Friday, March 13, 2015

Spring Forward With STEM

Federal STEM Education: 5 Year Strategic Plan

The Committee of STEM Education National Science and Technology Counsel has released the 5 year strategic plan for Federal STEM Education. In this report, a number of inter-related goals are highlighted:

  • It will help Federal STEM efforts reach more students and more teachers more effectively by reorienting Federal policy to meet the needs of those who are delivering STEM education (i.e. school districts, states, colleges, and universities)
  • It will help in reorganizing efforts and redirecting resources around more clearly defined priorities with accountable lead agencies
  • It will enable rigorous evaluation and evidence-building strategies for Federal STEM-education programs

To view the whole report, click here.

The Next Generation Science Standards: Standards with a Purpose:

Few things are more inspiring than watching a student ask "why" - except, perhaps, seeing that student use their skills and knowledge to confidently and effectively seek an answer to their own questions to make sense of the world around them. Read more here.

Pathways To College And Career Readiness:
Bringing The New California Standards To Life Through Linked Learning

The Education Trust-West has recently released a report titled "Pathways to College and Career Readiness: Bringing the New California Standards to Life Through Linked Learning," which discusses how implementing linked learning pathways into curriculum can ease the transition into the new state standards.

For more information and to read the full article, click here.

Assemblywoman Bonilla Calls for Funding for NGSS, Local Schools, and Teacher Development

Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla has recently announced the induction of AB 631. The bill seeks to allocate approximately $2 billion from the State General Fund to be invested for professional development and enhanced technology-based instruction that is aligned with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.

For more information and to read the full press release, click here.

Change the Equation Highlights the Aging STEM Workforce

In recognition of Engineer's week, Change the Equation has released an article titled: "Where are the young STEM workers." This article highlights the aging STEM workforce, where despite growing demand for employees, young STEM professionals are scarce.

For more information, and to read the full article, click here.

NGSS: Things to Know for March 2015

1) The NGSS EQuIP Professional Learning Facilitator's Guide is now available. It is a series of 10 modules that were designed to provide guidance on building the capacity of educators and education leaders to use the EQuIP Rubric for Science. To access these guides, click here.

2) The annual NGSS Network Leadership Conference just wrapped up in San Francisco, California. The conference brought together state teams (e.g., state education agency staff, district leadership, and key stakeholders) to work on implementation planning. Look out for the powerpoint presentations and other resources associated with the conference to be posted to in the coming weeks.

3) Interested in learning more about the implications of NGSS science and engineering practices on instruction, assessment, and professional development? Check out this article by Richard Duschl and Rodger Bybee.

4) Linden, Rahway prepare for the new science standards by Michelle H. Daino

5) HS-ETS1-2: (Standard of the month) Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.

Now lets spring forward to see what the real STEM Stars of Region 3 have been up to within the past month. The following STEM learning activities are activities that our expanded learning program practitioners have engaged the children of Region 3 in recently:

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

Name of District: Sacramento City Unified School District

School Site: Kit Carson International Baccalaureate Candidate School

Grade Level of Activity: 6th thru 8th

Number of Students Who Took Part in the Activity: 20

Type of Activity: Engineering Everywhere: Food for Thought: Engineering Ice Cream

Learner Outcomes: Students will:

  • learn that they can use the Engineering Design Process to help solve problems
  • learn that engineers design technologies to help people and solve problems
  • learn that they have talent and potential for designing and improving technologies
  • they too are process engineers
  • be engaged in open ended challenges that are directly tied to NGSS standards
  • also learn to work in collaborative groups

Students working together to engineer a spaghetti tower that can host a marshmallow. Prep. Activity #1

Students taste testing the ice cream they just created. Activity #2

    Students engineering the perfect container to house their ice cream in.

    Process Engineers who are now pitching their new ice cream product to their peers.

