Teachers’ Lounge

Archive for November, 2009

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

Inquiry-2-Insight High School Project

by sarah on Nov. 13th, 2009 2 Comments

CSTA 2009 LogoA few weeks ago, several staff members from the Academy’s Education Department hopped on a plane headed for the California Science Teachers Association’s Science Education Conference in Palm Springs. (You would not believe the bizarre array of materials we had stuffed into our suitcases in preparation for the hands-on workshops we were scheduled to present!) At the conference, we gave six workshops on topics ranging from green buildings to evolution to sketching as a learning tool. Were any of you in the audience?

In between delivering workshops, we had the opportunity to attend presentations given by other organizations, teachers, and experts on a number of topics. It was fun to hear so many excited conversations about science, and to watch so many educators share ideas and inspiration. (And the balmy Palm Springs weather was a definite plus!)

While I was there I saw many interesting sessions and learned about some creative new programs. They all sounded great, but one in particular caught my attention as something to spread the word about:

I2I Team, February 2009The Inquiry-2-Insight project is a collaboration involving Stanford University in California and Goteburg University in Sweden. The project pairs a high school biology class in the United States with a class in Sweden for an educational experience focused on climate change. Students in the two countries interact through social networking tools while participating in collaborative investigations and activities. Goals of the project include giving students an international perspective on environmental issues and developing students’ critical thinking skills. While only the U.S. and Sweden are involved at this point, the project may expand to other countries in the future.

If this sounds to you like an exciting project, you may be interested to hear that they are currently seeking high school classes to partner with!

Explore the Inquiry-2-Insight website to learn more about their program, and click on the “Join Us” link (found under “Partners”) to get in touch with them.

The Inquiry-2-Insight website states that “education is a critical factor in dealing with climate change.” This is definitely a perspective that we agree with at the Academy. To complement our Altered State: Climate Change in California exhibit, we’ve developed these lesson plans and museum worksheets:

Climate Change Scavenger HuntCalifornia’s Climate (Grades 3-5)

Climate Change Impacts (Grades 3-5)

Climate Change & Sea Level Rise (Grades 3-8)

Carbon Cycle Demonstration (Grades 3-8)

Carbon Cycle Demonstration (Grades 9-12)

Carbon Cycle Poster (Grades 9-12)

Climate Change Research (Grades 9-12)

Climate Change Scavenger Hunt (Grades 9-12)

In addition, our next BioForum event, to be held on Saturday, April 17, 2010, is focused specifically on Climate Change. The roster of speakers will be posted soon, along with their professional biographies and presentation titles. If you haven’t yet attended this seminar series for middle and high school teachers, check out the live video and downloadable powerpoints from past events (the Genomics BioForum files will be up by early December).

Although details for the Climate Change BioForum have yet to be announced, I notice that several dozen teachers have already signed up. The topic is certainly a hot one!