Delta Sierra Science Project Newsletter
October 2020

Please consider joining us for the California Environmental Literacy Project's Environmental Literacy Workshop. Registration

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

K-12 Environmental Literacy Workshop
October 24, 2020 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM

This online workshop for K-12 educators will showcase vetted exemplar NGSS lesson sequence that infuse California's Environmental Principles and Concepts. Teachers do not have to be a part of Region 6 Community of Practice to participate in this workshop.

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 is going virtual this year!! - Zoomin' with a Scientist
Zoomin' with a Scientist is an evening of inspiration and insight for middle and high school students who may be interested in entering the field of science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).  Students will get the rare opportunity to spend 15-20 minutes with four different STEM professionals of their choice.  STEM volunteers will discuss their professions and answer any questions the students may have. More information will be available soon.
The date for this event will be announced soon!! 

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.

Bay Area Science Festival is Celebrating 10 Years!
Let's Discover Science Together - Virtually!
October 21-25, 2020

Experience the wonder of science with over 125 FREE events hosed by an incredible collection of Bay Area universities, museums, cultural institutions, corporations, after-school groups, research labs, government agencies and libraries. 
  • Daily STEM Storylines with Scientists
  • STEM at Home activities bring hands-on explorations right into your living room
  • Exciting behind-the-sciences Explorer Tours of research labs and museums
  • Lots of fun and engaging talks, conversations, games and contests

LLNL Distance Learning
The sensors that are part of almost every mobile phone provide a great opportunity to improve students' experiences with physics. Making measurements with high-quality sensors enables them to engage in science and engineering practices as they learn core disciplinary ideas. 
LLNL Distance Learning is a series of presentations outlining a wide range of experiments that are well-aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. These were being developed for the classroom, but many can be done by students in their own homes. Some have been successfully piloted in high school physics classes. Presentation titles below are available to download by visiting LLNL Distance Learning. Send feedback or questions to Dr. Dave Rakestraw at

A Foundation for Understanding Waves
Exploring Frictional Forces
Exploring Magnetic Fields in the World Around You
Measuring the Pressure Around Us
Mechanical Waves and Sound (Part 2)
Moment of Inertia
The Physics of Rotational Motion
The Science of Collisions


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

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. 

Youth for Environmental Literacy - Virtual High School Youth Meeting
Are you at a high school in San Joaquin County and passionate about the environment?  YEL (Youth for Environmental Literacy) if you are! 

High school students and advisors are invited to attend the second meeting of YEL (Youth for Environmental Literacy) on December 5th at 9:00 - 11:00. All high school students are invited to attend whether you participate in an Enviro Club at your school or not.  Maybe YOU will be the person to get a club started.  
To receive a Zoom link, contact:,, or

The CPEL Network (Community Partners for Environmental Literacy) will be meeting virtually on 
November 17, 2020
February 11, 2021
May 13, 2021
The goal of CPEL is to convene environmental education partners in the community who are embedded in EL work, and connect those partners and their work to the students, schools and districts in San Joaquin County.  For more information or to be added to CPEL distribution list, please contact 209.468.4880 or email

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

California Environmental  Literacy Initiative 

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

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.