Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Women's History Month: STEM-azing Facts about Ellen Ochoa

March is Women's History Month and as we celebrate the achievements that female STEM pioneers have engineered for us to make our lives easier, we here in Region 3 have decided to highlight the achievements of Ellen Ochoa (a space lover) in this month's Region 3 Blog Post. It also seems fitting that we highlight Ellen Ochoa and her accomplishments as the US enters its fifth decade in Space Exploration and understanding our complex universe.

Ellen Lauri Ochoa (born May 10, 1958) is a former astronaut and current Director of the Johnson Space Center. Ochoa became the first Hispanic woman in the world to go into space when she served on a nine-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1993.

Here are a few other STEM-azing facts about Ellen Ochoa:

1) Ellen Ochoa received a bachelor of science in physics from San Diego State
    University in 1980 and a master of science degree and doctorate in electrical
    engineering from Stanford University in 1981 and 1985, respectively.

2) Ellen Ochoa is a co-inventor on three patents for an optical inspection system, an
    optical object recognition method, and a method for noise removal in images.

3) Ellen Ochoa is a veteran of four space flights, logging more than 950 hours in

4) Ellen Ochoa's technical assignments have included flight software and computer
    hardware and robotics development, testing and training.

5) Ellen Ochoa was a crew member of STS-96 Discovery (May 27th to June 6, 1999),
    which was a 10-day mission during which the crew performed the first docking to the
    International Space Station.

For more information on Ellen Ochoa and her career, please click here.

Now lets take a closer look at and see how the students in expanded learning program 
have been engaged in STEM activities during the month of February.

Name of Expanded Learning Program Provider: Sacramento Chinese Community 
Service Center

Name of District(s): Sacramento City Unified School District

Name of School Site: Burbank High School 

Grade Level of Activity: 9th and 10th

Number of Students Who Took Part in The Activity: 20 students

Type of Activity: Computer Robotics and Programming (C-STEM Center UC Davis)

Learning Objectives of C-STEM Day:

C-STEM Day is organized to build public awareness and advocate for Integrated Computing and STEM education. The C-STEM Center and our partners organize curriculum-based RoboPlay Competitions in various regions on C-STEM Day at the end of May each year to further engage students in project-based team activities and to showcase their accomplishments and creativity not only in math and engineering, but also in writing, art, music, and film production.

Luther Burbank ASSETs students engaging in C-STEM activities.

For more information on the above STEM activities please contact Linda Vongthongkham at

Name of Expanded Learning Program Provider: Sacramento Chinese Community 
Service Center

Name of District(s): Sacramento City Unified School District

Name of School Site: Rosemont High School 

Grade Level of Activity: 9th and 10th

Number of Students Who Took Part in The Activity: 20 students

Type of Activity: First Robotics

Learning Objectives of First Robotics: The mission of First is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting Mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. 

Rosemont HS ASSETs students working on their First Robotics robot.

For more information on the above STEM activities please contact Brandon Alvarez at


STEM / Expanded Learning Program and Other Pertinent Educational Articles:

1) We Must Continue to Invest In After School Programs
    (Carlos Rojas, OC Register, March 5, 2016)

2) Why Students Should Take the Lead in Parent-Teacher Conferences (KQED, 2014)

3) Students Who Learn About Famous Scientists' Struggles Do Better In School 
    (Allison Eck, PBS, March 2,  2016)

4) Why Teaching Poetry is So Important
   (Andrew Simmons, The Atlantic, April 8, 2014)

5) Afterschool Special: Sacramento Youth Learn Food Literacy
    (Annamarie Sysling, Feedstock, March 3, 2016)

6) 5 Words and Phrases That Can Transform Your Work Life
   (Michael Grothaus, Fast Company, March 2, 2016)

7) Arts Integration Allows Students to Engage Abstract Concepts in New Ways
    (KQED, March 1, 2016)

8) State of Summer Learning (National Summer Learning Association)

9) 5 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Unmotivated Students
   (Jennifer Gonzalez, Cult of Pedagogy, February 20, 2016)

10) The Wrong Way to Teach Math (Andrew Hacker, NY Times, February 27, 2016)

11) Research Shows Diverse Classrooms Improve Learning For Everyone
      (Anya Kamenetz, KQED, February 29, 2016)

12) How Poor Science Education in Kindergarten Harms Kids
      (Lydia Lum, The Atlantic, February 27, 2015)

13) Acting Ed. Secretary John B. King says he's a believer in after school
      (Jillian Luchner, Afterschool Alliance, February 25, 2016)

14) Understanding Gender Identity in Young People (LIAS Blog March 2016)

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

1) Teach girls bravery, not perfection (TED Talk Video)

2) Elementary teacher creates "Gentleman's Club" to teach students life lessons
    (The Southern Weekend Video)

3) Sacramento Teen Wins CA Poetry Out Loud Competition (NPR Podcast)

4) How to Create a Culture of Trust (ALEX Kajitani Video)

5) Monroe Howard, SCUSD and Summer Learning (Sacramento and Co. Video)

6) 5 Books Guaranteed to Make Kids Love Science (Science Friday Book List)

7) PBL in the Arts Resource Guide (Education Closet- Free Resource)

8) Measurement - Monster Math Mix Up (Pinterest Resource)

9) Anti-Racism Activity: The Sneetches (Teaching Tolerance Activity)

10) Sci Girls STEM Activities (PBS Activities)

11) Great Video Resources for Teaching Math (Edutopia)

12) 10 Simple Interactive Whiteboard Tricks (Scholastic)

13) Resources for Filmmaking in the Classroom (Edutopia Resources)

STEM / Educational Grants:

1) National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)Enhancing Student 
    Mathematics Learning Through the Use of Tools and Technology  
    ($3,000 grants are available)
    (Deadline: May 6, 2016)

2) Math Moves U: Math Hero Award (Math hero receives a $2,500 grant and school 
    receives a matching award) (Deadline: Applications open Spring of 2016)

3) Youth Service America (Grant Database) (Currently no grants available at 
    this time, but a great site to add to your "History" bar. )

4) Best Satellite Providers: Technology Grants for Educators 
    17 Resources for Future Proof Kids
    (Deadline: Varies by Grant Opportunity)

    (This webpage has been updated since January and offers new grants)

STEM / Misc. Professional Development / Contest / Events:

1) Enter the Cypher: Hip Hop Education Series - A three session workshop
    series focused around the best practices to empower Expanded Learning 
    Practitioners to use Hip Hop as an engaging and exciting tool within their 
    program. Presented by the Low End Theory Collaborative
    (Dates: March 15, and April 12) 
    (Fee: $22.00 per session)

    (Free) (March 23, 2016)

    ($150 per participant) (April 22, 2016)

4) CA STEM Symposium 2016 (October 9-11, 2016: Fee: $285 per participant 
     before April 30, 2016)

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): promig@scoe.net

Mark Drewes (SCOE: Project Specialist II: After School) mdrewes@scoe.net

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