Contra Costa County Office of Education

            September 28, 2012 

STEAM Masthead
Featured Sections
Teacher Opportunities and Professional Development
Grants and Scholarships
Classroom Resources
Student Opportunities
Choose Civility
Join Our Mailing List
STEAM News and Events 




Welcome back to the 2012-2013 school year. There are many resources and activities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics to engage students in the classroom. The Common Core Standards offer the perfect opportunity to integrate STEAM into the classroom. Check out Contra Costa County Office of Education's Common Core site for resources, trainings, and up-to-date information. Join us on October 29 & 30, for the San Francisco - Bay Area Common Core State Standards SUMMIT. For more information, contact Marsha TokuyoshiTo register, visit this Eventbrite site.


Many teachers in Contra Costa County have excellent lessons to share. For instance, Monina Salazar's 3rd grade class was featured on KQED's Edspace for their work with podcasts. Check out the video and to see an excellent example of STEAM in the classroom.


CCCOE will continue to partner with KQED, Lawrence Hall of Science and other local organizations to provide STEAM programs like the Bringing out the Builder Workshop held this summer. Nancy Yamamoto blogs about the program and how media is transformative for teachers and students.


A few more things that will be here before we know it: We are eagerly anticipating the draft release of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for November. Planning is underway for the 3rd Annual STEAM Colloquium - Full STEAM Ahead...Pathways to the Future to be held on February 8, 2013.  


Look for more information to come! Stay up-to-date with the STEAM Enews and at our website. Feel free to contact  Hilary Dito with questions, comments and thoughts about integrating STEAM into your classroom. 

Teacher Opportunities and Professional Development

Bay Area Earth Science Institute (BAESI) Workshops

The BAESI workshops for teachers of grades 4-12 address California science standards and present a blend of science concepts and ready-to-use classroom activities for teaching them.   


The day-long workshops will be held on the San Jose State University campus or at the Chevron Headquarters in San Ramon.  Here is the upcoming schedule: September 29, Volcanoes, SJSU; October 13, Discussing Evolution in the ClassroomNovember 17: The Changing Future of Energy, Chevron Headquarters. To register online, visit their website. For more information contact: Ellen Metzger at (408) 924-5048. 

The workshop is free. For those looking to earn SJSU credit, you may combine any two sessions to earn 1 unit of Geology 104, for $50.  


NOTE: First preference for registration will be given to those who teach in Alameda or Contra Costa Counties. Other teachers are welcome to request a spot in these sessions, and will be notified about space availability two weeks prior to the workshop date. 

Lindsay Wildlife Museum Educator Resource Fair  

This an opportunity to explore the science and math resources available in our community. Attendees will learn about field trips, programs, and instructional materials to excite their students about science and math. The afternoon will also include educator workshops about Common Core Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, best practices in science education, and more.

The free open house will be held on October 1, 3:30 - 5:30 p.m., at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, in Walnut Creek. For more information, contact Connie Loosli at (925) 627-2922. 

Chabot Space and Science Center's Educators' Night 

Come to Chabot Space and Science Center's 2nd annual Educators' Night and see the programs and opportunities available to students and educators.  The evening includes keynote speakers Helen Quinn and Jonathan Osborne, authors of the new Framework for K-12 Science Education. There will be finger food, beverages, and a raffle for prizes held throughout the evening.


The event will be held on  October 4, 4:00 - 7:00 p.m., at the Chabot Space and Science Center, in the Oakland hills. Registration is required, visit this Web page to learn more.

UC Davis Fall Robotics Academy

The UC Davis Fall Robotics Academy is now open for registration. Robotics can easily get students engaged and excited in learning STEM concepts by blending academics with fun. The UC Davis C-STEM Center and its industrial partners have developed an innovative modular robotics technology called Mobot for integrating computing, robotics, and engineering into K-12 math and science education.This Robotics Academy introduces teachers to the innovative Mobot curriculum and how to integrate it into STEM classroom teaching and after-school programs, including RoboPlay Competitions on UC Davis C-STEM Day, on April 13, 2013. Registration covers instruction, supplementary textbooks, teaching materials, software licenses for teaching, morning beverage, lunch, and UC Davis C-STEM Center support for implementation of the program.


