The recent resurgence of important infectious diseases has led to a need for K-12 school curricula that create a better understanding of disease transmission dynamics and their biological underpinnings. To produce these curricula, Lyme disease and West Nile encephalitis were selected as models because of their public health significance, because they provide a window for understanding broader biological relationships, and, finally, because Yale University is a major research center for these diseases and can provide scientifically authoritative curriculum content. A disease-based curriculum project will enable a natural partnership between (1) government and academic research institutions, (2) the Peabody museum and its educational staff, (3) concerned K-12 teachers and (4) school distdcts in need of new teaching tools. In Phase I, investigators from the Yale University School of Medicine and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station together with Peabody Museum educators will work with a select group of ten science teachers from three urban public school districts. With logistic and materials support from the museum educators, these teachers will design the curriculum resources to include inquiry-based lesson plans, teacher reference manual, and student science kits. Researchers will provide expertise and technical assistance, graduate students dedicated to the project will assist more directly in the development and implementation phases, and the museum will provide and organize specimens for 'hands-on'activities. Lyme disease and West Nile encephalitis will serve as model systems for exploring interactions between biodiversity and vector-borne disease under the guiding paradigms provided by national standards for science teaching. The teacher-designed resources will undergo rigorous field testing and refinement before integration into the formal science curriculum in each district. This includes evaluation by professionals in curriculum development and student level impact. In Phase II, the curriculum resources will be disseminated regionally and nationally. Participating classrooms will be connected electronically for discussion and comparison of data from research projects via the museum's videoconference facility. Public education initiatives will include hands-on learning experiences at the museum, academic symposia, and a traveling exhibit and will feature the juxtaposition of biodiversity studies and biomedical research on Lyme/West Nile. Project activities are expected to reach 5,850 students dudng Phase I and 11,400 students in Phase II. Museum activities will impact annually 4,000 visitors at the Peabody Museum;the traveling exhibit will impact an additional 150,000 each year.

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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Yale University
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Medicine
New Haven
United States
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