As part of public health efforts to curtail drug use and associated behaviors, secondary students must understand that addiction is a brain disease that results from drug-induced changes in the cellular processes mediating learning in the brain. The most vivid way to illustrate the effects of drugs is to perform experiments demonstrating their power to influence synapses and behavior. Yet many MN secondary teachers have not been trained in neuroscience or to design and lead student-directed investigations on how simple nervous systems respond to drugs. The University of Minnesota (UMN) Department of Neuroscience and Department of Curriculum and Instruction propose to develop, adapt, implement, evaluate, and disseminate a model inquiry-based neuroscience education program on the biological basis of drug abuse. The program will consist of professional development workshops for secondary science teachers, BrainU (BrainUs, plural), and an experimentally based curriculum for middle and high school students aligned to state and national standards. During BrainU, teachers will experience and learn inquiry-based teaching as they acquire knowledge of neuroscience and the biology of drug abuse. Two formats for BrainU will be compared;a 2 week intensive BrainU in the Twin Cities and a series of 2 day miniBrainUs to be held at host institutions around the state of MN. Participants will receive web-based, yearlong follow-up and support in both pedagogy and neuroscience. Additional observational feedback to support inquiry implementation will be part of the BrainU experience, either in person or via webcam. Formative and summative evaluations will be used to determine the effectiveness of program elements and changes in both teachers'and students'neuroscience knowledge and inquiry skills. Integral to the project is the development of an ongoing collaboration between teacher educators and neuroscientists to integrate BrainU into the formal curriculum for training secondary science teachers in the M.Ed. programs at UMN. This collaboration will be modeled to teacher educators and scientists at other state institutions training teachers as they host miniBrainUs. The project, Changing Brains through Inquiry, Not Drugs, will result in the implementation of in-depth, inquiry-based curriculum materials and teacher training programs supported by an online mentoring network, which will promote enhanced understanding and application of neuroscience and the biology of drug abuse into the secondary science curriculum.
The project, Changing Brains through Inquiry, Not Drugs, will result in the implementation of in- depth, inquiry-based curriculum materials and teacher training programs supported by an online mentoring network, which will promote enhanced understanding and application of neuroscience and the biology of drug abuse into the secondary science curriculum in Minnesota. Changing Brains will set an example for the combined training of teachers in content, pedagogy and usable curricular materials and provide evidence of impact on students'achievement scores. Beyond impacting how teachers across MN teach science, the cooperation between basic scientists and teacher educators in training secondary science teachers is expected to set a national example for improving teacher preparation in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education.
|Dubinsky, Janet M; Roehrig, Gillian; Varma, Sashank (2013) Infusing Neuroscience into Teacher Professional Development. Educ Res 42:317-329|
|Dubinsky, Janet M (2010) Neuroscience education for prekindergarten-12 teachers. J Neurosci 30:8057-60|