Students and staff at Atherton Elementary are excited about the newest addition to their campus – a rooftop garden. And they have big plans for it.
“We can learn how plants grow and change over time,” said fifth-grader Nathaniel Alvarenga.
“It’s helping our ecosystems,” added his classmate Isacc Solis. “Birds and bees come, and the bees pollinate the plants.”
Atherton received a new building as part of the 2007 bond program, but plans for the rooftop garden were put on hold as other items took priority. Trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones supported the garden, which is receiving its finishing touches this month. The project also got a boost from IDG Architects’ Ben McMillan, who donated funds last October. Continue reading →
The Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) unveiled its newly renovated Burke Baker Planetarium on March 11, and roughly 75 of HISD’s Southmayd Elementary School’s fourth-graders were the first to experience it.
Through a long-standing partnership with the museum, all 14,000 HISD fourth-graders take a field trip there each year, but the planetarium now boasts a new seamless inner surface on the dome and a high-resolution, digital-laser projection system so powerful only astronauts will have a better view of celestial objects.
Digital Learning Day is Wednesday, Feb. 17, and HISD is inviting all of its teachers to share all of the innovative instructional practices taking place in their classrooms on social media using the hashtag #HISDdigital.
Digital Learning Day was created by the Alliance for Excellent Education, a national policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all students, particularly those who are traditionally underserved, graduate from high school prepared for success in college, work, and citizenship.
In honor of Digital Learning Day, HISD is observing the entire month of February as Digital Learning Month for all K–12 campuses. Earlier this month, more than 30 HISD schools were represented at the second annual Digital Learning Expo, which was held Feb. 11 at the district’s Hattie Mae White Educational Resource Center. Students from all grades proudly demonstrated a wide range of digital projects, including musical bananas, large and small robots, book trailers created with Animoto, and mobile apps created with coding. The event was held just prior to the regular monthly Board of Education meeting to show trustees, district employees, and community partners how HISD students are using technology to transform teaching and learning.
The sounds of students hard at work — plotting, drilling, and making deals — filled the room at Houston Community College-Southwest during the Independent Petroleum Association of America/Petroleum Equipment Suppliers Association (IPAA/PESA) Petrochallenge. Nearly 400 students participated in the annual four-day competition, which challenges young people to become leaders in the oil and gas industries through a simulation-based training tool called OilSim.
Students from different schools in Houston and Fort Worth not only predicted and acquired valuable blocks for oil and gas production, they were tasked with making deals among the different teams to test their business acumen. In the process, students learn about the methods used in the real world of oil and gas, the terminology used, and maybe even a new career option.
“I’ve learned about water depth and geometrics and all this stuff I didn’t know about going in,” said Westside High School student Jason Levine.
When all was said and done, three teams of students from Milby and Westside high schools, as well as the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy (YWCPA), took home the top prizes. Each winning team received a monetary prize, but students say they gained so much more.
“I knew I wanted to be a petroleum engineer,” said YWCPA student and second-place team member Alyssa Dorelus. But coming here just reaffirmed what I already knew.”
The Petrochallenge is sponsored by Schlumberger, NExT, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, and IPAA/PESA.
The Innovative Curriculum department will hold its first ever invitational coding event for its TIF 4 STEM grant schools on Saturday, January 9, 2016 from 9 a.m. to noon, called “Crack the Code.” Students, teachers, and chaperones from 18 of the grant’s middle schools and elementary schools will convene at Southmayd Elementary School, the host campus, for the day’s festivities.
Over 200 people are expected to participate in the day’s coding activities. A unique aspect of this event is that participants will learn, test, and refine their coding skills alongside each other, highlighting the ability of students and teachers to be co-constructors of STEM-based knowledge and skills.
The purpose of the invitational, is to serve as a “pilot” coding event for HISD. Any business entities, philanthropic organizations, or non-profits interested in helping to support the vision for a district-wide coding event in the future, should contact Annie Song in HISD’s Strategic Partnerships Office at 713-556-7218.
Current funding provided by the TIF 4 grant supports the TIF 4 STEM team, responsible for leading and preparing the day’s activities, busing to the event location, and recognitions for all participants.
HISD STEM coordinators, teachers and students will attend the Pumps & Pipes 9 Symposium on Dec. 7 to hear presentations from medical doctors, astrophysicists, research engineers and other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professionals, while thousands of students will watch via webcast from their classrooms.
Health professionals from Houston’s Health Museum visited the Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy for Young Men and gave 20 ninth-graders a lesson on nutrition and physical fitness. The museum’s STEM Cells Sports Medicine Program exposes students to various disciplines within sports medicine.
Hour of Code is a global initiative that calls for students to do at least one hour of coding during Computer Science Education Week, which runs from Dec. 7 to 13. Basically, coding is typing step-by-step commands into the computer that tell it what you want it to do. When coding, also known as programming, students will use language that computers understand to create computer games, applications, web content, and much more.
Critical thinking is a key part of HISD’s Global Graduate profile. That’s why students from 59 HISD schools are taking part in a worldwide challenge that introduces computational thinking through online challenges.