Academics & Research

STEM lovers STEP up for better education

The STEM event took place over the weekend. | Image courtesy of STEM officials

UH staff member Michael Rapp sought to expand the minds of a new generation and improve the quality of scientific academia.

On Saturday, Elementary school science teachers attended the Science Teaching Equity Project’s annual Astronomy Day, hosted by the Houston Museum of Natural Science in Sugar Land and the George Observatory.

STEP’s mission is to make sure every K-12 student receives excellent science instruction.

“As STEP is known for helping teachers inspire a love of science in students through outreach activities, I did not hesitate to help out when as asked to be the speaker for the Astronomy Day event,” Rapp said.

“I try to take the excitement I have about astronomy and present ways that teachers can relate the wonders of the universe in a memorable and fun way to their students.”

STEP sessions are taught by the UH science, technology, engineering and math faculty, who provide professional development programs with a focus on science and technology, research-based inquiry teaching strategies and teacher leadership and mentoring, STEP’s UH-affiliated website said.

Rapp said he was excited about teaching his passion to teachers who would, in turn, pass it to students. The curiosity that the universe and astronomy may have for a child is a good motivating factor.

“I believe it is important for young kids to learn about science in general and encourage them to pursue careers in STEM fields,” Rapp said.

“My goal is to instill a strong sense of curiosity and wonder at the universe. I think such curiosity is valuable and enjoyable no matter where their future career prospects lead.”

“While planning the event, we learned that Michael Rapp is an amateur astronomer and invited him to speak,” said STEP project manager Coleen LaBorde in a prepared statement.

“Many teachers shared how much they enjoyed and appreciated Michael’s talk. The STEP faculty and staff want to thank Michael for his leadership and support,” LaBorde said.

For more information about STEP, visit

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