Contra Costa County Office of Education

            September 2013 

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




Welcome back to the 2013-2014 school year! Many of you are just beginning school while others of you have worked with your students for more than a month, engaging them in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and, Mathematics. This edition of CCCOE STEAM E-News has many opportunities for you and your students to bring STEAM into the classroom.


Early Childhood Science Education Survey

The Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) is conducting a survey of Early Childhood teachers to learn about their needs and interests in promoting science education for young children. The information you provide will help get a sense of how LHS can best support you and the children you serve.


To participate, please click on the linkPlease forward this link to others who may have valuable input.


Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

The California State Board Education (CDE) unanimously voted to adopt NGSS on September 4. The California Department of Education has produced a document for grades 6, 7, and 8, which articulates the criteria used by the Science Expert Panel (SEP) when arranging the standards, the reasoning behind the arrangement including storylines, and explanations of the articulations from elementary and into high school and for each discipline in grades 6, 7, and 8. The document is available on the CDE NGSS website.


On June 28, 2013, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson released his much awaited recommendation for new science standards for California schools. The proposed standards, entitled Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten through Grade 12, are based on the NGSS released by Achieve on April 9, 2013. California made only a few minor changes to the clarifying statements in the performance expectations that make up the NGSS and arranged the performance expectations for grades 6-8 into specific grades. The decision to allocate the performance expectations to specific grades, rather than adopt them in a grade ban, was a simple one. California is a K-8 adoption state and as such requires specific standards for those grades.


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:

For information on the Next Generation Science Standards, check out Paul Andersen's video series. Andersen's video series covers eight practices, seven crosscutting concepts, and 44 disciplinary core ideas. By listening to these short clips, over time you can become the NGSS expert in your school; learn how the NGSS differs from the Common Core; and understand what guidance the NGSS offer in terms of what you should teach and how you should teach it.  
2nd Annual San Francisco-Bay Area Common Core State Standards Summit 

The Contra Costa County Office of Education presents the 2nd Annual San Francisco-Bay Area Common Core State Standards Summit, Realizing the Common Core on October 29


The summit includes keynote sessions by William McCallum, lead writer of the CCSS in Mathematics and Deborah Sigman, deputy superintendent of Public Instruction for the California Department of Education. For more information or to register, visit their Eventbrite site.

Teacher Opportunities and Professional Development

California Academy of Science Classroom Kit Trainings

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 their website for more information and 


The Inaugural California STEM Conference
The California Department of Education and the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation are co-sponsoring the inaugural California STEM Conference, Invest in California STEM Education: Innovate, Integrate, and Inspire! Confirmed keynote speakers include actress Geena Davis and Professor Sugata Mitra. The conference will help schools share best practices, provide professional development and help educators form partnerships with businesses. 
The conference will be held at the Sacramento Convention Center on November 18 and 19. For registration and more info, visit their website
PEAK is a standards-based education program that teaches the science of energy and empowers students to become smart energy managers through hands-on lab and action activities! Participating teachers receive professional development, substitute reimbursement (or a stipend), curriculum correlated to 3rd-7th grade standards across disciplines, a toolkit of materials for our hands-on science labs (worth over $300!), and ongoing implementation support at no cost! 
On Wednesday, October 2nd, PEAK is offering a special in-service training hosted by CCCOE that also includes an overview of the Next Generation Science Standards. SPACE IS LIMITED! Register NOW! To register or to see a list of PEAK's upcoming trainings at any time, please go to their website. For additional information, contact Audrey Knox  at (510) 444-5060, ext. 15.   
California Teachers can visit the Exploratorium at no charge, but be sure to request your free admission at this website.
 Check out the new location and see how you can inspire your students in STEAM.
Global 2013 STEMx Education Conference 
Welcome to the Global 2013 STEMx Education Conference, the world's first massively open online conference for educators focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and more. The conference will be held over the course of three days, September 19-21, and will be free to attend!


STEMxCon will be a highly inclusive event that will engage students and educators around the globe and will encourage primary, secondary, and tertiary (K-16) educators around the world to share and learn about innovative approaches to STEMx learning and teaching. Register now as a member of this conference network to be kept informed.

Lindsay Wildlife Museum's Educators' Resource Fair

Learn more about Lindsay Wildlife Museum's school programs and other workshops at the Free Educators' Resource Fair. 

The event will be held on Tuesday, October 1, at 3:30 p.m. For more information visit their website

This two-day workshop for current and pre-service middle- and secondary- school teachers, done in partnership with the National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA), includes presentations by leading research scientists coupled with take-it-to-the-classroom activities!  


The workshop will be held December 9-10, at the San Francisco Moscone Center. Registration is free through November 8. You will need an electronic copy of your school ID or a letter from your administrator. For more information about GIFT visit their website.

Not on the Test: The Pleasures and Uses of Mathematics

The Mathematical Science Research Institute (MSRI) and Berkeley City College (BCC) are co-presenting a free public lecture series. Sponsored by the Simons Foundation, this series is dedicated to engaging the public with speakers who use math in their daily work and have a passion for its beauty.