    For more information on this activity, please feel free to reach out to the site coordinator at Kit Carson Wendy Tsan at

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

    Name of District: Sacramento City Unified School District

    School Site: Nicholas Elementary School

    Grade Level of Activity: 5th

    Number of Students Who Took Part in the Activity: 20

    Type of Activity: Computer Coding

    Learner Outcomes: Students will:
    • be engaged in a collaborative, creative curriculum that is aligned to CCSS
    • learn how the Internet works
    • learn about basic computer programming logic
    • learn about problem solving
    • be engaged in creative learning

    Nicholas students engaged in computer coding exercises.

    For more information on the computer coding learning activities that the students of Nicholas are engaged in after school, please contact Rian Carroll (site coordinator) at

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

    Name of District: Sacramento City Unified School District

    School Site: William Land Elementary

    Grade Level of Activity: 4th/5th

    Number of Students Who Took Part in the Activity: 25

    Type of Activity: Roller Coaster

    Learner Outcomes: Students will:

    • use knowledge of potential / kinetic energy to construct a roller coaster
    • discuss the effects of gravity and friction in the context of their roller coaster design
    • use the Engineer Design Process
    • understand that the height of an object is related to the distance that an object can travel

    Students engineering their own roller coasters.

      For more information on this after school activity please contact David Constancio at

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

      Name of District: Sacramento City Unified School District

      School Site: Martin Luther King Jr. K-8

      Grade Level of Activity: 6th thru 8th

      Number of Students Who Took Part in the Activity: 25

      Type of Activity: Electric Play Dough

      Learner Outcomes: Students will:

      • explore and understand the continuity between conductive materials that allow electricity to flow freely
      • create a circuit with conductive dough and insulating dough that will light up an LED light bulb
      • use the Engineering Design Process

      Students creating a circuit that will light up an LED bulb.

      For more information on this after school STEM learning activity, please contact Josh Yang (site coordinator) at

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

      Name of District: Sacramento City Unified School District

      School Site: Caroline Wenzel Elementary

      Grade Level of Activity: 3rd thru 5th

      Number of Students Who Took Part in the Activity: 25

      Type of Activity: Marble Mazes, Suspension Bridges, and Boat Building

      Learner Outcomes: Students will:

      • use the Engineer Design Process
      • discuss the effects of gravity and friction in the context of their marble maze
      • engage in a collaborative activity
      • explore designs of bridges and boats

      Caroline Wenzel students engaging in STEM month activities.

      For more information on these after school STEM learning activities, please contact Kae Saeteurn at

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

      Name of District: Sacramento City Unified School District

      School Site: John Still K-8

      Grade Level of Activity: 2nd thru 3rd

      Number of Students Who Took Part in the Activity: 25

      Type of Activity: Star Readers Activities using Nexus tablets

      Learner Outcomes: Students will:

      • use the Nexus tablet to access the app Read Me to help them improve their reading skills
      • improve upon their 21st Century Skills
      • build on their love for reading

      Students using the Nexus tablet to read to each other.

      For more information on this after school STEM learning activity, please contact Kaycee Moua (site coordinator at

      STEM and Other Expanded Learning Program Pertinent Educational Articles

      1) Teachers can get plenty of help in implementing standards by Tricia Shelton (Kentucky Teacher)

      2) Why Chevron is Helping Fund STEM Education by Tim Bajarin (Time Magazine)

      3) Developing a Growth Mindset in Teachers and Staff by Keith Heggart (Edutopia)

      4) Strategies to Support English Language Learners by Todd Finley (Edutopia)

      5) A Project Idea for Student Power by Milton Chen (Edutopia) 

      6) 4 Tips to Build Student Confidence by Matt Levinson (Edutopia)

      7) Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement by Heather Wolpert-Gawron (Edutopia)

      8) The Numbers Add Up To This: Less and Less Opportunity for Poor Kids by Marilyn Geewax (NPR)

      9) Math Love, Game Based Learning, And More From NPR Ed at #SXSWEdu by Anya Kamenetz (NPR)

      10) Quality Matter for Youth in School-Based OST (Report by Public Profit)

      11) Expanded Learning, SB 1221, and More: An Interview with Michael Funk, California After School Division Director (Part 1) by Sam Phia  Click here for part 2 (Temescal and Associates)

      12) Expanded Learning Time: A Summary of Findings from Case Studies in Four States
            by Center for Education Policy

