A proposal to develop novel approaches for using touch-technology devices to educate students about the neurobiology of the five senses and another project to create a game-based website to teach middle school students about the process of discovery, testing and adoption of new treatments emerging from neuroscience research are among the eight K-12 neuroscience education programs recently funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
According to an NIH release:
These educational programs aim to increase science literacy and understanding as well as an interest in science among K-12 students and their teachers. This is particularly important, since the most recent trends published by the U.S. Department of Education indicate that U.S. eighth graders score lower than students from nine other countries in science knowledge and skills. The project seeks to close this gap as well as fulfill the NIH mission to ensure that adequate numbers of students are entering science education tracks and eventually pursuing careers in biomedical science.
"Creative strategies are needed to ensure that the United States maintains its competiveness in the scientific field," said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. "Since neuroscience cuts across many different disciplines and can help in understanding all kinds of behavior, it is the ideal vehicle for capturing people's interest and engaging them in science - at any age."
One project of particular interest is a collaboration between the University of Montana and the Exploratorium in San Francisco to design and build a 1,400-square-foot interactive learning center called Brainzone. The center will feature four exhibits, a computer lab and working laboratory. A mobile version of the program will be used to bring hands-on science education projects to isolated, underserved, rural and tribal schools.
Previously: The need to rethink science education, Do high school papers hint at the state of science education?, A prescription for improving science education, High school students share their experiences in CIRM-funded internship program and Stanford's med school training programs in full swing
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