Contra Costa County Office of Education

                     January 2017

STEAM Masthead
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STEAM News and Events 

This issue of STEAM News highlights many opportunities to bring STEAM into your classroom, expand your own knowledge of STEAM, and motivate students both in and out of the classroom. From California's Science Framework and Assessments to providing STEAM access for all students in STEAM, Contra Costa County Office of Education offers resources and programs to engage students, parents, educators and the community in high-quality STEAM throughout the year.
Visit our  website to view resources, link to standards and stay up-to-date with events . Feel free to contact Hilary Dito   with questions, comments and professional learning opportunities about integrating STEAM into your PreK-12 classrooms.
California Standards in Science
California Science Framework 
On November 2, 2016, the State Board of Education (SBE) approved a new science framework, making California the first state to produce a framework based on the Next Generation Science Standards for K-12 grades. The 1800+ page document took nearly two years to develop and will play a significant role in the implementation of the California Next Generation Science Standards.

The pre-publication version will be available online in early January. You may access the draft version (without the SBE recommendations and edits) at this site
California Science Test (CAST)

This spring, California will be piloting both the California Science Test and the California Alternate Assessment for Science. All 5th grade and 8th grade students will take the CAST. High schools will be assigned a grade level from 10th - 12th grade. Click here for assignments.  No scores will be released for this year.

For more information visit the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) site
California Science Teachers Association Facebook Communities
Join teachers from around California on CSTA's Facebook pages. The Facebook groups provide a forum for sharing resources, asking questions and developing networks across the state. Groups include Science Coaches, Elementary Science Teachers, Middle School Science Teachers, and High School Science Teachers. For information and to join a group, visit CSTA's Facebook Page.
Professional Learning Opportunities
CCCOE Distinguished Speaker Series: 

CCCOE is proud to present the Distinguished Speakers Series (following two postings below). The 2016-2017 year includes topics on assessment, NGSS, Technology and Academic Language. For details on all the speakers, visit our website.

Page Keeley: Uncovering Student Ideas & Practices -Implications for  3-D Teaching and Learning
A key aspect of formative assessment in science is uncovering students' ideas and ways of thinking that students bring to their learning and use throughout an instructional cycle. Learn how to build a bridge between where students are in their initial understanding to where they need to be to achieve the scientific understanding sin the NGSS. Engage in, explore, and apply practical ways to elicit, analyze, and address students' ideas, concepts, and practices for the purpose of supporting conceptual teaching and learning.

Page Keeley   is an internationally known leader in science education. She is the developer and primary author of the Uncovering Student Ideas Series in Science and the Formative Assessment- 75 Practical Strategies Linking Assessment, Instruction, and Learning series (the "FACTs books"). 

The program will be held Friday, February 15, at the Pleasant Hill Recreation Center, in Pleasant Hill. For additional information and registration, visit this Eventbrite site. The registration fee is $110.

Jeff Zwiers: Using Texts, Talk, and Conversations to Cultivate Academic Language Across Content Areas
This day framed will around three high-impact practices: using complex text, fortifying oral and written output, and fostering constructive conversations. Teachers will have time to observe and engage in activities, as well as reflect on how to weave them into their curricula and lessons. Along the way, attendees will spend time honing their skills for assessing oral language and conversations across content areas.

Jeff Zwiers is a senior researcher at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, and is the director of professional development with Understanding Language/SCALE, a research and professional learning center focused on improving instruction and assessment of English learners and other diverse students. 
The program will be held on March 2 , at the CCCOE, in Pleasant Hill. For additional information and registration, visit this Eventbrite site. The registration fee is $110.
Fun Exchanges and Activities for Science Teachers (FEAST)

Join K-12 teachers at Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland Hills, for networking and sharing science resources. FEAST Sessions are held from 9:00 a.m. to noon.  To register and for more information, visit their website .  
  • February 4: The Body - Human Anatomy
  • March 4: Microbiology
  • April 1: Technology - Share Your Best!
  • May 6: NGSS - Best Shared Practices in Your Classroom
Design Thinking Workshops at Stanford's

Sign up for a free Discover Design Thinking workshop at Stanford's This introductory workshop is a two-day deep dive into design thinking and igniting the creative confidence in educators. Participants will have the opportunity to build their design thinking skills, connect with like-minded educators, and become part of the K12 Lab Network community. 