      STEM (and other integrated core content) Activities / Videos / Websites / Podcast

      1) Young Gifted and Black Teaches Oakland Students History with Music (KQED) (Video)

      2) Five Keys to Rigorous Project - Based Learning (Edutopia) (Video)

      3) 12 Empowering Children's Books To Add To Little Girls' Bookshelves (Bust) (Resources)

      4) The Teacher Who Believes Math Equals Love by Cory Turner (NPR) (Podcast)

      5) Where Have All of The Teachers Gone? by Eric Westervelt (NPR) (Podcast)

      6) Behold The Humble Block! Tools of The Trade by Eric Westervelt (NPR) (Podcast)

      7) Teaching The Holocaust: New Approaches for A New Generation by Eric Westervelt (NPR) (Podcast)

      8) NGSS: A Vision for K-12 Science Education (Teaching Channel) (Video)

      9) Downloadable professional development guide shows you how to conduct a workshop for educators who will be teaching Engineering Adventures or Engineering Everywhere curricula. We've just enhanced the experience with four new after school PD videos that illuminate some of the activities in the workshop. (Free Resources)

      STEM Grants: 

      1) Apply now for Colocation America's STEM Innovtion Grant, which provides funding to nonprofit charitable organizations in order to foster youth engagement in STEM Learning.
      (Awarded up to $7500) (Deadline: March 27, 2015)

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

      3) Grant Wrangler: Health and PE Grant Database / Resources

      STEM / Other Content Area Professional Development / Misc. / Events / Contest

      1) Invisible Universe (Grades 6-12) This GEMS unit has great take away lessons which can be used in Physics and Anstronomy. (March 19, 2015 4:30 to 7:00 PM) (SMUD) (appetizers provided) (Free)

      2) Energy and Me (Grades preK-3) In Energy and Me! teachers will learn how to present energy concepts with playacting, singing, and dancing. Teachers will receive a classroom kit from Project Learning Tree. (March 21, 2015 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM) (breakfast and lunch provided) (SMUD) (Free)

      3) Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center's STEM Expo
      (March 26, 2015 from 3:330 PM to 5:30 PM at Will C. Wood Middle School)

      4) Code.Org Workshops at Elliott Ranch Elementary Computer Lab on 4/11/15 and 4/25/15
      9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (Free)

      5) Code.Org Workshops at Arden Middle School Computer Lab on 4/18/15
      9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Free)

      6) 2015 Central Valley STEM Conference (April 25, 2015 from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM)

      7) ConnectED Studios: Hunger Games Challenge (Deadline: May 1, 2015)

      8) CalSAC presents the Afterschool Challenge Registration Available (May 11 - 12, 2015)

      9) Take the English Learning in Action: Introduction training to learn about how English learners are identified in California public schools and recognize the second language acquisition levels. Participants obtain strategies for providing social and academic support to newcomers, including tips for facilitating discussion and maximizing peer support in after school programs. (Online Training) (Free) (CASRC)

      10) Be sure to visit the Digital Open Education Sources page on the OER Commons Web site for lessons and activities can be implemented in expanded learning environments with minimal preparation and materials. (Online) (Free) (CASRC)

      11) The Building Number Sense Through the Common Core resource explains how to teach young students about fluidity and flexibility with numbers, an understanding of what numbers mean, and the ability to compute operations and to compare numbers (number sense).
      (Free to checkout from CASRC)

      12) Based on a specific theme, each tub in the Learning Science Activity Tub Series contains a unit overview, up to 40 student-centered activity cards, hands on activities, and manipulatives. Subjects include: Solar System, Insects, Rocks and Soil, Electricity, Simple Machines, and Animals.
      (Free to checkout from CASRC)

      13) The Creative Minds Out of School curriculum consists of three thematically based units, each containing seven lessons that teach various visual arts concepts and skills (a total of 21 lessons).
      (Free to checkout from CASRC)

      14) Keeping it Real: Drug Resistance Strategies is a culturally competent and research-validated alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use prevention curriculum that teaches drug resistance skills to middle school students. (Free to checkout from CASRC)

      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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