To help STEM students stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Houston has launched a free, open-access online series of learning activities called teachHouston STEM Interactive. The program, developed to help would-be STEM educators, is funded by the National Science Foundation.
The virtual STEM initiative includes three weeks worth of STEM activities for students in grades 6-9. Subjects include life science, physical science, math, engineering design and innovation, and earth and environmental science. The lessons are designed by STEM and secondary STEM education experts from the University of Houston’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
“Over 3,000 students signed up for this program,” teachHOUSTON associate director and clinical professor Paige Evans told The Cougar. “Daily, we have about 1,000 students attend the interactive Zoom sessions that are hosted by each team. Additionally, we have over 1,000 participants in our private Facebook group where students are able to post their projects and videos and receive feedback from a team member.”
While interactive lessons ended on July 10, lessons and videos are currently available for free for anyone who wants to access them.
Lessons are fun and engaging. Every week for three weeks, kids receive up to 3 hours a day worth of interactive mini-lessons, prototyping, science experiments, and engineering design. For experiments, students use materials and items they should be able to find at home. Each day of the week is dedicated to a different subject.
For example, on Thursdays, students learn about engineering design and innovation. During Week 1, on Thursday, they learn how to build machines that reduce the need to touch surfaces during the pandemic. On Thursday of Week 2, they learn how to develop a device that filters water. On Thursday of Week 3, they learn how to create “shock-absorbing” systems that let astronauts make rough landings on foreign planets unharmed.
teachHoustan also provides a free summer time series, Equinor, for kids in grades 6-8, which consists of math, science, and technology missions. “Math Missions” are now available, and include three sessions on personal financial literacy, data and measurement, and expressions, equations, and relationships. However, the science and technology missions have yet to be released.
This virtual series from TryEngineering, EPICS in IEEE, and the TryEngineering Summer Institute highlights lesson plans from TryEngineering.org with the Hand-on Design Challenge while our Engineering Spotlight virtual event gives a glimpse into the career and lives of engineers. Watch this free virtual events on-demand today.