Contra Costa County Office of Education

            December 7, 2012 

STEAM Masthead
Featured Sections
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
Teacher Opportunities and Professional Development
Grants and Scholarships
Classroom Resources
Student Opportunities.
Choose Civility
Join Our Mailing List
STEAM News and Events 




Join us for the 3rd annual CCCOE STEAM Colloquium. The informative day includes keynote presentations and breakout sessions about engaging students in STEAM, developing STEAM programs and integrating STEAM with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.


The STEAM Colloquium will be be held on February 8, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., at the San Ramon Valley Conference Center, in San Ramon. For information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Hilary Dito at (925) 942-3396. Be sure to follow STEAM Colloquium updates on its Web page and Twitter #steamcolloq. The registration fee is $40 per person (early bird price ends January 11) or $30 per person (teams of three, pre-registered at same time). 

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

NGSS Final Draft

The release of the second and final public draft of the NGSS is set for the first week in January 2013. Before the January release, use the A K-12 Framework for Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas as a tool to facilitate understanding of the NGSS. There are numerous resources available on the California Department of Education's NGSS Web page and the California Science Teachers Association's NGSS Web page to assist you with your efforts.


The draft standards and feedback survey will be available on the Achieve websiteTo receive updates on the NGSS, join the California Department of Education's electronic mailing list by sending a blank e-mail to 

Teacher Opportunities and Professional Development

Multicultural Astronomy in the Classroom

So often the teaching of astronomy ignores or sidesteps the contributions of non-European and non-U.S. cultures. Few educators receive much training in this area and often stick to what they know best, even when an increasing number of their students are from cultures beyond those familiar to them. In this workshop, explore activities and resources about the astronomical heritage of cultures from around the world, and learn some techniques to engage your students with diverse cultural backgrounds. 


This program will take place on January 12, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., at the College of San Mateo Astronomy Department and Planetarium, in San Mateo. The target audience for this program is 3rd- to 9th-grade teachers, though interested educators of all grade levels are welcome to attend. Cost is $20 (includes lunch); for more information and to register, visit their workshop Web page.

Integrating Opera with Science and Math

The San Francisco Opera Education Department and San Francisco Opera Guild offer Education Materials and Professional Development sessions to help teachers connect opera performances to their classroom curriculum. Check out the San Francisco Opera videos and Teacher Resources for ideas on integrating Opera with Science and Math.

Unraveling the Genome

The UC Museum of Paleontology is offering a short course titled: Unraveling the Genome: What We've Learned and Why it Matters on February 23. Space is limited. Registration is $25 for teachers. For more information, contact Judy Scotchmoor at (510) 642-4877, register at their website 

Boosting Girls' Interest in Engineering

Boosting Girls' Interest in Engineering with PBS's Design Squad Nation is a workshop for K-12 educators to learn how to engage young women in engineering. This event will be held at the San Leandro Public Library, on January 17, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Training is free, but space is limited. Register on-line. For more information, contact Anna Hohos. 

Grants and Scholarships
InvenTeam Grants

InvenTeam Grants are available in amounts of up to $10,000 each grant period, October to June (corresponds with the academic year). Any educator who facilitates an out-of-school-time project may allot up to $2,000 of an InvenTeam grant toward an educator's stipend; Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available. The application deadline is March 1. Those interested, can apply at this website


Raytheon Company is calling for submissions to its 2012-13 MathMovesUŽ Middle School Grant and Scholarship Program. To participate, 6-8-grade students nationwide are invited to illustrate the importance of math in the Mission to Mars and in space exploration. 


Applications will be accepted through Feb. 8. For more information about the MathMovesU Middle School Grant and Scholarship Program, including eligibility and submission requirements, please visit their website.

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Grants 

AIAA advances the state of aerospace, engineering, and technical leadership, and they would like to bring STEM into your classroom. These classroom grants will be considered twice a year in the amount of $250 for science and math programs. For more information, visit their website.

AIAA want to make STEM "real in your classroom".  

