By: Cynthia | December 19 2012 | Category: NIH Resources
The final blog from the National Institutes of Health Office of Science Education
I was very excited the day we started this blog. As a writer, it was another opportunity to do what I love (which is writing, of course!). But it’s time for the NIH SciEd Blog to retire. Through the blog, we’ve brought you updates on health and medical science research and news about science education resources and events. I’m a little sad to see it go, but I know we’ll continue to serve you in even more effective ways. Please join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and our Web site, where we’ll keep you up-to-date on what’s happening – and respond to your feedback and ideas – in real time:
By: Debbie | September 24 2012 | Category: NIH Resources, Science Lite, Tidbits for Teachers
The Natonal Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) is committed to science education and encouraging future generations of scientists. To help mark our 50th anniversary, NIGMS will host an interactive Web chatroom about the cell for middle and high school students. Join us on Friday, November 2, 2012, anytime between 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. EDT. For more information about Cell Day, please see our FAQs page or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Debbie | May 8 2012 | Category: NIH Resources, Science and the Arts, Science Lite, Tidbits for Teachers
When eating out at a restaurant, pay attention to portion sizes. Some entrees are big enough to feed two people. Share a plate, or plan to take home half your meal. Learn more about America’s obesity problems by watching the HBO documentary series Weight of the Nation. To find more healthy eating tips, check out NIH resources: http://www.nih.gov/health/NIHandweightofthenation/
For timely updates about science education, STEM, NIH research, and health and medical science, you can follow the NIH Office of Science Education through multiple channels:
The following lessons are included in Evolution and Medicine:
Ideas about the Role of Evolution in Medicine
Students learn to recognize that understanding the mechanisms of evolution, especially adaptation by natural selection, enhances medical practice and knowledge. Using an evolutionary tree, explore how common ancestry shapes the characteristics of living organisms.
Investigating Lactose Intolerance and Evolution
Students can understand that natural selection is the only evolutionary mechanism to consistently yield adaptations and that some of the variation among humans that may affect health is distributed geographically.
Evolutionary Processes and Patterns Inform Medicine
Students examine how health and disease are related to human evolution and understand why some diseases are more common in certain parts of the world. Analyze data and apply principles of natural selection to explain the relatively high frequency of disease in certain populations.
Using Evolution to Understand Influenza
Students understand how comparisons of genetic sequences are important for studying biomedical problems and informing public health decisions. Apply evolutionary theory to explain the emergence and spread of infectious diseases.
Evaluating Evolutionary Explanations
Students understand the importance of evidence in interpreting examples of evolution and medicine. Appreciate that natural selection and common ancestry can explain why humans are susceptible to many diseases.
For timely updates about science education, STEM, NIH research, and health and medical science, you can follow the NIH Office of Science Education (NIHSciEd) through multiple channels:
By: Cindy, Cynthia | March 1 2012 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers
NIH announces the first set of LAB Challenge winners; expect more to come!
Today we are excited to announce the first group of winners of the NIH K–12 Lessons About Bioscience (LAB) Challenge. Yes, you read that right. This is the first batch of winners, so don't panic if you don't see your name yet. We received so many great, prize-winning entries that we’re announcing the winners in phases. You could be a winner in the next batch, to be announced April 1st.
You may wonder if the first batch of winners is somehow better than the next one. The answer is no, not at all. It’s just that these were the first ones we processed and identified as winners.
These 28 winning entries are from 60 individual participants. Our youngest participant was 6 years old, and we had a submission from a team that included a Vanderbilt University student, a faculty member, and an emeritus professor. Of the winning procedures, 12 targeted elementary grades and 16 were for middle and high school. It was a nice surprise to see that at least 12 of the winners were original creations, and another 12 were modified from existing sources. Winners come from across the United States, including California, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Puerto Rico.
All of the winners (no matter from which batch) and their experiment procedures will be compiled into a publication that will be free to everyone. This publication will also be published in phases, as each procedure is processed and edited for style and format. We will keep you posted on when they become available, and you can check our Web site for this and other updates any time.
Congratulations to our winners (so far)! Please stay tuned for news of more winners.
About the Challenge
The challenge—developed by the trans-NIH Science Education Resources Group (SERG) and published on the Challenge.gov Web site—was a national call-to-action asking individuals, groups, organizations, and scientists to submit procedures for engaging, hands-on health and life science experiments for grades K–12. Submission guidelines required that the activities should: (1) be geared toward grades K–12; (2) use safe, easily available, and inexpensive materials; (3) take 90 minutes (or less) of in-class time; (4) have at least one clear learning objective; and (5) be related to the NIH mission. Submissions were accepted from June 1 to December 15, 2011, and a panel of educators and NIH scientists are selecting the top entries. The winners receive an electronic NIH K-12 LAB Challenge Winner’s badge and will be listed with their experimental procedures in a final free publication.
By: Cindy | February 28 2012 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers
This year’s theme: “Rare But Strong Together”
We’ve been thinking a lot about rare diseases in the office this year, as we wrapped up production of our latest middle school curriculum supplement, Rare Diseases and Scientific Inquiry. It’ll help students explore how scientists research rare diseases and treatments and learn about the workings of the human body. It’s almost ready to ship to educators, which is amazing, since it’s time again to observe Rare Disease Day!
The first Rare Disease Day took place in Europe and Canada during our last leap year, Feb. 29, 2008. Sponsored by alliances of patient groups , it was created to raise awareness about rare diseases and improve their treatment and patients’ access to treatment. Over the next four years, dozens of countries have joined in, and last year, more than 60 countries from all over the world participated. NIH celebrates Rare Disease Day at an all- day series of talks, posters, and exhibits on the main campus in Bethesda, MD. The focus is on research supported by NIH, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Organization of Rare Disorders, and the Genetics Alliance. You can follow the events of the day on Twitter: #NIHORDR.
Wearing your favorite pair of jeans is one way to show your support for Rare Disease Day, thanks to a campaign the Global Genes Projectlaunched 2009. The connection? Jeans and genes are universal – as are rare diseases. More than 7,000 rare diseases affect 30 million people in the United States alone, and about three-quarters of these are children.
For more about global campaigns to raise awareness and fund rare diseases resea rch, go to the Rare Project site: http://rareproject.org/ For timely updates about science education, STEM, NIH research, and health and med i cal science, you can follow the NIH Office of Science Education through multiple channel s:
By: Debbie | February 21 2012 | Category: NIH Resources, Science History
This free new E-book details the life of Ruth Kirschstein, M.D., who provided leadership and direction to the National Institutes of Health through much of the second half of the 20th century. Author Alison Davis provides insight into the life of a brilliant scientist who had a positive impact on public policy, public health, and the training of several generations of biomedical researchers.
Ruth Kirscstein was the daughter of immigrant parents who weathered the disgraceful prejudice and stereotyping of women and Jews, which would have prevented her professional contributions if not for her perseverance and hard work. She went on to become a key player in the development of a safe and effective polio vaccine, the first woman director of a major institute at the NIH, and a champion of the importance of basic biomedical research and training programs that provided opportunity to all talented students, especially underrepresented minority students.
