Contra Costa County Office of Education

            October 26, 2012 

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




The Fall is full of opportunities to engage students in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics programs. Encourage students to take part in the 2nd Annual Bay Area Science Festival with events throughout the Bay Area. The Bay Area Science Festival concludes with the FREE Discovery Days science extravaganza on Saturday, November 3rd, 1100 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Check out the Festival's website for more events throughout the region.


Do you have STEAM Programs and lessons to share? The Request for Proposals for the 3rd Annual STEAM Colloquium are now being accepted. You can download this application and/or contact Hilary Dito for more information. 

Teacher Opportunities and Professional Development

Project Astro

Project ASTRO is now accepting applications for the 2013-2014 school year. The program pairs 3rd - 9th grade teachers with astronomers to deliver hands-on inquiry-based astronomy activities throughout the year.


Visit Project Astro's website for more information. 

Project Wet

Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) is designed to promote the awareness, appreciation, and knowledge of California's water resources in a manner that is fun, hands-on, and informational for learners of all ages. The Contra Costa Water District is hosting a workshop on Saturday, February 2, at Los Vaqueros Watershed Interpretive Center in Brentwood. 


Workshop participants will receive Project WET Curriculum and a $75 stipend. To register, contact Marianne Hook, the Water District's education coordinator at (925) 688-8307.  A $20 deposit is needed to save your spot. 

Galileoscope in the Classroom

Galileoscopes in the Classroom is a program where 5th - 9th grade teachers will learn how telescopes work through hands-on activities in lights and optics. Participants will receive a set of Galileoscopes for use in their classroom.


The cost is $25 for Project ASTRO or RAFT Members, and $40 for non-members. This presentation will be held at the RAFT Resource Center, in San Jose, on December 1, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. To register, visit their website.

2012 Assessment Conference for Mathematics Teachers 

The Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project and the Lawrence Hall of Science are hosting the 2012 Assessment Conference for Mathematics Teachers. Learn about tools to prepare your students for the Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balanced Assessments


The conference will be held on November 17, from 9:45 a.m.-1:45 p.m., at the Lawrence Hall of ScienceRegistration is $25, and includes lunch and parking. Participants can register on their website. 

The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program  
The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program is now accepting applications for the 2013-2014 Fellowship Year. The Einstein Fellowship Program is available to current K-12 STEM educators with a demonstrated excellence in teaching and leadership.  

For more information about the program and to learn how to apply, visit their websiteApplications for the 2013-14 Fellowship program are due by 11:00 p.m. (EST), December 5. 
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:

  • 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.

Creativity + CCSS with Dr. Yong Zhao 

21st Century Skill of the month: Creativity + CCSS is a free forum presented by the San Mateo Office of Education (SMCOE)Featured presenter will Dr. Yong Zhao, a national keynote speaker on the topics of creativity and global citizenship. 


Dr. Zhao will be joining attendees via teleconference, from 4:00-6:00 p.m., on December 12, in the SMCOE STEM Center Studio. There is room for only 24 guests in this space, so if interested, be sure to register immediately. For more information, contact Robin Worley, at (650) 802-5355.   

Creativity + CCSS with Debbie Sterling from GoldiBlox

21st Century Skill of the month: Creativity + CCSS is a free forum presented by the San Mateo Office of Education (SMCOE)Featured presenter, Debbie Sterling, is a Stanford trained engineer, cartoonist, and entrepreneur who is the CEO and founder of GoldieBlox, an engineering game kit for young girls. She has been very successful in raising funds and support for Goldieblox on her Kickstarter campaign. She will speak on her own experiences with critical thinking & problem solving and how we can help our students develop these skills.


Ms. Sterling will be presenting from 4:00-6:00 p.m., on January 15, at the SMCOE. To register, visit the event's websiteFor more information, contact Robin Worley, at (650) 802-5355.    

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-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.

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.

PG&E's Bright Ideas Grant Program

PG&E's Bright Ideas Grant Program is designed to provide additional learning opportunities for students and teachers, while creating energy and money-saving programs for school campuses throughout northern and central California. 


Credentialed teachers, professors, instructors, principals, deans, department heads, district administrators, and facilities managers may apply for the school to receive a $1000, $2,500, $5000, or $10,000 grant to promote and education and environmental stewardship in any of the five following categories: educational solar projects, youth energy and environmental programs, renewable energy or science-related field trips, and green your school projects. Grant funding can also go towards professional development, service learning Projects, and workforce development programs. 


Applications are due November 16. 

Shell and NSTA have partnered to recognize outstanding middle and high school programs for their exemplary approaches to science lab instruction. The Shell Science Lab Challenge will showcase the work of teachers who submit innovative, replicable strategies to deliver quality lab experiences. 


Applications are due November 12.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics
Earth Science Teacher of the Year Award and K-12 Geoscience
Teaching Award

ThNortherCaliforniGeologicaSociet(NCGSiseeking applications

from candidates fothe Earth Science Teacher of the Year Award and the K-12 Geoscience Teaching Award..


The deadlinfoapplicatiosubmission bcandidateis January 11. For additional info, contact Paul Henshaw. 

Classroom Resources
Science Lessons Connecting with Literature

The Curriculum & Instruction Steering Committee presents Strategic Science Teaching: Science Lessons Connecting with Literature. This free online resource introduces the resource guide, provides model lessons, and explains the 5E Learning Model. For info, visit their website. 

