Teachers’ Lounge

Archive for September, 2009

Student Contest: Art Inspired by Science

by megan on Sep. 4th, 2009 No Comments

As Sarah outlined in her No Child Left Inside post, those of us here at the California Academy of Sciences are passionate about giving students the opportunity to connect with nature. Spending time in urban green spaces and local habitats can impact a student along all three “realms” of learning:

      Cognitive: improving knowledge of the natural sciences,

      Affective: creating positive emotional ties to the environment, and

      Behavioral: inspiring actions to explore, explain, and protect the natural world.

Did I just throw our mission statement in there? Bonus points if you can spot it!

As such, we support students in discovering the outdoors. Why not make it interdisciplinary, integrating art with science? Then encourage your students to create works for the Robert Bateman Get to Know Contest!

Robert Bateman Get to Know ContestHaving inspired Canadian youth for almost a decade, the Get to Know contest has finally come to California. As of September 26, 2009, youth aged 18 or younger are invited to enter.
How does it work? Youth are encouraged to go outside to "get to know their wild neighbors, and then to share their experience with the world by creating an original work of art, photography, or writing" to enter in the contest. Outside can be one’s background, a neighborhood park, a hiking trail, or a local zoo, aquarium, or museum.
And with Forests as the theme for this year’s contest, students have endless options for exploration! Here are some links compiled by Nature in the City that might spark ideas for outdoor sites (but don’t forget the urban forest in your neighborhood, or that schoolyard garden!).

Assign a project this autumn, since all entries must be received by November 30, 2009.

2009 Art Winners . Official Rules

Where did you bring your students? How did you frame the assignment? Tell us by leaving a comment!

Anniversary Weekend Activities

by megan on Sep. 1st, 2009 1 Comment

Front EntranceCan you believe that almost a year has passed since our new building opened to the public on September 27, 2008?

Well, over 2 million visitors have graced our halls since then, and we’re marking the occasion with a weekend-long celebration on September 26 and 27, 2009, presented by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).

Whether you’d like to bring your own family or encourage your students to attend, the event will be a great opportunity to engage with science, art, world culture, and the local community.

Here’s the line-up of the festivities!


Hiyas Philippine Folk Dance Company
9:00 am
HiyasMeaning “jewel” or “gem,” Hiyas strives to present the treasure of Filipino folk dance in its most traditional form in an era where authentic steps and movements are modernized or forgotten. To begin the day’s festivities, the troupe will perform on the Academy’s front steps.

Chinese Lion Dancers
10:00 am
Chinese Lion DancerLion dancing is an ancient Chinese tradition that brings good luck, prosperity, and happiness to its audiences. The dancers and their thundering musical accompaniment are believed to dispel evil spirits and ensure prosperity. On the Academy’s front steps, the White Crane Lion Dancers will thrill you with a rousing performance.

Big Cat Ambassadors
11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm
CheetahMeet a mountain lion, cheetah, lynx, and caracal during this presentation by the Wild Cat Education and Conservation Fund. Learn about each animal’s native habitat and conservation status, and get answers to your questions about these charismatic ambassadors of the natural world.

African Drummers
Nigerian DrumJoin the Nigerian Masquerade Drummers and immerse yourself in the sounds of traditional African drumming. Performances will take place on a stage erected in the West Garden (to reach the garden, look for the T. Rex, Academy cafe, or ceiling-hung blue whale skeleton, and walk out the glass doors).

Parangal Dance Company
2:00 pm
ParangalExperience the colorful costumes and graceful choreography of Philippine folk dancing by San Francisco’s Parangal Dance Company. This performance will also take place on the West Garden stage (to reach the garden, look for the T. Rex, Academy cafe, or ceiling-hung blue whale skeleton, and walk out the glass doors).


Loco Blanco
11:00 am
Loco BlocoThe inter-generational performing ensemble Loco Bloco is an explosion of rhythm, movement, color and passion, combining African, Brazilian, Latin, Hip Hop and Funk beats. Meet the drummers on the Academy’s front steps as they share their passion for performing.

