Thursday, February 12, 2015

Region 3's Expanded Learning Programs Love STEM

Outlier: STEM School Study (S3)

Outlier is excited to release the first round of foundlings from the STEM School Study (S3). These findings include the 8 Elements of inclusive STEM high schools, an interactive Roadmap of the path to STEM school success and updated Infographic that explores how STEM schools enact the 8 Elements on a daily basis.

Read further at University of Chicago's Outlier.

Navigating the Future of Afterschool Science

SRI's Afterschool Science Networks (ASN) study provides new insights and empirical findings regarding the offering of science learning opportunities at scale. Four meetings of after school and informal science stakeholders were held in March and April 2014 to discuss the ASN findings generated from 5 years of research (see research summary on page 12). These stakeholders helped SRI Education researchers generate a vision of science in after school settings, as well as recommendations for strengthening the field. This document presents this vision of powerful after school science and provides a set of recommendations to support after school settings at scale.

Read Navigating the Future of Afterschool Science: Afterschool Science Networks Study Recommendations

Next Generation Science Standards: Considerations for Curricula, Assessments, Preparation, and Implementation

Recent debates over the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have brought national attention to the issue of standards in schools. While more than 40 states and territories work to implement the CCSS, others are reconsidering and reviewing their standards.

This brief provides an overview of the NGSS, discusses issues for their policymakers to consider with regard to those standards, and presents examples from states considering or implementing the NGSS. Questions to consider and recommendations appear at the end of the document.

Read further here.

NGSS: Things to Know for February 2015

1) Standard of the Month: 1-ESS1-1: Use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to
    describe patterns that can be predicted. For a more in-depth look at this NGSS
    performance expectation and to search for others read more here.

2) In late January, the Boston Museum of Science's National Center for Technological
    Literacy brought together key stakeholders from nearly 30 organizations and
    institutions across the country to work together to advance PK-12 engineering                                            
    education nationwide. Read more about it here.

3) Engineers Week: an annual event which brings together dozens of engineering
    societies, educational organizations, businesses, and more, will be held from
    February 22-28, 2015 Read more about it here.

4) Academy Scope is a visualization of all reports that are available on the National
    Academies Press website (including the Framework and NGSS), allowing you to
    browse through the reports of the National Academies by topic area and see
    relationships between titles.

5) Interested in learning more about why crosscutting concepts are included in the
    NGSS? Read this short report from the Smithsonian Science Education Center.

6) NGSS performance expectations should be bundled for the purposes of both
    instruction and assessment. As described in the 2014 NRC report,
    Developing Assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards, the NGSS
    PEs are not intended to be assessed discretely or one-at-a-time. Instruction building
    toward a bundle of related PEs simultaneously will help students build a more coherent
    understanding of phenomena, and will also save a lot of instructional time.

And now to shine the spot light on the real STEM Stars of Region 3!!! Let's take a look at some of the STEM learning activities that our expanded learning program practitioners have engaged the children of Region 3 in recently:

Name of Out-of-School-Time ProviderSacramento Chinese Community Service Center

Name of District: Sacramento City Unified School District

School Site: Woodbine Elementary

Grade Level of Activity: 2nd Grade

Number of Students Who Took Part in the Activity: 19

Type of Activity: Water Pollution

Learning Outcomes - Students will:

  • learn about the importance of keeping the Earth clean by observing and learning how polluted water affects plants

ASES students adding food coloring to represent pollution in a water source.

ASES frontline practitioner engaging students in conversation about water pollution.
ASES students observing how water pollution can affect plants.

For more information on this activity please contact Yee Ying Vang at

Name of Out-of-School-Time ProviderSacramento Chinese Community Service Center

Name of District: Sacramento City Unified School District

School Site: Martin Luther King Jr. K-8 School

Grade Level of Activity: 6th through 8th

Number of Students Who Took Part in the Activity: 100+

Type of Activity: Field Trip to Exploratorium: The Museum of Science, Art and Humanities

On this field trip: MLK Jr. K-8 Middle School students incorporated their social emotional learning skills while navigating through a pitch black obstacle course. Students also had to work together to solve science equations and figure out the science behind the exhibits. 

