michelle on Oct. 20th, 2010 No Comments

A Decade of Discovery

For the past decade, 2,700 scientists from 80 countries have been collaborating to establish the first Census of Marine Life.

Teams of scientists explored the different zones of the ocean, including coral reefs, the open ocean, mid-ocean ridges, bents and seeps, and the poles. They found new species and learned more about ones we already know about by tagging, imaging, collecting, and observing. The result: we now know more about the oceans than ever before and we have a baseline with which we can study what happens to the oceans in the future.

The Census of Marine Life website is a wealth of knowledge.  There you can discover all of the benefits of a study of this magnitude.  There are some excellent short videos and beautiful images.  Links to their results and publications include both scientific publications and popular books. Collaboration with National Geographic has yielded 2 stunning maps: “Diversity, Distribution, and Abundance”, and “Past, Present, and Future”.

The Census has not only involved scientists, but others as well.  Check out how marine life has inspired artists.  There is even a music video!  You can use the site in many ways: gather information to supplement an existing lesson, as a springboard to discuss scientific discovery and the role of technology, use it to create a sense of wonder about the world.  Enjoy the site and get inspired by all that is out there, and all that has yet to be discovered.

These two wonderful images are from two artists working with the Census.

Top image: An image from scientist Steven Haddock. Check out the The Bioluminescence Web Page and Jellywatch where you can learn more about similar fascinating organisms!
Bottom image: A piece from Fairbanks artist Susan Farnham’s exhibit based on the findings of the Arctic Ocean Diversity project.

Calling all bookworms!

by megan on Nov. 20th, 2009 No Comments

Did you know that the Naturalist Center at the Academy hosts a book club for adults? Known as Bookworms, this monthly book group focuses on science-themed books hand-picked by our librarians and the group. Expand your knowledge of a science topic, engage in dialogue, and perhaps meet an author or two!

Did we mention that the book club is free? This book group meets after the museum closes, so you’ll have time to commute after school. Academy staff just need to know to expect you, so you can be escorted to the meeting room from the business entrance off Middle Drive. To reserve a place, pick up a “ticket” on the online calendar or call 800-794-7576.

Here’s the line-up for the next few months. Purchase a used copy from Amazon, or place a hold on the book at the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL).


BOOKWORMS, Tuesday, December 15 at 6:30 pm

Evidence of Evolution

Topic: Evolution at the Academy

Evidence of Evolution by Susan Middleton and Mary Ellen Hannibal

Something special for our book club meeting this month! Join the authors for a group discussion of their new book about evolution which uses specimens from the Academy’s research collections to illustrate evolutionary development in plants and animals.

SFPL . Amazon


BOOKWORMS, Tuesday, January 19 at 6:30 pm

The Age of Wonder

Topic: Science in the Late 18th Century

The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes

Join a dedicated group of readers for a discussion of this winner of the 2009 Royal Society Prize for Science Books. Come prepared with your thoughts about this book about scientists such as Joseph Banks, Humphrey Davy and William Herschel “who changed our understanding of the world forever.”

SFPL . Amazon


BOOKWORMS, Tuesday, February 16 at 6:30 pm

Collector of Lost Souls

Topic: Medical Detectives in New Guinea

The Collectors of Lost Souls: Turning Kuru Scientists into Whitemen by Warwick Anderson

Join us for what promises to be a lively discussion about this compelling story of scientific research in the 20th century. Kuru, a rare brain disease affecting people in the central highlands of New Guinea came to the attention of scientists in the 1950’s who were puzzled by its origins. This led to the new field of medical investigation where the scientists learned from the natives and vice versa.

SFPL . Amazon