Bringing Research into the Classroom (BRIC): Building the Biomedical Pipeline

Project Website(s)

  • Abstract

    Engaging students in authentic research experiences and equipping teachers with the necessary knowledge skills and tools essential to lead research within the classroom is critical for increasing the pipeline leading to biomedical fields.The Bringing Research into the Classroom (BRIC) project directly aligns with the NCRR goals of development of a diversified pipeline for basic behavioral and clinical research fields and to educate the community on health-related issues by utilizing an intensive teacher professional development program focusing on discipline-specific research in bacteriophage discovery. By equipping teachers to facilitate intensive research experiences within their classrooms the BRIC project aims to build a legacy of teacher leaders who will provide authentic science opportunities for their students. The BRIC project is built upon seven years of collaborative efforts between the Montana Tech Phagedigging Program and Cfwep.Org (formerly known as the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program). Both programs have proven track records in science education outreach efforts. Combined the two programs have reached over 20000 students and 300 teachers. These two highly successful programs have designed the BRIC project a new program to provide intensive teacher professional development combined with in-class visits by scientists. The overall project goal is to equip teachers with the knowledge skills and dispositions to provide high quality health science research opportunities for students. The project’s specific aims for teachers are to: 1) Increase teacher science content knowledge especially as related to phage discovery research 2) Increase teacher pedagogical skills and discipline-specific research practices within the classroom and 3). Provide meaningful engaging professional development for teachers that engages teachers in a rigorous research question during the summer. For students the project aims to: 1) Increase student content knowledge especially as related to phage discovery research 2) Improve student awareness of health sciences careers as well as their attitudes and dispositions toward the health sciences and 3) Engage students in relevant meaningful classroom research experiences. The BRIC program leaders will provide phage discovery research curriculum within all participating teacher’s classrooms. Scientists from Montana Tech accompanied by undergraduate students lead three days of bacteriophage discovery projects also known as ‘phagedigging’. Teachers engage in intensive summer training workshops that include discipline-specific research content and pedagogical approaches for the classroom. The project leaders have developed an experimental design in order to examine the effect of professional development combined with classroom visits as compared to classroom visits alone for both teachers and students.