By: Debbie | February 3 2012 | Category: NIH Resources, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers
As part of its milestone anniversary, The Heart Truth® celebrates its 10th National Wear Red Day® today! To show their support for the campaign, the women of the NIH Office of Science Education are wearing red today to show their support for women's heart health and heart disease awareness.
We encourage women to take a photo of themselves or a group and share their heart health action online. For more information, visit The Heart Truth’s Facebook page. In addition, The Heart Truth will co-host a Twitter chat about heart health with Million Hearts and the American Heart Association from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. To join the conversation, follow on Twitter @thehearttruth and look for the hashtag #heartchat.
For timely updates about science education, STEM, NIH research, and health and medical science, you can follow the NIH Office of Science Education through multiple channels:
By: Cynthia | January 26 2012 | Category: NIH Resources, Science Lite, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers
The Office of Science Education begins to review submissions to the NIH LAB Challenge
When we issued the NIH Lessons About Bioscience Challenge, we had no idea how many submissions we’d get. After all, it was our first online challenge and the first of its kind at the new Challenge.gov site. We wondered whether it was too broad, or too narrow. Were our instructions clear? Would submitters understand that we wanted an experimental procedure rather than a write-up of a completed research project? It looks like we did a pretty good job, because most entries were right on target.
We received more than 100 submissions from 20 states and Puerto Rico by the December 15 deadline. People heard about the challenge mainly through word of mouth and email listservs, and some cited Twitter and Challenge.gov as their source. The experiments cover a wide range of topics, from osmosis in chicken eggs to dragon genetics, and they target all grade levels.
Right now, we’re using a rubric to check that each submission meets our basic requirements. The ones that do will move on to the next phase. Some will be tested, and others will be reviewed by teachers and scientists before we announce the winners in March.
We want to send a hearty thank you to our several hundred submitters (most entries were by more than one person). We appreciate your efforts to help us bring the best science experiments to classrooms across the country. Stay tuned for updates!
Number of submissions: 108
How submitters heard about the challenge: Challenge.gov, 10; Twitter, 5; word of mouth, 33; other, 60
Geographic origin: Texas ,39; Maryland, 26; California, 6; Maine, 4; Colorado, 3; Iowa, 3; North Dakota, 3; Massachusetts, 2; Missouri, 2; Ohio, 2; Pennsylvania, 2; Tennessee, 2; Virginia, 2; and Puerto Rico, 2; and 1 each from Arizona, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, and Washington (105 entries identified their state)
Targeted grade level of experiment: elementary grades K to 5, 42 (45%), middle school grades 5 to 8, 26 (28%), middle and high school grades 7 to 12, 13 (14%), and high school grades 9 to 12, 13 (14%)
By: Debbie | December 6 2011 | Category: NIH Resources, Research & Technology, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers
Have you check out The Cell: An Image Library? It is a freely accessible, easy-to-search, public repository of thousands of reviewed and annotated images, videos, and animations of cells from a variety of organisms, showcasing cell architecture, intracellular functionalities, and both normal and abnormal processes.
Confocal micrograph of lesions in human cervical epithelium infected with human papilloma virus (HPV16). Early viral proteins (green) bind to and re-orgainse the ketatin filaments (red) towards the edge of the cell. Cell nuclei are stained with Dapi (blue).
Attribution Non-Commercial; No Derivatives. This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivatives License. View License Deed | View Legal Code
My teenagers can’t imagine life before cell phones, while many of us wouldn’t want to. Such mobile devices are icons of the era, helping us connect with each other, manage tasks, play games, and access all sorts of information. A new application from the NHGRI, the Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms, falls into that last category. It has 200+ genetic terms that you are likely to hear in the news, in a classroom, or even from your health care providers.
Listen as leading NGHRI scientists pronounce and explain each term. Included are photos and short profiles of those scientists. Many terms are accompanied by helpful, colorful illustrations and 3D animations. You can take a quiz to test your knowledge, or suggest a term to a add to the app.
Check out the online version of the talking glossary. Pretty soon (by December, we hope!), you’ll be able to see how it is featured in the updated NIH Human Genetic Variation high school curriculum supplement.
Add your voice today and post your own drug abuse shoutout on your blog, Facebook profile, Twitter account—or wherever you see fit. When you choose to speak, you choose to act.
Events Across America
Teens, parents, teachers, scientists, and others are marking the occasion in communities all over the country, from Douglas, Alaska, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Unique events like scavenger hunts, poster campaigns, Halloween “Fright Nights” with giveaways, carnivals, and substance-free parties encourage teens to have meaningful conversations about drugs and addiction.
Learn more about today's "CyberShoutout" in support of National Drug Facts Week by checking NIDA's Sara Bellum Blog, which will be posting updates all day and recognizing the voices of those who participate—Yours could be one of them!
Those who attended the October 15 SciLife® program participated in a variety of workshops where they received information and advice that will help them prepare for college—especially for careers in the health and biomedical sciences. During the morning, students and parents learned about the college application process and how to ensure a smooth transition from high school to college. Afternoon workshops included panels of college students and professors who helped students understand the realities of college life and what will be expected of them once they make the transition to college.
As with past SciLife® programs, attendees thought that the event provided an invaluable experience for students and their parents and that the information provided helped to inform and prepare students as they pursue their education beyond high school. Visit the SciLife® Web site to stay informed about next year’s college and career planning event.
NIAID is looking for applicants for its Intramural NIAID Research Opportunities (INRO) program, which provides an invaluable opportunity for students with strong academic standing who are from populations underrepresented in biomedical research.
Candidates who are college-level seniors, medical school students, or doctoral candidates, and from a population underrepresented in the biomedical sciences are eligible.
During the 4-day program, students will hear lectures from world-renowned scientists and interview for potential research training positions at the Institute’s Maryland and Montana laboratories. This year’s program marks 10 years of INRO and takes place in Bethesda, MD, on the NIH campus, February 6–9, 2012. Students’ expenses for travel, hotel accommodations, and meals will be paid.
You can help us find the best and brightest applicants for INRO 2011 by doing the following:
By: Debbie | September 8 2011 | Category: Issues in Education, NIH Resources, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers
A new studyby the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), the country’s leading genetics scientific society, found that more than 85 percent of states have genetics standards that are inadequate for preparing America’s high school students for future participation in a society and health care system that are certain to be increasingly impacted by genetics-based personalized medicine.
“Science education in the United States is based on testing and accountability standards that are developed by each state,” said Michael Dougherty, PhD, director of education at ASHG and the study’s lead author. “These standards determine the curriculum, instruction, and assessment of high school level science courses in each state, and if standards are weak, then essential genetics content may not be taught.”
According to ASHG’s study, which included all 50 states and the District of Columbia:
Only seven states have genetics standards that were rated as ‘adequate’ for genetic literacy (Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington).
