San Francisco teachers, UCSF scientists to celebrate joint work in K-12

By Jennifer O'Brien

WHEN:  Wednesday, May 25, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

WHERE:  UCSF Millberry Union Gym, 500 Parnassus Avenue

WHAT:  The 5th annual UCSF Science and Health Education Partnership (SEP) conference to celebrate the work of teams of San Francisco teachers and UCSF scientist volunteers in local K-12 classrooms.

UCSF’s SEP Program is designed to promote partnership between scientists and San Francisco Unified School District teachers in support of high quality science education for K-12 students.

This academic year, more than 80 teachers, representing 40 elementary, middle, and high schools in the District, and 125 UCSF scientist volunteers co-planned and co-taught a series of at least four hands-on science and/or health lessons in the teachers’ classrooms. These lessons enhanced the science curriculum and brought science alive to more than 2,000 students, actively engaging them in science learning and giving them the opportunity to build relationships with scientist role models.

SEP will be celebrating and sharing all of the partners’ accomplishments at the partnership conference event.  Teachers and UCSF scientist volunteers will present their favorite lesson plans, examples of student work, and other outcomes from their lessons. SEP will honor exemplary partnership teams during an awards ceremony. At the Conference, SEP will be recognized in turn with a resolution from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, to be presented by Supervisor Bevan Dufty. A staff member of Sen. Jackie Speier’s office will also be in attendance.

Hands-on science as a tool for learning English—In six elementary schools around the city, teachers and UCSF volunteers developed and taught a series of hands-on science lessons, in which English Language Learners did science experiments. In the course of the lessons, the students listened, discussed, read, and wrote in English to support their language development. However, because many of the scientist volunteers were fluent in the native languages of the students, they were able to support and respond to their questions - and help them to articulate both questions and responses in English. The six teams leading the program, known as Quatttro, will each present posters at the conference with examples of lessons, pictures, and examples of student work. Schools: Bryant, Muir, Sanchez, Stevenson, Ulloa, and Webster elementary schools.

Examining Heredity through Fruit Fly Genetics—Students at Presidio Middle School and Giannini Middle School made genetic crosses with fruit flies and examined their progeny. The teacher-scientist teams will present a poster on the fruit fly lesson, as well as other lessons used.

Germs: What they are, where they live, how they grow and what happens when a person gets sick—Students at Fairmount Elementary School learned about these topics with the help of UCSF scientist volunteers. The teachers and scientist volunteers will present examples of how the lessons were taught.

Health - UCSF Medical Student volunteers worked with teachers and students at Longfellow elementary school on lessons about health. Their poster will present pictures and examples of student work from their lessons about “demystifying visits to the doctor”, effects of smoking on the lungs, and nutrition.

For more information about the Partnership Conference or the UCSF SEP, please contact Rebecca Smith (415) 514-0588 or visit