ASES students discovered that color light exists behind white light.

ASES students learn how to conduct electricity.

For more information on this activity please contact Josh Yang at

Name of Out-of-School-Time ProviderSacramento Chinese Community Service Center

Name of District: Twin Rivers Unified School District

School Site: Foothill Oaks Elementary

Grade Level of Activity: 2nd thru 4th Grade

Number of Students Who Took Part in the Activity: 20

Type of Activity: Tangram Puzzles

The Learning Behind The Activity: Students were able to:

RAFT-Tangram Puzzles

  • Investigate equivalency using a tangram and compare pieces to the whole
  • Learn that a Tangram consists of seven pieces; 2 large right isosceles triangles, 1 medium right isosceles triangle, 2 small right isosceles triangles, 1 small square, and 1 parallelogram
  • Learn that each piece is called a "tan"
  • Learn that in Chinese "Tangram" means "the seven boards of cunning"
  • Learn how each tan relates to the other 6 tans
  • Learn about relationships between parts and the whole, and to equivalency in decimal, percent, and fractional forms
ASES students working on their tangram puzzles.

For more information on this activity please contact Sarah Heidel at

Name of Out-of-School-Time Provider: Sacramento Chinese Community 
Service Center

Name of School District: Sacramento City Unified School District

Name of School Site: John F. Kennedy High School

Grade Level of Activities: 9-12th Grade

Number of Students who took part in the STEM activities: 20

Type of Activity: Field Trip to California Academy of Sciences

On this field trip the students: 

  • Learned that the Academy of Sciences is among the largest museums of natural history in the world, housing millions of specimen.
  • Learned that the Academy offers a multi-biome aquarium, state of the art planetarium, natural history museum, and a four story rainforest - all under one roof.
  • Learned that the Academy is home to an estimated 40,000 live animals
  • Learned about some of these animals and the role that they play in their ecosystems and the importance of protecting them.
  • Learned about cosmology and how our universe is infinite.

ASSETs student taking in one of the biomes that they observed at the Academy of Sciences.

ASSETs students observing a biome.
For information on this field trip please contact Choua Yang at

Name of Out-of-School-Time ProviderSacramento Chinese Community Service Center

Name of District: Sacramento City Unified School District

School Site: C.K. McClatchy High School

Grade Level of Activity: 9 - 12th Grade

Number of Students Who Took Part in the Activity: 20

Type of Activity: Constructed a community garden.

Students, staff, and volunteers: Thanks to student volunteers, Scott from Lowe’s, the CKM Garden Club, ASB, HealthCorps, and ASSETs among others, what was once just an idea came to fruition with the breaking of grounds for the garden on Monday January 12. Students and volunteers helped dig the holes for posts, mix concrete for the posts, install the fencing, and unloaded and laid out the cinder block planter boxes. The vegetable compost mix was purchased and delivered from Hastie’s
Capitol Sand & Gravel. Students and volunteers spent two hours on Friday January 16 after school filling the new cinder block planter boxes with the mix.
Students will start planting in the Spring.

ASSETs Garden Crew.

ASSETs crew create a garden.

For more information on this activity please contact Teng Xiong at

Grade Level of Activity: 2nd thru 8th Grade

Number of Expanded Learning Program Practitioners Who Took                                                    
Part in the Activity: 35

Type of Activity: Maker Tub Mobile Kits (4 hands on activities)

Practitioners were able to:

  • Learn about how to take one activity and turn it into a Project Based Learning Activity
  • Learn about criteria and constraints during a die cut challenge
  • Learn how to work collaboratively on a task
  • Take part in a learning activity that hit all five principles of LIAS
  • Learn how to engineer a tower that could support a toy animal
  • Learn about squishy circuits and about creating a series
  • Learn about Physics; Potential vs. Kinetic Energy
  • How to encourage academic register into a learning activity
Expanded Learning Practitioners engineer a tower that can support a toy animal.

Expanded Learning Program Practitioners learn about squishy circuits.
Expanded Learning Program Practitioners learn about Potential vs. Kinetic energy.