Of the 19 core concepts in genetics that were deemed essential by ASHG, 14 were rated as being covered inadequately by the nation as a whole (or were absent altogether).
Only two states, Michigan and Delaware, had more than 14 concepts (out of 19) rated as adequate. Twenty-three states had six or fewer concepts rated as adequate.
“ASHG’s findings indicate that the vast majority of U.S. students in grade 12 may be inadequately prepared to understand fundamental genetic concepts,” said Edward McCabe, MD, PhD, a pediatrician and geneticist who is the executive director of the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome at the University of Colorado. “Healthcare is moving rapidly toward personalized medicine, which is infused with genetics. Therefore, it is essential we provide America’s youth with the conceptual toolkit that is necessary to make informed healthcare decisions, and the fact that these key concepts in genetics are not being taught in many states is extremely concerning.”
“We hope the results of ASHG’s analysis help influence educators and policy makers to improve their state’s genetics standards,” said Dougherty. “Alternatively, deficient states might benefit from adopting science standards from the National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education, which, although not perfect, does a better job of addressing genetics concepts than most state standards that are currently in place.”
By: Debbie | September 1 2011 | Category: Issues in Education, NIH Resources, Science News
Registration for the October 15 National Institutes of Health (NIH) SciLife® event: The College Experience, opens today. SciLife® is an annual career and college planning event for high school students who are interested in the health and biomedical sciences. This event will take place on the Trinity Washington University Campusin Washington, D.C.
By: Cindy, Dave | June 14 2011 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers
The NIH Science Education Resource Group has launched a public competition that seeks to bring hands-on science into classrooms nationwide.
The NIH K–12 Lessons About Bioscience (LAB) Challenge asks teachers, students, parents, scientists, and science enthusiasts to submit their favorite experiments for elementary, middle, and/or high school students. The best experiments will become part of an official collection that NIH will distribute for free in print and electronically. Your experiment could help students everywhere experience the discovery of science!
Experiments form the basis of scientific inquiry but aren’t used often enough in the classroom because of expense, complexity, or time issues. The NIH K–12 LAB Challenge seeks to address this problem by identifying experiments that are engaging and inexpensive to do.
The challenge runs until December 1, 2011, and is open to any resident of the United States or a U.S. territory. Details and entry forms are online.
Help NIH bring engaging and inexpensive experiments into the classroom so everyone can enjoy doing science. Submit your favorite experiments today.
In this web seminar we will enliven concepts in evolution, such as natural selection and genetic variation, by using current examples in human health and medicine. The discussion will provide you with a new and engaging approach to teaching evolution in the classroom.
This web seminar supports the lessons in the NIH curriculum supplement “Evolution and Medicine,” which was developed by BSCSand will soon be available for free online.
Other NIH/NSTA web seminars are also archivedfor your enjoyment whenever.
By: Margaret | April 28 2011 | Category: Issues in Education, NIH Resources, Scientists in the Community, Tidbits for Teachers
Don’t miss the chance to hear directly from children’s mental health experts at an upcoming free event that celebrates National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. Watch a videocast to learn about the state of the science in children’s mental health and explore topics ranging from normal brain development to anxiety, bipolar disorder, and ADHD.
What: Connect the Dots: Understanding Children’s Mental Health Panel When: May 3rd from 2:00 to 3:30 PM EST Where: By Videocast
The expert panel features Drs. Ellen Leibenluft, Daniel Pine, Jay Giedd, and Benedetto Vitiello and is moderated by Dr. Thomas R. Insel, director of NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
The web seminar shows you how to hone your students’ inquiry skills as they uncover the mysteries of rare diseases, such as Marfan Syndrome, Necrotizing Fasciitis, and leukemia. This “disease detectives” approach engages students in the process of science, allows them to analyze data from different sources and present their findings to others. The discussion integrates principles in life sciences and health for middle school teachers.
By: Gloria, Margaret | April 4 2011 | Category: NIH Resources, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers
This year’s theme is building resilience in young children who are dealing with trauma. The idea behind the Awareness Day campaign is to draw attention to the importance of good mental health for healthy development. We were surprised to find out that last year, people held Awareness Day events at more than 1,000 sites, and almost 11,000 children and youth participated in them! Visit the Awareness Day home page in the coming weeks for updates on how to
lead an event,
find one in your area,
get helpful resources, and
broadcast timely, useful information through Facebook, tweets, and other social media.
As part of the campaign, one agency is posting information updates online about trauma and resilience in young children. The February update is about children who’ve been exposed to five or more “significant adversities” by the time they’re three years old: three out of four of them will experience delays in cognitive, language, and/or emotional development. “With help from families, providers, and the community, young children can demonstrate resilience when dealing with trauma,” according to the post. The March update states, “Studies on the brain show that physical, emotional, or sexual abuse in childhood can cause permanent damage to the brain, reduce the size of parts of the brain, [and] impact the way a child’s brain copes with daily stress, and can result in enduring problems such as depression, anxiety, aggression, impulsiveness, delinquency, hyperactivity, and substance abuse.” On the National Institute of Mental Health Web site (NIMH), you can find a booklet for parents on how to help children cope with and identify reactions to violence and disasters. Suggestions include
being straightforward about the event,
encouraging children to express their feelings,
maintaining routines, and
allowing children to make some basic choices for themselves.
You can also read about results from a recent NIMH study that emphasized the importance of having supportive and functional family relationships during childhood. The researchers found that “negative experiences early in life can have long-lasting effects on physical health, in addition to the known mental health consequences.”
By: Dave | March 21 2011 | Category: NIH Resources, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers
This Thursday, March 24, NIH and the National Science Teachers Association are joining forces to present a live webinar on the brain and drug addiction. Dr. Rochelle Schwartz-Bloomof Duke University will be presenting the webinar, which starts at 6:30 pm Eastern time. Registration is free.
The webinar will take an “outside-in” look at the brain, how it works, and how its function changes in the presence of disease or drugs. The discussion will integrate principles in both biology and chemistry for the high school science teacher. This web seminar supports the lessons in the NIH curriculum supplement The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology Through the Study of Addiction - available for free upon request.
The Women Are Scientists DVDs reinforce the theme of the Presidential Proclamation of March 2011. President Obama wrote, “As we reflect on the triumphs of the past, we must also look to the limitless potential that lies ahead. To win the future, we must equip the young women of today with the knowledge, skills, and equal access to reach for the promise of tomorrow. My Administration is making unprecedented investments in education and is working to expand opportunities for women and girls in the STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] fields critical for growth in the 21st century economy.”
A favorite DVD, Women Scientists with Disabilities, highlights high-achieving women scientists who made their mark through tenacity, courage, and hard work despite physical handicaps. We loved learning about women like Bertha Melgoza, who lost her sight from a childhood illness and faced a tough future in Mexico. Now she’s a successful clinical psychologist in the United States with a husband, a son, and a full spiritual life.
