This project will provide an innovative contribution to the field of science learning by developing a new generation of learning materials that blends formal and informal learning experiences that relate gene- environment interactions to natural selection and ties these interactions to health issues of relevance to community members using the core ideas from the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards. The digital curriculum materials we will develop will provide 7th and 8th grade students with a framework for learning genomics (including gene-environment relationships) and evolution. The materials will use the approach of inquiry-based science education, will incorporate multi-media materials and the use of interactive technology by students, will include ethical discussion of genomics issues, and will link informal and community activities to those that happen in the classroom. The materials will be developed utilizing a modified learning goals driven learning process that is the product of more than 20 years of science education research conducted by members of the project team. The project will develop a model partnership joining the two universities developing the curriculum with the public school systems in Flint and Detroit, as well as science and history museums, libraries and community- based organizations in both communities. Museum exhibits will elaborate on topics covered in the curriculum, providing evidence for student classroom-assigned projects. Libraries and community-based organizations will host events at which students will share their work and will engage in discussion of ethical, social and policy issues related to genomics with their parents and other adults. Students will take field trips to genomics research facilities and genomics professionals will visit classrooms. These informal science education activities will be planned to strengthen student learning while advancing genomic literacy among the community. The project's evaluation plan will incorporate formative and summative evaluation as the curriculum is designed, tested and iteratively revised, with interim summative assessment at the end of year 3 and final summative assessment in year 5, as the curriculum and community efforts are packaged for broader use. The project's dissemination plan will utilize publications, presentations, and an interactive web site to share the project's design, experience, and findings, both during its implementation and at the project's conclusion. Since 75 percent of Detroit students and 96% of Detroit students are African American and Latino (combined) the project will reduce the achievement gap in science learning and stimulate interest among minorities to enter science and health careers.

Public Health Relevance

(prepared by applicant): This project will develop an innovative set of 7th and 8th grade curriculum materials to provide a framework for learning genomics (including gene-environment relationships) and evolution. The curriculum will demonstrate the relationship of genes, their interaction with the environment, and the process of natural selection with the occurrence of disease in individuals and populations. In so doing, it will relate science learning to the health of students, their families and their communities.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZTR1)
Program Officer
Beck, Lawrence A
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Michigan State University
Schools of Education
East Lansing
United States
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