Every applicant is asked to apply with at least one collaborator from his/her school site and each individual must complete their own application. There is no cost to those admitted, but attendees must pay for their own transportation and lodging. Breakfast and lunch will be included on both days - August 3-4. For more information and to apply, visit this website.
The Tech's Design Challenge Learning Institute Winter Opportunities

Educators can learn how to engage students in STEAM with workshops on Raspberry Pi, Paper Circuits, and Arduino.
  • January 21: Raspberry Pi Basics
  • January 24: Literacy, Craft, Civic Engagment: A Paper Circuitry Project
  • February 25: Arduino Part 1 - Building an Arduino
  • March 18 and 25: Making Mathematics Accessible to English Lanugage Learners
  • April 1: Autodesk Inventor Basics
For more information at to register visit their website.
2017 MDUSD Area STEM and EdTech Symposium

Teachers and administrators will gather to learn, share, eat, collaborate, and  play   at the second annual  MDUSD STEM & EdTech Symposium.   The day kicks off with a keynote from CCCOE's Technology Coordinator,   Nick Zefeldt. Nick will share fun STEM & EdTech ideas with attendees .

The Symposium will be held on February 25, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., at Valley View Middle School , in Pleasant Hill. For additional info and to register for this free event, v isit this Eventbrite site
Great North American Eclipse! Workshop

On August 21, the Moon will pass directly in front of the Sun - a phenomenon viewable throughout the country! Learn how you can take advantage of this spectacular teachable moment, and engage your class and community. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) is offering the Great North American Eclipse Workshop. The sessions will actively engage participants in an NGSS Storyline approach to understand the how and why of both solar and lunar eclipses.

The workshop will be held on February 18, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the  Astronomical Society of the Pacific, in San Francisco. The  $50 ticket includes a one-year complimentary membership in the ASP, The Universe at your Fingertips 2.0 (ASP's Diverse Programs 
and Resources), and a mini-kit of eclipse activity materials. 
For more information and to register, visit the workshop's Web page
Contra Costa County Professional Learning Opportunities

CCCOE is proud to be a Regional Partner with, offering professional learning opportunities in Computer Science. These workshops are free. Schools need to cover any substitute costs.
Educators can apply for the 2017-18 CCCOE Cohort of Computer Science Educators. There are two programs:
Teachers will receive training on the curriculum and will network with other CS teachers in the region. Applicants must commit to attending a five-day TeacherCon Academy, July 17-21, in Phoenix, Arizona, and four one-day follow-up workshops at the CCCOE. Workshop a pplications are available until March 17, at For more information, contact Hilary Dito.
Educator Grants and Awards
American Honda Foundation Grants

The Honda foundation awards grants of up to $75,000 to K-12 schools, colleges, universities, trade schools, and others for youth education programs focused on STEM and the environment. The foundation is seeking programs that meet the following characteristics: scientific, dreamful (imaginative), creative, humanistic, youthful, innovative, and forward thinking. 

New programs can apply for the grants on February  1;   returning programs can re-apply, on   May 1. Details regarding the grants can be found on their website.
Captain Planet Foundation

The foundation offers a competitive grant program that awards grants of $2,500 to schools or nonprofit organizations to engage children in inquiry-based projects in STEM fields that use innovation, biomimicry/nature-based design, or new uses for technology to address environmental problems in their communities - such as restoration of native plants. 

These grants support purchase of materials and other expenses required to implement the project. Applications are due on March 15.
Ignited Summer Fellowship Program For Teachers

Are you ready to experience a summer of innovation, collaboration, renewed energy and professional growth? Apply for an Ignited (formerly IISME) Summer Fellowship! The Summer Fellowship Program places eligible K-16 teachers from all disciplines into high-performance corporate and research environments for the summer. Teachers work full-time for eight weeks, complete a project for their host organization, and are paid for their work. Teachers devote 10% of their paid time to focus on how they will transfer their Summer Fellowship experience back to their students and colleagues. 