The National Women’s History Museum is featuring a video on the roles American women played in shaping Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day (March 8), now celebrating its 100th anniversary.
By: Debbie | March 2 2011 | Category: NIH Resources, Research & Technology, Tidbits for Teachers
The application process is now open for the “2011 National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) Summer Workshop in Genomics.” The popular “Short Course” will be held July 24 – 29, 2011 on the main campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.
This intensive six-day course for educators is designed to update collegiate instructors (biology and related disciplines) on current topics in genetics and genomic science. A majority of the course is researcher-taught affording attendees a unique opportunity to learn from leaders currently working in the field.
Details on course content, educator eligibility, and application guidelines are below. The NHGRI Summer Workshop in Genomics home page includes the 2010 course syllabus, a photograph of the 2010 class, and other helpful materials.
About the NHGRI Summer Workshop in Genomics
This weeklong course is designed to update biology instructors, as well as other instructors and researchers in related disciplines, on genomic science. The course focuses on the continuing effort to find the genetic basis of various diseases and disorders, and current topics on the ethical, legal and social implications of genomics. This course is especially intended for college and university faculty seeking to update their curriculum or to develop new courses related to genetics.
Workshop speakers consist of leading National Institutes of Health (NIH) genomic researchers. The course features extended tours of working laboratories at the NIH, structured lectures, and highly interactive sessions. Sessions on the microbiome, epigenetics, nanotechnology, animal models, current sequencing strategies, grant writing, and similar topics will be part of this year’s course. Room and board are paid by NHGRI; the participant or the participant’s institution will pay travel costs both to, and from, the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland.
To apply, email course director Jeffre Witherly, Ph.D., for application materials at email@example.com.
All aspects of the Workshop registration must be completed to be considered in the application process. All applications must be submitted electronically, and will be accepted until 5pm ET on Friday, March 25, 2011. Applicants will be notified of final application status by email by April 1, 2011. Alumni of the Workshop who attended before 2005 are invited to apply.
Jeff Witherly, Ph.D. Senior Advisor National Human Genome Research Institute National Institutes of Health Building 31, Room B1B55 Bethesda, MD 20892
By: Cindy, Gloria | February 25 2011 | Category: NIH Resources, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers
It all started at my son’s wedding as I watched one of his groomsmen swaying at the altar, attempting to stay upright. As soon as the ceremony was over, we found him stretched out on a bench in the lobby. What followed was months of recovery, neurological tests, and consultations. He finally got the diagnosis: Parsonage-Turner syndrome, a rare disease of a group of nerves that runs from the spine through the neck and into the arm.
On Monday, February 28, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will celebrate Rare Disease Day. The celebration will be on the main campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Attendance is free and open to the public. It’s one of the many ways NIH draws attention to our country’s 7,000 rare diseases. If fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. have a disease, we consider it rare. About 80 percent of the rare diseases are genetic, and about half of them affect children. By raising awareness about these diseases, NIH shines a bright light on these often mysterious and underdiagnosed disorders.
The NIH Offices of Science Education and Rare Diseases Research are looking forward to the summer release of a new curriculum supplement for grades 6 - 8 that explores scientific inquiry through the study of rare diseases. Stay tuned for an announcement of its release in coming months!
By: Margaret | February 2 2011 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers
Many of my friends made New Year’s resolutions about losing extra pounds gained over the holidays. I bet few are focusing on the connection between what we eat and our dental health, though. February is a great time to make that connection as it’s National Children’s Dental Health Month. We can all help kids develop good habits now … and teaching them about the science of tooth decay is a good place to start.
There is a tug of war going on inside our mouths. On one team are dental plaque plus food, especially sticky foods and drinks containing sugar. On the other team are the minerals in our saliva plus fluoride from toothpaste, water, and other sources. When we eat or drink something sugary, the bacteria in dental plaque produce acids that begin to eat away at tooth enamel. Frequent exposure to sugar can lead to tooth decay because our mouths have to fight off repeated acid attacks.
But did you know that the tooth decay process can be interrupted and even reversed? Here are some helpful resources about that:
By: Cynthia | January 31 2011 | Category: NIH Resources, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers
Resources to help students, families, and communities get fit and make healthier food choices
If you made a New Year’s resolution to exercise more and eat better, then check out some of these great resources to help you reach your goals.
1. Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announce the release of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. The evidence-based nutrition guidance is offered to promote health, and reduce the risk of disease and the prevalence of obesity.
2. Michelle Obama started the Let’s Move! campaign to tackle the challenge of childhood obesity by engaging every sector of society into helping kids become more active and eat better. At the Web site, you can:
• learn the facts about childhood obesity • find out how to determine your healthy weight and calculate your body mass index • get chef-created recipes, healthy eating tips, and nutrition information • learn ways that kids, families, schools, and communities can get active • see videos on the Let’s Move! YouTube channel
3. For the 7th - and 8th -grade classrooms, the NIH has two free curriculum supplements about health and nutrition. Through engaging activities, students can discover how the energy in versus energy out and their own behaviors can affect their health.
By: Debbie | December 1 2010 | Category: NIH Resources, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers
An estimated 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, and yet one out of five don’t know it. Today (December 1) is World AIDS Day. It is an opportunity for us to take action! Here are a few simple, powerful, and engaging ways:
Share information on Twitter about how you’re taking action for World AIDS Day (and beyond!) Use the official hashtag #WAD2010
By: Dave | November 1 2010 | Category: NIH Resources
Over the October 23-24 weekend, NIH brought its science to the streets at the inaugural USA Science and Engineering Festival Expo in Washington, D.C. Thousands of people enjoyed the hands-on activities at the NIH tent on the National Mall and the NIH exhibit booths on Freedom Plaza. Activities included a brain-based game show (upper left), a discovery zone of human anatomy (lower right), a meet and greet with prominent scientists like Dr Nora Volkow (lower left), and an opportunity to learn more about your eyes (upper right). Thanks to NIH photographer Maggie Bartlett for the snaps.
During its two-day run, 500,000 people visited the Expo. Festival planners hint that we may see version 2.0 in 2012.
By: Dave | October 19 2010 | Category: NIH Resources
This weekend, October 23 and 24, NIH will bring our science to the people at the inaugural USA Science and Engineering Festival Expo in Washington, D.C. From 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., 1,500 interactive exhibits and 75 stage shows will be held across four downtown DC locations on and near the National Mall. Details on the festival website, including a map.
Here's the lowdown on all of the exciting activities from NIH:
By: Cynthia | September 7 2010 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers
The flu season is nearly upon us, and schools across the nation are just getting back in session. It seems like a perfect time to use the seasonal flu as a focus for understanding basic health and science concepts. Consider the questions classrooms can explore: Where do flu viruses hang out? If you get the flu, how long are you contagious? Why do some people get the flu and others do not? What is the difference between bacteria and viruses? Can you get the flu from the vaccine? Why do some people get the flu even though they got the vaccine?
