Neuroscience in middle schools: A professional development and resource program that models inquiry-based strategies and engages teachers in classroom implementation

Carrie MacNabb, Lee Schmitt, Michael L Michlin, Ilene Harris, Larry Thomas, David Chittendon, Timothy J Ebner, Janet M Dubinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Department of Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota and the Science Museum of Minnesota have developed and implemented a successful program for middle school (grades 5-8) science teachers and their students, called Brain Science on the Move. The overall goals have been to bring neuroscience education to underserved schools, excite students about science, improve their understanding of neuroscience, and foster partnerships between scientists and educators. The program includes BrainU, a teacher professional development institute; Explain Your Brain Assembly and Exhibit Stations, multimedia large-group presentation and hands-on activities designed to stimulate student thinking about the brain; Class Activities, in-depth inquiry-based investigations; and Brain Trunks, materials and resources related to class activities. Formal evaluation of the program indicated that teacher neuroscience knowledge, self-confidence, and use of inquiry-based strategies and neuroscience in their classrooms have increased. Participating teachers increased the time spent teaching neuroscience and devoted more time to "inquiry-based" teaching versus "lecture-based teaching." Teachers appreciated in-depth discussions of pedagogy and science and opportunities for collegial interactions with world-class researchers. Student interest in the brain and in science increased. Since attending BrainU, participating teachers have reported increased enthusiasm about teaching and have become local neuroscience experts within their school communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-157
Number of pages14
JournalCBE life sciences education
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006

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