COMET • Vol. 22, No. 01 – 14 March 2021




(1) Pi Day 2021 Events, Lessons, Activities, and Discounts


The Exploratorium in San Francisco continues its annual Pi Day celebration today with a free online event held via Facebook and YouTube from 1:15-2:00 p.m. PDT. This virtual celebration features performances by math artist John Sims, pi trivia and humor, and an opportunity for story-sharing by participants. For more information, including activities and the history of Pi Day, visit  

Also, in celebration of Women’s History Month, Exploratorium educator Lori Lambertson narrates a video profiling influential women such as NASA research mathematician Katherine Johnson, mathematician and concert pianist Eugenia Cheng (author of How to Bake Pi), and “recreational mathemusician” Vi Hart:


Related information

* The Parade and RetailMeNot websites are two sources of special offers (pizza, pies, and more) available on Pi Day:



* In 2021, Pi Day gets shortchanged a bit due to the transition to Daylight Saving Time on March 14. (For a short history of DST and its rationale, visit

* YouTube contains a number of videos related to Pi Day, including a clever minute-long video recently posted by Chris Smith (2018 Scottish Teacher of the Year): For a collection of YouTube Pi Day videos, visit

* The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena hosts webpages that include information about Pi Day history, activities and lesson plans that incorporate pi (for year-round use), and more. Explore the following websites for more: (searchable collection of lessons and problems)


(2) Draft California Mathematics Framework Information Sessions and Feedback Opportunities

The California State Board of Education (SBE) adopted the current Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools, K-12 in 2013 and anticipates taking action to approve the 2021 Framework at its meeting in November. The first (current) 60-day public review of the Mathematics Framework draft concludes on April 8, after which the field review results will be analyzed and revisions made. The IQC (Instructional Quality Commission) is then expected to take action on the revised draft Mathematics Framework. The second 60-day public review and comment period will be held during June and July 2021.

The California Mathematics Council (CMC), the California Mathematics Project (CMP), the California State University (CSU), and other organizations have hosted informative webinars and opportunities for constituents to provide input regarding the current draft. CMC’s Mathematics Framework webpageincludes information on its three recent Mathematics Framework webinars (including the archived video and presentation slides from these webinars). A number of additional opportunities to review and discuss the contents of the draft Framework are also included on this page:

The majority of the Framework webinars have been attended by or led by members of the 2021Mathematics Framework writing team:

– Jo Boaler, Stanford University 

– Katy Early, CSU Chico

– Ben Ford, Sonoma State 

– Jenny Langer-Osuna, Stanford University

– Brian Lindaman, CSU Chico (Chair) 

For an overview of the revision process of the 2021 Framework and links to the draft chapters approved by the IQC, visit  To provide individual input on the draft Mathematics Framework by the April 8 deadline, visit CSU faculty can contact Fred Uy (, Director of Educator Preparation, for the link to the CSU mathematics educators’ response form (feedback due March 15).


(3) Call for Speakers: 2021 California Science Education Conference


The California Association of Science Educators (CASE) is seeking proposals for 90-minute workshops and short courses for its October 8-10 conference, which will be held virtually. The proposal deadline is March 26. Visit the website above for more information.


(4) Call for Speakers: California Mathematics Council (CMC) North Conference

California Mathematics Council (CMC) North is accepting proposals through May 1 to speak at its 2021 conference, which is expected to be held in Pacific Grove on December 3-5. Please visit for more conference information, including a link to submit a speaker proposal.


(5) Call for Speakers: California Mathematics Council (CMC) South Conference

California Mathematics Council (CMC) South invites proposal submissions for one or two 90-minute workshops for its 2021 conference, which will be held on November 4-6 in Palm Springs. The theme of this year’s conference is “Time to Unmute: Amplifying Diverse Voices.”

For speaker and proposal information, please visit deadline for proposal submission is April 18.


