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Thursday, October 22, 2020

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TeachHOUSTON hosts virtual educational programming


Over 3,000 people signed up for free daily online educational activities for sixth to ninth-grade students hosted by teachHOUSTON. | Screenshot of a program module

Over 3,000 people signed up for free daily online educational activities for sixth to ninth grade students hosted by teachHOUSTON. | Screenshot of a program module

TeachHOUSTON, a program focused around aspiring STEM teachers, offered three weeks of free daily online educational activities for sixth to ninth grade students.

Throughout each day, the students were able to learn about different STEM topics while engaging in online activities and experiments through Zoom calls and other online social platforms.

“Each theme (Math Monday, Life Science Tuesday, etc.) has a team that creates the lessons and activities,” said teachHOUSTON associate director and clinical professor Paige Evans. “We developed the lessons based on curriculum standards in Texas (TEKS) for grades six to nine.”

The program was able to reach a number of students with the thousands that signed up.

“Over 3,000 students signed up for this program,” Evans said. “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.”

“Students that do not participate in Facebook are able to email us their designs and/or activities as well as ask questions,” Evans added.

Beyond providing resources for students, the educational program allowed recent graduates of teachHOUSTON and Houston public school teachers to gain a better understanding of online schooling.

“The lessons were developed by content teams which include teachHOUSTON graduates who are currently serving as STEM teachers in the greater Houston area public schools and teachHOUSTON undergraduates,” said teachHOUSTON instructional assistant professor Mariam Manuel.

“This program provided valuable mentoring and teaching experience for our 30 Noyce summer interns (teachHOUSTON undergraduate students) and teachHOUSTON graduates,” Manuel continued.

This was the first time teachHOUSTON hosted this program online and have plans to do this again in the future.

“It was created out of a need for access to free educational resources in the critical areas of STEM during this COVID-19 pandemic,” Manuel said. “We are certainly considering this as it was well received this summer and served a high need.”

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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