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February 2010  |  Return to issue home

Bridging Contemporary Science and Youth Cultures

The UW Institute for Science and Mathematics Education in collaboration with the UW Department of Genome Sciences has been awarded a National Science Foundation ITEST award to develop and study curriculum units focused on the use of a genome sciences database.

Both contemporary science and youth culture rely heavily on databases and related digital tools for knowledge construction and sharing. Yet, the prevalent role of databases in the sciences is rarely visible in K-12 science classrooms. The Exploring Databases project is an opportunity to bring together science and youth culture through database-centered research. The database and related materials will support secondary science students in investigation of genetic and environmental factors related to health-related behaviors.

Over the three years of the project, project developers Philip Bell, Andy Shouse, Maureen Munn, Megan Brown and Learning Sciences graduate students Katie Van Horne and Hiroki Oura will carry out an iterative research and development process in secondary science classrooms in the Seattle metro area serving minority youth. In addition, a professional learning community for teachers who use Exploring Databases curriculum will contribute to design and research while honing their expertise in teaching the relevant subject matter. Ultimately the curriculum and database will be freely available online and will include a collaborative workspace and communication network.

February 2010  |  Return to issue home

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