The lectures will be held from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m., Berkeley City College 

Auditorium, Berkeley. Lecture dates:


9/11/13 - Tony DeRose: "Math in the Movies"

10/9/13 - Kevin Devlin: "Video Games for Mathematics"

11/6/13 - Inez Fung: "Verifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions"

2/12/14 - Ge Wang: "Music, Computing, People"

3/12/14 - Eugenie Scott: "Science Denialism"

4/9/14 - Krishna Shenoy; "Brain-Computer Interfaces"


For more information and to RSVP visit their website.

Classroom Resources  
Get Caught Engineering

Get Caught Engineering provides resources for elementary teachers and parents connecting classroom learning with STEM in the real-world. Check out the lessons and resources on their website. 

Earth Science Week 2013 Toolkits Available for Order
The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) is now accepting advance orders for the Earth Science Week 2013 Toolkit. The toolkit contains educational materials for all ages that correspond to this year's event theme, Mapping Our World.


Materials include the traditional program poster and school-year activity calendar, as well as materials from distinguished program partners such as NASA, the National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, Esri, and professional geoscientific societies. This year's toolkit provides students with the opportunity to learn about the many exciting uses of maps and mapping technologies in the geosciences.


Earth Science Week 2013 will be celebrated October 13-19. To learn more, please visit the AGI website 

California Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI)

The Education and the Environment (EEI) Curriculum teaches to mastery select K-12 California academic content standards in science and history, using the environment as a context for learning. The EEI curriculum is 85 K-12 grade units. The EEI Curriculum also supports your students' efforts to master English Language Arts standards.


The Curriculum teaches standards through an environmental lens, including understanding resources and conservation, as well as where our food, energy, and water come from, and complicated decision-making processes related to climate change, green chemistry, and use of public lands.

Teachers can earn continuing education credit by registering for an on-line course
Stanford Online

Stanford University is offering several free public courses for fall 2013. High School Seniors can take Mathematical Thinking. Teachers may want to take Writing in the Sciences to explore how scientists can become more effective writers, or they can take Practice Based Research in the Arts. For more information or to register, visit the program's website

Teacher Awards and Grants

NSTA offers two Excellence in Science Teaching Awards

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
Target Field Trip Grants
Target will award more than 3,600 grants of up to $700 to help fund field trips to great educational destinations such as art, science and cultural museums, community service or civic projects, career enrichment opportunities and other events or activities away from the school facility. Funds may be used to cover field trip-related costs such as transportation, ticket fees, food, resource materials and supplies.

The deadline to apply is October 1. Only one submission per individual educator will be accepted. For more information and to apply, please visit their website.
Student Opportunities
America's Home Energy Education Challenge

Registration is now open for America's Home Energy Education Challenge (AHEEC), a national student competition for grades 3-8, administered by NSTA for the Department of Energy. The competition gives students the chance to learn about energy, develop techniques for reducing energy consumption, and save money in their own homes by reducing household energy use.


Teams of kids, grades 3-8, can win up to $10,000 in prizes for their school or organization. Team registration ends November 15 - register today.


CyberPatriot is the premier national high school cyber defense competition that is designed to give hands-on exposure to the foundations of cybersecurity. It was created by the Air Force Association to excite high school students about STEM education. CyberPatriot is not a hacking competition. It teaches only defensive means of fixing vulnerabilities and hardening systems.


This year, CyberPatriot is open to 100 middle school teams. CyberPatriot Centers of Excellence will have the first opportunity to register middle school teams for the CyberPatriot VI season, on September 10. If the 100 middle school team slots have not been filled by teams from the Centers of Excellence, registration for the pilot season will be opened to schools nationwide. For more information check out their website.

NASA's Exploration Design Challenge 

NASA and Lockheed Martin are developing the Orion spacecraft to carry astronauts beyond low Earth orbit and on to an asteroid or MARS. Protecting astronauts from space radiation on these distant travels is an important - and very real- problem that needs solving. This challenge is open to students in grades K-12. 


For more information and to register, visit website.

Microsoft's Imagine Cup 2014
The 12th Microsoft Imagine Cup will be held in Seattle. High school students will use their imagination and passion to create a technology solution in one of the competitions or challenges. For more information and to register, go to their website.
24/7 Science
Lawrence Hall of Science's award winning 24/7 Science website engages students in hands-on science activities, data sharing and on-line games. 
Design Squad Nation

Design Squad Nation engages students in team challenges, design activities and contests while providing an on-line collaborative community. Teachers and parents can use lessons and resources to bring STEAM into the classroom. 

STEM Lecture Series at Foothill College

The Science Learning Institute at Foothill College has launched a STEM lecture series with talks by renowned thought leaders in STEM disciplines. All are aimed at general audiences, including college and high school students, 15 years and older. 


The first lecture is Thursday, September 19, featuring Jonathan Trent, NASA scientist and biofuel guru. Please register to join the mailing list to be notified of upcoming lectures.  

Choose Civility 

Acknowledge Others

The Choose Civility Principle for August & September


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...


"You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins." -Jim Stovall


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



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