The LEGO Children's Fun Grant
The LEGO Children's Fund will provide quarterly grants for programs, either in part or in total, with a special interest paid to collaborative efforts and in providing matching funds to leverage new dollars into the receiving organization. The grant size range is $500 to $5,000. This grant has quarterly deadlines. Visit their website for details.
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
Making Video to Make a Difference 

Students and educators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are now producing educational videos for K-12 students. Teachers can submit ideas for STEM-related experiments and demonstrations, and MIT students then create a short video explanation. Browse the library or submit a request at this website. 

Classroom Earth 

Classroom Earth provides resources for K-12 teachers to integrate environmental education into core content areas. The website offers environmental lessons, professional development, and other opportunities.

Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society

Bring your students to the stars. Astronomy programs are offered free of charge from the Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society. Contact them soon to reserve a good opportunity for an observing night at your school. The Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society will deploy great telescope technology guided by knowledgeable volunteers. 


The Society reports that Jupiter is visible now through April, with Saturn observable from this coming April to September. To set up a date and/or for more information, you can email them or visit their website.

Creative Educator

Looking for ideas to engage your students across the curriculum? Check out Creative Educator for project-based learning, professional development, and other resources. Articles include Five Hallmarks of a Creative Project and The Power of Play. Visit this website for numerous resources. 

Ocean and You 

The Ocean and You brings an oceanographer into your classroom for hands-on science, stories, and art. Check out this low-cost program on their website. 

Wonders of the Day

Celebrate curiosity with the National Center for Family Literacy's Wonders of the Day. Visitors can browse the archives and pose their own wonders on their website. 

Student Opportunities
Empower your students to create apps with Technovation, an all-girls' technology program. Girls gain computer science and entrepreneurship skills, while competing in a global challenge. Each team of girls is mentored by a woman in tech who visits your school site each week (January-April). Technovation provides hands-on curriculum, training, resources, and support. Your students will compete to win $10,000 in seed funding to take their app to market!


Visit Technovation's website or contact contact Annalise for more information. The deadline is ASAP, because the program begins December 15.


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.

iON Future

iON Future is a suite of free online learning games designed for middle school to early high school-age youth to spark their interest in STEM careers. Developed by Change the Equation, a coalition of business leaders aligned to improve STEM learning in the U.S. iON Future aims to inspire youth to pursue STEM fields. 

Do Something Disaster Relief Grants

Those who are under 25 years old, and have an idea to help those recently affected by domestic disasters, like the tornadoes rippling across the deep South or Texas wildfires, but need money to help make it happen are eligible to apply for a Do Something Disaster Relief Grant. Grants are available in amounts of $500. The application deadline is June 15. Visit their website for all the details. 

Choose Civility

Speak Kindly - The Choose Civility Principle for December

"A kind word is like a spring day." -- Russian Proverb


The Choose Civility principle Speak Kindly is at the heart of civil behavior. If a person isn't able to speak with consideration and kindness then it is almost impossible to incorporate the other nine principles of the Choose Civility campaign.


P.M. Forni writes in his book, Choosing Civility, that to speak kindly you need to be aware constantly that you are speaking to living, breathing, vulnerable human beings. Forni writes, "When you speak kindly to others, you manage to keep them in mind as you speak - which means keeping at bay, at least for a while, the pressing demands of your needs." 


Showing kindness is as much a matter of tone as it is one of words. Forni goes on to say, "Look the other person in the eye, smile when you speak, and keep a moderate volume. Even if trying to resolve a conflict do so in a fair fashion. Never yell at anybody. Keep in mind that people always respond to the tone of your voice and your body language."  Civil conversation has no place for profanities. Never embarrass or mortify. Always think before speaking. Smile. Make sure you need to speak (sometimes silence can be kinder and more considerate than words).


The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation recommends practicing kind speech in everyday conversation. For one day, keep every negative thought, frustration, or complaint to yourself and only share your positive comments with others. See the silver lining in the cloud in every situation.



Don't stop at one day! Try speaking kindly for a whole week, and then for another, until it is second nature. Share your new secret to positive thought with your friends, family and work colleagues and encourage them to try it out too. You will have less negative thoughts in general, and you will become a positive influence to all those around you.


-Excerpt from P.M. Forni's book, Choosing Civility

About CCCOE's Monthly Focus

Choosing Civility, by Dr. P.M. Forni, lists 25 rules of considerate conduct. Over this school year, the CCCOE will consider ten of these principles. 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 that 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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