By: Debbie | September 1 2010 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers
If you are a student, educator, parent or guardian in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, then listen up! Registration for the 2010 SciLife program starts today.
What is SciLife?
SciLife consists of a variety of workshops designed to help students prepare for college and a successful career in science. High school students, parents, and educators, may attend this free, informational, fun-filled event, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Science Education (OSE) and leaders in science education. This program is intended for 9th through 12th grade students.
Get inside information and advice from area leaders in the health and biomedical fields
Explore career options in the health and biomedical sciences
Get free lunch and college planning and organizational tools
Find out which high school classes can improve your options at college entry
Learn how to finance an education
When is SciLife?
Date: October 16th, 2010 Time: 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
By: Debbie | August 27 2010 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers
Students and teachers alike are heading back to school, so it’s a good time to instruct youngsters about the dangers of drug abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) offers a number of science-based drug abuse education resources to help you get started:
The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology through the Study of Addiction (Grades 9-12)
An exhaustive set of links to drug education resources including:
PEERx—Information, activities, and homework assignments to help teens better understand the harmful effects of prescription drug abuse.
Sara Bellum Blog—Written by a team of NIDA scientists, science writers, and public health analysts. Students can connect with the latest scientific research and to help them make healthy, smart decisions.
Brain Power! The NIDA Junior Scientist Program (Grades K-9)
Brain Power! (Grades K-1)—The program begins with the premise that a group of children has formed a Brain Power! Club that receives missions from NIDA. Each module is built around a mission—a problem or scientific question.
Brain Power! (Grades 2-3) — A curriculum consisting of 6 modules that lays the foundation for future scientific learning and substance abuse prevention efforts by providing an early elementary school-age audience with a basis of knowledge and critical thinking skills.
Brain Power! (Grades 4-5)—Students explore the processes of science and how to use these processes to learn about the brain, the nervous system, and the effects of drugs on the nervous system and the body. Through hands-on science investigations, a videotape, and supplementary activities that are linked to other areas of the curriculum, students with different learning styles and strengths are given numerous opportunities to grasp the material.
Brain Power! (Grades 6-9)—Students explore the processes of science and how to use these processes to learn about the brain, the nervous system, and the effects of drugs on the nervous system and the body. Through the interactive Brain Power! Challenge curriculum, students with different learning styles and strengths are given numerous opportunities to grasp the material.
Heads Up: Real News about Drugs and Your Body (Grades 6-10)
Exercise your brain and test your knowledge of drugs and the way they affect your brain and body. You can join Sara Bellum on her quest or go head-to-head with Dr. NIDA, test your memorization skills with Pick-a-Card, or have fun with the other games on this page. http://teens.drugabuse.gov/havefun/index.php
Turn on the television these days, and you’ll hear news about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the ongoing cleanup efforts. You'll hear about the toll on wildlife and ecosystems, and about the health concerns for emergency responders involved in the cleanup. Such disasters, though devastating, can provide an impetus for us to learn more about the web of life on Earth. Sharing these lessons with the nation’s youth may help to safeguard our future, and better protect the health of the environment and ourselves.
The NIEHS has a variety of educational resources for K-12 teachers to help students explore the relationship between the environment and human health. Materials include teacher guides, lesson plans by grade level that can be integrated into existing curriculum, fact sheets, PowerPoint presentations, and online activities for students. Through the NIH curriculum supplement, Chemicals, the Environment, and You: Explorations in Science and Human Health, middle school students learn the basics of toxicology and explore the relationship between chemicals in the environment and human health.
Visit the NIEHS Gulf Oil Spill Response Efforts Web page for details on how NIEHS scientists are collaborating with others to protect and educate the public and to understand the health effects of exposure to cleanup workers and affected communities.
Tickets Are free! We expect a full house each evening and cannot guarantee tickets in advance. You may pick up tickets (up to four per person) at the AFI Silver Theatre Box Office beginning at 4:00 p.m. the day of show only.
Process The program starts at 7:00 p.m. After a brief introduction to the film, we show it in its entirety. Right after the screening, a guest speaker comments on the health and medical aspects of the film as well as its accuracy. The speaker then fields questions from the audience.
Questions If you have questions about Science in the Cinema, please visit our Web site or contact OSE at Telephone: 401-402-2470 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Debbie | June 10 2010 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has developed the Brain’s Inner Workings: Activities for Grades 9 through 12, a comprehensive collection of multimedia resources and inquiry-based activities to help teachers and students learn about the structure, function and cognitive aspects of the human brain. All activities are tied to the National Science Education Standards.
The educational packet includes:
A Teacher’s Manual, with content background and a proposed pedagogy for the use of the material;
A Student Manual that includes both comprehensive text and activities;
Student activities to complement the visuals on the NIMH videos;
Formative and summative assessments;
Additional resources on CD including animations provided by the National Science Teachers Association, and a short computer program called “React,” which can be used to support the laboratory activities in the Student Manual or to help students extend their understanding by conducting independent research of their own.
The Brain’s Inner Workings ties together lessons about the human brain with activities designed to help students better understand brain disease and mental illnesses.
You can access most of the Brain’s Inner Workings online. For best results, however, order a free hard copy packet that includes the manuals, a DVD and a CDROM that includes all the supplemental materials plus pdfs of the manuals that can be printed and copied.
By: Debbie | May 6 2010 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers
Many mental disorders have their beginnings in childhood or adolescence. The National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey found that 13 percent of children ages 8 to 15 had at least one mental disorder, a rate comparable to diabetes, asthma, and other diseases of childhood. Yet, mental disorders often go undiagnosed and untreated for years.
The NIH has created a curriculum supplement, The Science of Mental Illness, for grades 6-8 that is designed to help students gain insight into the biological basis of mental illnesses and how scientific evidence and research can help us understand its causes and lead to treatments and, ultimately, cures. The Science of Mental Illness includes the following lessons and major concepts:
The Brain: Control Central -- The brain is the organ that controls feelings, behaviors, and thoughts, and changes in the brain’s activity result in long- or short-term changes to these.
What’s Wrong? -- Mental illnesses such as depression are diseases of the brain.
Mental Illness: Could It Happen to Me? -- Though everyone is at risk, factors such as genetics, environment, and social influences determine a person’s propensity to develop a mental illness.
Treatment Works! -- Medications and psychotherapies are among the effective treatments for most mental illnesses.
In Their Own Words -- Includes a fascinating video of students discussing how mental illness affects their lives and how their illnesses are treated so that they can function effectively.
You’re the Expert Now -- Learning the facts about mental illness can dispel misconceptions.
Dr. Marcella Farinelli Fierro inspired best-selling crime writer Patricia Cornwell to write a highly successful series of crime novels featuring a forensic pathologist. Dr. Virginia Apgar designed the now standard physical report index for all newborns (the Apgar score). Dr. Antonia Novello was the first woman and the first Hispanic to become Surgeon General of the United States.
