Very little literature exists on how to teach English Learners science at the secondary (grades 7-12) level. The purpose of Addiction Research and Investigation for Science Educators (ARISE) is to develop the ability of teachers to effectively teach science to English Learners and native speakers of English who have low academic language skills. The proposed project uses an """"""""interest approach"""""""" -- in this case, the theme of drug abuse and addiction to capture the interest of teachers and their students -- to teach science. The scientific content is aligned with California and National science academic standards for grades 7-12. Research on the topic of drug abuse and addiction is used as the entryway to teaching and learning science concepts. An illustrative research project is woven into the lesson plan to form what the National Academy of Science calls an """"""""integrated instructional unit,"""""""" a research-based lesson that teaches a critical fundamental science concept (NAS, 2005). The proposed project brings science teachers of grades 7-12 into contact with university research faculty to examine and integrate the best evidence-based approaches to teaching science with proven strategies for effectively teaching English Learners, who account for 25% of students in the targeted region and 20% nationwide. 93% in the region are Hispanic, and 8% are South Asian. Each year the project will pair 30 university researchers with 30 science teachers from the San Joaquin Valley for a one-week on-campus summer institute to deepen science content knowledge and pedagogical skills in teachers. Throughout the following academic year, teachers will work with faculty mentors and curriculum specialists to develop laboratory-based lessons in neuroscience, structured to effectively reach English Learners. Teachers will develop and teach an integrated instructional unit based on the theme of drug abuse and/or addiction, using materials and methods approved by NIH for K-12 classroom use. Outcomes include a project specific website, featuring: 120 laboratory-based neuroscience lessons aligned with National and California science standards; 120 research team posters and presentations; and resource links. Student materials will be translated into Spanish, Hmong, Khmer, Vietnamese, and Punjabi, and appended with bi-lingual vocabulary guides. ARISE targets a significant population of students who are underrepresented in the biomedical sciences and consequently in public health fields: less than 11% of undergraduate degrees in the biological sciences are awarded to Latinas/Latinos, and less than 2% of doctoral degrees are conferred. ARISE seeks to advance the scientific literacy of these students to improve their understanding of the """"""""nature of addiction as a biologically based brain disorder"""""""" (NIDA, 2006). An equally compelling, long-term objective is to improve the potential for this group of students, many of whom are English Learners, to succeed in advanced science coursework and pursue undergraduate programs in the biomedical sciences. ? ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Education Projects (R25)
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Study Section
Human Development Research Subcommittee (NIDA)
Program Officer
Sasek, Cathrine
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University of California Davis
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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