Category Archives: Science

Petrochallenge student competition drills down to the top three teams

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.

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“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.

‘Crack the Code’ STEM event set for January 9

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 students, teachers attend Pumps & Pipes 9 STEM symposium

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.

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Students collaborate with the Health Museum on STEM cells lesson plan

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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.

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Hour of Code keeps HISD students globally competitive

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.

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HISD students take on the Bebras computational thinking challenge

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.

The Bebras Computing Challenge is open to 5th- through 12th-grade students from Nov. 9-21. The goal is to get kids excited about computing and improve their problem-solving skills. The challenge comes just a few weeks before Computer Science Education Week (December 7-13) and the worldwide Hour of Code. Continue reading

Students tracking environmental changes at Yellowstone National Park

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Students at two HISD schools are helping to monitor the health of the planet, and it’s all thanks to one passionate teacher.

For the past 17 years, Ann Linsley has been taking her Bellaire High School IB and AP geography and environmental science students on field trips to Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. Six years ago, she added a group of Pin Oak Middle School students, and this year Pin Oak Principal Rita Graves accompanied them as well.

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Wheatley HS biology teacher named finalist for Presidential Award

Wheatley High School biology teacher Ferleshare Starks poses for a photograph in her classroom, August 14, 2015. (Houston ISD/Dave Einsel)

Ferleshare Starks

Ferleshare Starks, a biology teacher at HISD’s Wheatley High School, has been named a finalist for the 2015 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

Starks, who came to HISD from Fort Bend ISD last year, is one of only 10 educators from Texas to be so honored. She was nominated by Tia Watson, a first-year teacher she is mentoring.

“Being nominated by my mentee is one of the highlights of my career,” said Starks. “My passion is to fill all new teachers with a love for science. Being named a finalist has given me an overwhelming sense of gratitude.”

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Hands-on STEM camp gets students excited about careers

Dozens of HISD elementary and middle school students spent the first month of the summer break at a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) camp at M.C. Williams Middle School.

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Campers, who are in grades 2–8, had daily team-building sessions during the program, which ran from June 2–26. They also learned how to code video games, and built rockets that they launched on the last day of camp. Continue reading

East Early College HS places second in national SECME competition

East Early College HS Falcon 1 team, Pablo Flores, Miguel Lara, and Alejandro Meza

East Early College HS Falcon 1 team, Pablo Flores, Miguel Lara, and Alejandro Meza

The East Early College High School’s (EECHS) Falcon 1 team, whose members are Pablo Flores, Miguel Lara, and Alejandro Meza, won second place in the High School Water Rocketry category at the 2015 National SECME (Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering) Competition.

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