Houston museums are using their extensive resources to get children, teachers and parents ready for Back to School.
To encourage students to embrace STEM subjects, which are science, technology, engineering and math, Aramco Services Company (ASC), the U.S. subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, has partnered with the Houston Museum of Natural Science with a new program called Aramco iExplore. Officially launched on August 15, 2013, pre-selected Houston-area teachers and students are provided with free classes and labs at the museum’s Wiess Energy Hall.
At the museum, teachers will participate in a one-day workshop, which is geared toward increasing their knowledge of STEM-related subjects and provides lesson plans for such subjects. The workshop includes a demonstration lab where teachers can see abstract energy concepts come to life as well as receive sets of exercises for their students.
Later, students will get a one-day crash course in energy-specific disciplines such as geology, exploration, drilling and refining, in addition to opportunities to participate in experiments that will leave them feeling what it might be like to work as a geologist or petroleum engineer. Both students and teachers receive tours of the Wiess Energy Hall, which is filled with interactive activities spanning from identifying oil and gas in rock formations to the refining process.
“We are really proud to be able to participate in this very important program,” said Claire Scoggin, the director of Wiess Energy Hall programming at the museum. “Not only are students getting a boost in subjects that are the basis for the careers of tomorrow, but so are their teachers.”
All Aramco iExplore classes and labs are directly aligned with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) concepts. Aramco iExplore conducted two pilot classes earlier this year for roughly 50 students from the Houston Independent School District and their teachers. The classes included guest lecturer Gretchen Gillis, a geological specialist at ASC, who discussed careers in the energy industry.
A total of 12 classes and combined workshops will be given this fall. Schools interested in participating in Aramco iExplore in 2014 should contact the museum’s website at www.hmns.org and click on the Aramco iExplore tab to sign up.
The Health Museum at 1515 Hermann Drive presented the Eat Well, Play Well exhibit in May that is the interactive, bilingual exhibit demonstrating the science of making healthy food choices and showing children and adults many fun and interesting ways to stay active. The exhibit is now in its final month at The Health Museum, with its final day on September 2.
Since its opening in May, thousands of children and families have discovered the world of nutrition and fitness through the exhibit’s hands-on activities that teach healthy living strategies.
To celebrate the success of this exhibit, on August 31 Baylor College of Medicine will be at The Health Museum offering educational programming focusing on healthy eating habits. Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in interactive activities including, “A Rainbow for Dinner,” where children color in a plate keeping food groups and portion size in mind, and “Germie the Unhealthy Art Car,” that helps children to visualize the difference between healthy and unhealthy eating habits by solving puzzles.
“This exhibit is a great space for parents to help their children understand why eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise is so important,” said Jon Iszard, President and CEO of The Health Museum. “The visuals in the exhibit make it easy for young children to understand, and the activities they do really make the experience enjoyable and memorable.”
Eat Well, Play Well visitors will find what an appropriate serving size looks like, see firsthand what it takes to burn off calories, test their flexibility and balance, review the latest clinical research and realize that they can reduce their risk of disease with healthy choices.
Admission to The Health Museum is $6 for children ages 3-11 and seniors 65 and over, and $8 for adults ages 12 - 64. All children ages 2 and under are free. Tickets are available online. Discounts can only be redeemed at the museum’s ticket desk. For group discount rates and school field trip information, call 713-521-1515, ext. 119. For more information about the museum or its programs, visit thehealthmuseum.org.