Thursday, September 18, 2014

Back to School STEM Blog Post

As we all know the autmnal equinox (September 23) is getting closer and marks the official end of summer in the northern hemisphere. For some of us, summer officially ended a few weeks ago (if not earlier) with the start of the 2014-2015 academic year. No matter what calendar we adhere to, the fact is that the doors to over 400 after school programs in Region 3 are open and over 27,000 students are being engaged in numerous expanded day learning activities.

The Region 3 STEM team (Monica Gonzalez-Williams, Phil Romig, and Mark Drewes) would like to take a moment to wish you and your after school team and programs a wonderful 2014-2015 school year. With many of you recently opening your doors and just getting your programs started for the year, we decided to highlight some STEM websites in this month's blog post that we believe will add to the richness of the STEM activities in your after school programs.

Please feel free to call or email us at any time. We are an additional resource for all of your STEM needs.

STEM and Other Pertinent Articles:

1) STEM Education Coalition: The Case for STEM Education as a National Priority
    (A condensed fact sheet) (STEM Education Coalition)

2) Why Girls Should be Encouraged to Pursue Their Interest in STEM 
    (Dr. Victoria Zhong)

3) Expanded Learning Focus: Examining the Impact of After School STEM Programs
    (Noyce Foundation)

4) New Study Shows Gap in Specific STEM Skills (U.S. News and World Report)

5) Girls' Social Connections Affect Math Learning (Science Daily)

6) Parent Education Toolbox (Gwen Pescatore; Edutopia)

7) 7 Questions to Ask Parents at the Beginning of the School Year
    (Elena Aguilar; Edutopia)

8) Why Teaching Music Matters (Corey Turner; NPR)

9) Kids and Screen Time: What Does the Research Say (Juana Summers; NPR)

10) Project WET Gazette (Newsletter)

STEM (and other Integrated Core Content) 

1) This is Your Brain on Music (Corey Turner; NPR)

2) Engaging Students in Work That Matters (Teaching Channel)

Share and Learn (Teaching Channel) 

4) Backyard Mystery Curriculum (After School Biology Activities) (Grades 5-7)

5) 4-H Curriculum (After School Activities)

6) Great Science for Girls (Curriculum)

7) Sally Ride Science (Help improve science literacy, support Common Core and Next
    Generation Science Standards, and help students make connections between 
    STEM lessons and STEM careers with the Sally Ride Site License) 

8) 239 Cool STEM Websites for Kids

9) A is for Apps: Educators Share their Top Digital Tools of the Trade

10) Engage the Brain Game Series: (History, Math, English Language Arts, etc.)
      (Grades 6-8) (CASRC)

11) Fun Literacy Activities for After School Programs
      (History, English Language Arts, Reading, Visual and Performing Arts)
       (Grades K-8) (CASRC)

12) Camp BOOST Out-of-School-Time Program
      (Alcohol and Drugs, Mental, Emotional, and Social Health, Nutrition, etc.) 
      (Grades K-6) (CASRC)

STEM Grants:

1) 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.)

2) Google RISE Awards: (Apply by September 30, 2014)
    Programs with a focus on computer science are invited to submit proposals for the 
    Google RISE Awards. With grants ranging from $15,000 to $50,000; selected programs
    will be selected to expand their impact on their student body populations by widening 
    access to and interest in computer education. Programs aiming to improve education for 
    girls, underrepresented students, and low income students are encouraged to apply.

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) 

3) Whale Tail Grants: (Apply by November 1, 2014)
     is now accepting applications.  These grants support projects encouraging people 
     to value and take action to improve the health of California’s marine and coastal 
     environments. Educational projects improving the quality of beaches or coastal or 
     marine habitats are also eligible. This year there is a special subcategory for projects 
     addressing climate change and /or ocean acidification.  Emphasis is on reaching 
     underserved students or members of the public. 

     Applications mailed to the California Coastal Commission must be postmarked by
     November 1st. Nonprofits, schools, and government agencies may apply.  Applicants 
     may request up to $50,000, and 25-50% of the funding will be allocated in small grants 
     below $10,000. A total of $345,100 will be distributed.  For full guidelines and an 
     application, see the link at or call (800) Coast-4U.

4) Project WET: Grant Database (Over 20 different grants available)

STEM Professional Development / Misc. / Events / Contest:

    (SMUD Hosted) (September 20, 2014) (Free) (Grades 4 - 8)

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

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

      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)

      (Applications accepted September 3 through November 1, 2014) 
      (Award amount will range from $10,000 up to $150,000)
8) Invent a Board Game (Must submit by October 15, 2014)
     (Click on Link to see contest rules)

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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