Completion of these new educational resources will provide a continuum of compatible interdisciplinary science and health educational materials for students from grades K–6. Teachers and schools will be able to choose from this “menu” to create customized programs of instruction to meet local and state guidelines and educational standards. Achievement of the project goals will be realized through activities centered around six specific aims.
- Develop a new interdisciplinary model for K–12 science and health instruction (“All About Me”), which focuses on content related to life science, personal health and the assumption of responsibility for one’s own actions, and targets children and their families through print and electronic resources
- Create a new unit (“Food and My World”) within the “My Health My World” series to teach students in grades 3–4 about environmental health issues related to food
- Create a new unit (“Brain Chemistry”) within the “BrainLink” series to teach students in grades 5–6 about the role of chemicals in the nervous system and the effects of drugs on normal functioning
- Evaluate the instructional units with diverse populations of teachers and students to:
- Obtain specific measures of cognitive gain using objective assessment tools
- Assess students’ self-efficacy in applying what they have learned using appropriate psychosocial measurement tools
- Encourage widespread adoption and use of the new materials by teachers, schools and parents through dissemination on the World-Wide Web, community outreach programs sponsored by national and local organizations, and existing national networks for the dissemination of the “My Health My World” and “BrainLink” projects
- Prepare a comprehensive report on the results of the project and its implications for educational policy and future efforts related to the use of supplementary interdisciplinary curricula in promoting acquisition of science and health knowledge and living skills by children and their parents
Based on six years of experience obtained through previous SEPA-supported projects a team of scientists and educators at Baylor College of Medicine is working with school districts teachers and parents to identify significant gaps in health and science educational materials related to national curriculum and health priorities. Areas to be addressed include: The shortage of age-appropriate interdisciplinary inquiry-based materials for K–6 students; the need for materials that teach children and their families about the role of chemicals in the nervous system and the effects of drugs on normal functioning; and the lack of public understanding of chemical and biological food contamination and safe food-handling practices.
To address these gaps, the team is creating a new interdisciplinary model for K–6 science and health education that will integrate science, health, reading and math. Materials such as student storybooks and inquiry-based classroom and take-home activities for students and their families will be developed, field tested and disseminated.
Associated SEPA Publication(s)
An Interdisciplinary National Program Developed at Baylor to Make Science Exciting for All K–5 students
Moreno N, Tharp B.