Perfect Partnership: Science Enriched Physical Education – Phase II

  • Project Description

    Be Active Kids! science-based physical education curriculum has been designed implemented and evaluated with urban African-American 3rd-5th grade students. The constructivist-oriented curriculum uses problem solving formats to teach health-related science concepts and to guide students through the scientific inquiry process examining the effects of exercise on their bodies.

  • Abstract

    The long range objective is to disseminate the science-enriched physical education program to national and local audiences to increase children’s health-related science knowledge interest in science and science careers and to enhance their understanding of the clinical trial process. Minority students in urban areas often do not acquire essential academic skills to pursue science careers. Although students’ interest in science may develop during adolescence by middle or high school many students are academically so deficient they are unable to master technical knowledge essential for success. Stimulating children’s interest in science and mathematics at an early age is critical to future achievement. It is no secret that physical education is one of the most enjoyable subject areas for 8-11 year old children. Physical education is often the subject in which many low achieving students excel. Connecting science with an active problem approach to physical education can assist low performing African-American students increase their knowledge and interest in science. The Be Active Kids! curriculum has been designed implemented and evaluated during the initial 3 yr. SEPA Phase I. Students in 3rd-5th grades in 15 experimental schools increased their knowledge and interest in science by 18% over students in 15 comparison schools. We propose to disseminate the curriculum at 3 levels. First we will disseminate it nationally using a web-based protocol providing access to PDF versions of the curriculum and training support. Second we will disseminate and sustain the curriculum in the large urban school district where it was tested by having it approved by the Board of Education as the physical education curriculum for all students in grades 3-5. We will provide teacher training materials and web-based and support for all teachers in this district to implement and institutionalize the curriculum. To assess this dissemination we will test a student sample in 25 schols to examine student achievement and science interest. Third through a new partnership with the Baltimore After School Institute we will disseminate the curriculum to after-school program providers. We will provide materials training and support to test the dissemination with a student sample to examine student science achievement and interest in science.

  • Dissemination Strategies

    1) Curriculum is currently being implemented in a large urban school district in 135 schools serving 38000 3rd-5th grade children and nationally in 13 elementary schools across the United States. 2) Website: 3) Staff development sessions: Nationally for 300 elementary physical education teachers and Regionally for 150 teachers in the urban school district where we are directly guiding and supporting the implementation 4) Internationally at the Association Internationale des Ecoles Superieures d-Education Physique 5) [International Association for Physical Education in Higher Education] annual conference in World Congress Jyv

  • Project Evaluation(s)

    Evaluation Goals – 1) To evaluate 3rd- 5th grade students knowledge growth of health related science as a result of the Be Active Kids! curriculum. 2) To design validate and standardize 10 knowledge tests for 3rd grade students. 3) To create an online testing process for 3rd-5th grades students; students complete the tests in the school’s computer lab and data are sent to the University of Maryland for analysis and addition to the master data base. Student scores are returned to the teacher within 2 weeks. Evaluation Design – 1) Clinical trial with random assignment of 30 schools to experimental and control groups 2) Sampling:Stratified random sample stratified based on Maryland State Science Test Scores and FARM% by school; high representativeness of the sample with the population; from high to low SES and high to low science test scores 3) Variables health science related knowledge interest in health-related science careers and interest in science 4) Data were collected from ~6000 students in all schools due to the very high student mobility rate (~60%) in these urban schools 5) Data collected/analyzed from Student Science Journals to identify student knowledge growth and misconceptions 6) Design website to include sample lessons and journal entries 7) Expand website capabilities to permit online student knowledge testing 8) Large Urban School district will adopt the BAK program as the curriculum for 3rd-5th grade physical education 9) Provide all curriculum materials to school district’s schools 10) Train 150 teachers (18 hours) to teach the BAK curriculum 11) Identify 40 schools to be Project Team Schools to test curriculum dissemination and replicated Phase I research. Validated Instruments and Methods – 1) Student Career Surveys 2) Student Interest in Science Survey 3) Teachers complete Curriculum Ease of Use Inventory and Value Orientation Inventory (evaluate consistency between the teachers’ educational belief and the curriculum) Methods – Teachers and students are interviewed (teachers ‘ ease of use; interest and motivation to teach curriculum; Students ‘ enjoyment knowledge of concepts; tracking origin of misconceptions. Preliminary Results (data are still being matched by student classroom teacher and school) – 1) Results indicated that students in the experimental schools demonstrated significant gains of 18% over students in control schools 2) Students increased their knowledge of health related science without regard to their previous science knowledge test scores or socio-economic status 3) Students’ career choices changed from random to become more focused on health related profession careers over other professions; students could link health related professional careers with health sciences 4) Teachers confirmed that the curriculum was friendly 5) reasonable amount of instructional time/space to prepare 6) The curriculum is robust; many different teachers (range of experience; gender ethnicity) teaching in diverse school contexts (minority student populations; school size resources) were able to increase students’ knowledge of health related science.

  • Resources for Sharing

    The curriculum includes the following: 1) 750 page Teacher-s Manual 2) 120 page Activity Directory 3) Three 70 page Student Science Journals (one for each grade) 4) An Encyclopedia with entries for 30 concepts taught in the curriculum 5) Family Science Activity Night program guidelines and a Lab Notebook for families 6) 10 validated standardized tests (pretest post tests for each unit and grade) 7) Testing Manual with detailed information on test development and administration 8) Online testing program -currently being piloted.

Project Audience

Physical Education elementary teachers and 3rd-5th grade students

Subjects Addressed

Health Related Science and Physical Education