Chinese Fan Dancers
Flying Angels Chinese Fan Dance CompanyThe traditional Chinese fan dance is renowned for its beautiful and delicate poses. Join the Flying Angels Chinese Dance Company to experience this time-honored tradition. This performances will also take place on the West Garden stage.

Science Adventures
2:15 pm
Test tubesCome explore the natural world through stories, experiments, games and crafts. For children in 1st through 4th grades, Science Adventures takes place in the Education Classroom on the 3rd floor, next to the Naturalist Center. Capacity is limited, so arrive on time!

Raptor Show
2:30 pm
Raptor ShowWhat characteristics do raptors share? What do they eat, and where do they live? What birds of prey might be found at The Bird Rescue Center, and which do we have here at the Academy? Come out to the stage in the West Garden for this presentation with live animals.

African Drummers
1:15 pm and 3:00 pm
Nigerian DrumJoin the Nigerian Masquerade Drummers and immerse yourself in the sounds of traditional African drumming. Performances will take place on a stage erected in the West Garden (to reach the garden, look for the T. Rex, Academy cafe, or ceiling-hung blue whale skeleton, and walk out the glass doors).


Planetarium Show Debut: Journey to the Stars
Shows every 45 minutes, starting at 10:00 am
Journey to the StarsTravel through time and space to experience the dramatic lives and deaths of stars. Witness brilliant supernova explosions, dive into the heart of the fiery Sun, and watch it transform into a red giant five billion years in the future. Discover the deep-rooted connection between humanity and the stars in our new Planetarium show.

Amateur Astronomers
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Solar FlareWho says you can’t study stars in the daytime? I know of a particularly prominent star often seen above the horizon. Join the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers on the Academy’s living roof, and take a closer look at our Sun through a solar telescope.

Science and Sustainability Tent
9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Join Academy naturalists and partner organizations for a variety of hands-on science demonstrations and sustainability tips.
RaptorInside the tent in our East Garden, you’ll meet majestic birds of prey from The Bird Rescue Center in Santa Rosa, including hawks, falcons and owls. Learn about the habitat and adaptations of these amazing animals, and find out what you can do to help support them in the wild.
PG&EPacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will also be on hand with energy-saving tips.”Pacific Gas and Electric Company congratulates the California Academy of Sciences for its amazing first year,” says Nancy McFadden, senior vice president of public affairs for PG&E. “We are proud to partner with the Academy on our shared commitment to a sustainable future.”

Penguin Feeding
10:30 am and 3:30 pm
PenguinDid you know that 17 species of penguins exist on the globe, and most do not inhabit Antarctica? Where are our penguins from? Meet Pierre, Ocio, and the rest of the African penguin colony. Aquarium biologists field visitor questions as they feed and care for the birds.

Coral Reef Dive
11:30 am and 2:30 pm
DiverMeet a diver who descends into the exhibit to introduce you to the world’s deepest living coral reef tank, and get answers to your questions about the most diverse aquatic ecosystem on the planet. Bring along a Coral Reef Color Wheel, or try your hand at some Fish Family Identification.

Swamp Talk
11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm
swampLearn about some of the Academy’s most popular animals. You’ll find out what it takes to care for the albino alligator and the alligator snapping turtles, which are native to swamps in the southeastern United States. By the way, how did we get the turtles into the exhibit? Check out this video from last August!

Explore the Living Roof
10:30 am and 3:30 pm
RoofJoin Academy naturalists to learn about the plants on the Living Roof, as well as the diversity of birds and insects they attract. How do pollination and dispersal play key roles in shaping this natural landscape? Meet in the Naturalist Center on the 3rd floor.


Don’t forget to walk, bike, or take public transit — you’ll save $3 off the price of general admission. For those of you that prefer to drive, consider parking for free on the Great Highway and taking the Golden Gate Park Shuttle Service, which is $2 for an all-day pass.

Questions or comments are always welcome!
Official Site>>