The Robotics Academy will be held October 13-14, at 1062 Bainer Hall, UC Davis Campus. Cost is $199 before September 28 and $249 after. Registration is now open on their website. 

California Science Education Conference 

The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) presents the 2012 California Science Education Conference, Get In The Know. Join science educators from around the state to attend over 200 workshops and network with science educators. This year's conference includes strands on the Common Core Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, STEM Education, Science Literacy and Early Science Education (Pre-K through 2).


The conference will be held October 19 - 21, at the San Jose Convention Center.  Cost is $105 - $125 for CSTA Members and $158 - $177 for non-members. For more information go to the conference's website.

Mathematics Series for Young Children

The Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), Local Planning Council for Child Care and Development, and California Preschool Instructional Network presents a STEAM professional development series: Mathematics Series for Young Children. Participants can attend one, two, or all three of the trainings. They will learn about research in early STEAM, be familiar with the California Preschool Learning Foundations in mathematics, and explore how STEAM can be integrated in the classroom.

The upcoming presentations will be held on October 11: Number Sense,

November 8: Geometry, and January 10: Measurement. The courses will be held 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the CCCOE in Pleasant Hill. Cost is $15 per person; dinner will be provided. To register, go to Eventbrite.   For more information, contact Ruth Fernandez, CCCOE at (925) 942-3413.   

Geological Field Trip on Mount Diablo - A Teachers' Workshop The Northern California Geological Society (NCGS in association with the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association (MDIA), Mount Diablo State Park, and the Bay Area Earth Science Institute (BAESI) presents:Geological Field Trip on Mount Diablo - A Teachers' Workshop. In this full-day workshop keyed to the California Earth Science Standards, you'll learn the geology of Mount Diablo and experience two half-day field trips that you can run for your students to help them understand earth's history, plate tectonics, erosion, and mountain-building. The workshop, which is particularly targeted to sixth grade science teachers, will be limited to 25 teachers.


This free workshop will be held on Saturday, October 20th, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., at the Albany Middle School, in Albany. If you wish to earn academic credit, for an additional fee of $50 and attendance at another full-day workshop, you will be eligible to earn 1 unit of Geology 104 at San Jose State University.  For more information, contact Ellen Metzger at (408) 924-5048, or to register, please visit the BAESI website.

Saturday Seminars

The Bay Area Mathematics Project, the Bay Area Science Project, and the Bay Area Writing Project are sponsoring Saturday Seminars, a free professional development series connecting Math, Science and Writing.  

Saturday seminars will be held at Albany Middle School, in Albany, from 8:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m., on the following dates: September 29, Common Core Connections; February 2, Examining Student Work; and 

March 23, Accessing our Complex Language.  Registration is open on Eventbrite.

Eureka Series: 2012 Sacramento - San Joaquin Delta Institute

California State Parks, in partnership with the California Institute for Biodiversity presents Eureka Series: 2012 Sacramento - San Joaquin Delta Institute. This four-day institute will examine how physical geography, natural history, and human interactions have shaped the Delta, and explore ways to manage it wisely into the future.  Hands-on activities, field explorations, and content overviews will prepare you to inspire your students with the importance of the Delta in their lives. All of these resources are aligned with California Standards for 6th through 12th grade. Participating teachers will be asked to clearly describe how they will use this information in the classroom.


The Institute will be held November 3-4 and 10-11, at the Big Break Regional Shoreline, in Oakley. The cost is $75 per person. For more information and to register, visit the Institute's website.

NSTA Next Generation Science Standards Webinar Series

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is presenting a series of free Web seminars on the practices described in A Framework for K-12 Science Education, released in 2011 by the National Research Council (NRC). The Next Generation Science Standards (expected to be released next year) are based on the Framework. The Framework describes the major practices, cross-cutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas that all students should be familiar with by the end of high school.