For more information about the Summer Fellowship Program and to apply, visit Ignited's website. Educators are encouraged to apply by mid-February to increase their chances of being selected in this competitive process.
Classroom Resources and Websites
KQED Teach
This professional online learning platform for educators provides a series of free, self-paced courses to help educators develop the media skills necessary to bring media production and communication to their students and into various learning environments. Teacher Discussion Guide

Middle and High School teachers can download a free digital discussion guide to enrich instruction and spark conversation in science class. Created by nonprofit publisher Science Connected, contains articles and video clips on a range of real-world science topics. 
NGSS Training Resources

Looking for an in-depth look at the principles and concepts of the NGSS? Arthur Beauchamp of the Sacramento Area Science Project created these resources including lessons for teachers that model NGSS practices for elementary, middle, and high school grades.
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Project Guides
Created as part of the Allen Distinguished Educators Program, the guide encourage K-12 teachers to bring innovative computer science, engineering, and entrepreneurships projects to the classroom. From building an arcade game to solving a real problem on campus, the guides focus on the design process. The Guides can be found on their website.
Game On! Sports in the STEM Zone

Chevron has created lessons using the excitement of sports to motivate students in grades 4-8 to learn about STEM Concepts. Download your free teacher guide at their website.
SF 49ers and the Kahn Academy
The 49ers are among the first professional sports organizations to design, create, and provide STEAM education opportunities, both in schools and at their home in Levi's® Stadium. The 49ers have teamed with the Kahn Academy to offer free K-8 content around innovation, collaboration, and creative problem-solving. Visit their website for all the details.
PhET Interactive Simulations

Founded in 2002 by Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman, the PhET Interactive Simulations project created free interactive math and science simulations. PhET sims are based on extensive education research and engage students through an intuitive, game-like environment where students learn through exploration and discovery. Review their program on this website.
The Gardens at Heather Farm

Kids are easily inspired by nature. From buzzing bees making honey, to lakes and rivers sheltering fish, to vegetable gardens feeding families, the natural world is ripe with educational opportunities. The Gardens at Heather Farm, in Walnut Creek, offer educational programs for students to explore nature, help develop school gardens, and connect classroom learning to hands-on experiences. You can bring experts to your school or bring your students to the gardens. Older students can volunteer at the gardens, too. For more information, visit their website 
Student and Family Opportunities

Florida Polytechnic University has developed STEMStudy, a centralized source of articles, videos, and interactive content dedicated to guiding high school students to STEM-focused careers. The website features tools for preparing for college, a STEM scholarship guide and a quiz to guide students to a STEM Career Path that matches their passion.
It Takes a Community! Education Summit

Students in grades 7-12 are invited to It Takes a Community! Education Summit. This FREE event for first-generation, African American, Latino, Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander students, and their families, will include workshops on STEM careers, preparing for college, financial aid, and more. Teachers may apply for Bus Grants to bring groups of students to the event.

The Summit will be held on Saturday, February 4, from 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m., at California State University, East Bay, in Hayward. For more information and to register, visit the Summit's Web page. 

The 2017 Brain Bee

The Brain Bees are local qualifying rounds of the International Brain Bee (IBB), a neuroscience competition exclusively for high school students, ages 14-18. The Brain Bee involves both a written component and a live oral Q&A session. No previous neuroscience knowledge required! Contestants should study the Brain Facts Book, a free 96-page primer
The East Bay Brain Bee will be held on Saturday, January  28, at  Cal State East Bay, Hayward. For more info, click  here
Contra Costa County Science and Engineering Fair

The Contra Costa County 2016 Science and Engineering Fair (CCCSEF) will be held March 16-18, at Los Medanos College, in Pittsburg. Students can begin submitting their projects.
The CCCSEF Organizing committee is also recruiting for judges and members for the Scientific Review Committee. If you are interested, you may go to the Contra Costa Science Fair website. Please mark your calendar today for 2017's Science Fair judging day, March 17. 
Science Buddies

The Science Buddies website empowers K-12 students in STEM with project ideas, connections to science experts, and links to careers. Take a tour and find a project to start today.

Discover, create, and learn at the Computer History Museum! The Design_Code_Build program welcomes middle school students from around the Bay Area to a series of one-day events that provide opportunities for all individuals to challenge themselves, become inspired, and see engineering, science, technology and math as an exciting adventure that they can participate in. 

There are two levels for students: Introductory and Intermediate. Get ready to be inspired. Get ready to change the world.
Level 1 dates include:
  • 2/25/2017
  • 3/5/3017 (all girls event)
  • 4/8/2017
  • 5/7/2017
  • 5/20/2017
Level 2 dates include:
  • 2/26/2017
  • 3/12/2017 (all girls event)
  • 4/9/2017
  • 5/21/17
For more information visit the museum's 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



Deputy 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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