The purpose of this project is to develop, field test, disseminate and evaluate the use of innovative hands- on activities that focus on key concepts of neuroscience and highlight the four """"""""mega-concepts"""""""" identified in the Neuroscience Core Concepts: Essential Principles of Neuroscience developed by the Society for Neuroscience. These engaging activities will enable high school biology teachers to easily integrate neuroscience into various areas of existing curriculums. The activities will be created by a team of curriculum development experts from the University of Rochester's Life Sciences Learning Center, in collaboration with a Scientist Advisory Council of University of Rochester scientists and a Teacher Advisory Council of high school biology teachers. During this five-year project we will: """"""""Develop an introductory activity on neuron communication and eight extension activities that integrate neuroscience concepts and career information into various topic areas of the high school biology curriculum."""""""" Evaluate the activities through teacher focus groups and in-school field testing throughout New York State. """"""""Implement a three-year dissemination plan in which we will recruit, train and support a New York State and a national network of """"""""teacher-presenters"""""""" who will lead professional development workshops for their peers throughout New York and throughout the US."""""""" Develop and use a reliable, valid and unidimensional pre/post assessment to measure the impact that the activities have on students'understanding of neuroscience content, and awareness of science and health care careers. This proposed project is significant because it will have a national impact on high school teachers'use of hands-on activities to engage diverse student populations in understanding neuroscience content and real- world applications as well as increasing student awareness of a wide variety of careers that require knowledge of neuroscience. This proposed project is innovative because the activities to be developed will allow teachers to easily integrate neuroscience concepts into various areas of the biology curriculum, including """"""""nontraditional"""""""" topic areas such as cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, ecology, development, and evolution. In addition, the innovative characteristics of our nationwide dissemination plan will increase the likelihood of teacher adoption of these new neuroscience education resources, which will further expand the impact of this project on student learning.
The relevance of this project to public health is that the neuroscience activities to be created will provide teachers with access to educational materials to help their students'master scientific subject matter and develop their scientific reasoning skills as well as increase their awareness of science and health care careers. This project will create and field test educational materials to promote student understanding of biological concepts. This information will allow teachers to help their students become better informed for decisions involving their health.