Cates, Beth » Home


Hello students and parents!
Thanks for joining me in our adventures in learning science this year! I'm looking forward to sharing the journey with you. 
About Me: 
I'm in the fortunate position of being able to research, learn, and teach every day. I love learning about biology almost as much as I love opening the rabbit hole for my students and showing them why they fit into the world around them and how fascinating they are: complex physiological and molecular machines imbued with creativity and caring. Being able to watch my students discover the elegance of scientific understanding and to learn that science isn't done: they have the capacity to contribute, this is what I get to do every day. I didn't know that I wanted to live in biology until my senior year of college and I fell into teaching after that when I loved substitute teaching in Las Vegas. 
My Teaching Style: 
I firmly believe that in order to understand science you must engage in DOING science. Our classes are standards-based, data-driven, and hands-on. I love science (especially biology!), and I want to share WHY I think it's fantastically interesting and worthwhile. I do this by engaging my students as both researchers and assistants for my own teaching inquiry, which is always, "How can I increase student understanding, achievement, and engagement in our science standards and in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers?" We work together to improve the course each year and work to make all students successful. Memorization is an important part of building background knowledge in science, but the real success in our class comes from being able to use your background knowledge to solve problems and think critically in new situations. It is my absolute pleasure to put you, my dear student, into situations that you cannot escape without thinking and to celebrate your hard-earned success when you realize just how smart you are. 
Outside of School:
 When I'm not in the classroom, I enjoy bicycling with my husband Eric, gardening, exploring California wildlife, and helping my fifth grade daughter take over the world one cat drawing at a time. 
Professional Organizations: 
Everything Else You Could Possibly Want to Know: 

  Teaching / Professional



August 2011-Current



LAS VEGAS HIGH SCHOOL, Freshmen Principles of Science Teacher

Las Vegas, NV 2009-2011










California Dept. of Ed, Sacramento County Office of Education and Placer County Office of Education

NGSS Rollout #4 Presenter


NABT/BSCS AP Biology Teacher Academy in Partnership with CSET at Stanford and HHMI

AP Biology Regional Teacher Academy Leader 2014-2015

Howard Hughes Medical Institute BioInteractive Ambassador, 2013-current  


California NGSS Communications Team 2015-2019


AP Institute Probeware and Classroom Field Testing Summer 2015-2017

NASA Research Experience for Teachers

Dryden 2010, Glenn 2012, Glenn 2014

Educational Record: Informal and Local Involvement

California Naturalist Program

University of California, Effie Yeaw Nature Center Waitlist: Enrolled September 2016

BSCS/NABT AP Biology Leadership Academy

Cohort I (2012-2014)

Region IX Team (2014-current)

AP Biology Boot Camp Summer Field Trips

Designed and implemented tours of local labs and ecological hotspots

for incoming WSCA AP Biology students (2013 and 2014)

LiMPETS Rocky Intertidal and Sandy Beach Ecological Monitoring Program

Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History 2015-2018

Barcoding Life’s Matrix DNA Barcoding Teacher Workshop

Coastal Marine Biolabs, Ventura Harbor 2013

Biotechnology Teacher Training

American River College and North Valley Biotechnology Center 2012

California Classroom Aquarium Project Training

California Department of Fish and Wildlife 2012

Seeing Radiation Nuclear Science Experiments Teacher Training

University of California at Berkeley, 2012

Geology and Natural History of Southern Nevada Field Course

University of Nevada Las Vegas, Nevada State College, and Nevada State Science Teachers Association, 2010

Educational Record: Formal

Masters of Arts in Biology

Miami University of Ohio Project Dragonfly (anticipated December 2020)

Masters of Arts in Secondary Education

University of Phoenix (2008-2010)

Alternative Route to Licensure Program

Clark County School District & Nevada State College (2008-2010)

Bachelor of Arts in Theatre

Nebraska Wesleyan University (2005-2007) Minor in Political Science

Missouri State University 2003-2005 Sociology Major


Educational Record: Awards

Biology Education Leadership Scholar 2016

National Association of Biology Teachers

PAEMST Award Nominee California

Honored to complete a 2015 Application, nominated but ineligible 2013 (years of service)