The webinars will be held live, 3:30-5:00 p.m. (PT) on the following dates:

  • October 9: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
  • October 23: Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • November 6: Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
  • November 20: Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
  • December 4: Engaging in Argument from Evidence
  • December 18: Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information

For more information and to register, visit their website.

Develop Case Studies for Stagelearn

Are you interested in developing case studies for use in the science classroom?  Stagelearn is seeking middle and high school science teachers interested in honing their skills in the development of case studies that incorporate the new integrated science standards. Case studies are used extensively at Harvard Business School, and help students develop critical thinking and build team work skills by collaborating with their peers. Many of the best cases are based on contemporary, and often contentious, science problems that students read about in the news - bringing real world applications into the classroom.

Teachers selected for this project will receive guidance, instruction, and case topics, and the teachers will be paid for their work, which can be done outside of school hours. Interested teachers are invited to contact Dimitris Mantoulidis. 

Grants and Scholarships
Chevron Fuel Your School

Chevron is awarding $5 million to public schools in only 13 counties across the US, including Contra Costa County! Between September 1 and November 30, you can post your project on There is $400-$2,000 available to fund STEM related education. A lot of this money has been left on the table in years past, because not enough people apply. 


Go to Chevron Fuel Your School for more information and the official rules.

Raytheon-Engineering is Elementary Teacher Scholarship Program

The Raytheon-Engineering is Elementary Teacher Scholarship Program  is now accepting applications. During the 2012-13 school year, Raytheon will grant awards of $3,000 each for selected elementary school teachers nationwide whose applications best demonstrate innovative methods of generating student enthusiasm about engineering concepts. 


Entry forms for the 2012-13 program can be found on this webpage. The deadline is November 16.

Classroom Resources
The Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society

The Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society will gladly organize a free astronomy night for your school, youth group, or community organization. Their members volunteer their time and their telescopes to bring the universe to you. They also provide knowledgeable speakers and activities on various astronomy topics,  either in a classroom or in a meeting setting.


For more information, contact the Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society or visit their website. 

Code Avengers

Code Avengers is a fun, free and easy way to learn the basics of web application development. It is terrific for students or even for the individual who would like to begin learning HTML, CSS or JavaScript. The level one JavaScript course contains 40 short lessons that will teach the basics. You'll learn about variables, calculations, if-statements, Booleans, strings, and loops. The site also contains a level two JavaScript course and HTML lessons, with CSS coming soon!  Within Code Avengers is a page for teachers that provides real-time feedback on student performance so that teachers know instantly when students need help.   The possibilities are endless! 


Visit Code Avengers at their website

Open Culture 

Open Culture brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community. Stay up-to-date on science curriculum and lessons.  Check out the Science for The Rest of Us: Podcasts at a Glance blog. Author Elizabeth Green Musselman highlights science podcasts for everyday science enthusiasts.


Change the Equation is proud to host STEMworks, a database of programs that deepen young people's learning in STEM. The database aims to be a critical resource for funders, program developers and STEM advocates alike. The programs in this database are vetted by WestEd and supports Change the Equation's Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy. STEMworks is itself a work in progress. The programs in this database are by no means the only excellent STEM learning programs in the country. Rather, they are the first in what is a growing list of effective programs.

Student Opportunities
The 2013 Northern California Western Nevada Junior Science and Humanities Symposium
High school students, teachers, and parents are invited to participate in the  Regional Symposium, which will be held March 14-16, 2013, hosted by Lawrence Hall of Science University of California, Berkeley. Students may participate in two ways, as a student participant or as a student presenter.

Participants will:

  • Hear nationally renowned scientists speak on their work
  • Visit university, corporate, and government research facilities
  • Meet informally with university students and research scientists
  • Talk with peers who have the same interests
  • Hear research presentations by other students

It is not necessary for a school or family group to have a student presenter to attend and participate in the symposium and all activities! Lodging, meals, and symposium activities will be provided for all participants for a one time group registration fee of $100. All meals and activities including the student paper presentations will be held at the hotel. If you think you might be interested in participating and/or would like to learn more about the Symposium, please download and submit the Indication of Interest Form.


