Contra Costa County Office of Education

            summer 2013 

STEAM Masthead
Featured Sections
Extraordinary...STEAM Standouts in Contra Costa County
Teacher Opportunities and Professional Development
Classroom Resources
Internet Resources
Teacher Awards and Grants
Student Opportunities
Choose Civility
Join Our Mailing List
STEAM News and Events 




Summer is here-many educators will spend this time taking advantage of professional development and developing lessons that integrate the Common Core State Standards with STEAM. Included in the summer edition are resources, programs and opportunities to engage students and educators in STEAM.

Extraordinary STEAM Standouts in Contra Costa County

STEMQnA--Engaging Students in STEM

The STEMQnA program was conceived and designed by a 7th grade student, Ashwin Chakicherla, from Windemere Ranch Middle school (WRMS) in 2011. Chakicherla designed the program to make STEM cool among his middle school peers. Each day a STEM related question is announced via the school public address system. Students are encouraged to answer that question on a website to accumulate points towards monthly and yearly awards. In 2011, Chakicherla submitted this proposal to Lawrence Livermore National Security (LLNS) as part of their community gift awards program. LLNS awarded $500 towards this program. A total of 130 questions were asked and more than 500 student responses were recorded.


Based on the success of the program, in 2012, LLNS extended the award to $2,500 to expand the program. Along with a gift of $500 from WRMS PTA, the program expanded to 5 middle schools. It was a great success, with over 125 questions reaching over 3400 students daily resulting in more than 2,900 answers. A total of 371 students participated throughout the year. This year's program concluded with the 'STEMQnA Bowl' on June 1st at WRMS with students competing from participating middle schools. Ashwin plans to continue the program next year and is currently looking for funding for next year.


YouTube STEMQnA link

STEMQnA website


Next Generation Science Standards

After an extensive year and a half of development process, The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were released on April 9, 2013. State Superintendent of Public InstructionTom Torlaksohas convened a Science Expert Panel (SEP) to recommend new state standards based upon the NGSS. Superintendent Torlakson will present the new standards and the recommendations of the SEP to the State Board of Education in July 2013. The State Board has until November 30, 2013 to accept, modify or reject these standards.

Follow California's Department of Education updates by joining the NGSS electronic mailing list. Send a blank email to this address


Next Generation Science Standards Resources include:

Teacher Opportunities and Professional Development

Art in Action

Art in action is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing visual arts education to the classroom. The Art in Action program enriches the lives of students each year through an engaging, hands-on curriculum that teaches art history, art appreciation, and art techniques. Explore the program and discover grants that can help bring the program to your students.


The CCCOE is hosting an Art in Action workshop on August 6, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. The program will demonstrate just how easy it is to teach art, while integrating language arts, social studies, math, and science-all in line with Common Core Standards. This workshop will present how the Art in Action program is taught while participants create their own work of art.


For more information about this event please contact Hilary Dito. Participants can register on Eventbrite. If interested, register quickly, space is limited.

Strengthening Algebra Instruction
Join CSU East Bay professors Drs. Phil Duren and Julia Olkin to learn multiple approaches in teaching Algebra 1. Participants can earn a stipend, and CSUEB units are available for a fee. 
This program will be held August 5-9, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (daily), at Antioch High School. For more information, contact Dr. Olkin.
Join CUE for this special Rock Star event and learn how to integrate technology through two themes: STEM and History. All workshops are "make and take" with hands-on experiences. This event includes an opportunity to camp on the USS Hornet.


The Camp will be held July 31 to August 1, Tickets are $259 for CUE Classic Rock (meals included) or $280 to camp on the USS Hornet. Visit CUE's website for more info.

Stanford University EDUC115N: How to Learn Math
This is a FREE course designed for teachers, tutors and parents. Dr. Jo Boaler will introduce strategies to re-engage students successfully with math. The eight sessions begin on July 15 and end on September 27th. For more information or to register, visit the program's website
Bay Area Mathematics Project Summer Institute
From July 30 through August 8, the Bay Area Mathematics Project and the San Mateo County Office of Education invite teachers from grades K through 8 to participate in the Fractions from a Common Core Perspective Institute. The California Mathematics Project Task Forces has produced wonderful professional development materials about fractions on the number line, a representation that the math Common Core emphasizes. 


Participants can earn a $100 stipend (refund) upon successful completion of the Fractions from a Common Core Perspective InstituteFor more information and to register, visit their website.   

Registration is now open for several fall trainings at the California Science Academy! Kits are portable containers filled with hands-on activities, specimens, educational games, and more. You must attend a training to be eligible to borrow the related kit. Topics include Rainforest of the World, Astronomy, and Coral Reefs.


Tickets are $15. Visit the California Academy of Science website.

The second annual Integrated Learning Summer Institute, Inventing Our Future, will be held at the beautiful Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, on August 13-15, 2013. For more info, visit their webpage.
Classroom Resources  

Junior Achievement of Northern California

Junior Achievement of Northern California offers in-school and after-school programs for students in grades K-12, through a dedicated volunteer network that focus on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workforce readiness.


For more information or to schedule Junior Achievement volunteers for your class contact, District Manager Shaun Rundle, or visit their website.