You can find these and other interesting facts about America’s women physicians online at NLM’s Changing the Face of Medicine exhibition. Many of the featured women faced and overcame daunting obstacles to achieve success. The exhibition honors their lives and accomplishments, with the hope of inspiring a new generation of medical pioneers.
The online exhibition offers
videos and inspiring stories about accomplished women physicians
activities about how the human body works
career information for students
lesson plans for teachers
a bibliography of suggested reading
The traveling exhibition is now touring medical schools across the country. Computer kiosks display multimedia features from the original exhibition (2003−2005 at NLM), including films about women physicians, career resources, and educational activities.
Check out the tour itinerary to see if it’s coming to a place near you.
By: Cindy | April 20 2010 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers
It’s also National Arab American Heritage, Autism, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Manatee, Marching Band, Occupational Therapy, Parkinson’s Disease, Pet First Aid, Poetry, Stress, and Workplace Conflict Awareness Month, not to mention National Anxiety, Child Abuse Prevention, Humor, and Welding Month.
But let’s get back to alcohol. Singling out a month for alcohol awareness began in 1987. It would be a way to encourage communities to focus on alcohol-related problems, according to the founding organization, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). Many people are affected by alcoholism besides the alcoholic, and raising awareness about that helps support the alcoholic’s loved ones. Alcohol plays a leading role in our most difficult social problems, including crime, homelessness, teen pregnancy, and domestic violence.
NCADD was founded in 1944 by the first female member of Alcoholics Anonymous. The organization is dedicated to lowering the stigma surrounding substance abuse. April’s awareness theme this year is “When Love Is Not Enough: Helping Families Coping with Alcoholism.”
April 8 was National Alcohol Screening Day. At sites across the country, people were offered information, screening questionnaires, and a chance to talk with substance abuse and treatment professionals. If you missed it, check for the date early next year.
Our office develops curricula about science that draw on the research being done by NIH investigators, and the one called Understanding Alcohol: Investigations into Biology and Behavior is one of my favorites. It’s a collection of six lessons for middle school science classes that take about seven class periods to complete. The background materials for teachers, handouts for students, and a Web site with interactive activities were developed and nationally field-tested, along with the lessons, over the course of two years.
The tone of our curricula is objective, not proscriptive, and they’ve all been aligned with state and national science standards. Students learn not only about the biology of alcohol in the human body and it social consequences in this module. They also get to work in groups, develop reasoning skills, summarize their findings, and problem solve – all essential skills nowadays.
If you use our curricula, we would love to get your feedback!
By: Gloria | April 9 2010 | Category: NIH Resources, Science News, Scientists in the Community, Tidbits for Teachers
Have you ever wanted to talk directly to the top minds in the field of genomics research? Well, get your thoughts in order and get those questions lined up because you will have the chance to chat one-on-one with experts in celebration of National DNA Day.
According to Carla Easter, Ph.D., science education specialist at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), genomics and genetics experts will be available at the DNA Day Chatroom on Friday, April 23, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT to answer questions from students, teachers, and the general public on topics such as basic genetics research, the genetic basis of disease, and ethical questions about genetic privacy. Transcripts from previous DNA Day chatrooms are also available on the NHGRI Web site.
One of my favorite exchanges from last year was, “What would someone do after getting their undergraduate degree if they were inclined to study DNA or genetics?” Current NHGRI director, Eric Green, offered up a list of options:
Get a job working in a genetics laboratory.
Become a genetics counselor.
Get a Ph.D. and become a genetics researcher.
Get an M.D. and become a medical geneticist.
Become a computer scientist and help us interpret information about our genomes.
In the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, 35 NHGRI scientist ambassadors will be visiting schools through May to talk about job opportunities in genomic research. They will also help students plan their professional careers in genetics and genomics. For more information on potential careers in genomic sciences visit NHGRI's Genomic Careers Web Site.
The American Society for Human Genetics (ASHG) is sponsoring a variety of events that help K-12 students, teachers, and the public learn more about how genetics and genomics affect their lives. You can visit the ASHG DNA Day pagefor more information about ASHG-sponsored activities.
When I was in high school, I liked studying genetics. In particular, I liked the study of inheritance, and figuring out how to complete a Punnett square. At the time, I had no idea of the variety of careers available in genomics. Today’s career-hunting high school and college students can explore the nearly 50 career options at the The Genomic Careers Resource Web site, by the National Human Genome Research Institute.
The just launched career exploration Web site offers users an orientation along with many resources to help students find a career that suits them best. Explore the interactive options to:
watch video interviews of real professionals
get in-depth information on many genomic careers
rate potential career choices to zero-in on your favorites
Featured Panel: Gathering Storm or Gathering Cobwebs? What Is the Federal Response to the Science Education Crisis? Friday, March 19 1:30–3:00 PM The federal government annually invests $140 billion in science and technology, with more than $3 billion going to programs for science education and training. Yet most experts would agree with the conclusions found in the National Academies of Science’s Rising Above the Gathering Storm (2007) report that other nations are catching up to and/or surpassing the U.S. in our efforts to educate and train the next generation of highly technical workers. These conclusions have been the subject of sharp policy debates in Washington. One element of that debate has focused on the results of the federal investment. This panel will explore the effectiveness of the current federal investment and whether or not the federal government could improve its investment strategy in science education. Moderator: Francis Q. Eberle (NSTA Executive Director) Presenters: Bruce Fuchs (NIH), Bill Valdez (Dept. of Energy); Cora Marrett (National Science Foundation); Joyce Winterton (NASA); Bob McGahern (Dept. of Defense); Louisa Koch (NOAA); Donald Zink (FDA); and Michael Lach (Dept. of Education)
Free Online Teaching Resources from the National Institutes of Health Friday, March 19 3:30–4:30 PM Philadelphia Marriott, Franklin 8 Free online materials from NIH focusing on medically relevant life sciences include interactive games, image galleries, stories, and the opportunity to submit questions to scientists. Presenter: Alisa Z. Machalek (National Institute of General Medical Sci.: Bethesda, MD)
Exploring Bioethics: A New Model for High School Instruction Saturday, March 20 9:30–10:30 AM Philadelphia Marriott, Franklin 1 Engage students in a new approach to examining biomedical practices, such as genetic testing, and developing their own well-justified positions on the ethical issues involved. Presenter: Dave Vannier (National Institutes of Health: Bethesda, MD)
Examining the Bioethics of Animals in Research Saturday, March 20 12:30–1:30 PM Philadelphia Marriott, Franklin 1 Examine the ethics of genetically modifying animals for human gain. Respect and harms/benefits are presented in a new model for teaching bioethics in high school. Presenter: Dave Vannier (National Institutes of Health: Bethesda, MD)
By: Debbie | March 15 2010 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers
In just five days, spring will officially arrive. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to enter into a season of renewal. I plan to focus on my out-with-the-old and in-with-the-new Spring-cleaning ritual. Some of the not-so-fun tasks ahead include, cleaning out my garage, and my over-stuffed craft and kitchen cabinets. Many items have been in there so long, they are starting to rust and leave nasty residues. I have motor oil, antifreeze, fertilizer, paint, solvents, stain removers, and home office supplies that I no longer use. What am I supposed to do with them? How do I dispose of them safely, without harming the environment?