In addition, local teachers can bring groups of middle school or high school students to see either the preliminary presentations in February.

Please contact Roger Martin for more information.

The Tech Challenge 2013: Asteroids Rock!

The Tech Challenge is an annual team design challenge for youth in grades 5 through 12 (three categories: Grades 5-6, 7-8, and 9-12). A signature program of The Tech Museum, the challenge introduces and reinforces the scientific process with a hands-on project geared to solve a real-world problem. The months-long program culminates in The Tech Challenge Event Day on April 20, 2013. Team efforts are celebrated in an award ceremony recognizing everything from Best Overall Solution to Most Spectacular Failure.


Registration is now open. Registration is $50 for teams of 2-6 students (Fees are waived for Title I schools.) For more information, visit their website. 


SUMDOG is again hosting a Math Contest for schools in Contra Costa County. An exciting math contest is being run for Contra Costa County schools from September 28 to October 4. It's free to take part and there are prizes to win.  Students take part by playing the free multiplayer math games on the Sumdog websiteSumDog is a site for grades K-8 that allows students to practice their numeracy skills in competitions versus other classmates or against students around the world. Topics include: ordering numbers, rounding, fractions, addition, multiplication, decimals and more. See the topics and how they align to the Common Core State Standards. 


In order to enter your school, please visit SUMDOG's website. Interested teams can also contact the SUMDOG Team for additional questions at (877) 978-6364.  

2nd Annual Student Film Competition

The San Francisco Ocean Film Festival is pleased to announce the Call For Entry for the 2nd Annual Student Film Competition! Last year, our initial launch of a student film competition was met with overwhelming interest, as students from across the country submitted their films about the ocean. Organizers are anticipating another successful year. This year, with more lead time and a broader outreach effort, we are excited to see what exciting and interesting films we will receive.


The guidelines are simple and easy to follow, and all details can be found here at the 2nd Annual Student Film Competition Entry Form. Awards will be issued to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners, and a special screening for submitted films will be screened during the 10th Annual Film Festival in March 2013. The deadline for entry is February 1, 2013.   

NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is now accepting applications for the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing, which recognizes young women at the high school level for their aspirations and achievements in technology and computing! 


The Award is open to young women in the U.S. and Puerto Rico in grades 9-12. Students can apply online at their website. The deadline to apply is October 31.  

Choose Civility

An Initiative Championed by the

Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools

Monthly Focus -

Choosing Civility, by Dr. P.M. Forni, lists twenty-five rules of considerate conduct. During this school year, we will consider these principles.


Pay AttentionChoose Civility Principle for August/September

"Our first responsibility, when we are with others, it to pay attention, to attend to. Only after we notice the world can we begin to care for it. Every act of kindness is, first of all, an act of attention."


Paying attention means we put the needs of others above our own needs. In each situation we ask the question: "What is the need here, and what might I be able to do about it?"  Imagine you are reviewing a student's writing with her. You remember that writing has been a tremendous struggle for her as an English learner. You notice this particular piece shows some growth in sentence structure. You point out the strong sentences and praise her for her improvement. This time you paid attention to this student's need and provided the encouragement she needed.


Action Step: Look for ways that you can pay attention and respond in a way that meets the needs of others.


"A human moment occurs anytime two or more people are together, paying attention to one another."

--Edward M. Hallowell


For more information about Choose Civility, please visit our website.

The CCCOE STEAM enews is published regularly, highlighting news, events, and resources that enhance STEAM education for all students. If you received the STEAM enews from a colleague, please join our mailing list to continue receiving updates. This publication does not signify the Contra Costa County Office of Education endorses the event or program mentioned.


For more information regarding CCCOE STEAM, please visit our website.



Hilary Haugen Dito
CCCOE STEAM Coordinator




Associate Superintendent, Pamela Comfort, Ed.D.



STEAM Coordinator, Hilary Haugen Dito



Published by the Communications Office of the Contra Costa County Office of Education

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