Archive for the ‘Middle School’ Category

Sacramento Common Core Math Workshops

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Teachers at Hands-on Math Workshop Sierra College STEM DSC01627The Sierra College Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Collaborative is offering a series of three workshops on implementing the Common Core standards of mathematical practice. To prepare teachers to meet the new Common Core mathematics requirements, participants will learn how to use hands-on activities to engage students and facilitate critical thinking.

Implementing the Standards of Mathematical Practice on Fridays March 14, April 4 and May 9, 2014 in Roseville CA. Sierra STEM Hands on Math Common Core March May 2014 Workshops Flyer


Super-Awesome Sylvia Shares Her Projects

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Check out some fun STEM projects that might intrigue your students at Sylvia’s Super Awesome Maker Show.

Pre-teen Sylvia demonstrates in short movies “everything cool and worth making.” Find rockets, sewing circuitry, pendants that display your heart beat and many more electronic projects.

At this year’s White House Science Fair, President Obama invited her to exhibit her water color robot as a representative of the Maker community. She was also featured on the front cover of Maker magazine.

Keep those great movies and projects coming!

SMUD offers teacher workshops in February

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

STEM Teachers can learn about new class projects by attending these SMUD workshops in February in Sacramento.

How to Build a Solar Car - High School and Middle School Teacher Workshop, Thursday, February 7, 2013, 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Physics teacher, Eric Wright will show you how to bring engineering and solar technology into your curriculum by having your students design and build solar cars. Teachers will get one solar car kits.

(High School students will be encouraged to design and build race cars to compete in the SMUD sponsored Solar Car Race to be held later at American River College on May 3, 2013. ) This is optional. If you plan on racing this year, please  contact Suzette Bienvenue at 916-732-5175 | [email protected] so that she can order kits for you.

Education and the Environment – Grades K-12 Teacher Workshop, Tuesday, February 12, 2013, 4:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

The California Education and Environment Initiative curriculum is an on-line resource for teachers and is designed to work in coordination with existing textbooks that teachers are already familiar with. The standards-based curriculum teaches History/Social Science standards to mastery, while supporting English Language Arts. This workshop will review all of the classroom support resources and materials available and the unique connection to relevant California topics.

Colfax Record: Engineers in Training

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Martha Garcia, Colfax Record Editor, wrote Engineers in training at Colfax High on May 24 about the Weimar Hills students’ experience building Sierra College CACT Tech-Explorer catapults.

From the article: “Teachers and administrators hope a recent visit to Colfax High School will catapult Weimar Hills Elementary School students into technical careers. On May 15, the eighth-graders were introduced to design, engineering and manufacturing concepts at the Tech-Explorer event in the classroom of Jonathan Schwartz, Colfax High math and pre-engineering teacher. Students used lathes, mills and other power and hand tools to build and assemble catapults.

The event was made possible through a Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) Collaborative Grant from Sierra College. The program not only introduces students to Colfax High, it also aims to make them aware of opportunities in high-paid local careers and education paths at Sierra College in mechatronics, engineering, welding, energy technology and drafting and engineering support.

Schwartz said the Weimar Hills students first worked on their math skills using the fraction contraption, a game Schwartz developed as a tool for learning math. Last week, the 60-plus students spent the day in Schwartz’s classroom building catapults out of aluminum and wood. ‘They used all sorts of shop tools from a mill to a metal lathe, they got a taste of the high school … and they got an introduction into pre-engineering,’ Schwartz said. …” Read more on the Colfax Record


Project Based Learning Conference in Napa this June

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

PBL World!, a Project Based Learning conference to be held June 18-22, 2012, will bring 400 teachers together to share ideas, listen to keynote speakers, and attend workshops and coaching sessions. Visit for more information.

Introduction to Project Based Learning

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

The Buck Institute for Education (BIE) interviewed Telannia Norfar, a math teacher using Project Based Learning extensively. The interview focused on benefits, resistance, bridging subjects, and more that a teacher considering Project Based Learning should consider. Read the brief interview here. She also hosted a half hour webinar discussing the creation of Project Based Learning projects. Click here to watch the webinar.

Tech-Explorer used at Tennessee Camp

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

The Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Tennessee ( adapted the Sierra College Tech-Explorer catapult project to use at an Advanced Manufacturing Camp for 8-9th graders. The students also do interesting science experiments and visit local manufacturers. Watch the movie and learn more at

The Tech-Explorer catapult project is also being used by

College of the Canyons CACT

• College of the Sequoias

• San Bernardino Community College



Teachers pilot math games

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

On October 20, 2011, teachers who are piloting Fraction Contraption ( through the Sierra College STEM Collaborative and National Science Foundation grants met to debrief on their experience, discuss teaching methods and learn a new game also developed by Jono Schwartz, Fence the Yard.

What teachers say is going well with testing Fraction Contraption in their classrooms:

  • The students love it
  • The students like the competition

Teaching tips:

  • Use ruler and write down conversions
  • Write down rolls – show total, then challenge teacher to “graduate” to not writing it down
  • Use number line – student have it out while playing
  • Had them pair up with peers who understand it to help the ones having trouble
  • Teacher helps pick who to play for 1st game, then can challenge anyone
  • Class plays against the teacher


  • Uses play money and treats it like a gambling game – 5th grade – they love it
  • Uses prizes from the dollar tree – vw bugs, erasers, cones on desk when doing well, big erasers, gold trophies that you can write their name on and post – juniors and seniors in HS still like these gestures

Track rank in tournaments:

  • Keep track with yard stick – mounted away from the wall and place the cloths pins with the students name on them – change position as rank changes
  • Uses magnets on file cabinet for tracking tournament place
  • Smart board – position – drags name –for tournament play
  • Made ladder with Velcro to move ranking


Sac State helps Girls Explore Science Careers — Oct 8, 2011

Friday, September 9th, 2011

With hands-on workshops such as “Bone Detectives,” “Build a Heart Monitor” and “Fun with Fishes,” Sacramento State’s Expanding Your Horizons conference encourages middle school girls to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Watch movie from 2010.

The conference for 6th to 8th grade girls will be held 9 a.m.-3:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8. Online registration is now open. The cost is $25 and includes lunch, a career demonstration and exposition fair in addition to the workshops.

This year’s keynote speaker is Michele Wong, president and CEO of Synergex International Corp., an internationally recognized software manufacturer.

“Our regional EYH conference continues to provide an invaluable and exciting educational experience for these young women,” says Program Coordinator Sharon Puricelli.

There are also workshops for parents attending the conference with their children. The adults’ topics will focus on strategies and programs available to help their children pursue a college degree and motivate them to take science and mathematics courses. Registration is $25 and includes lunch.

The program is sponsored by Sacramento State’s Center for STEM Excellence and College of Continuing Education, AT&T and the Women of AT&T.

The conference is limited to 340 students and typically sells out early. To register and get more information, visit .