Making Connections Making Choices: A Partnership — Phase I

  • Abstract

    1995-1998 – The University of Washington Group Health Cooperative the Pacific Science Center and the Washington Association for Biomedical Research have successfully forged and implemented a science education partnership Making Connections Making Choices (MCMC) that has reached over 33613 students including 10581 from groups underrepresented in science and 3280 teachers. MCMC has three complementary components: A mobile “Brain Power” program focused on middle school students A “Scientist in the Classroom and in the Community” outreach program A summer institute for science teachers During its initial development and implementation MCMC has involved more than 100 NIH-funded scientists and health care professionals. This proposal is for the refinement evaluation and dissemination of MCMC with a continued focus on reaching females and underrepresented groups. Curriculum materials on neuroscience and advances in biomedical research models of hands-on exhibits about the brain and its function guidelines for addressing bioethical issues in classrooms and conducting presentations about the use of animals research plus the model of the partnership dynamics are included in the dissemination plan. Dissemination will be accomplished using Internet via Mosaic regional and national diffusion networks journal articles presentations at conferences and training at the summer institute. Data collection for summative and formative evaluation has been initiated in the current grant. This evaluation will be refined to enhance the measurement of effectiveness in conveying scientific concepts and increasing audience awareness/understanding of the importance of biomedical research products/processes and their positive perception of science and science research. In addition the evaluation plan includes using qualitative methodologies to identify factors critical to the success of the project that we will share with interested groups nationwide. 1991-1995 – The University of Washington the Pacific Science Center and Group Health Cooperative are seeking a Science Education Partnership Award to form a consortium that will provide advanced support for science education in the K-12 school system focusing primarily on teachers and students in the middle schools (grades 6-9). A particular emphasis will be placed on reaching groups (such as minorities and women) who are traditionally underrepresented in science careers. The consortium has three primary objectives: To create dynamic scientist/educator liaisons To instill enthusiasm about science in students by preparing exciting interactive exhibits/demonstrations with curricula to provide ongoing community outreach programs to foster and encourage public understanding and participation in the vital role science plays in their lives Each of the project components will use a neurological focus to teach basic concepts of biomedical science. Other curriculum foci will be ethics lifestyle choices use of animals in biomedical research and science careers. The focus of each institution will have a complementary role in reaching these objectives. The University of Washington will establish a summer institute for middle school teachers and an extensive public outreach program that will draw from the resources of established volunteer organizations. The Pacific Science Center and Group Health will collaborate to create an exciting interactive mobile education unit called “Brain Power” that will train and implement student/teacher teams as part of its program. Group Health will focus on developing a health self-assessment tool that will provide information about the health status of adolescents in Washington state. The participation of each institution in all the components will result in a total impact greater than the individual parts. The consortium intends that the efforts initiated by the SEPA grant will continue after the grant period ends. The summer institute can become a regularly offered curriculum through the UW Extension Program’s Academic Programs for Teachers. The expanded capacity and heightened publicity of the speaker’s bureau and other volunteer outreach programs will help these programs flourish well beyond the grant period. The Brain Power program may possibly become a permanent exhibit/demonstration at the Pacific Science Center. Most importantly this unique collaboration between teachers scientists students and the community will continue to foster new connections for enhanced public teacher and student appreciation of and career interest in science.