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Science education partnership award (SEPA) project


Health and Biomedical Science for a Diverse Community was a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) project funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), and implemented by the Hall of Health museum and Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI). The project started in 2004 and concluded in 2011. In 2007 it received the Richard B. Rush Award for Outstanding Innovation from the National Association of Health Education Centers.

The primary project activity was the development of a novel, interactive biomedical science curriculum for 4th and 5th grade students in low socioeconomic environments. In addition to classroom activities, the project included teacher workshops, family events, field trips to the Hall of Health, and Your Genes & Your Choices, an exhibit on social and genetic factors in health.

The curriculum, entitled SEEK (Science Exploration, Excitement, and Knowledge): A Curriculum in Health and Biomedical Science for Diverse 4th and 5th Grade Students, specifically addresses minority health issues such as asthma, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. It includes four five-lesson instructional units for 4th grade, and four five-lesson instructional units for 5th grade.

The project involved clinical as well as basic science investigators, patients and families, and high school and college students. It drew on the talents of teachers and health educators from the Oakland Unified School District; directors of SEPA projects at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, and The Tech Museum in San Jose; faculty at San Francisco State University and the University of California at Berkeley; and employees of LeapFrog, Inc., a company located in Emeryville, California, that makes interactive educational products.

The ultimate goals of the project were to make science interesting and relevant to children who come from ethnically diverse, low socioeconomic environments, to help them and their parents understand the relationship between science and health, to foster their interest in science so that they may consider future opportunities in careers related to biomedical science, and to give them information and tools to help them live healthier lives.

The SEEK curriculum was piloted at two elementary schools in Oakland, California: Fruitvale Elementary and Hoover Elementary. It was then disseminated through after-school science clubs at eight elementary schools in Oakland and Berkeley, California, and four schools in Concord and Bay Point, California.

All project activities underwent front-end, formative, and summative evaluation.

Revised: Thursday, July 5, 2018 3:37 PM

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