Western Massachusetts Partnership for Science Education
Hampshire College proposes to create a science education partnership with two neighboring school districts in Western Massachusetts to stimulate greater interest in science and scientific careers among the middle and high school students in these communities particularly among girls and minorities. The program will be established in Holyoke MA during the first two years of the grant then adapted to Chicopee MA in years two and three. Over the last several years Hampshire has collaborated with Holyoke on several science education projects and the proposed model program is built from the most successful projects. The addition of Chicopee provides a means to test the adequacy of the model for other school districts. The program has four components which provide summer workshops for teachers a residential summer science program for students one-day field trips to visit Hampshire’s science labs and a year-long mentor program between Hampshire’s undergraduates and the students of Holyoke and Chicopee. The proposed program will employ a particular combination of pedagogy and subject matter to attract students to science. Hampshire’s inquiry oriented approach to science education will be stressed in all components of the program. In this approach students begin doing realistic scientific projects at the beginning of their studies. The approach has attracted an unusual number of students to science at Hampshire. The proposed program continues the college’s experiments with implementing the approach at the pre-college level. The subject matter of the program will be the study of brain and behavior which is a very attractive area of science and a strength of Hampshire which has programs in both neuroscience and cognitive science. The curriculum of the program will include both basic research on the brain and behavior and applied health-related research on such topics as drug action psychopathology and learning disabilities. The program will be systematically evaluted throughout the grant period.