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Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) information.

K-12 STEM education encompasses the processes of critical thinking, analysis, and collaboration in which students integrate the processes and concepts in real world contexts of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, fostering the development of STEM skills and competencies for college, career, and life.

California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s  interview at the CA STEM Summit 2012  where he spoke about CA STEM education. Text transcript of Tom Torlakson’s video External link opens in new window or tab..

5th Annual California STEAM Symposium

Investigate. Collaborate. Innovate External link opens in new window or tab.
December 10-11, 2017, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

E-mail lists: If you would like to receive STEM Education updates via e-mail notification about resources, workshops, institutes, funding opportunities, contests, and legislation related to STEM Education, subscribe to the Lyris e-mail list by sending a "blank" message to join-stem-education@mlist.cde.ca.gov.

If you would like to unsubscribe from the STEM Education Lyris e-mail list, send a "blank" message to unsubscribe-stem-education@mlist.cde.ca.gov.

Defining STEM

STEM Education in California

To be successful, California’s efforts to improve schools and raise student achievement must include advancing our students’ understanding of STEM: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Through STEM education, students learn to become problem solvers, innovators, creators, and collaborators and go on to fill the critical pipeline of engineers, scientists, and innovators so essential to the future of California and the nation. The STEM Task Force calls upon policy makers, business leaders, philanthropists, educators, and all Californians to take the actions necessary to realize this future vision:

California leads the world in STEM education, inspiring and preparing all of its students to seize the opportunities of the global society through innovation, inquiry, collaboration, and creative problem solving.

The growth of jobs in California requiring STEM proficiency is on the rise. In California, there were approximately five people searching for every available job. Meanwhile, there were 1.5 STEM jobs available for every job seeker (Change the Equation, 2012).

California will be a leader in STEM education, preparing and inspiring all of its students to seize the opportunities of the global society through innovation, inquiry, collaboration, and creative problem solving. Increase Public Awareness, Increase Resources, Increase Access, Establish a STEM Framework, Enhance Professional Learning, Integrate STEM into Assessment and Accountability Systems, and Guarantee the Availability of High-quality STEM Educational Materials and Resources.

STEM Disciplines

The Four STEM Disciplines Described

Science is the study of the natural world, including the laws of nature associated with physics, chemistry, and biology and the treatment or application of facts, principles, concepts, and conventions associated with these disciplines. Science is both a body of knowledge that has been accumulated over time and a process—scientific inquiry—that generates new knowledge. Knowledge from science informs the engineering design process. (NGSS for California Public Schools, K-12)

Technology, while not a discipline in the strictest sense, comprises the entire system of people and organizations, knowledge, processes, and devices that go into creating and operating technological artifacts, as well as the artifacts themselves. Throughout history, humans have created technology to satisfy their wants and needs. Much of modern technology is a product of science and engineering, and technological tools are used in both fields. (Empowering Learning – A Blueprint for California Education Technology 2014-2017 (PDF))

Engineering is both a body of knowledge—about the design and creation of human-made products—and a process for solving problems. This process is design under constraint. One constraint in engineering design is the laws of nature, or science. Other constraints include time, money, available materials, ergonomics, environmental regulations, manufacturability, and reparability. Engineering utilizes concepts from science and mathematics as well as technological tools. (Engineering Design in the NGSS External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF))

Mathematics is the study of patterns and relationships among quantities, numbers, and space. Unlike in science, where empirical evidence is sought to warrant or overthrow claims, claims in mathematics are warranted through logical arguments based on foundational assumptions. The local arguments themselves are part of mathematics along with the claims. As in science, knowledge in mathematics continues to grow, but unlike in science, knowledge in mathematics is not overturned, unless the foundational assumptions are transformed. Specific conceptual categories of K-12 mathematics include numbers and arithmetic, algebra, functions, geometry, and statistics and probability. Mathematics is used in science, engineering, and technology. (California Common Core State Standards (PDF))

Source: Adapted from the National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council, 2009.

Students learn not only in the classroom but also in the real world, and the importance of expanded, informal, and K-12 regular school day learning integration has been emphasized recently by the 2011 convening of the Committee on Integrated STEM Education by the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council (NRC), and the NRC convening, STEM is Everywhere. The most effective STEM education takes place where expanded, informal learning, and K-12 regular day instruction are integrated and the unique potential of each of these environments is fully leveraged for high-quality STEM education, often referred to as STEM ecosystems. (Change the Equation, 2012).

