Typical and Atypical Brain Deviation: SEPA Project Grades 3-6

  • Abstract

    We seek funding under the Scientific Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program (PAR-96-052) for a three-year project to support the development and evaluation of a model biobehavioral science education partnership program (Phase I). Scientists at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center in Waltham MA will partner with local elementary school educators and administrators to develop curriculum for use with children in grades 3-6. Our goal is to provide children with learning experiences that will establish the foundation for broad socially connected understanding of how the brain works and how brain functioning relates to behavior. To do so we plan to take advantage of the environment and resources of the Shriver Center a center of interdisciplinary scientific research training and clinical service activities. Our project may be unique in that there will be an explicit hands-on-focus on showing how various scientific disciplines (neurobiology behavioral neuroscience genetics etc.) work together to understand biobehavioral phenomena. The project is also unique in that the curriculum will explicitly contrast typical and atypical development. By doing this we hope to teach children that variations in development are normal and determined by understandable or potentially understandable interactions between genes brain development and environment.