University hosts 200 middle-school students for five weeks of STEM education

Two hundred middle schoolers will be introduced to concepts and topics in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in workshops held from July 2 to August 8, 2019, on Birzeit University’s campus as part of the 2019 STEM Education Palestine program. 

Organized by the Palestinian Ministry of Education and taking place at all Palestinian universities across the West Bank and Gaza, this program aims to familiarize students with the underpinnings of STEM education and to encourage enrollment in hard science majors. 

Abdelrahim Mousa, a professor of mathematics and the program’s coordinator at Birzeit University, emphasized STEM Palestine’s activity-based approach to the teaching of engineering and science concepts. The program is administered by Mousa and ten engineering and science majors — nine undergraduates and one postgraduate — who use live experiments and group activities, rather than instruction-based teaching, to explain scientific notions and ideas. The students will be able to visit the university’s faculties and facilities, such as labs in the science and engineering faculties, and engage in small-scale experiments.   

“The methodology is based on self-discovery. We want students to experiment and find their own conclusions,” said Mousa, adding that the volunteers are trained by the ministry of education to organize entertaining educational activities that engage the students’ imagination and pique their interest. 

The participating students are high achievers from the Ramallah district, chosen by the ministry and divided into two groups of 100 each. The first group will visit the university’s campus from July 2 to 18, while the second group will visit from July 22 until August 8.