Friday, July 11, 2014

Summer Matters in Region 3

Research shows that unequal access to summer learning and enrichment opportunities is a significant factor in the achievement gap between low-income students and their higher-income peers.

  • All young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. Research spanning 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer (White, 1906; Heyns, 1978; Entwisle & Alexander 1992; Cooper, 1996; Downey et al, 2004).
  • Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains (Cooper, 1996).
  • More than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college (Alexander et al, 2007).
  • Children lose more than academic knowledge over the summer. Most children—particularly children at high risk of obesity—gain weight more rapidly when they are out of school during summer break (Von Hippel et al, 2007).
  • Parents consistently cite summer as the most difficult time to ensure that their children have productive things to do (Duffett et al, 2004).

This is why all throughout Region 3 superintendents, school districts, after school providers, administrators, certificated teachers, and after school practitioners have banded together to help stave off the "summer slide" and the weight gain that many children experience once the school doors close for summer. Utilizing supplemental funding from CDE, Title I funds, grants from private foundations, etc. they have been able to open up some of the schools in their districts to provide the children that they serve with either four to eight week long Summer Learning Programs.

Here is a look at some of the Summer Learning Programs in Region 3:

Name of Out-of-School-Time ProviderRoberts Family Development Center

Name of District: Twin Rivers Unified School District

Grade Level of Activity: 3rd thru 12th grade

Number of students who took part in the activity: 20

Type of Activity: Javelin Rockets from CA Teacher Pathway

Learning Outcomes- Students were able to: 
  • construct and fly paper rockets
  • investigate launch angels versus distance with their rockets
  • students will apply their understanding of Newton's laws of motion to design a game or activity for a microgravity environment
  • collect data points that they will be able to plot on an X and Y axis graph
  • locate the launch angle of their rocket
  • discuss what made their rockets fly either shorter or longer distances
  • discuss what made their rockets fly the way that they did
Contact: Imani Lucas with any further questions that you may have about this activity. His email address is:

A group of students working on their Javelin Rockets.

A student working on his Javelin Rocket.

A chart displaying Newton's 3 Laws of Motion.

A chart displaying the student's hypotheses.

A chart that displays the academic language that the students are using.

Name of Summer Learning Program Site: Samuel Jackman Middle School

Name of District: Elk Grove Unified

Grade Level of Activity: 7th - 8th Grade

Number of Students who took part in the activity: 150

Type of Activity: Physics of Flight

Learning Outcomes - Students were able to:

After Session 1:

  • Explain that scientist investigate by making observations and performing tests
  • Explain that gravity is a force that pulls items down
  • Explore how they can slow down the fall of a binder clip using different materials

After Session 2:

  • Define the concept of air resistance
  • Design a parachute that will cause a binder clip to fall more slowly
  • Test and compare the design of two parachutes
  • Discover that parachutes with wider shapes have more air resistance

After Session 3:

  • Design, Make, Test, a paper rocket
  • Redesign their rocket so that they were able to have less air resistance and fly higher
  • Deepen their understanding of air resistance
  • Understand that objects with skinny, streamlined shapes can move faster because they have less air resistance

After Session 4:

  • Investigate the best way to attach a parachute to a rocket to make the rocket fly fast but land gently
  • Apply what they have learned about air resistance in previous sessions
  • Learn that air resistance is an important factor in designing rockets for fast takeoffs and soft landings
  • Act like scientist and engineers as they perform tests to answer questions and meet challenges
After Session 3 the students took what they have learned to date and conducted some research at the AeroSpace Museum in order to ready themselves for Session 4. Here are the pictures from their field trip.

Aerospace Museum of California

Students learning about one of the first Drone prototypes. 
    Students learning about the fighter jets used in Dessert Storm.

    Students exploring a modern day FedEx Cargo plane.

    Grade Level of Activity: K-6th  Grade

    Number of Students who took part in the activity: 150 and about 40 parents

    Type of Activity: STEM Day Camp / Making a functioning Lightbulb

    Learning Outcomes - Students were able to:

    • Explore and learn about a complete circuit
    • Design and create their own functioning lightbulb

    STEM Day Camp

    All the materials that one needs to be a modern day Thomas Edison or  a Lewis Latimer.

    Students working on creating their own working lightbulb.

    Students have made their own working lightbulb.

    STEM and Other Pertinent Articles:

    1) Why Education Is The Most Important Revolution of Our Time

    2) DIY Girls at Telfair Elementary School sparking interest in technology

    3) How to get more girls into STEM?

    4) Jesuit Highschool's Underwater Robotics Team

    5) Get Started with NGSS and Common Core

    6) The Value of the Designer that Codes

    7) A Surge in Learning the Language of the Internet

    8) Math Nerd or Bookworm? Many of the Same Genes Shape Both Abilities

    9) Making Summer Count
       (2011 RAND Corp. Study)

    10) Can Schools Solve the Tech Industry's Pipeline Problem?

