Nearly 25 percent of death and disease, worldwide, is linked to environmental factors (WHO, 2006);therefore, it is critical that the general public has basic understanding of how the environment affects their health and how they might protect themselves against environmental exposures. Unfortunately, environmental health content is typically covered on a very limited basis, if at all, in secondary school classrooms (Martina, 2009). The purpose of this project is to develop, pilot test, and evaluate the use of Science Take-Out kits that focus on topics in environmental health science (EHS). The kits will be designed to enable secondary school biology teachers to easily integrate EHS activities into their existing curricula. This project is a partnership between: "Science Take-Out, a small business that manufactures preassembled "lab in a bag" science kits containing all materials needed for students to engage in hands-on science activities." The Community Outreach and Engagement Core of the University of Rochester's Environmental Health Sciences Center, which has created numerous education and outreach initiatives for students, teachers, and the general public. During this Phase I STTR project we will: 1. Develop 6 different Science Take-Out kits (including kit activities, materials, and teacher guides) on various topics in environmental health science for use with secondary school biology students. 2. Conduct 3 focus groups for science teachers to evaluate prototypes of the Science Take-Out kits. 3. Pilot tests the 6 Science Take-Out kits in secondary school biology classrooms. This proposed project is significant because it will build the capacity of secondary school educators to use hands-on science activities to bring EHS messages into their classroom curricula. These new kits will combine the "lab in a bag" ease-of-use features common to all Science Take-Out kits with activities that engage students in learning important concepts of EHS such: as dose-response relationships;effects of environmental agents on body systems and biological processes;changes in susceptibility to environmental agents at different life stages, and;prevention of environmental exposures. This proposed project is innovative because the Science Take-Out EHS kits will employ a unique combination of characteristics that increase the likelihood of their adoption by teachers: (1) The kit activities will use science process skills to increase students'understanding of EHS concepts;(2) The fully assembled kits will make the hand-on EHS activities easy, economical and convenient for teachers to implement, and;(3) The clear and concise teachers'guides will be appropriate for teachers who may not have a background in EHS.
of this project to public health is that the Science Take-Out kits to be developed will provide teachers with access to hands-on science activities which will help their students'understand important concepts in environmental health science. The Science Take-Out kits will also help students'master scientific subject matter and develop their scientific reasoning skills by applying scientific practices to solve real world challenges. Teachers and their students who use these educational materials will become better informed on decisions involving their health.