Delta Sierra Science Project Newsletter
November 2020

Thank you for subscribing to the Delta Sierra Science Newsletter, a publication of the San Joaquin County Office of Education and the Delta Sierra Science Project.  The state roll out of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) continues in 2020-21 throughout the state of California as the transition progresses towards the full implementation of the science standards and assessments supported by the newly adopted California Science Framework.

Please contact our SJCOE STEM Programs office if you have any questions or concerns at 209.468.4880 and visit our website at

San Joaquin County Office of Education 

Featured this month - click on links:

VEX Robotics League

VEX Robotics league at the SJCOE FabLab is reopening for the 2020-2021 season.  This year students can engineer, collaborate, and strategize to qualify at state as a part of our "Skills Only" league.  For safety, only 1 team at a time will be present in the Fab Lab with their designed robot in this year's league.  Social distancing, masks, and self checks will be used.  Only 16 spots are available.  It's time to assemble your team and start engineering!  Please contact Stephen Callahan, for more information.

   STEM Teacher Professional Development and Announcements

SJCOESTEMPDSJCOE STEM Programs Professional Learning 

SJCOE Distance Learning Support Modules

Join the SJCOE Educational Service Distance Learning Team and view any or all of the 5-part series of Workshops for Virtual and Blended Learning. Purchase one PLC unit to help you move over on the salary schedule. 

Module 1 - Essential Skills for Virtual and Blended Learning
Module 2- Model Lessons for Virtual and Blended Learning
Module 3 - Lesson Planning for Virtual and Blended Learning
Module 4 - Unfinished and Learning Loss
Module 5 - Designated ELD in a Virtual Setting

Region 6 STEM Distance Learning Tools
Recorded Sessions

Are you looking to build your distance learning toolbox? Join the Region 6 STEM Team Distance Learning workshops as we a tackle difference online tool each week. Free Weekly workshops include highlighting a single online tool with built-in opportunities for discussion, collaboration and reflection. 
Topics include:
  • Screen Casting
  • Edpuzzle
  • Flipgrid 
  • Google Science Journal
  • Hyperdocs
  • Virtual Tours

STEMforStudentsSTEM Opportunities for Teachers and Students

See Nature Differently with the Youth Design Challenge

Challenging times call for new ways of problem solving. Now is the time to empower your students to re-imagine a sustainable world with nature-inspired design.

The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge is now open for registration for the 2020-2021 school year! While social distancing may be drawing students and teachers apart, the opportunity to grow closer to nature through STEM-rich biomimicry learning has never been more important.

Teachers College of San Joaquin Professional Learning Center
Inspire. Learn. Grow

What is the Professional Learning Center? 
Teachers College of San Joaquin's Professional Learning Center (PLC) provides opportunities for educators to purchase non-degree, Professional Development Units (PDUs) to continue their education and move over on the pay scale.* (One professional development unit is equal to a total of 15 hours of seat time.)

*Always check with your school and/or district prior to purchasing PD units to ensure that they will accept them.

Dinner with a Scientist - REVAMP
Dinner with a Scientist will take a whole new approach this year!  Stay tuned for more information.  

The Minecraft Education Global Build Championship  
The Minecraft Education Global Build Championship is designed to engage students and  meet your remote learning needs. Challenge your learners to work in teams of 1-3 using Minecraft: Education Edition to design and build healthy spaces for animals and humans to coexist using the provided prompt, World template, and teaching resources. Promote creativity, collaboration, and problem solving while giving your students a way to stay connected in a game-based learning environment they love.

The Fall @Concord is here!

Check out these great resources from The Concord Consortium!
STEM Resources:

LLNL Science Education Program Has New Resources for Teachers and Students!
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) Science Education program is offering a variety of new resources for teachers and students. A new Physics with Phones section provides a series of lessons in a wide range of physics topics. The popular Fun with Science field trip is brought to the classroom through online videos for a virtual experience. In partnership with the Livermore Lab Foundation, the Science@Home video series highlights LLNL scientists and engineers sharing an experiment from home. Also new to the Science Education program are virtual classroom tours of the National Ignition Facility (NIF) and the National Atmospheric Research Advisory Center
 (NARAC) along with the Scientist in the Classroom virtual visits.
Please click on the interactive PDF to explore to these sites and learn more about our programs.

