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Mt. Diablo Unified student scientists, engineers, and mathematicians present innovative ideas at annual STEM Showcase
Posted 3/14/19

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Showcase to highlight student projects; event will include engineering design challenges, robotics, and hands-on demonstrations


WHAT:  Mt. Diablo Unified’s 2019 STEM Showcase will feature projects from more than 400 3rd through 5th grade students from across the District.  The event is an updated take on the traditional science fairs of years past, with a greater emphasis on engineering and mathematics-driven projects supporting students’ hands-on exploration and study with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).


WHERE:  Willow Creek Center, 1026 Mohr Ln., Concord (Get directions)


WHEN:  Saturday, March 16, 2019, 9 – 11 a.m.  The event is free and open to the public.


OVERVIEW:  The STEM Symposium provides a venue for students from across Mt. Diablo Unified to present projects, experiments, and findings, demonstrating their creativity and critical thinking skills. This year’s entries include submissions from individual students, student groups and teams, and entire classrooms.


Some of this year’s entry titles include:

  • The Solution to Pollution: Black Carbon
  • Natural Vs. Chemical Cleaning: Do Your Cleaning Products Really Work?
  • Can We Drink Ocean Water?
  • Bouncy Ball Bounce-Off
  • Eggcellent Enamel Eggsperiment
  • Guinea Pig Behavior
  • Magnetic Slime

Additional activities at the Symposium will include:

  • Mad Science demonstrations using flames, flares and explosions
  • Robotics demonstrations from Valley View middle school
  • Contra Costa Central Sanitary District
  • Project Lead The Way
  • Project Catalyst, College Park High School
  • Engineering is Elementary design challenges from multiple grades displayed


The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are K–12 science standards developed by states, for states. The NGSS identify scientific and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas in science that all K–12 students should master in order to prepare for success in college and 21st-century careers.


The NGSS promote five key principles:

  • Three-Dimensional Learning: There are three equally important, distinct dimensions to learning science included in the NGSS: Scientific and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas. The NGSS connect all three dimensions. To prepare students for success in college and 21st century careers, the NGSS also connect scientific principles to real-world situations, allowing for more engaging and relevant instruction to explore complicated topics.
  • All three dimensions build coherent learning progressions: The NGSS provide students with continued opportunities to engage in and develop a deeper understanding of each of the three dimensions of science. Building on the knowledge and skills gained from each grade—from elementary through high school—students have multiple opportunities to revisit and expand their understanding of all three dimensions by the end of high school.
  • Students engage with phenomena and design solutions: In instructional systems aligned to the NGSS, the goal of instruction is for students to be able to explain real-world phenomena and to design solutions using their understanding of the Disciplinary Core Ideas. Students can achieve this goal by engaging in the Science and Engineering Practices and applying the Crosscutting Concepts.
  • Engineering and the Nature of Science is integrated into science: Some unique aspects of engineering (e.g., identifying problems) are incorporated throughout the NGSS.  In addition, unique aspects of the nature of science (e.g., how theories are developed) are also included throughout the NGSS as practices and crosscutting concepts.
  • Science is connected to math and literacy: The NGSS not only provide for coherence in science instruction and learning but also connect science with mathematics and English Language Arts. This meaningful and substantive overlapping of skills and knowledge affords all students equitable access to the learning standards.