Science Posse: Enhancing Biomedical Science Awareness and Understanding in Wyoming

Project Website(s)

  • Project Description

    1. Development and delivery of motivational inquiry-based biomedical science curriculum – Learning modules are developed by graduate fellows in collaboration with Wyoming middle school science teachers and students. They are designed to allow students to explore relevant biomedical science topics and careers. 2. Development and delivery of science podcasts – Graduate fellows explore innovative educational possibilities for connecting students to science by creating interesting and fun podcasts delivering the science information to students via iPods. 3. Community outreach – Graduate fellows develop and deliver biomedical awareness presentations to members of the community throughout Wyoming illustrating the complexities issues and opportunities of biomedical research. 4. Professional development for teachers – Our program includes tuition and fee waivers for graduate courses as well as the opportunity to participate in spring and summer workshops that are designed to increase the sustainable science expertise of middle school science teachers and increase student and parent understanding of science. 5. Advancement of graduate fellow learning – Our program provides graduate fellows with learning opportunities to enhance their communication and teaching skills and introduces them to potentially new career possibilities in the K-12 educational system.

  • Abstract

    Rural areas face unique challenges with respect to community understanding of the nature complexity and outcomes of basic and clinical biomedical research. This has important consequences in political and social decision-making and establishing learning environments that inspire student understanding of biomedical sciences and the selection of related careers. These areas are characterized by peer and K-12 school isolation few appropriate community models including biomedical industries or research institutes and a population lacking an educational background in these areas. In order to overcome these obstacles the overarching goals of this project are to deliver awareness units to targeted communities develop and deliver motivational and experiential learning modules with biomedical themes bolster continuing education for teachers and enhance the graduate enterprise at the University of Wyoming. Multimedia interactive awareness units will be presented to communities and 7-12 grade assemblies. These will engage the community and contribute to the understanding of basic and clinical aspects of biomedical scholarship its tremendous contributions to society and the need for sustainable support. The learning modules complete with detailed lesson plans will prepare students for self-directed learning and will nurture an appreciation for discovery. They will be developed by science teachers graduate fellows and university faculty. The modules will focus on the interdisciplinary nature and unifying concepts of basic and clinical aspects of selected biomedical areas complement current curricula and align with state standards. Program participants will have opportunities to participate in ongoing workshops the university science fair and summer research apprenticeships. In order to intervene in the prevalent socio-educational culture that now directs students into non-college curricular tracts in the 9th grade the program will target 7th and 8th grade sciece classes. Initially school districts with significant Native American and Hispanic populations have been targeted. However our long-term goal is to reach all counties in Wyoming in part via distance delivery technologies and continuing education workshops. Benchmarks for progress will be established and continually assessed in order to track projected outcomes. Modifications of the methodology will be based upon analysis of quantitative assessment data.

  • Dissemination Strategies

    1. Delivery of learning modules to middle school classrooms throughout Wyoming 2. Community outreach through a variety venues 3. Workshops for teachers student and parents 4. Public relations through news and magazine articles television radio and internet.

  • Project Evaluation(s)

    Evaluation Goals – The goal of the evaluation is to assess the impact of the project with respect to the following objectives: 1. Increase community awareness of basic and clinical biomedical research processes complexities and outcomes. 2. Increase middle school students’ appreciation and understanding of biomedical research complexities knowledge and issues. 3. Increase middle school students’ interest in science courses and in choosing a STEM related career. 4. Advance graduate student learning. 5. Increase the sustainable expertise of 6th through 9th grad science teachers. Evaluation Design and Instruments Used – MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS: 1. The exposure of middle school students (number and duration) to learning modules will be measured. 2. Students will be administered pre and post surveys referring to their attitudes about science before and after exposure to the learning modules. TEACHERS: 1. The participation of teachers (number of teachers times learning modules administered) will be tracked. 2. Teachers will be administered a survey referring to the usefulness of the learning module. MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY: 1. The exposure of the community (number and duration) to the presentation will be measured. 2. Audience members will be administered a survey referring to their awareness of the biomedical sciences after each presentation. GRADUATE FELLOWS: 1. The participation of fellows (number of fellows time involved in the project) will be measured. 2. Graduate fellows will be administered a survey addressing their experiences with the project. Type of Data to Be Collected – We will collect both quantitative and qualitative data from all participants in the project. Results of Data Analysis – At this time no data has been collected yet.

  • Resources for Sharing

    1. Learning modules and community awareness presentations 2. Science podcasts delivered via iPods 3. Sample student teacher community and graduate fellow assessment surveys.

Project Audience

1. Wyoming middle school science students and teachers 2. University of Wyoming graduate fellows 3. Rural Wyoming community members.

Subjects Addressed

1. Current biomedical science information research techniques resources and careers 2. Inquiry and standards-based middle school curriculum 3. Innovative use of technology to connect students to science 4. Community outreach.