Positively Aging — Choices and Changes: Creating Interdisciplinary Middle School Teaching Materials Using Examples from Geriatrics and Gerontology

Published:1999, Educational Gerontology
Authors:Lichtenstein MJ, Marshall C, Pruski L, Blalock C, Murphy D, Lee S, Hilsenbeck SG
Type:Project Generated

aging, gerontology, attitude, evaluation

View Publication http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/03601277.asp


Positively Aging is an educational partnership developed between the Aging Research and Education Center (AREC) at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) and the Northside Independent School District (NISD) in San Antonio, TX. For the past six years, the working scientists of the AREC have worked with middle school educators from NISD to produce instructional materials that work toward achieving the National Institutes of Health (NIH) goals to (a) improve the quality of math and science education in public schools, and (b) promote an understanding of behaviors that increase the risk of disease. Positively Aging has three long-term goals. First, to provide effective teaching materials that center on math and science curricular elements and are based on examples from the Gerontologic Sciences. Second, to help students learn to make critical, life-determining decisions for extending and enhancing their own lives. Third, to help students develop a sensitivity to the needs and concerns of the aging population. In its current form, Positively Aging consists of 12 interdisciplinary units with 276 teaching activities and lessons. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, the Positively Aging teaching materials are currently being evaluated under a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Center for Research Resources (NIH). Preliminary data suggest that middle school students experience a shift toward a more positive outlook on aging after using the teaching materials. This paper describes the background, evolution, structure, and current evaluation strategies for the Positively Aging teaching materials and program.