Science teacher assisting schoolgirl in planting seedlings during botany class at school.

A project led by researchers and professors in Texas A&M University’s School of Education and Human Development (SEHD) is involving elementary students in science. In Cotulla ISD, third-grade students at Ramirez Burks and Encinal Elementary Schools had a chance to learn more about earth science through Project VICTORY.

Project Virtually-Infused Collaborations for Teaching and Learning Opportunities for Rural Youth (VICTORY) is a Texas A&M research grant to enhance science education for grades 3-5. One of the project’s main goals is to reduce the number of educational disparities in science between rural and non-rural schools. Project VICTORY incorporates in-person and virtual instruction to compare the effectiveness of the two teaching methods.

The two Cotulla elementary schools are participating in virtual instruction. Ramirez Burks Elementary teacher Gustavo Garza was a part of the project this past spring. “Having the hands-on activities and demonstrations kept students engaged the entire time, and they were excited for the lesson,” he said.

The third graders engaged in online literacy-infused science lessons, which also incorporated Texas A&M scientist mentors and family involvement in science take-home activities.

David Rodriguez, a participating teacher at Encinal Elementary, noted how much his students were motivated by their science mentor and benefited from the project. “It was a great experience for the students and myself to learn and inspire students,” he said.

Project VICTORY is now recruiting online fourth-grade students and families for the 2022-2023 school year. Participation gives students a head start on learning about the Earth’s interconnected systems. It also provides support for literacy and language development. Students will learn about landslides, volcanic eruptions, fossil fuels, weathering, climate, and other earth science topics. Learning about earth science systems at a young age helps increase a child’s problem-solving skills.

For more information about Project VICTORY, please visit