The overall objective of this program is to help high school students integrate what they have learned in biology and chemistry using pharmacology, the study of drug action. A partnership between a scientist/educator and a high school chemistry teacher will lead this effort. A series of modules (units) will be developed for high school teachers to teach and reinforce several basic biology and chemistry concepts using the science of drug use and abuse as a relevant context. The National Science Education Standards will be used as the framework for developing units to be integrated into existing science education curricula. The final materials will be published in a multimedia format so that teachers can access 3D graphics. The primary goal of the proposed program is to enhance science (biology and chemistry) knowledge of high school students. Secondary goals are: 1) provide science teachers with tools to integrate principles of biology and chemistry, 2) to engage teachers in the development, field-testing and evaluation of instructional materials, 3) to increase interactions between high school teachers and basic scientists, and 4) to introduce students to careers in science that involve research on the actions of drugs and drug abuse. Specific activities will be carried out during the funding period to achieve the stated goals and objectives: 1) development of a teachers' manual containing a set of 10 units that use principles of biology and chemistry to describe the actions of drugs in the body; 2) a national recruitment of 48 high school biology and chemistry teachers to participate in the field-testing of the materials; 3) summer workshops for the teachers (the test group and the """"""""wait-list"""""""" control group) to participate in the manual development, to obtain science content background and to work with scientists to design supplemental activities; 4) field-test of the materials by the teachers in their biology and chemistry classes; 5) evaluation of the teachers' experience and students outcomes using questionnaires and a testing protocol developed to measure differences between the test and """"""""wait-list"""""""" control groups and between the """"""""wait-list"""""""" group before and after use of the units; and 6) the publication and dissemination of materials nationwide with the help of the National Science Teachers Association. The application of biology and chemistry to drug use should stimulate thinking about the role of these sciences in """"""""every day life"""""""" and help students understand how drugs actually work and affect their bodies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Education Projects (R25)
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Human Development Research Subcommittee (NIDA)
Program Officer
Sasek, Cathrine
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Duke University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Schwartz-Bloom, Rochelle D; Halpin, Myra J; Reiter, Jerome P (2011) Teaching High School Chemistry in the Context of Pharmacology Helps Both Teachers and Students Learn. J Chem Educ 88:744-750
Kwiek, Nicole C; Halpin, Myra J; Reiter, Jerome P et al. (2007) Relevance. Pharmacology in the high-school classroom. Science 317:1871-2