Joanna S. Albala, Ph. D.
Manager, Science Education Program
University Relations & Science Education
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Astronomical Society of the Pacific
The ASP Teacher Learning Center has opened registration to the new Online Astronomy Institute for Modules 4-6 of the Winter/Spring 2021 session. Save $50 on the popular, 3-module option! Each module covers classroom tested, inquiry-rich astronomy activities designed to engage students in investigations
of space science phenomena.
Registration is now open for the 2021 Program! 
3-module savings option deadline is December 13, 2020


The SJCOE FabLab is a state of the art maker space.  Students come for field trips or a series of field trips and learn to engineer using circuits, 3D printers, hand tools, laser cutters and more. Students address NGSS Engineering Design standards through fun activities like engineering a bridge to test and destroy, or building a robot to complete simple task.  There are virtual field trip options for grades K-12.  If you are interested in scheduling a virtual field trip or just have questions
please contact Stephen Callahan:, (209) 468-9247 or visit our website

Environmental Literacy at SJCOE

SJCOE's vision for environmental literacy is to equitably educate and empower school communities to understand the intersections between human and natural systems in the past, present, and future, and to inspire civic responsibility on local and global environmental issues in order to innovate solutions towards a more sustainable future.

The environmental literacy team is building a network to connect and support environmental education between community-based partners, educators, students and school districts and sites. 

Come YEL it, TEL it, GEL it, and CPEL it!  SJCOE has lots of options to engage with Environmental Literacy.  Come join the conversation!

Upcoming Events

CPEL Virtual Meeting
 November 17, 2020 @ 3 PM - 6 PM
Community Partners for Environmental Literacy

The goal of the CPEL network is to connect YOU and the environmental work you are doing in the real world to the students, schools and districts in San Joaquin County.  Our goal at SJCOE is to help you make those connections and support you in your efforts.
To find out more, please email Dean Reese

YEL Virtual Meeting
December 5, 2020 @ 9:00 - 11:00
Youth for Environmental Literacy

Are you at a high school in San Joaquin County and passionate about the environment?  YEL if you are! Join our Youth for Environmental Literacy Network to become part of a community of likeminded teens.
As educators, it is our responsibility to empower our students with the knowledge, support, and skills they need now to face their future.  This is an exciting time in Environmental Education, and we at SJCOE would like to provide a platform for students to build on this work.

To receive a Zoom link, contact: Kristine Stepping
Regional Environmental Literacy Resources, Events & Opportunities

California Environmental  Literacy Initiative
November 18, 2020 @ 3 - 4 PM
December 9, 2020 @ 3 - 4 PM 

Join free five-part webinars designed by and for California educational leaders and administrators, this webinar series will showcase effective strategies for supporting environmental literacy, both during the pandemic crisis and beyond. Register

The California Environmental Literacy Initiative (CAELI), led by Ten Strands, works statewide with guidance from a leadership council to create systems change in support of environmental literacy with a focus on access, equity, and cultural relevance for all students. Learn more

Visit our website to register

President's Environmental Youth Award

The President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) recognizes outstanding environmental projects by K-12 youth. The PEYA program promotes awareness of our nation's natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. 

Each year the PEYA program honors a wide variety of projects developed by young individuals, school classes (kindergarten through high school), summer camps, public interest groups, and youth organizations to promote environmental awareness. Thousands of young people from all 50 states and the U.S. territories have submitted projects to EPA for consideration. 

The One Earth Award offers $1,000 scholarships for four students whose works address human-caused climate change. All students in grades 7-12 (ages 13 and up) are eligible to participate and should apply through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Deadlines vary between December 2020 and January 2021, depending on your region. Teens can  to find out their regional deadlines and how to apply.