(6) Virtual Spring CUE Conference

This year’s Virtual Spring CUE conference will be held on March 18-27 and feature over 400 sessions on educational technology. All sessions will be recorded and archived in the Virtual Spring CUE Conference library for future viewing. A conference overview is available at

Session titles and descriptions are available at Those who volunteer may attend the conference free of charge.


(7) MDTP’s Math Educators Virtual Conference: Mapping a New Normal 

The mission of the Mathematics Diagnostic and Testing Project (MDTP) is to develop and provide free diagnostic tools and training to support California mathematics educators in preparing students in Gr. 6 through calculus for success in current and subsequent mathematics courses. For more information about MDTP, please visit

MDTP is holding a free virtual conference on March 20 and April 17 for California mathematics educators in grades K-12 and post-secondary institutions.  The keynote address will introduce the MDTP Assessment System and preview the topics of the four breakout sessions.

Visit the following links for more information:

– Conference website:

– Session times and abstracts:

– Presenter profiles:


To register, visit


(8) Free Online CSET Mathematics and Science Workshops for Spring and Summer 2021

The Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI) at California State University (CSU) Fresno and at CSU Northridge offer free online workshops reviewing the content assessed on the three CSET subtests for mathematics (test codes 211-213) and for science (test codes 215, 217-220). The sessions are recorded and archived for additional review by participants.

At Fresno State, the CSET: Mathematics Subtest I and Subtest II workshop series will be held daily (Monday-Thursday) from 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. on June 21-July 1 (Subtest I) and July 12-22 (Subtest II). TheMathematics Subtest III workshop series will be held from 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays from April 8 through May 13.

The day-long science workshop series will be held on four Saturdays in June.

For more information about CSET workshops offered by MSTI Fresno State, visit To register, visit

=  At CSU Northridge, the Mathematics Subtest II online workshop begins on March 22. To register, visit The schedule for this spring’s General Science workshop series can be found at Physics, chemistry, and biology workshops will be held this summer.

For information about future CSET I and III workshops at CSU Northridge, visit To be put on the mailing list, visit  To request links for past CSET workshops, please visit


(9) “East LA Native, who was Jaime Escalante’s Student, Playing Integral Part in Mars Mission” by Eric Resendiz

Source: KABC-TV Los Angeles – 23 February 2021


On Thursday [February 18, 2021], NASA cheered for their biggest and most advanced rover when it landed on Mars, called Perseverance. Among those who helped lead the project was Sergio Valdez, who is from East Los Angeles…

Valdez is an engineering manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. His parents immigrated from Mexico; he grew up in East L.A. and graduated from Garfield High in 1991. One of his professors was the famous math teacher Mr. Jaime Escalante, who was the subject of the ’80s movie “Stand and Deliver.”

“What he taught me in high school was a huge step forward for me to make a career out of myself,” said Valdez. “I didn’t realize how much he had contributed to my education until I got to college”…

[Visit to read more and watch the video of this news story.]



(1) International Day of Mathematics: Online Celebration will be Held on Pi Day

The International Mathematical Union (IMU) sponsors the International Day of Mathematics (IDM), an annual worldwide celebration held on March 14. The website for IDM ( contains links to the gallery of original posters and videos submitted by math aficionados of all ages and much more.

The 2021 Global Online Celebration livestream will be held in English, French, and Spanish (no registration required).

This year’s theme is “Mathematics for a Better World,” encouraging a focus on the vital importance of mathematics in providing foundational models and tools to forecast, research, and address phenomena such as health crises, weather, and natural disasters. As noted on the IDM website, “Mathematics is central to the efficient organization of societies for the benefit of all citizens. It optimizes transportation and communication networks and enables smart planning and management of health, economic, and social systems. Science and mathematics have a crucial role in steering decisions to promote peace and social justice.

“As a common language to the planet, mathematics is an essential part of humankind’s cultural heritage. It is present in arts, music, and games, for human enjoyment and well-being.”