DOW New Science Teacher Academy Fellow

National Science Teachers Association, 2012

New High School Teacher of the Year 2009-2010

Clark County School District, Las Vegas, NV

Rising Star Award

2009-2010 Southern Nevada Science Teachers Association



Educational Record: Presentations and Professional Involvement

CSTA Sacramento 2017:

Disappearing Lollipops: Free Tools to Engage 3rd-5th Grade Students in Obtaining and Communicating Information with Brianne Albonetti

5th Grade Phenomena: Setting Up Young Scientists for Success with Catherine Klein

Inquiry Based Ecology Using a Citizen-Science Trail Camera Project: Free Tools from HHMI to Engage Students in NGSS Practices

NSTA Nashville 2016:

HHMI Booth Presentations on Lizard Speciation  

CSTA State Conference Palm Springs 2016:

Got Lactase? The Co-evolution of Genes and Culture with Dana Grooms

NSTA Regional Reno November 2015: HHMI and NGSS Standards on Evolution

CSTA State Conference Sacramento October 2015: All-School Secondary Science Fair: Our Learning Journey

CSTA State Conference Sacramento 2015: Teaching Tools to Support Argumentation and Reasoning in the Secondary Classroom  

NSTA Regional/CSTA Long Beach 2014 NABT Presents: Biology Day (Coordinator, Short-Course Presentation, Regular Presentation)  

NABT Cleveland 2014: From Surviving to Thriving: Part Two!

NABT National Conference Cleveland, 2014: NABT Teacher Cafe: Connecting Secondary and College Classroom Teachers  

NABT National Conference Atlanta, 2013: From Surviving to Thriving: Making Strides toward an Amazing AP Biology Career  

CSTA State Conference Palm Springs, 2013: Conceptual Flow Graphics for Course Planning



Educational Record: Written Work and Memberships


NGSS District Curriculum Implementation Plan CFG for PK-AP (summer 2016)

Rocklin Academy Family of Schools

Washington Post Answer Sheet:

Struggle Project 2014

May 6, 2015 printing of my writing by Valerie Strauss

From the 2014 Unity & Diversity Teacher Writing Project

California Classroom Science

California Science Teachers Association Monthly Publication


October 2013 Missing Science Majors

Assignment Writing

September 2013 Elementary Science: Glue it All Together

June 2013 Comparing AP Science Practices, Common Core State Standards, and NGSS Science and Engineering Practices

May 2013: AP Science Practice Seven

April 2013: AP Science Practices Five and Six

March 2013 AP Science Practice Number Four

February 2013 AP Science Practices One, Two, and Three

January 2013 Citizen Science Resolved: 2013 From the Birds to the Bees

December 2012 Effective Formative Assessment: Gots and Needs

November 2012

October 2012 CSTA Keynote Speaker Helen Quinn Interview

September 2012 Mars Curiosity


August 2012 eXtreme GreenLab

State Science Fair Qualifiers

Science Fair Student Research Advisor

Henry Low, 11th grade 2016 (ISEF Qualifier, Sacramento Regional Overall Champion)

10th grade (First Place Toxicology) 2015

Catherine Colella, 9th grade 2015

Kevin Chang, 10th grade 2015

Jonathan Horbaly, 9th grade 2014

Rachel Dault, 11th grade 2014

Sarah Chang, 11th grade 2014 10th grade 2013

Edith Chavez, 11th grade 2013

Daelin Arney, 10th grade 2013

Weston Isheim, Jackson McClain, Zach Vavra 11th grade (Honorable Mention) 2013

Teaching Blog (not updated)

Room 222: Science Happens Here!

Little Red Notebooks of Doom: How I Learned to be a Reflective Teacher in Spite of Myself

The Legacy of the Class of 2014

Room 222 in Pictures

AP Biology: Quarter Four Pep Talk


If you have questions, comments, or knock-knock jokes please email me at [email protected] I'd love to hear from you.