During the past 4 years, we have carried out a very successful science education partnership (funded by NIDA) between a scientist/educator (the Principal Investigator) and a high school chemistry teacher (Dr. Myra Halpin). The overall objective of our partnership was to help high school students learn biology and chemistry better by presenting basic concepts within the context of pharmacology (e.g. drug abuse). The results of the teacher and student testing were outstanding, leading us to continue our partnership to make our program even better. Here we present a new research plan, modified according to our past experience, to produce and deliver our instructional program to high school biology and chemistry students using current technologies. We will develop additional instructional modules for high school teachers to reinforce basic biology and chemistry concepts using the science of drug use and abuse as a relevant context. Specifically, we have the following objectives: 1) Develop an instructional program consisting of 10 modules that use principles of biology and chemistry to describe the actions of drugs in the body. 2) Build an interactive website for teachers and students to access the pharmacology modules during the field-testing. 3) Recruit - 300 high school biology and chemistry teachers nationwide to field-test the modules. Teachers will be randomized to an experimental group and a """"""""wait-listed"""""""" control group. 4) Conduct 2 types of teacher training workshops; a 6-hour on-site workshop at the annual NSTA and NCSTA meetings and a 6-hour two-way video workshop with simultaneous broadcast between the NC School of Science and Math (NCSSM) and selected school districts throughout the US. In the workshops, high school biology and chemistry teachers will obtain background for the science content and work with scientists to design supplemental activities. 5) Field-test the modules. After participating in the workshops, teachers use the modules in biology and chemistry classes at their high schools. 6) Determine the program?s outcomes by evaluating the teachers? and students? experiences. Students in the wait-listed control group and the experimental groups will be given end-of-course tests containing questions of basic biology and chemistry knowledge, as well as advanced knowledge about drugs. Teachers will be tested on pharmacology knowledge before and after the workshop, and again 1 year later. 7) Make final revisions for the publication and dissemination of the modules on the interactive website and the CDROM. The application of biology and chemistry to drug use should stimulate thinking about the importance of these sciences in """"""""every day life"""""""" and help students understand how drugs actually work and affect their bodies. Based on our previous study, the students learn science better too!

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Education Projects (R25)
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Human Development Research Subcommittee (NIDA)
Program Officer
Sasek, Cathrine
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Duke University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Schwartz-Bloom, Rochelle D; Halpin, Myra J; Reiter, Jerome P (2011) Teaching High School Chemistry in the Context of Pharmacology Helps Both Teachers and Students Learn. J Chem Educ 88:744-750
Kwiek, Nicole C; Halpin, Myra J; Reiter, Jerome P et al. (2007) Relevance. Pharmacology in the high-school classroom. Science 317:1871-2