Monday, August 24, 2015

Back to School with STEM

NGSS Things to Know for August

1) Active Engagement in the Practices: The science and engineering practices
    (i.e., "practices") allow students to make their thinking visible. The Framework 
    for K-12 Science Education identified eight important practices that are essential
    for all students to learn and discuss how those practices look different over time
    from Kindergarten to grade 12 (see Appendix F: Science and Engineering Practices 
    in the NGSS for summaries of what students should be able to do by the end of
    each grade band for each practice and see the appendix of the Evidence 
    Statements for a description of each part of each practice).

2) Hard copies of the NGSS are available from If you choose to
    print them on your own, you can find PDFs arranged in two ways online here. One
    arrangement shows the performance expectations listed by topic, and the other lists
    them by disciplinary core idea.

3) RVCC prepares teachers for science standards
    (Raritan Valley Community College; July 27, 2015)

4) Building an Investigation, NGSS-style 
    (by Tom Hathorn, CORElaborate; July 6, 2015)

Now lets take a closer look at and see how the students and expanded learning program practitioners  have been engaged in STEM activities during the month(s) of July and August.

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

Name of District: Sacramento City Unified School District

Grade Level of Activity: 3rd thru 4th

Number of Students who Took Part in the Activity:  60 per 3 hour session

Type of Activity: River Bend Outdoor Education Summer Program

Learner Outcomes - Students will:

  • Learn about the history of the American River Parkway
  • Learn about the importance of being stewards of the environment
  • Learn about the various habitats and organisms that call the River Bend area home
  • Take part in an Engineering Design Process Challenge
  • Conduct a bioassessment of a stream by sampling aquatic macro invertebrates
  • Identify different macro invertebrates that they discover in the American River
  • Take a nature hike through River Bend Park
A Mule deer greets the students as they arrive at River Bend.

Ranger Joe greets the Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center students.

START Students identify the local aquatic macro-invertebrates.

Name of District(s): Elk Grove Unified School DistrictSan Juan Unified School District,
and Twin Rivers Unified School District

Grade Level of Activities: K thru 12th (Taught to the frontline practitioners who work with these students)

Number of Expanded Learning Program Practitioners who took part in the activities: 252

Type of Activity: STEM Professional Development for Expanded Learning Program

Learner Outcomes: Participants will:

  • Learn about the importance of engaging youth in high-quality STEM learning activities
  • Learn how to incorporate the 5 LIAS Principles into a learning activity
  • Learn skills and strategies for materials management, grouping, facilitating inquiry, and accounting for different learning modalities
  • Learn about the Engineering Design Process (NGSS) and how to engage our youth in STEM learning activities  that utilize the Engineering Design Process
  • Learn how to engage students in and facilitate (from the side) low cost, high-quality, open design, hands on NGSS aligned (specifically the Engineering Design Process) STEM learning activities
  • Learn about and practice debriefing strategies that will allow us to deepen our students' understanding and check for understanding
  • Discuss not only how to modify these STEM learning activities to fit the age / need of their students, but also how to make them interdisciplinary

TRUSD Expanded Learning Practitioners learning about air resistance.

SJUSD Expanded Learning Practitioners working on meeting the criteria and constraints of the Tower of Power Challenge.

Anna Kirchgater (EGUSD) expanded learning practitioners create their own anti-gravity string inventions.

STEM / Expanded Learning / and Other Pertinent Educational Articles

1) California Furlough Bill Would Provide Relief for Cash-Strapped After School 
    Programs (Kathryn Baron, Education Week, July 27, 2015)

2) Summer school: Oasis in East San Jose, San Ramon, Oakland
    (Sharon Noguchi, Mercury News, July 20, 2015)

3) 8 Ways to Make Students Feel Welcome on First Day of School
    (Chad Donohue, neaToday, August 5, 2015)

4) 12 Things Students Remember Most About Good Teachers
     (Saga Briggs, informED, June 28, 2015)

5) New Teachers: Designing Learning Environments
    (Edutopia, May 7, 2015)

6) 3 Strategies to Improve Student Writing Instantly
    (Ali Parrish, Edutopia, October 27, 2014)

7) Teacher Shortages Spur a Nationwide Hiring Scramble 
    (Credentials Optional) (Motoko Rich, NY Times, August 9, 2015)

8) Creative Destruction in Teaching (and the Ongoing Relevance of Teachers)
    (Don Wettrick, Edutopia, June 22, 2015)

9) What do Students Lose by Being Perfect? Valuable Failure
    (Holly Korbey, KQED News, August 12, 2015)

10) Many Students Lack Access to Computer Science Learning
      (Brandon Busteed and Susan Sorenson, Gallup Blog, August 20, 2015)

11) How The Common Core Will Help The United States Bring Up Its Grade
      On Mathematics Education
      (Max Marchitello and Catherine Brown, EdBrief, August 20, 2015)

12) Federal Decision Limits California's Local Control Over Programs to 
      Help Low-Income Students
      (EdBrief August 20, 2015)

13) New Universal Meal Service Option Now Available for High-Proverty School
      (EdBrief August 20, 2015) 

14) Creative Ways To Solicit Youth Input
      (Public Profit)

15) New Report: What Cities Have Learned About Building After School Systems
      (Wallace Foundation, July 2015)

16) Newly Released State of the State of Expanded Learning in CA 2014-2015
      (California After School Network)

STEM (and other interdisciplinary core content) Activities / Videos / Websites /

1) Why Study Math? Because It's Forever.
    (TED Talk, Eduardo Saenz de Cabezon)

2) Should students learn coding? Students, schools disagree, poll finds
    (CBS News, Video)

3) Teacher Shortage? Or Teacher Pipeline Problem
     (Eric Westervelt, NPR, August, 19, 2015) (Podcast)

4) Disrupting Tech's Diversity Problem With A Code Camp
    For Girls of Color
    (Eric Westervelt, NPR, August 17, 2015) (Podcast)

5) Study Finds Education Does Not Close Racial Wealth Gap
    (Brakkton Booker, NPR, August 17, 2015) (Podcast)

6) When A Budget Motel Is Home, There's Little Room For Childhood
     (Tess Vigeland, NPR, August 16, 2015) (Podcast)

7) STEM Teaching Tools Website (Resources)
8) 20 Skills that Make STEM Click (Resource: Click2Science PD)

9) STEM Activities (Click2Science PD)

10) Engineering Adventures Activities (Grades 3-5: Free Activities)

11) Engineering Everywhere Activities (Grades 6-8: Free Activities)

12) K-3 STEM Class Lessons (Free Activities)

13) Integrated STEM Activities for Middle and High School Students
      (Free Activities)

STEM / Educational Grants

1) The Big List of Educational Grants and Resources (Edutopia)

2) Field Trip Grants from Target (Deadline: 12:00 PM CST September 30, 2015)

3) Grant Wrangler: STEM Grants (Rolling Dates)

4) CREEC Grant Data Base  (Rolling Dates)

5) California After School Network Funding Opportunities (Rolling Dates)

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

1) Adolescent Learning Symposium - Los Angeles (September 21, 2015)

2) 2015 California STEM Symposium (October 28 - 30, 2015)

3) Electricity Fair (Grades Pre K-12) (September 12, 2015) (Free)

4) Project WET and EEI (Grades K-12) (September 26, 2015) (Free)

5) Solar School House (Grades K-12) (October 3, 2015) (Free)

6) GEMS Dry Ice Investigations (Grades 5-12) (October 29, 2015) (Free)

7) GEMS Electric Circuits (Grades 3-9) (November 7, 2015) (Free)

8) Workshops (Numerous upcoming dates)

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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