The Institute On Neuroscience Summer Research Immersion. Engaging outstanding high school students in authentic and rewarding laboratory research may attract them to research careers. An intensive summer research experience provides an ideal environment for students to experience hands-on, inquiry-based science learning, which will likely enhance their content knowledge, technical skills, and confidence in their ability to conduct scientific research (scientific research self-efficacy). In turn, science elf-efficacy predicts intent to persist in science-related academic and career paths. Likewise for high school teachers, participating in summer research may improve knowledge, skills, and teaching efficacy, ultimately affecting commitment to teaching and retention in teaching careers. Moreover, by translating research experiences into inquiry-based learning opportunities for future students, teachers can exponentially increase the distribution of knowledge and skills acquired in a summer program. Thus, we will facilitate integration of students and teachers into neuroscience research teams through our program called ION/Teach.
Our first aim i s to engage high school students and teachers in an intensive summer research program, called the Institute on Neuroscience &Teaching (ION/Teach). A diverse group of students and teachers will start the summer with a week-long seminar on basic neuroscience concepts and methods, then engage in seven weeks of mentored lab research with active investigators at metro-Atlanta universities. Weekly professional development workshops will focus on topics such as scientific communication, college prep, and ethical conduct of research. Teacher participants will translate their summer research into standards-based lesson plans. The summer research experience will culminate in a research symposium.
Our second aim i s to use the ION/Teach program as a basis to test the hypothesis that participation in authentic laboratory research can improve externally demonstrable research skills (e.g. neuroscience content knowledge, competency at the bench or in the clinic, and scientific communication), and/or internal constructs associated with success in science or teaching careers (e.g. research or teaching self-efficacy, low science anxiety, science identity). Beyond individual outcomes for participants, the effectiveness of lesson plan development by the teacher participants will be monitored by assessment instruments that probe student learning outcomes in their classrooms. This research will fill a gap in current knowledge about how best to prepare young people to help address current biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs. For teachers, our results will also help identify ways to enhance retention in science classrooms. Ultimately, this project will produce not only students and teachers with research skills and dispositions toward successful careers, but also education research data for dissemination to the international science education community.
The ION/Teach program will engage high school students and teachers in an intensive summer research experience including a week-long neuroscience seminar, mentored lab research projects, and professional development workshops. Program evaluation and outcomes assessments will test the hypothesis that participation in authentic laboratory research can improve externally demonstrable research skills (e.g. neuroscience content knowledge, competency at the bench) and/or internal constructs associated with success in science or teaching careers (e.g. research or teaching self-efficacy).