Neurobiology content is typically covered on a very limited basis in secondary school classrooms and there are few currently available laboratory activities that engage students in hands-on neurobiology inquiry activities. Also, many teachers have limited time and resources needed for integrating hands-on activities into their curriculum. This project will create new potential for significantly increasing neuroscience education by using the convenience of inexpensive, pre-assembled Science Take-Out kits that include all needed materials and supplies for hands-on, active learning. The purpose of this project is to develop, pilot test, and evaluate the use of six new Science Take-Out kits that focus on neurobiology. We will test and evaluate the kits through teacher focus groups and in-school use. During this Phase I SBIR project we will: " Develop six different Science Take-Out "neurobiology" kits that (including student instructions, teacher instructions, and kit materials) that correlate with various topic areas of the biology curriculum. "Develop and use assessment tools to determine if Science Take-Out neurobiology kits have a positive impact on student learning and career awareness. "Conduct five teacher focus groups to evaluate prototypes of the Science Take-Out neurobiology kits. "Engage a group of 30 secondary school teachers (5 per kit) to pilot test the Science Take-Out neurobiology kits and assessment instruments with their students. "Engage a group of 120 secondary school teachers (20 per kit) to field test the Science Take-Out neurobiology kits with their students and collect data on the impact of the kits on student learning. This proposed project is significant because it will have a positive impact on teachers'abilities to use hands-on activities to engage diverse student populations in understanding neurobiology content, applications, and careers. This proposed project is innovative because the Science Take-Out kits to be developed during this SBIR Phase I project will allow teachers to integrate neurobiology concepts into various areas of the biology curriculum, including "nontraditional" topic areas such as evolution, ecology and genetics. In addition, the innovative characteristics of Science Take-Out kits will increase the likelihood of adoption of these new curricular materials by busy teachers, which will further expand the impact of this project on student learning.
The relevance of this project to public health is that the Science Take-Out kits will provide teachers with access to hands-on neurobiology lessons and lab activities which will help their students'master scientific subject matter and develop their scientific reasoning skills. The Science Take-Out kits to be developed in this project will increase student's understanding of neuroscience their knowledge of neuroscience careers. Teachers and their students who use these educational materials will also become better informed on decisions involving their health.