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has a Web site that can help me and other spring cleaners out there. The NLM’s Household Products Database links over 9,000 consumer products. It allows you to research products based on chemical ingredients and is designed to help answer the following typical questions:
What are the chemical ingredients and their percentage in specific brands?
Which products contain specific chemical ingredients?
How do I handle and dispose of specific products?
Who manufactures a specific brand? How do I contact this manufacturer?
What are the acute and chronic health effects of chemical ingredients in a specific brand?
What other information is available about chemicals in the toxicology-related databases of the National Library of Medicine?
If you are a spring cleaner, or a teacher or student looking for in-depth information on specific products, or environmental health and toxicology information, these NLM links can help.
When the news started pouring in about the effects of the earthquake in Haiti last month, I was startled by the devastation. The unexpected nature of the event, coupled with the destruction and loss of lives, made me wonder just how any one person, city, state, or country could really be prepared to handle such a disaster. Since then, I’ve found some resources that can help us plan ahead and cope with traumatic events when they do occur.
The Ready campaign is a national effort to help us prepare for and respond to natural and human-made disasters. Its goal is to increase the nation’s basic level of preparedness. The campaign includes Ready Kids, which aims to help parents and teachers educate kids about emergencies and how they can help their families get prepared. The program includes a Web site with online games and helpful resources for parents and teachers. At the site, kids learn how to create an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan, and learn more about natural disasters.
In just the past decade, the United States has experienced the September 11 terrorist attacks along with fires, tornados, mudslides, and other natural disasters. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) conducts research on our reactions to these national crises and traumatic events. The Institute’s focus areas include traumatic stress reactions and mental health issues among military service members. Researchers have learned that people respond differently to crisis. Some have more intense feelings initially but eventually recover. Others need additional help and support, especially if they’ve experienced traumatic events before.
You can order or download free NIMH publications that could help you cope with traumatic events, including several in a series titled Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters:
By: Debbie | January 28 2010 | Category: NIH Resources, Scientists in the Community
I always knew that I wanted to pursue a career in science, but figuring out how to achieve my goals was another matter altogether. My parents were not college graduates. Although they supported my career goals, they were unable to offer the guidance I needed. I could have used advice on things like: how to finance a college education, how to choose a major, and how to navigate my career options after earning my bachelors degree. I wonder now how differently my career path might have been if a mentor had been there to guide me along the way.
The NIH has taken a very proactive role in helping high school and college students to pursue careers in behavioral and social science, biomedical science, dental, and healthcare careers. Through its LifeWorks® E-mentoring program, students are linked via e-mail with e-mentors who provide them with relevant information, guidance and support.
The NIH continues to recruit new mentors to support students nationwide. If you are an undergraduate student, university professor, postdoctoral fellow, independent researcher, or healthcare worker interested in becoming a mentor, visit the LifeWorks® E-mentoring Web site for more information.
High school and undergraduate students, if you are interested in finding a mentor, visit the LifeWorks® E-mentoring Web site to learn what you need to get started.
Unique audio programs covering current health topics and medical research
Do you prefer to get your news by watching videos, listening to podcasts, or reading? For me, the answer would be listening or reading. Listening to news, an audio book or music is my favorite way to make good use of a long commute. For all the listeners out there, you can tune into some great NIH resources and hear about research discoveries, hot health topics and inside information from the scientific experts themselves.
By: Debbie | December 18 2009 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers
When my children were little, we used clay impression kits to immortalize their handprints and create cute wall hangings as gifts for their grandparents. As they pressed their little hands into the clay, it changed shape in response to the pressure. In much the same way, our brains are formed and molded in response to various stimuli. Scientists call it brain plasticity. The brain is changeable, or plastic, because new experiences can re-wire its circuitry, setting up new connections among neurons.
Sarah Bottjer, a neuroscientist at the University of Southern California, conducts research on brain plasticity by studying songbirds. Baby songbirds learn to sing the same way that human infants learn to mimic their parents' speech. Through trial and error, they eventually master the syllables and rhythms of their parents' vocalizations.
Scientists use the zebra finch as an animal model because its songs can be easily recorded and compared to brain activity. The zebra finch always sings the same short song, making it simple to study in detail. Songbirds were initially used to study speech perception and production in humans, but they are also promising models for studying many other complex human behaviors.
Does this mean that we now have a single test for ADHD? Not quite. It means that there’s a measurable physiological difference between adults with and without ADHD. In time, this discovery may lead to a biochemical test for the condition.
The diagnosis of ADHD has been controversial because the characteristic behaviors -- impulsivity, daydreaming, and forgetfulness -- are within the extreme ends of the normal range of human behaviors.
Accurate diagnosis is important, because people who are underdiagnosed as children – and thus not treated -- may get into trouble constantly when their behavior clashes with what’s expected in certain environments, such as schools. Overdiagnosing can lead to unnecessary medication with stimulants, which carry risks of side effects.
SciEd Nation is designed for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics students and professionals interested in learning more about or becoming more involved in K-12 education in the United States.
At SciEd Nation science, technology, engineering, and mathematics students and professionals can: • Find out how U.S. students stack up to students around the world in reading, mathematics, science, and problem solving skills • Learn about contemporary K-12 schools and the typical day in the life of a teacher • Discover how to partner with teachers and schools to improve U.S. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education • Learn how to enhance tangible support for science education among colleagues, managers, and administrators • Locate reference materials on education, education policy, communicating science, and partnership funding sources • Read about successful partnerships and their strategies for success as well as download “How-To-Guides” for common partnership activities
Stay tuned as more tips and resources are added to SciEd Nation over the next few months.
By: Cynthia | November 13 2009 | Category: NIH Resources, Scientists in the Community
SciLife is an annual college- and career-planning program for high school students and their parents. It’s sponsored by the NIH, Office of Science Education, and Washington, D.C. area education leaders.
SciLife program planners, including me, believe this year’s program was better than ever. Nearly 300 students and their parents joined us on the NIH campus, October 24th.
A highlight of the day was Dr. Lonise Bias’s tear-inducing keynote address. She is an internationally known motivational speaker and the founder of The Abundant Life Resources A More Excellent Way LLC, a community service resource. “Our youth are reachable, teachable, lovable, and savable,” said Bias.
Bias also shared her story of how the deaths of her two sons propelled her into action and service. Her son Len died in 1986 of cocaine intoxication, two days after being drafted by the Boston Celtics. Four years later, her son Jay became the victim of a drive-by shooting at a shopping mall.
Each year, our SciLife team strives to improve the program by heeding the advice and suggestions of participating students and parents. Now in it’s fourth year, our efforts are paying off. (See previous SciLife blog.)
