Children's National Medical Center (Children's), the George Washington University Schools of Medicine and the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GWUSOM/GSEHD), the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) in collaboration with the National Children's Museum (NCM) propose a five-year phase I/II SEPA project entitled "Being Me." This project will create novel art-based interactive projects to enhance the biomedical curriculum based on the Full Option Science System (FOSS) for 4th grade students. This program will be implemented at three elementary schools with six 4th grade classes that serve low income and low literacy children and in hospital clinics and events space. Our five focus areas include asthma, injury prevention, obesity, sleep and sickle cell disease, each of which presents a particular critical health risk to minority populations and represents NIH funded clinical research being performed by Children's faculty. NCM's "Being Me" interactive exhibits and related art programming will incorporate each of the five foci. Classroom curricula will include instructional units, web based activities, art projects linked to the FOSS instructional units, and activities developed with the NCM. Four hospital-based activities will further expand our program. We will establish Dr. Bear's(R) Summer Training Institute for local elementary school teachers who will work directly with Children's scientists, clinicians, clinical research and art therapy staff to facilitate and support the further dissemination of curricula and programs beyond the three pilot schools. We will also establish Dr. Bear's(R) Cubs Summer Science Experience for elementary school children and work with the Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) and community groups to establish Health and Science Nights at both Children's and NCM where trained volunteer college and high school students will "mentor" students, patients and families. Further, we will offer the opportunity for DC, PGC and charter school leaders and not for profit school-focused community groups, among others, to participate in Dr. Bear's(R) University, a mini-internship program designed to allow participants to spend time on rotations with clinical and research faculty for an intimate experience of pediatric health care. Our program will draw on the talents of faculty at the GSEHD, teachers and health educators, the creative museum educators of the NCM, faculty and biomedical and research staff of Children's and our New Horizons art program. The primary aim of this proposal is to develop a cross-educational setting, integrated curricula to enhance health science education and health awareness and outcomes in the 4th grade. The program will improve children's and parents understanding of health related behavior, provide children with hands-on experience in health science projects, and provide teachers with tools to integrate health science into existing curricula. Long term goals include providing the community with direct exposure to clinical and translational science which will improve health-related behavior and encourage students and parents to consider health-science related careers.
This study will develop a cross-educational, integrated, art-focused science curriculum for teachers, children and parents in a community where health care disparities and low literacy are barriers to gaining knowledge of ways to improve science literacy and health related behaviors.