Teachers’ Lounge

Archive for August, 2009

Hands-On Astronomy Workshop: Sept 12-13, 2009

by megan on Aug. 27th, 2009 No Comments

Our friends from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) are soon to deliver…

ASP LogoHands-on Workshops on Teaching Astronomy!
Workshop website>>

Join ASP for two days of information, classroom activities, and teaching resources, exploring new ideas and techniques for teaching astronomy, space science, and earth science during the International Year of Astronomy and the Year of Science.

Sessions are appropriate for both formal and informal educators. Participants have their choice of exciting workshops which feature classroom-ready hands-on science activities, and may attend one day (Saturday or Sunday) or both.

The Basics

  • When: Saturday, Sept. 12 and Sunday, Sept. 13, 2009. 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.
  • Where: Westin SFO Hotel, Millbrae, California (near the San Francisco Airport)
  • Why: Part of ASP’s Annual Meeting (the 120th Anniversary!)
  • Cost: Only $39.95 per day ($78.90 for the weekend)
  • Course Credit: 1 semester unit of academic credit available through SFSU*

*This optional credit is available for K-12 teachers who attend both days, write a short paper, and pay a $100 fee to San Francisco State University.

Selected Workshop Topics


The Andromeda galaxy, as viewed through the Hubble telescope. An observatory floating in space, this telescope is an ideal instrument for photographing the universe, as the clouds and light pollution in our own atmosphere don’t obstruct its view!

A workshop for college astronomy instructors will provide techniques for engaging students effectively, and workshops focusing on informal science education provide experience with interactive activities and storytelling as a means of communicating science.

Non-technical Talks

Sunday afternoon, all workshop participants will join to hear a series of non-technical talks on the search for extra-terrestrial life, with speakers including:

  • Dr. Frank Drake, the father of SETI
  • Seth Shostak, award-winning science popularizer
  • Margaret Race, the planetary protection scientist
  • and Douglas Caldwell, instrument scientist for the Kepler Mission

Details and Registration

For more information, including specific workshop descriptions, the roster of instructors, and registration forms, visit the 2009 Annual Meeting Workshop website. (Insider tip: If you’re just planning to attend the weekend workshops and not the entire meeting, use the “Weekend Workshops Only” registration form.)

For additional information, don’t hesitate to contact staff from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific at 2009meeting@astrosociety.org.

Science in Action

by megan on Aug. 24th, 2009 No Comments

Science in ActionIf you’ve visited the Islands of Evolution exhibit at the Academy, you’ve no doubt walked by a split-screen video highlighting current science projects being conducted both locally and abroad. This exhibit is one of the core components of Science in Action. Originally produced as a science television program at the California Academy of Sciences in the 1950s, Science in Action now encompasses media screens on the museum floor, a website, podcasts, guest lecture programs, and Thursday night science mixers. By gathering and disseminating content, the Science in Action production team aims to “increase public interest in and understanding of contemporary and everyday science issues leading to greater scientific awareness and literacy.

And better yet, the team uploads their videos for free streaming! High school teachers will be particularly interested in Science in Action content.

Let’s highlight the video from July 17th, which addresses the artificial selection of dog breeds. Not only can this short clip serve as an extension to our “Artificial Selection: Dog Breeds” lesson in the Evolution Kit, but it also introduces you to Brian Simison, the Director and Curator of the Center of Comparative Genomics here at the Academy, who will act as moderator for the upcoming BioForum event on October 3rd.

Bookmark the Science in Action blog to remind yourself to check for new additions!

Some recent videos, none more than 3 minutes in length:

Do you have a favorite online source of streamable science videos?