There’s a good chance many of us share one similar, early childhood memory: coming home after school for a snack in front of the television while watching favorite—and at times educational—TV shows. Now this generation can too, with the help of Arlington’s Washington Liberty High School science teacher and ABC7/WJLA-TV meteorologist Ryan Miller.
It didn’t take long after the global pandemic began to spread for Miller to start thinking of home-school ideas, such as using sidewalk chalk and household items to create a solar system diorama. So, he hit the ground running with ABC7’s Outside the Classroom in April and has been airing daily shows of children-inspired science experiments and easy at-home lessons ever since. Here, he explains why it was so important to him to reach kids in a whole new way.
What inspired you to start the show?
Being away from the classroom, I was trying to think of a way to blend my talents of being a teacher and a meteorologist, and make something useful out of it. And that’s when we started brainstorming at the station. Now, every lesson just comes from my 18 years of teaching experience and thinking of ways to literally just examine what’s going on around us inside and outside.
What is your biggest hope for the show and what it can offer to children?
The mantra that I came up with, that I’ve been mentioning over and over on television too, is about learning something new every day. For me, the most important thing is learning. It isn’t about completing tasks or getting boxes checked. It’s about improving life and just making things better.
What advice would you give to students near and far about learning new things?
I would want them to know that there are so many amazing things outside of the house and away from technology. Technology can be used as a tool to help with learning, but it isn’t the end-all-be-all of learning. So if they could just get outside, enjoy and spend some time in as large of a green space as they can, there’s so many benefits, whether it’s mental health benefits, physical exercise or it’s just discovering something new that’s around us that might be overlooked when we aren’t as confined or limited.
This post originally appeared our June/July 2020 print issue. For more local profiles, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.