K-12 Regular Day: Elementary School, Middle School, and High School. Informal Learning: Libraries, Museums, Parks, and Businesses. Expanded Learning: Before School, After School, and Summer and Intersession.

Computer Science

Computer Science Education Initiatives at CDE

Recognizing the increasing importance of computer science education in California, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has been tasked with supporting two efforts to establish this content area in California. Torlakson convened an advisory committee to develop new state computer science content standards on September 25, 2017. The second initiative began in response to California Education Code Section 53313 External link opens in new window or tab., which specifies that the Superintendent shall develop a computer science strategic implementation plan for submission to the Legislature, if the plan is adopted by the State Board of Education, on or before July 15, 2019. The implementation of computer science education, throughout kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, would allow for pupils to build their computational and critical thinking skills, enhance technological development, and prepare them for the 21st century.   

CDE Programs and Initiatives

California Computer Science Education Standards
Information on current computer science education resources, initiatives, and standards.

California Career Technical Education: Information and Communication Technologies (PDF)
The Career Technical Education (CTE) Model Curriculum Standards have expanded to include the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector. Essential skills for those within the ICT sector, such as project management and effective communication, are described here.

Digital Literacy (PDF)
The Model School Library Standards for California Public Schools provides standards for libraries across California public institutions regarding the accessibility and usage of print and digital resources for students.

CDE for CS Newsletter
To subscribe to this quarterly newsletter, send a blank email to CAComputerSci@cde.ca.gov.

Resources

Alliance for California Computing Education for Students and Schools (ACCESS) External link opens in new window or tab.
ACCESS is a statewide network of computer scientists, K-12 teachers, professors from community colleges through universities, educational policy advocates, and related industry professionals who advocate for high-quality K-12 computer science education in California to ensure that it is accessible to all students.

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) External link opens in new window or tab.
Regarded as the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, the Association for Computing Machinery provides resources that aim to advance computing as both a science and profession.

Code.org External link opens in new window or tab.
Code.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing access to and equity within computer science education for women and underrepresented communities. The website provides programming courses for grades K-12, resources for the Hour of Code, and advocacy materials.

Computer Science Education Week External link opens in new window or tab.
Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to participate in computer science.

Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) External link opens in new window or tab.
The CSTA aims to empower, engage, and advocate for K-12 computer science educators worldwide. The CSTA has developed a core set of learning objectives designed to provide the foundation for a complete computer science curriculum at the K-12 implementation level.

CSPdWeek External link opens in new window or tab.
Computer Science Professional Development Week (CSPdWeek) makes high-quality professional development available for every teacher and counselor, regardless of where they work, what program they teach, or their district’s ability to fund their development.

CS Unplugged External link opens in new window or tab.
CS Unplugged is a collection of free teaching tools for educators that teaches computer science through engaging games, puzzles, and activities.

K-12 Computer Science Framework External link opens in new window or tab.
Developed by organizations including Code.org, the CSTA, and the Association for Computing Machinery, the K-12 Computer Science Framework is designed to guide computer science education toward accessibility and participation for all students.

National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) External link opens in new window or tab.
The NCWIT is a non-profit community that aims to increase the meaningful participation of all women in the computing sector, particularly in terms of technological innovation and development. The NCWIT provides valuable resources for educators to utilize in diverse classrooms.

STEM Resources

CDE Resources

Assessment – California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress External link opens in new window or tab.
The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress System (CAASPP) is a resource for educators to access test administration systems, training resources and materials, the latest CAASPP news, and important dates regarding administering the CAASPP tests. 

Education Technology
Provides assistance to schools and districts in integrating technology with teaching and learning.

Engaging Girls in STEM
Resources to support girls in STEM fields.

Engineering and Architecture (PDF)
Foundational information about the engineering and architecture sector pathways and occupations for students in California.

Environmental Education
Information on current environmental education resources, special events, and grant opportunities.

Mathematics
Resources and information for enhancing the content knowledge and teaching skills of classroom teachers and links to foundational documents which guide California's mathematics instruction.

Professional Learning – Collaboration in Common (CiC) External link opens in new window or tab. Join Now
CiC is an innovative tool that allows educators, teams, and organizations to discover colleagues and communities, curate, organize, and share resources to further professional learning.

Science
Resources and information for enhancing the content knowledge and teaching skills of classroom teachers and links to foundational documents which guide California's science instruction.

External Resources

CA 4 NGSS Toolkit External link opens in new window or tab.
The California Alliance for Next Generation Science Standards facilitates collaboration among education, business, government, and community leaders to support effective and timely implementation of NGSS throughout California.