(2) National Math Festival Weekend


This year, the National Math Festival (NMF) will include a free, online, interactive Festival Weekend on April 16-18. The days will be filled with videos (e.g., Hidden Figures, The Bit Player, Secrets of the Surface) and panel discussions in the Film Room, live math talks (e.g., “Math is Play,” “Changing the ‘Face’ of Mathematics,” “Math and the Movies”), and much more.

Videos and resources from NMF events held online over the past few months are also available on the comprehensive NMF website:  For the schedule, visit

The NMF newsletter includes information about online events and resources for all ages. To sign up for the newsletter, visit  Bonus content includes a weekly puzzle newsletter for kids and teens by James Tanton and announcements regarding the Mathical Book Prize. The latter is an “annual award for fiction and nonfiction books that inspire children of all ages to see math in the world around them.” Visit to view the 2015-21 award winners.


(3) Differing Abilities in STEM Webinar

Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


How do we make STEM education more accessible for all learners? What STEM resources are available to help students with differing abilities? How can students with differing abilities excel in STEM careers?

Students of all abilities can be successful in the STEM economy and should be encouraged to pursue STEM experiences, coursework, and career paths. The USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education, will welcome special guest speaker, Dr. Temple Grandin, for a discussion on how to create inclusive STEM environments that make it possible for students of all abilities to be successful inventors and innovators. Learn what the Department of Education and others are doing to expand access for greater ability diversity in STEM. 

To register for this event, which will be held on March 25 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. PDT, please visit


(4) Applications for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Due April 1


The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching. The awards recognize those teachers who have both deep content knowledge of the subjects they teach and the ability to motivate and enable students to be successful in those areas.

Recipients receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to attend a variety of recognition and professional development events. In addition, they receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation and a certificate signed by the President of the United States.

This year, eligible teachers must currently teach science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science in grades 7-12, as well as have previously taught a STEM subject in Gr. K-12 for at least 5 years.


Visit for additional requirements and to apply.


(5) Mathigon

Mathigon ( is a free online resource center and instructional website created to facilitate active learning and exploration of mathematics concepts.  Created by former Google engineer Philipp Legner, the mission is “to ensure that every student enjoys learning mathematics and to create the ‘Textbook of the Future.’”

Legner said, “I loved mathematics throughout my education and built Mathigon so that all students can have a similar experience.” The website was created so that students of all ages can explore, discover, be curious, solve problems, and engage in critical thinking within a visually attractive and engaging learning environment. A virtual tutor is available as well.

The Activities page ( includes a large collection of virtual manipulatives, problems and puzzles, an “almanac of interesting numbers” (facts about numbers along an interactive number line), a timeline of mathematics (with details about each mathematician/scientist), origami, tangrams, mathematical applications, etc.

For a visual tour of Mathigon, visit




(1) CSU Webinar: Bringing Awareness to Systemic Barriers to Recruiting and Sustaining Future STEM Teachers of Color

Registration Link:

– The webinar will be held on 19 March 2021, 10-11:30 a.m.

(2) Reimagining the STEM Education Pipeline for Teachers of Color

Source: ARISE-AAAS – 16 February 2021


(3) Save the Date: Educator Recruitment and Retention Symposium


– The symposium will be held virtually on June 11, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

(4) Engineering Education as the Development of Critical Sociotechnical Literacy

Source: ARISE-AAAS – 10 March 2021


(5) Celebrating Women in Science

Source: Monterey Bay Aquarium


(6) Spacecraft Named After NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson Heading to ISS

Source: NBC 7 San Diego – 4 February 2021





COMET is supported by a grant from the California Mathematics Project.


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Carol Fry Bohlin, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Program Coordinator, M.A. in Education-C&I

Director, Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI)

Reporter/Editor, California Online Mathematics Education Times (COMET)

California State University, Fresno

5005 N. Maple Ave. M/S ED 2

Fresno, CA  93740-8025     



Twitter: @STEM_Fresno