    11) IPads in Special Ed: What Does The Research Say?

    12) Napa Junction kids revved up for race car challenge

    STEM (and other Integrated Core Content) 

    1) Manufacture Your Future (Lesson Plans for Grades 6-12):
        Manufacture Your Future encourages the development of critical thinking skills through 
        real-world application,and offers dynamic standards-based, STEM-focused lesson plans, 
        a manufacturing career guide, family discussion starters and a Virtual Field Trip designed 
        to give students an inside look at some of today’s most prominent manufacturing careers.

    2) Treehouse (An online education platform that teaches anyone how to code):
         (Free Trial for 14 days and then different pricing plans)

    3) STEM Education: Developing 21st Century Problem Solvers

    4) 10th annual CA Afterschool and Summer Challenge

    5) Giving Boys A Bigger Emotional Toolbox

    6) Five Keys to Rigorous Project Based Learning

    7) Establishing Real World Connections in Projects 
        (Part 1) (Video)

    8) Learning the Physics of Skateboarding Engages Students in Science

    9) Online Math Games Balance Challenge with Mastery Learning

    10) Using Diaglogue Circles to Support Classroom Management

    STEM Grants:

    1) Toshiba America Foundation Grant: Grades 6-12
        Toshiba America Foundation's mission is to provide teachers with additional funds to 
        support classroom projects. After school, summer projects, and independent study
        projects are not eligible. The Foundation strongly encourages projects planned and 
        led by individual teachers or teams of teachers for their own classrooms. Science 
        and math teachers in public or private (non-profit) schools may apply for grants to 
        support classroom science and math education. Endorsement from a school official 
        is required. 
        (Deadline: Grants under $5,000 anytime) 
        (Deadline: Grants over $5,000 Feb. 1 /August 1)

    2) Captain Planet Foundation
         Grants are made for activities that promote and support high-quality educational 
         programs, enable children and youth to understand and appreciate our world through
         learning experiences and engage them in active, hands-on projects to improve the 
         environment in their schools and communities. CPF grants are limited to $2,500 and 
         preferential consideration is given to applicants who have secured at least 50% 
         matching or in-kind funding for their program.
         (Deadline: Will fund as many projects that annual resources will allow.)

     3) Toshiba America Foundation Grant: Grades K-5:
         Toshiba America Foundation's mission is to provide teachers with additional funds to 
         support classroom projects. After school, summer projects, and independent study 
         projects are not eligible. The Foundation strongly encourages projects planned and led 
         by individual teachers or teams of teachers for their own classrooms. Any K-5 teacher 
         in a public or private (not-for-profit) school is eligible for a grant to support science or
         math education up to $1,000 for project materials. 
         (Deadline: October 1, 2014)

    STEM / Misc. / Events / Contest:

    1) NGSS State Rollout Symposium (Dates and Locations)

    2) Teaching Science Through Citizen Science Workshop:
        (August 6 - 7, 2014) (Grades 6-12)

    3) Solar Schoolhouse Primer: Workshop for Educators:
        (SMUD Hosted) (Free) (Grades 4 - 12)

    4) Folsom Powerhouse Museum Electricity Fair
        (September 6, 2014) 

    5) GEMS Electric Circuits:
        (SMUD Hosted) (September 20, 2014) (Free) (Grades 4 - 8)

    5) 2nd Annual California STEM Symposium:
        (September 22-23, 2014)

    6) Techbridge Announces Launch of Role Models Matter
        Online Training

    7) Click2Science Launches a New Skill to Make STEM Click

    8) Project WET Common Core and EEI:
        (SMUD Hosted) (October 11, 2014) (Free) (Grades K-12)

    9) GEMS Dry Ice Investigations and Chemical Investigations
        (SMUD Hosted) (October 16, 2014) (Free) (Grades 5-12)

    10) Get to Know Contest:
          The Contest invites you to get outside and create original works of art, writing, 
          photography, videography and music inspired by nature. Get Outdoors and “Get 
          to Know Your Wild Neighbors”. The goal is to be as creative as possible. For 
          inspiration, check out some of the amazing programs offered by our partners. Then, 
          get outdoors and get to know! Submit your work for a chance to win cool prizes. The 
          contest runs from May 1st to November 1st - Get started today! 
          (Deadline: November 1, 2014)

    Thanks again for all that you do in the field. Please keep us posted about STEM events/activities in your area. Please feel free to contact us at any time.

    Monica Gonzalez-Williams (SCOE: Region 3: After School Regional Lead):

    Phil Romig: (SCOE: Science Curriculum Specialist):

    Mark Drewes: (SCOE: Project Specialist II: After School):


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