Rock Around the World

Rock Around the World is a citizen science project at Arizona State University. Students send rock samples for analysis in the university's Mars Space Flight Facility Laboratory. Results show students the rock's composition and compares the data to Mars rocks. Visit their website

for details.
Code Club World

The mission of is to give every child in the world the chance to learn to code by providing project materials and a volunteering framework that supports the running of after-school-coding clubs for children aged 9-11. It is based on Code Club UK, but the main difference is that volunteer support for Code Club World is offered by the volunteer community themselves. Check out the projects and resources today.

MOUSE Squad of California Student Tech Leadership 

This program empowers students to explore technology while applying 21st Century skills. The program can be implemented as either an in-school or after-school program. For more information, visit their website.

Internet Resources
NBC Learn

Explore the free STEM videos and lesson plans at nbclearn. Discover the Science of Innovation, Science of Football, and the Changing Planet through video, articles and interactive lessons. presents video clips of diverse women scientists and other STEM role models. Share the endless possibilities of STEM with your middle and high school students.

Know Nuclear

Know Nuclear teaches middle school through college students the many applications of nuclear engineering. Students learn how nuclear energy is part of many scientific fields.


Codeacademy offers free courses in computer languages to high school students and adults. Each course teaches the basics of a specific language and provides a series of lessons to practice what you learn.


NavySTEM includes interactive lesson plans for 9-12 grade students. The lessons explore new technologies and related topics like Robotics, Sonar, and Diving to the sciences.

Bring the Women STEM Pioneers of California into your Classroom

A Passion for Discovery: California Women Trailblazers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math highlights the contributions made by California women in STEM. A different woman has been profiled each week since March. More trailblazing women from California in the STEM fields will be profiled each week leading up to California's first STEM Conference in November. The calendar is produced by the California State Library; California Research Bureau; California Commission on the Status of Women, and Girls; and the California Department of Education.


For more information, visit their website.

Teacher Awards and Grants
The DuPont and The Robert E. Yager Awards

Science teachers are invited to apply for two new awards from NSTA:

The DuPont Pioneer Excellence in Agricultural Science Education Award recognizes excellence and innovation in the field of agricultural science education. Applicants must be K-12 classroom teachers whose responsibilities include implementing agricultural science in their classroom. The awardee will receive a $5,000 grant for their classroom/program, paid travel expenses to attend the NSTA national conference on science education, mentoring with a DuPont Pioneer scientist, classroom resources from DuPont Pioneer, and access to a DuPont Pioneer product plant or research facility.


The Robert E. Yager Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award  recognizes six full-time K-12 teachers of science who successfully use innovation and excellence in their classroom. Awardees will receive $1,000, plus an additional $1,000 toward expenses to attend the next NSTA National Congress on Science Education, which is held each summer. An identified Yager Scholar from the six awardees will be given additional support of up to $1,500 to present at a future NSTA National Conference on Science Education.

Applications are due on November 30. For more information on other NSTA teacher awards, please visit their website
Student Opportunities
STEM Summer Education Camps 

The CCCOE and the Contra Costa Economic Partnership (along with numerous professional partners) will once again be producing outstanding hands-on education career camps. Incoming high school juniors and seniors can now register. The week-long camps are looking for teachers to support student learning.  Instructors will earn professional development hours and a small stipend for each camp, while also being exposed to a full range of industry experts.  


The remaining camps are scheduled for these dates: Environmental Sciences, July 22-26; CSUEB, Concord.  For more information and to register, visit the program's website. 

Discovery Education STEM Camp 

Discovery Education STEM Camp is a free standards-aligned curricula available for summer camps, after-school programs, and other educational programs. STEM Camp combines hands-on labs, engineering challenges, digital investigations, and more. Curriculum includes "Water", "Urban Infastructure," and "Energy" (Coming Soon). The curriculum covers 5 full days of instruction.

Choose Civility 

Apologize Earnestly - The Choose Civility Principle for June (summer)


"Most apologies are gestures of empathy; they express regret for offending someone else's feelings or concerns. Apologizing implies that you are aware of the feelings of another and can empathize sufficiently to regret having injured that person" - Daniel Jankelovich


When we apologize, we acknowledge that we did something wrong and work at repairing the damage. Apologies should be thoughtfully conceived, clearly stated and heartfelt. They need not be long and elaborate, but should convey that we know exactly what we did that was wrong, that we understand the effects of our actions, and that we are not looking for excuses.


Apologizing is one thing, exonerating yourself is quite another; don't mix the two. How many times do we hear pseudo-apologies such as: "I'm sorry I yelled at you on the phone, but I'm under a lot of stress these days"? This is how a real apology sounds: "I want to apologize for yelling at you. There is no excuse for that and it won't happen again." Sometimes those who accept your apology will provide your excuse for you: "Apology accepted. I appreciate your saying that. We are all under a lot of stress these days." But they don't have to let you off the hook and you should not expect that they will.


Why is it so difficult to apologize? Because to articulate an earnest apology we need to win a struggle with our own pride. Thinking that apologies put us in a position of weakness, we often wait for others to apologize first. When we bring ourselves to apologize, however, we discover how good it makes us feel. Even more important than making an earnest apology is becoming more and more aware of our behavior toward others that we don't do offensive things requiring apologies.


Action step: Is there someone that you need to apologize to? Don't wait. Do it today.


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

Adapted from Ben Dattner's book,  The Blame Game


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



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

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