For more information on this training please contact Phil Romig at or Mark Drewes at

STEM and Other Expanded Learning Program Practitioner Pertinent Educational Articles

1) California Districts to Pilot Next Generation Science Standards Professional Development 
    (The Journal)

2) Consistency, collaboration needed for effective implementation of science teaching                              
    standards (Homeland Security News Wire)

3) How I Plan to Eat an Elephant Named NGSS by Taylor Sullivan

4) Next Generation Science Standards: Jump Right In by Jennifer McGranahan

5) Girls Get Good Grades But Still Need Help. As for Boys …. SOS! (NPR)

6) Grief in The Classroom: "Saying Nothing Says A Lot" (NPR)

7) Meet The Classroom Of The Future (NPR)

8) What the Heck Is Project-Based Learning? (Edutopia)

9) 3 Strategies to Improve Student Writing Instantly (Edutopia)

10) The Art of Managing Middle School Students (Edutopia)

11) Summer Learning: Accelerating Student Success (NASBE Report)

12) Curriculum and Professional Development for OST Science Education (NIOST)

13) Federal Agencies Collaborate to Improve After-School Science, Technology,                                  
      Engineering and Math (STEM) Education (U.S. Department of Education)

14) Blocks, Play, Screen Time, And The Infant Mind  (NPR)

STEM (and other Integrated Core Content) Activities/Videos/Websites/Podcast

1) Bored ….. And Brilliant? A Challenge to Disconnect From Your Phone (Podcast)

2) Economists Say Millennials Should Consider Careers In Trades (Podcast) 

3) "Maker Space" Allows Kids To Innovate, Learn In The Hospital (Podcast)

4) By Dimming Its Lights, Museum Opens Doors for Kids with Autism (Podcast)

5) Tech Program Helps Put Latinos On A Path To Silicon Valley (Podcast)

6) The Catapult Project: Integrated Math Science Activity (Video)

7) Coding for Kids Revisited: Elementary (Resources)

8) Design Squad STEM Building Activities (Resources)

9) Science Friday Lessons and Activities (Resources)

10) 40 Reflection Questions (Resource)   

11) Resources for Learning About Empathy on Valentine's Day (Resources) 

12) 10 Creative activities for when your day doesn't go exactly how you planned

13) Engineering Adventures: Sky's the Limit (Lessons)

14) Green 360 Offers Programs with Pathways to Green Careers (Resources)

STEM Grants:

1) P.E. Equipment Grants:
     Deadline: March 1, 2015     
     Batters Up USA
     Free baseball and softball equipment for local organizations serving youngsters up to 

     age 13.

    Deadline: March 6, 2015
    The purpose of the Environmental Education Local Grants Program is to support 
    locally focused environmental education projects that increase public awareness 
    and knowledge about environmental issues and provide the skills that participants 
    in its funded projects need to make informed environmental decisions and take 
    responsible actions toward the environment. 30 grants will be awarded. 3 each from 
    the EPA's 10 Regional Offices. Maximum award per grant is roughly $91,000. 

3) Grant Wrangler: STEM Grant Database:(Grants available for Grades K-12)

5) Colocation America: STEM Innovation Grant
     Deadline: March 27, 2015
     Apply now for Colocation America's STEM Innovation Grant, which provides funding 
     to nonprofit charitable organizations in order to foster youth engagement in STEM        
     learning, especially for underrepresented groups in the field such as females and
     minority students. Selected programs will be awarded up to $7,500 to support
     purchasing materials, staff stipends, field trips, and resources.

STEM Professional Development / Misc. / Events / Contest

     (Free) (February 18, 2015) 

2) SMUD: Chemical Reactions (Grades 5-12) (Free) (February 19, 2015)

3) PEAK Student Energy Actions Teacher Training
    (Free) (February 21, 2015)

4) SMUD: Project WET (Grades 4-12) (Free) (March 7, 2015)

5) SCOE: Project WET (Grades 4-12) (Free) March 3 Day 1 and March 10 Day 2)

6) California STEM Summit 2015 (L.A. March 16 and 17, 2015)

7) SMUD: Chemical Reactions (Grades 5-12) (Free) (March 19, 2015)

8) SMUD: Energy and Me!! (Grades Pre K- 3) (Free) (March 21, 2015)

    ($60) (March 14 15, 2015)

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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