Thursday, August 18, 2016

August is Family Fun Month: Family Fun STEM Activities

August is Family Fun Month. Each year, Family Fun Month is celebrated throughout the month of August. It is the opportune time to enjoy family with extra fun activities. So to help your families have some STEM fun this month here are a few resources to share with them:

1) STEM Family Activities Workbook (Boston Museum of Science)

2) Family Science Night Activities (Science Buddies)

3) Family Science Activities (Family Science)

4) Hands on Family Activities (Science of Everyday Life)

Let's see what STEM learning activities the Summer Learning Program practitioners have been engaging the Region 3 students in.

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

Name of District: Sacramento City Unified School District

School Site: A.M. Winn Elementary School

Grade Level of Activity: 2nd and 3rd grade

Number of students who took part in the activity: 17

Type of Activity: Art and Engineering - Constructing weight-bearing water bombs

Learning Outcomes - Students were able to: 

  • Understand different shapes, sizes, and number of edges with different folds
  • Follow multiple-step instructions to create a shape of a weight-bearing figure
  • Understand the importance of foundation and structure for their creation to bear weight and float
  • Problem solve to reinforce the structure's sides and edges to hold more weight
  • Creatively decorate their structure 

Students working on their weight-bearing water bombs.

For more information on this activity please contact Michaela Dragos 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: 6th grade

Number of students who took part in the activity: 20

Type of Activity: STEAM - Respiratory System

Learning Outcomes - Students were able to:

  • Gain an understanding of the respiratory system's function and role in the body
  • Engage in a physical learning activity (musical chairs) 
  • Start with small movements and build their way up so they realize how more vigorous activities require more work and effort
  • Learn more about the importance of the respiratory system, what and the effects that it would have on the body if you cause damage to it
  • Deepen their understanding of the respiratory system through playing a Jeopardy style game 

Students learning about the respiratory system by playing a game of musical chairs.

For more information on this activity please contact Stephanie Vega at

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

Name of District: Twin Rivers Unified School District

School Site: Foothill Oaks Elementary School

Grade Level of Activity: Elementary

Number of students who took part in the activity: 14

Type of Activity: In the past 3 weeks of summer program, our Kinder-2nd grade class explored the human body systems by learning anatomy terms, the basic functions of the systems, and the locations of organs. About 80% of the students are able to identify bones, muscles, respiratory organs, and digestive organs. As an end product, students constructed a visual of an athlete’s body systems with premade organ print outs. The students reviewed the engineering design process to plan how they were going to execute this activity. The students decided to have everyone color and cut the page they were assigned. After the pieces had been cut, they helped each other construct the athlete. Overall, the activity proved to be a beneficial way to review and an excellent way for students to apply the engineering design process in a different way.

Learning Outcomes - Students were able to: 

  • Understand how the Engineering Design Process (EDP) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are applicable to the human body systems
  • Combine aspects of art, science, technology, engineering, and math concepts in order to develop and strengthen their 21st Century Skills
  • Be able to differentiate between the systems of the human body and understand how they work together to make the human body function properly
  • Understand how the systems of the human body work together to help Olympians compete and stay healthy

Students discussing and creating a model of the digestive system.

Students working on the muscular system model.

For more information on this activity please contact Sarah Heidel at

STEM / Expanded Learning Program and Other Pertinent Education Articles:

1) State Expanded Learning Policy Update (CAN August 2016 Newsletter) 

2) Funding for Afterschool Maintained in House Education Spending Bill
     (Afterschool Alliance August 2016)

3) USDA Issues Final Rules Support Healthy School Snacks and Wellness Policies
    (CAN August 2016 Newsletter)

4) Using Local Control to Expand Learning Opportunities 
    (Partnership for Children and Youth)

5) LIAS Blog: SEL and the Challenge of Context, Culture, and Focus (August 2, 2016)

6) Sports drinks aren't recharging your kids. They're just pumping them 
    full of sugar. (Casey Seidenberg, Washington Post, July, 26, 2016)

7) Baltimore summer school does the seemingly impossible 
   - the kids actually want to be there 
   (Meredith Kolodner, The Hechinger Report, August, 8, 2016)

8) To Boost Kids' Reading, Detroit Is Installing 97 Little Libraries 
    Around the City (Breana Noble, Detroit News, July 28, 2016)

9) How efforts to combine arts with STEM education could improve tech diversity
   (Max Lewontin, The Christian Science Monitor, December 16, 2015)

10) Students who use social media score lower in math, reading, and science 
      (Liana Heitin, PBS Newshour, August 17, 2016)

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

1) National PTA's STEM Initiative: STEM + Families (Resources / Video)

2) Setting up Science for Fall - Preschool / K Inspirations 
    (Activity Areas / Stations)

3) The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers (Video)

4) 30 Science Projects for Kids (Activities for Pre K - 2)

5) Parachute Parade (Activity for Grades 3-6)

6) Six Simple Outdoor STEM Activities (Activities for Grades 3-6)

7) Healthy Eating Learning Activity (Activity for Grades K-4)

8) Art Quest: Creating Marbled Paper  (Activity for Pre K - 4)

9) Social Justice Books for Kids to Teach About Global Issues (K-6)

10) Boeing: 100 Days of Learning (Activities for Grades 4-9)

11) Expanding Student Success 
     (Resources for advocating for Expanded Learning)

12) Top STEM Resources (Activities)

STEM / Educational Grants:

1) The Big List of Educational Grants and Resources
    (Updated last on 7/31/16)

2) Target Field Trip Grants ($700)  (August 1 through September 30, 2016)

3) Investing in Innovation (Development) Grants (Deadline: August 16, 2016)

4) Global Youth Service Day Lead Agency Grants (Deadline: August 21, 2016)
    (Awarding between $500 to $1,000 to each recipient)

5) MacArthur Foundation 100 and Change Grant (Deadline: September 2, 2016)

6) Read for Success Matching Grant Program (Deadline: October 15, 2016)
    (Maximum grant award is $10,000 per site)

STEM / Misc. Professional Learning Sessions / Contests / Events:

1) Electricity Fair a Family Event (Free) (Grades Pre K - 12) (SMUD Event)
    (Date: 9/10/16) (Time: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.)

2) GEMs Electric Circuits (Free) (Grades 3 thru 9) (SMUD Workshop)
    (Date: 9/24/16) (Time: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.)

3) CA STEM Symposium ($310 per participant until 9/1/16) (Conference)
    (Date: 10/9 - 10/11) (Anaheim, CA)

4) GEMs Spooky Science of Energy Transformation (Free) (Grades 5-12)
    (SMUD Workshop) (Date: 10/19/16) (Time: 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.)

5) Making a Solar Powered Emergency Preparedness Kit (Free) (Grades 8-12)
    (SMUD Workshop) (Date: 11/02/16) (Time: 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.)

6) CASRC Online Profesional Learning Sessions (Free) 
    (Various Topics / Grade Levels)

7) CalSac Online Professional Learning Sessions (Free) 
    (Various Topics / Grade Levels)

8) CalSac Training of Trainers Institute 
    (Become a CalSac trainer deadline to register is August 26, 2016)

More professional learning workshops will be announced by SCOE in the coming weeks.

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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