Monday, June 27, 2005

BioKIDS featured at NSF Exhibit on Capitol Hill

Tags: news, songer


6/27/05 - Co-investigator and professor Phil Myers and graduate student Amelia Gotwals appeared at a reception last week in Washington, D.C., to show the technology used for BioKIDS, a research project being conducted in Detroit Public Schools. BioKIDS is a program funded by the National Science Foundation to discover how students can best learn about science. The study, led by Professor Nancy Songer, tracks knowledge development of 2,000 Detroit public middle-school students as they explore biology topics.

The exhibit, titled Kids as Working Scientists, illustrated how education research reverses the trends in American science learning. It focused on ways education research has allowed scholars to examine and improve curricular interventions for achievement in complex science among middle school students in the Detroit Public Schools.

On a laptop computer, Congressional visitors watched a movie of students and teachers in Detroit using activities that Professors Songer and Myers and colleagues have developed.

On another laptop with Michigan-created, web-based software tools, visitors saw BioKIDS' Critter Catalog, a database for middle school students that contains accounts of Midwestern U.S.-based animal species. And, the Animal Diversity Web, a worldwide species database developed for high school and older audiences, was featured too.

For Professor Myers, the CNSF exhibit on Capitol Hill was "definitely a memorable experience," and a contrast from his summer field experiences. "With such a variety of attendees," he said, "one of the most enjoyable aspects of the session was the breadth of the conversations we had."

This exhibit was based on two current grants funded through NSF's Division of Research, Evaluation, and Communication: BioKIDS and PADI.

With $4.5 million in NSF support for BioKIDS: Kids' Inquiry of Diverse Species, Drs. Songer and Myers and their colleagues strive to create innovative, inquiry-based K-12 science curricula that use current technologies, such as CD-ROMs, PDAs, and the World Wide Web for interactive study. Students, teachers, parents, and scientists can participate from classrooms, homes, after-school programs or other educational settings. Six-week and eight-week programs center on environmental science themes.

Read more at the AERA Web site and at the UM Record.

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