This educational research proposal is a Phase I request for a 3 year project to investigate the impact of the FoodMASTER (Food, Math, and Science Teaching Enhancement Resource) initiative approach on science learning environments which incorporate basic research. The FoodMASTER initiative is a compilation of programs aimed at using food as a tool to teach basic research methods, and science and math concepts to K-12 students. The proposed research project focuses on developing multimedia resource materials and training K-12 teachers in implementing the FoodMASTER approach. Tl_is project will impact science learning environments by creating curricula and implementing programming that will provide baseline data about how the FoodMASTER approach can prepare young children to understand the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of knowledge to extend healthy life, all within a context of a basic research environment. The nature of the investigation is to produce pilot data from a small sample of K-12 teachers and students in Appalachian Ohio that will lay the foundation for future work. The project will demonstrate that if K-12 students are engaged in hands-on, inquiry-based learning activities using food as a tool to teach basic scientific research concepts, then students will be better prepared to demonstrate and apply scientific knowledge and understand clinical and basic research to extend healthy life. Food was chosen as a teaching tool because students encounter food on a daily basis and therefore have preexisting contextual experience to create relevance for learning new science material and research methods. Additionally, food as a teaching tool is conducive to hands-on, inquiry-based lessons, and allows for an interdisciplinary approach to learning microbiology, chemistry, biology, nutrition, and health science along with math and other science-related subjects. The knowledge and skill development that can be inspired by this approach is limitless. Measurement and tools, data collection, application and generalizing, classifying and organization, comparative analysis, interpretation of data, chemical and physical change, functions of ingredients, controlling variables, critical thinking, self-directing learning, and team building are ust a few of the potential knowledge and skill development areas for K-12 students using this method.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRR1-SEPA-3 (01))
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Beck, Lawrence A
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Ohio University Athens
Other Domestic Higher Education
United States
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