By LINDA CHION KENNEY
While the spotlight for October is STEM education, Hillsborough school officials are gearing up as well for the annual Great American Teach-In in November, with an open invitation for people with a mentoring heart to participate.
“Come talk virtually or in-person about your job or hobby and set a good example,” reads this year’s invitation to the Nov. 18 teach-in, a national event designed to help celebrate American Education Week. Speakers are needed for kindergarten through grade 12 and for exceptional student centers, career centers and technical colleges.
Register to present, in person or virtually, by Nov. 4.
Meanwhile, the spotlight in October is on STEM-related education, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, considered collectively as “one of the most critical areas for education in this country,” according to Hillsborough school officials.
The #STEMtober initiative transcends beyond the schoolhouse, however, with activities scheduled throughout the Tampa Bay area as well, including the Family Play Project throughout October at the Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa and the Skywatch event at the Museum of Science and Industry, with no ticket required for the MOSI event, scheduled for Oct. 9, 8 to 10:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, MOSI STEMtober Night is scheduled for Oct. 21, 5:30 to 8 p.m., with registration required. The finals for the Hillsborough school district’s Elementary Science Olympics, also at MOSI, are set for Oct. 30 and Nov. 16 and 30.
Scheduled as virtual events this year are the St. Petersburg Science Festival, Oct. 16, 2 to 8 p.m., and a second round of University of South Florida Stavros Global Literacies Webinars, scheduled for Oct. 11, 5 to 6:30 p.m., with registration required. The first round of webinars was offered Oct. 4.
Rounding out this month’s STEM-related events are the remaining dates for MOSI’s Minecraft Mania Saturdays, scheduled for Oct. 9, 16, 23 or 30. Choose your date, with registration required for the 1 to 3 p.m. event.
According to school records, more than 1.2 million volunteer hours are registered each year in Hillsborough schools, with one of the year’s most recognizable efforts set to return in November.
The Great American Teach-In aims to introduce students to a broad view of career options, hobbies and activities. Speakers from all age groups are invited to participate, with high school students required to gain the necessary permission to speak at schools they don’t attend.
“The wisdom you can impart is invaluable to our students,” according to school officials. “Every year thousands of volunteers in Hillsborough County share and visit their schools during the Great American Teach-In.”
Offering to participate is ZooTampa, which in October was scheduled to hold STEM Family Day on Oct. 2.
Now, for the Great American Teach-In, zoo officials are asking local schools to sign up for a lottery-style selection of schools, which is set to occur by the end of October.
“Each year we are pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the Great American Teach-In, and are proud to have supported that event last year with two dozen staff members and volunteers visiting Tampa Bay area schools,” reads a ZooTampa news release.
Through ZooVentures, ZooTampa extends its reach into the community, with animal encounters and educational programming for groups, schools and other organizations.
To participate in the Great American Teach-In,contact by Nov. 4 the school of your choice and ask to speak to the teach-in coordinator. To inquire further, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.