The Aquarium of the Bay 

The Aquarium of the Bay has several programs for K-12 students. Teachers may preview the Aquarium for free by showing a teacher or school ID. For more information on programs, go to their website.

Hiller Aviation Museum

The Hiller Aviation Museum offers field trips for pre-K- to 12-grade classes. Programs include hands-on activities that engage students in the history of flight. Visit their website for details.

MOUSE Squad program

The STEM award-winning MOUSE Squad program enables students in grades 4-12 to learn 21st Century information technology, communication, leadership, and problem solving skills, while providing tech support services to their schools. Applications for new programs and mini-grants are now being accepted. Deadline for the mini-grant is November 6.

Changing Planet Past, Present, Future

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute 2012 Holiday Lectures on Science presents Changing Planet Past, Present, Future. Join the live Webcast on November 15 and 16.  Leading Scientists will explore the history of life on earth and discuss concerns about climate change. You can watch the lectures on demand after November 20. A free DVD will be available in the Spring of 2013. Visit their website to register.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

The American Association for the Advancement of Science provides resources, lesson plans, and after-school resources. Search the database or connect your students with the association's website.

Intel's Design and Discovery Curriculum

Intel's Design and Discovery Curriculum is a free, inquiry-based curriculum for students ages 11-15 to explore engineering. Intel also offers free STEM Unit plans

The American Chemical Society

The American Chemical Society offers free resources for teachers to engage students in hands-on science activities for grades 2-5, Inquiry in Action for grades 3-6, and chemistry for middle school students. High school teachers can download ChemMatters to boost chemistry literacy in their classes.

Student Resources
We Can Change the World Challenge
The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge is a national environmental sustainability competition for students grades K-12. Through project-based participation, students learn about science and conservation, while creating solutions that impact their planet. The competition runs through March 5. Go to their website to get started.

CYBERMISSION is a free Web-based STEM competition for students in grades 6-9, where teams can compete for state, regional, and national awards, while working to solve problems in their community. Teams must register by December 14. Visit their website for more information.

The Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Science Competition

The Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Science Competition encourages K-12 students to imagine what technology might be like in the future. ExploraVision helps teacher sponsors meet many of the National Science Education Standards, while letting students experience the scientific process and discovery in an engaging, hands-on way. 


Projects are due by January 31, go to their website for additional information.   

Green Machine Design Challenge

The Chabot Space and Science Center is hosting the Green Machine Design Challenge. Students of all ages are encouraged to submit their ideas of the green machines of the future. Designs will be displayed in the newly remodeled Bill Nye's Climate Lab, reopening on November 17. For more information, open the Challenge's application on this Web page   

Every Child Counts 2013 Art Contest

The Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Student Services and Special Education Council and Fagen, Friedman & Fulfrost, LLP, are partnering to show that every child counts and to take a moment to celebrate success by sponsoring a statewide art contest for all K-12 public education students. Winning pieces will be on display during the Every Child Counts...Best Practices, Best Solutions Symposium, being held January 16-18, at the Portola Hotel & Spa, in Monterey, Calif. The winning drawings will be used to make note cards, which will be made available at the Symposium for all attendees. Following the Every Child Counts...Best Practices, Best Solutions Symposium, the winning pieces will be on display in the ACSA Sacramento office. 


Deadline for submission is November 2. Go to their website for contest info.  


YouSTEM is a free web resource for K-12 students to find out about local programs in STEM subjects. Most of the programs are free.  Start exploring at their website.

The Mathematics behind the Math Midway

Join the Lawrence Hall of Science and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute for the Bay Area Science Festival for this outstanding free event, titled: The Mathematics Behind the Math Midway. Parents, students, and teachers are invited to ride a square-wheeled tricycle, use lasers to uncover hidden shapes, and find your way through a math maze in the Math Midway. Experience thrilling moments of mathematical discovery at the Midway's many booths and exhibits! 


This event will be held on Tuesday, October 30, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., at the Lawrence Hall of Science, in Berkeley. Entry is free, but attendees must RSVP on Eventbrite.

The Contra Costa County Fall SUMDOG contes

More than 1,100 students answered and estimated 439,000 math questions in the Contra Costa County fall SUMDOG contest. Join us for the winter competition, held December 3-6. 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.  

Choose Civility

Acknowledge Others - The Choose Civility Principle for October

Acknowledgement comes in many forms: remembering someone's name, paying a thoughtful compliment, summarizing what was just said for a newcomer to the conversation, holding a door open to let someone through, welcoming, thanking, and just plain saying "Hello."
The author of Choosing Civility, Dr. P.M. Forni, relates that a simple "Hello" or "Good Morning" is the most basic form of acknowledgment. A simple greeting confers honor and acknowledges the other person's presence. It sets a positive tone, puts people at ease, and wishes them well.

Action Step: Decide on a way that you will acknowledge others that you may not have been in the habit of acknowledging previously. Challenge yourself to do this at least once each day - a wave, a smile, a nod, a verbal greeting...

About CCCOE's Monthly Focus

Choosing Civility, by Dr. P.M. Forni, lists twenty-five rules of considerate conduct. Over this school year, the CCCOE will consider ten of these principals. For additional information about our Choose Civility initiative, 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



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