The University of Alabama at Birmingham McWane Science Center and the Birmingham City Schools (BCS) propose a highly coordinated program to provide high school science teachers and their students with a laboratory-based learning experience in genetic and molecular biology and the application of these fields to advances in modern medicine. While all of the programs described here are based on providing a high level of science content training to the participating teachers and students the primary goal will be to provide them with an opportunity to explore by experimentation the molecular world. The Birmingham Science Education Partnership (BSEP) integrates five highly successful existing programs with three new initiatives. To achieve the greatest impact these programs are highly interrelated and will provide maximum flexibility so that all BCS high school students will gain a better knowledge of new and exciting advances in health sciences. The combined programs will: Train BCS teachers in molecular biology during a summer course BioTeach taught by the UAB faculty and students Provide BioTeach graduates with five molecular biology laboratory modules in their classrooms Provide BCS teachers the opportunity to bring their classes to the GENEius program at McWane Science Center to conduct day-long experiments in DNA fingerprinting and the genetic basis for sickle cell anemia Develop and build exhibits at McWane Center to help the public better appreciate experiments conducted by students in the GENEius program Expand the development and dissemination of inquiry-based genetics and microbiology courses in the BCS Strengthen existing high school science club curricula by offering long-term projects including genome analysis and infectious diseases Expand the current summer internship program for high school students to include training in basic molecular concepts and laboratory skills Recruit and train undergraduate outreach fellows to serve as facilitators in high school classroom programs Several factors contribute to the likely success and sustainability of the BSEP. First the partners are the major contributors to biomedical research and science education in Birmingham. Second substantial commitment of resources in the form of state funds private and federal grants and physical facilities are available to the programs described in this proposal. Third the partner institutions have a track record of working effectively together drawing from their varied expertise to provide exciting and innovative science education programs.
This project is a partnership between the University of Alabama’s McWane Science Center and the Birmingham city school system. It is composed of five interrelated programs for high school teachers and students that provide laboratory-based learning experiences in genetics molecular biology microbiology and the application of these fields to advances in modern medicine.