The Society of Toxicology (SOT) has a continuing commitment to toxicology education. Increasing public awareness and understanding of the interdisciplinary health science of toxicology and its applications in society is a major priority. Offering toxicology to K-12 teachers at SOT annual meetings throughout the U.S. helps and inspires teachers, enriches K-12 science education, and achieves educational goals of SOT and NIEHS. Many K-12 teachers are eager to explore new classroom materials and enhance their own knowledge of science. Annual """"""""Paracelsus Goes to School"""""""" workshops proposed represent an ongoing partnership of SOT with NIEHS to introduce K-12 teachers to inquiry-based toxicology and environmental health science educational materials that meet national science standards.
Specific aims of programs proposed for 200l-2004 parallel those aims of annual one-day K-12 teacher workshops offered by SOT in 1996-2000: 1) educate K-12 teachers about key principles, concepts, and careers in the environmental health sciences field of toxicology, 2) provide K-12 teachers with content and classroom materials on toxicology and environmental health sciences subjects to help make basic sciences relevant to students' lives, and 3) establish links between SOT member mentors and K-12 educators. Many SOT member volunteers from the area of the annual meeting organize the program, participate as lecturers and facilitators, and serve as mentors. Teachers receive nationally recognized curricula, explore exhibits, and attend SOT meeting sessions. Evaluations help to continually improve the programs. Contributions from NIEHS allow substitute coverage for teacher participants to promote enrollment. Previous programs have provided training in NIEHS-funded curricula, and other NIEHS-sponsored K-12 materials have been among those demonstrated or displayed. Ongoing mentoring by local SOT scientists will be stressed even more in future years to help sustain the benefits of these programs. These workshops are an innovative way for scientists and teachers to work together to improve science education.