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Montgomery Blair High School students teach free, online classes to younger classmates

While students continue to social distance, one group of high school students are using this time to tutor elementary and middle school students.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — Even though students may be physically out of the classroom, that isn't stopping a handful of students from helping some of their younger classmates online.

Nearly a dozen students from Montgomery Blair High School in Montgomery County are offering free, online zoom classes for upper elementary and middle school students.

The online classes are called "Kindling Curiosity."

Each night the students teach subjects they are passionate about from computer science, competitive math and English language arts. They even teach classes in debate and public speaking.

Michael Hu started the group several weeks ago. He said his goal is to brighten the spirits of the younger students and help to lower their stress level during this difficult time. 

"What I believe is unique about our group is that when we go to school in a physical building, there is generally an instructor from a different generation trying to teach us. For us, since we are all around the same age, fourth grade to tenth grade, we believe they are looking up to a mentor," Hu said.

The high school instructors each put together a syllabus and came up with a course outline on their own. Many times they also provide optional homework.

Iris Xue teaches competitive math and enjoys sharing her passion.

"Teaching the students is a bit different because you cannot teach the students face-to-face, so sometimes you cannot tell it they are having difficulty with the material so we have to make sure to stop along the way and make sure that nobody is confused, and that they understand everything and are comfortable asking questions at any time," Xue said.

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Credit: Nicole DiAntonio

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More than one hundred younger students have already tuned in to learn from their mentors. 

Steven Su teaches computer science and even helped develop the Kindling Curiosity website. He said he enjoyed coming up with the lesson plans. 

"For me, I came up with content based on how I would've liked to learn the lesson. I created it using real life explanations based on what would be most helpful to the students," Su said.

The tutoring is free and takes place every weeknight from 5-6 p.m.

Read more here if you would like to sign up for a class, or are interested in teaching a course.

Credit: Nicole DiAntonio

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