Two UW scientists are among eight investigators across the U.S. awarded NIH funding for the next five years to develop innovative neuroscience education programs for K-12 students and their teachers. These programs aim to increase science literacy and understanding as well as interest in science -- a particularly important goal, since the most recent trends published by the U.S. Department of Education indicate that U.S. eighth graders score lower than students from nine other countries in science knowledge and skills. The projects seeks to close this gap as well as fulfill the NIH mission to ensure that adequate numbers of students are entering science education tracks and eventually pursuing careers in biomedical science.
The UW awardees are:
Susanna Cunningham, PhD, Professor, Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, for "How Do I Learn: Neurosciences Advances Inform Learning." This project will engage middle school science teachers, students and parents/community groups in an innovative program of neuroscience education focused on answering the questions, "How do I learn?" and "How do I teach students about how they learn?"
Eric Chudler, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering and Research Associate Professor, Department of Bioengineering, for "Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience." This project will give middle school students an opportunity to study how chemicals in plants and herbs, such as Gingko biloba or the caffeine in tea leaves, affect health and behavior. These investigations aim to improve student understanding about neuroscience and encourage them to pursue careers in biomedical sciences.