California County Superintendents Educational Services Association Mathematics Subcommittee External link opens in new window or tab.
The focus of this committee’s work is providing high-quality, equitable mathematics learning opportunities for every child and support for every educator teaching mathematics.

California County Superintendents Educational Services Association Science Subcommittee External link opens in new window or tab.
The Science Subcommittee provides collaborative leadership among county offices of education, California Department of Education, and science partners to improve achievement in science for all students and to close the achievement gap.

California Mathematics Council External link opens in new window or tab.
The California Mathematics Council (CMC) is an organization that believes all students have the capacity to become mathematically competent and confident when provided a rigorous and challenging mathematical program supported by high expectations.

California Science Teachers Association External link opens in new window or tab.
The California Science Teachers Association's (CSTA) mission is to promote high quality science education.

California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) NGSS Resources External link opens in new window or tab.
The CSTA has developed a collection of resources and information for California science educators regarding the implementation of the state’s new science standards.

California State University and Better Together NGSS Resources External link opens in new window or tab.
The California State University collaborated with the Better Together California Teachers’ Summit to create this very comprehensive list of resources for teachers and schools who are implementing the NGSS.

Contra County Office of Education STEAM Initiative External link opens in new window or tab.
The Contra Costa Office of Education provides resources and a newsletter for STEAM educators.

Engineer Girl External link opens in new window or tab.
Engineer Girl is part of a National Academy of Engineering project to bring national attention to the opportunity that engineering represents to all people at any age, but particularly to women and girls.

LCAP Primer for Science and Environmental Literacy Advocates External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
The LCAP Toolkit for Science and Environmental Literacy was developed by The Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley, along with a handful of partners. The toolkit is designed to help districts strengthen supports for science education and environmental literacy as they develop their Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP).

Los Angeles County Office of Education NGSS Posters External link opens in new window or tab.
The Los Angeles County Office of Education has provided printable NGSS poster resources for educators to use in their classrooms.

Makerspace Resources External link opens in new window or tab.
This Web page provides a wide variety of resources for setting up and teaching in a Makerspace classroom.

NASA for Educators External link opens in new window or tab.
NASA for Educators provides resources for kindergarten through college teachers and students. NASA's Education Materials Finder External link opens in new window or tab. helps teachers locate resources that can be used in the classroom.

PBS KIDS' Design Squad Nation External link opens in new window or tab.
With funding from the National Science Foundation and the Bechtel Foundation, the Web site provides elementary teachers with over 100 easy-to-do engineering design projects that can be replicated either in the classroom or used as do-at-home activities for students and their parents.

PBS Teachers STEM Education Resource Center External link opens in new window or tab.
The PBS Teachers STEM Education Resource Center provides selected STEM education resources. To find more, search the database of nearly 4,000 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics resources for grades preK-12.

Santa Clara County Office of Education, STEAM External link opens in new window or tab.
The Santa Clara County Office of Education provides STEAM workshops and resources.

Teach Engineering External link opens in new window or tab.
The Teach Engineering digital library is a collaborative project between faculty, students and teachers associated with five founding partner universities, with National Science Foundation funding.

The Practical Uses of Math and Science (PUMA) External link opens in new window or tab.
This is an Online Journal of Mathematics and Science, at NASA. This is a collection of examples ("lessons" or "activities") showing how math and science topics taught in K-12 classes can be used in interesting settings, including everyday life.

Publications

The Condition of STEM External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF; 2013)
The report will show achievement levels for students in each of the four areas of STEM on a national level.

Disparities in STEM Employment by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin: American Community Survey Reports External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF; 2013)
This report details the historical demographic composition of STEM occupations, followed by a detailed examination of current STEM employment by age and sex, presence of children in the household, and race and Hispanic origin based on the 2011 American Community Survey (ACS).

Vital Signs. The Next Frontier for Data: The More We know, the More We Can Do to Improve STEM Learning External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF; 2012)
The Vital Signs provide important insights on strengths and weaknesses in STEM learning in each state.

The Impact of Engineering Curriculum Units on Students’ Interests in Engineering and Science External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF; 2012)
This report we describe the analysis of a survey of engineering and science interest given as part of a larger study aimed at evaluating the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) curriculum.

Working Paper: How Cross-Sector Collaborations are Advancing STEM Learning External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF; 2014)
This paper describes the attributes and strategies of 15 leading ecosystem efforts throughout the country with the hope that others may use their lessons to deepen rich STEM learning for many more of America’s children.

Questions: STEM Office | stem@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-5847 
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, October 18, 2017
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