Teachers’ Lounge

Archive for November, 2010

Meet your Inner Fish…

by megan on Nov. 29th, 2010 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.

This book group meets after the museum closes, so you’ll have time to commute after school. Just be sure to read the work before coming, since the group jumps right into discussion.

The Naturalist Center often has these books (and many more!) available for check-out in their library. Head to the the Academy library and choose “Naturalist Center” in the dropdown menu to check availability.

Academy staff 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. Space is limited.


Bookworms Adult Book Club: Selections for Winter


Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Remarkable Creatures

Topic: Explorations in Evolution

Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species by Sean B. Carroll

Focusing on the scientists who studied evolution, Remarkable Creatures celebrates the “pursuit and the pleasure of scientific discovery.”

SFPL . Amazon


Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Your Inner Fish

Topic: Fossils, Limbs, and Evolution

Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin

In a very readable style, Shubin tells the story of evolution by tracing the organs of the human body back millions of years. Using fossils — including the exciting discovery of Tiktaalik — he examines how some of our body parts resemble those of a fish!

SFPL . Amazon

Pierre the Penguin is a Star!

by michelle on Nov. 19th, 2010 No Comments

Our Academy’s own children’s book, Pierre the Penguin, was chosen as one of NSTA’s Outstanding Science Trade Books for 2011. Look for previous Outstanding Trade Books at www.nsta.org/ostb. In March, 2011, you will be able to read full reviews of the 2011 winners.

Pierre the PenguinWritten in rhyme by Jean Marzollo and illustrated by Laura Regan, Pierre the Penguin is a true story about our very own Pierre, a penguin who got in a jam.  When Pierre begins to lose feathers, the staff is at a loss as to what to do.  The lack of feathers causes Pierre to lose warmth, making him afraid to swim in the pool.  And the other penguins start to shy away.  Unfortunately, heaters and medications fail to correct the situation.  But one rainy day, inspiration strikes one of our biologists, Pam.  Can she help Pierre?  The story is charming, and the illustrations bring Pierre and his friends to life.

Bring penguins to life in your classroom:
Pierre and Homey

  • Check out what are penguins are up to on our penguin cams and penguin blog! The penguin cams feature 3 different live angles into the exhibit and the Academy biologists always have something new to share on the blog.
  • Listen to a feeding, live!  We broadcast our live feedings at 10:30 am and at 3:30 pm daily on Pacific Standard Time.  Head over to the penguin cam page and look to the right of the page.  Audio is only available during these feeding times.
  • Incorporate penguin themed science lessons into your curriculum with Fraction Penguin, and Have you Ever Seen a Penguin?
  • Add Pierre the Penguin to your classroom library.  You can purchase the book in the Academy Store or on Amazon.com.

New activities: rock cycle, evaporation, insects, and more!

by megan on Nov. 9th, 2010 No Comments

Here are the latest additions to our online database of lesson plans!

rock cycle imageRock Cycle Roundabout (Grades 4-12)
With this board game, students will learn how the three types of rock are formed as part of the rock cycle and that the same forces that produce/change rocks also produce/change landforms.

invent an insect worksheetInvent an Insect (Grades 2-6)
In this activity, students will learn what makes an insect an insect by studying examples of insect adaptations and examining why there are so many different types of insects.

hangingDry My Laundry! (Grades 4-8)
Students will practice designing a basic controlled experiment and discuss how surface area affects evaporation in preparation for their Troubled Tree Frogs Student Lab Program.

cattleSustainable Livestock (Grades 4-12)
Students learn about the food, water, and space needs of common livestock animals. Using math and problem solving skills, they discover how many animals can live on an imaginary ranch, learning how land use and food consumption can be sustainable.

chitonMarine Invertebrate Anatomy (Grades 3-12)
In this lesson, students will learn about invertebrate diversity and compare marine invertebrates’ anatomy with those of humans. A scavenger hunt for the exhibit floor is included!

pennyWhat’s on a penny? (Grades 3-8)
In this activity, students will explore the intricacies of pennies and nickels to observe objects carefully and practice detailed descriptive writing. This activity will prepare your students for their All About Microscopes Student Lab Program, but is also a great introduction to the importance of both qualitative and quantitative observations.

Life: A Cosmic Story

by michelle on Nov. 2nd, 2010 No Comments

How did life on Earth begin? This tantalizing question forms the basis of Morrison Planetarium’s upcoming show, Life: A Cosmic Story, which will premiere on November 6, 2010. Located inside the California Academy of Sciences, the Morrison has transported audiences to the far reaches of the Universe and back since its opening in 2008. Like the inaugural show Fragile Planet, Life takes audiences on an immersive, all-digital journey, featuring visualizations based on the latest scientific data.

“The show’s core concept is that all life on Earth is related, having evolved from a common ancestor,” says Ryan Wyatt, Director of Morrison Planetarium and Science Visualization. “Taking an even longer view, we see that life’s origins begin with dark matter and the first stars—our pedigree is actually 13.7 billion years in the making.”

Narrated by two-time Academy Award winner Jodie Foster, Life begins in a grove of towering redwoods, majestic emblems of Northern California. From there, the audience “shrinks” dramatically as it enters a single redwood leaf and then a redwood cell, learning that despite their unique appearance, redwoods are composed of the same basic molecules as all other organisms on Earth.

Life: A Cosmic StoryAfter this opening statement of shared ancestry, the audience launches on a journey through time, witnessing key events since the Big Bang that set the stage for life. The first stars ignite, galaxies coalesce, and entire worlds take shape.

On the early Earth, two scenarios for the dawn of life are presented—one near a turbulent, deep-sea hydrothermal vent, and the other in a primordial “hot puddle” on a volcanic island. From these microscopic beginnings, life transformed the entire Earth as it evolved and diversified: filling the atmosphere with oxygen, turning the continents green, and altering global climate patterns.

The 25-minute show ends with a review of geological evidence and the connectedness of all living things on Earth.

Middle and High School Teachers!
Because of the focus of this show, it is appropriate for both a middle school and high school audience. For this reason, we are pleased to announce that we will be making the 11:30 Planetarium Show available to both middle and high school students on Mondays through Thursdays. This 11:30 showing is for the General Public as well, so seating is limited and reservations are required in advance of your trip.

Please call our folks at the Contact Center at 1-800-794-7576 in order to check availability and make your reservation.