World of 7 Billion Video Contest
September 1, 2020 through February 25, 2021.

Create a short video - up to 60 seconds - about human population growth that highlights one of the following global challenges: Promoting Environmental Justice, Strengthening Global Health, Re-Imagining Industrial Systems. All videos must include:
a) how population growth impacts the issue
b) at least one idea for a sustainable solution

Durham Ferry Outdoor Education Center 

The Durham Ferry Outdoor Education Center is a regional center for STEM and environmental exploration. It sits on over 200 acres of land nestled in a large meander of the San Joaquin River in Manteca, California. Several miles of hiking trails, seasonal ponds, oak woodlands, a meadow, over 80 acres of wild riparian forest, various picnic areas, a working farm, and the shores of the mighty San Joaquin River are a few highlights of this special place. Please visit our website for more information. 

All field trips are temporarily on hold due to COVID-19. 
MEANDER field trips, Grades 3-5
The San Joaquin County Office of Education has field trip opportunities for students in grades 3-5. Field Trip cost: $300 for a class of no more than 32 students. We can accommodate up to three classes of students at a time for this field trip. For more information, please contact

BioBlitz field trips, Grades 6-12
Students will work in small groups to identify and record the predominant species at the Durham Ferry Outdoor Education Center. Students will hike, use maps, data sheets and iPads to contribute their observations to the iNaturalist app and help build a data base of the local species.
Field Trip cost: $300 for a class of no more than 32 students. We can accommodate up to two classes of students at a time for this field trip. For more information, please contact

Volunteer at Durham Ferry Outdoor Education Center
Are you passionate about nature? Would you like to share your  love for the outdoors with elementary school students? Volunteers will help run science activities, hike to the San Joaquin River, work with student groups in grades 3 - 5. Please register here

Please email Kristine Stepping for more information regarding programs at Durham Ferry Outdoor Education Center :

Environmental Literacy Regional Resources

Online Resources to teach climate change in K-12 classroom:

TOPSInterested in a TOPS STEM Program at your school?
Teaching Opportunities for Partners in Science (TOPS) is a program that places individuals with a background in STEM at your school where they teach hands-on lessons.  Each volunteer spends about 8 hours per month at a specific school site where together with a teacher they help provide interactive, hands-on science and engineering lessons.  If you are interested in having the program at your school or if you would like to volunteer, please contact Lissa Gilmore: or 209-468-4880 for more information. 

Regional STEM Opportunities and Resources for Teachers

The Exploratorium believes that learning is joyful and lifelong. By creating inquiry-based experience and tools that spark wonder; offer hands-on experiences; and encourage questions, explorations, and individual discovery, they're transforming the way people learn. Learning this way empowers people to figure things out for themselves-about science, but also about any topic, claim or idea.

If you're a teacher, parent, after-school educator, or professional developer, there are lots of unique resources for you.

hhmi BioInteracitve Resources for Educators
Empowering Educators.
Inspiring Students.

California Academy Of Sciences Resources for Educators
Information on professional development, field trips, videos, lessons plans and many more educator resources!

Next Generation Science Lesson Plans and Ideas | BetterLesson
Easy and effective science lesson plans across all grades including Earth and space sciences, and engineering with free resources from world-class teachers.

NGSS 3D Assessment Implementation Modules
The CA NGSS 3D Assessment Implementation Modules website is designed to provide teachers with assessment resources that support high-quality 3-dimensional learning for formative and summative purposes. The website resources for analyzing, modifying and creating assessment items include:
  • Unpacking the Performance Expectation Module
  • 3D Assessment Analysis Module
  • 3D Development/Modification Module
  • NGSS Assessment Database
  • Reference Resources

About Us
San Joaquin County Office of Education STEM Programs is the CCSESA Region 6 Science Lead and the Co-Director of the Delta Sierra Science Project, a California Subject Matter Project. Thank you for reading our newsletter.