This year’s event gets high scores because
of an improved registration process, resulting in fewer phone calls to the office
program check-in was smoother and less harried than in previous years
the simple schedule allowed participants to get their preferred workshops
We have a couple of plans to tweak the program further. First, we are doing a thorough evaluation of the program this time. Second, we started a SciLife teen advisory board to help us plan the 2010 program. We hope these measures will take the program to even greater heights of success.
By: Dave | August 28 2009 | Category: NIH Resources
The past few months have been a busy time for the folks developing new NIH curriculum supplements. Let's review...
Exploring Bioethics is nearly done! Awhile back I said that we'd start taking orders for this new high school curriculum supplement in early August. I was wrong. As I type now, copies of Exploring Bioethics are being printed in nearby Northern Virginia. We could see hot-off-the-press copies as early as next week. As soon as the supplements arrive in our Maryland warehouse, we'll fire up the ordering machine.
Design Conferences for Rare Diseases and Evolution and Medicine met over the summer In late July and early August two separate groups of scientists, teachers, and curriculum developers met at BSCS headquarters in Colorado Springs to design the student activities for these forthcoming supplements. Both groups spent four days transforming the core science concepts of each supplement into engaging student activities. The lessons will be field tested in dozens of schools nationwide in early 2010. We're delighted that there has been unprecedented interest from teachers in field testing!
By: Cynthia | August 25 2009 | Category: NIH Resources, Scientists in the Community
For students interested in a health or medical science career, early planning is critical. Taking the appropriate courses in high school, in addition to academic achievement, can make or break college entrance into the program of choice.
To help students get a head start, the NIH Office of Science Education (OSE) developed SciLife, which offers high school students and their parents a series of practical workshops on college planning and career exploration in the health and medical sciences. The OSE program is modeled after the highly successful Biomedical Science Careers Program, founded in 1991 by Joan Reede, Dean for Diversity and Community Partnership, Harvard Medical School.
OSE uses customer survey data to further enhance the SciLife event each year. The surveys reveal that the top three interests of students and their parents are: college planning, choosing a career, and financing an education. In addition, they wish for more in depth information on specific careers, and guidance on topics such as balancing life, handling stress, test taking strategies, and internet safety. OSE partners with area Federal and industry leaders in these specialties to provide this information and enrich the program.
Now in its fourth year, SciLife offers an extra Spring workshop in addition to the annual Fall program. In answer to student requests, the Spring workshop will provide in depth guidance on choosing a career. Online registration for the Fall and Spring programs opened August 24 for students and their parents in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
The curricula integrates science and Native American traditions to educate students about science, diabetes and its risk factors, and the importance of nutrition and physical activity for maintaining a healthy balanced life. Their inquiry-based approach builds research skills in observation, measurement, prediction, experimentation, and communication. They incorporate healthy lifestyle messages and engaging science activities for all students. Each unit is aligned with national science, health, and social studies education standards making it easier to incorporate into an established curriculum.
The units were designed and extensively tested by staff from the eight tribal colleges and universities, who worked with 63 teachers and 1,500 students in schools across 14 states from Alaska to Florida. Both American Indian and Alaska Native and non-American Indian and Alaska Native teachers and students participated.
Curriculum evaluations revealed:
Pre-to-post student achievement gains at all three grade-level bands (elementary, middle, and high school)
Teachers found that the curriculum was easy to use, more engaging than similar curricula, and had strong Native American content
Students thought the curriculum was "just right": not too hard but not too easy
Read more about recent professional development activities related to these units in this Salt Lake Tribune article.
This popular set of lessons has been out-of-print for nearly a year.
For the 2009 addition we've made the following changes:
The multimedia student activities are now online only. The lesson plans were re-written with Web access instructions. A CD-ROM will no longer come with the printed supplement.
Lesson Organizers have been added. These are brief overviews of the activities to use as a reminder while you're teaching.
The background sections on addiction research have been updated, and new resources and references are listed.
We'll start taking orders for the new addition when we get a due date from the printer...probably in September or October.
If you already have a copy of The Brain ... Addiction, don't freak. We're working on a short PDF file you can download with the updates. The teacher background and support materials are improving. The student lessons and worksheets are remaining the same.
By: Dave | July 17 2009 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers
The long awaited Exploring Bioethics curriculum supplement for high school is finished. The final version is on its way to the printers. We'll start taking orders on August 3 and expect the first copies to start rolling out of our Rockville warehouse in mid August. That's mid August 2009, really. We're still working on the Website and hope to have that up in the fall.
What is Exploring Bioethics, you ask?
This FREE resource from NIH and EDC is a teacher’s guide to six three-day lessons on the ethical considerations of real-world life science. Students use an innovative model to formulate and justify positions on topical bioethical issues while building inquiry, critical thinking, and teamwork skills. Topics include:
Enhancements in Sports
Vaccination Policies for Schools
Allocation of Organs for Transplant
Human Subject in Medical Research
Human Use of Animals in Research and Beyond
Exploring Bioethics will be available in print for folks in the U.S. and posted online in HTML and PDF formats for everybody everywhere.
By: Debbie | July 10 2009 | Category: NIH Resources
Millions of Americans are unaware that their children may be seriously sleep deprived. That’s why the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) developed the Sleep Well. Do Well. Star Sleeper Campaign. Its goal is to advise parents that children need at least nine hours of sleep each night to do their best in school, sports, family relationships, friendships, and other activities.
Like adults, children suffer when they don’t get enough sleep. They may have difficulty concentrating on their schoolwork, become irritable and fidgety, and be more vulnerable to common injury and illness. Encouraging good sleep habits when children are young can help lay the foundation for a lifelong habit of adequate healthy sleep. The Sleep Well. Do Well. Star Sleeper Campaign and its “spokes cat” Garfield have some great tips to help you help your children get enough sleep. These include establishing a relaxing bedtime routine, such as a warm bath or reading, and avoiding big meals and caffeine before bedtime.
Topics range from acne, anthrax, and asthma to tuberculosis, varicose veins, and warts. They're organized as Diseases and Conditions, Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, Surgery and Treatment Procedures, and Prevention and Wellness.
I'm Dave, part of the staff of the Office of Science Education (or OSE as we call it). In general, we're a bunch of friendly people who care about the quality of science education in this country and around the world. We work to help educators and to inspire students to enjoy science and consider careers in science and related fields. We're also part of the federal government, the Department of Health and Human Services.
This blog will be THE source for the latest news from OSE. We'll tell you what we're thinking and what we're up to.
My job is to help educators make the most of the curriculum supplements. We're finishing up our latest title for high school, Exploring Bioethics. We hope to send this to the printers by the end of June, and will start taking orders shortly thereafter. We're also developing two new titles. One is on 'Inquiry and the Study of Rare Diseases' for middle school. The other is on 'Evolution and Medicine' for high school. Both sets of lessons will be field tested nationwide in early 2010.
Spend some time exploring the site. *Let us know* if you have any comments, suggestions, or questions.