Moreland Arts Health & Sciences Magnet School, St. Paul, Minnesota
The school's third and fourth grade teachers needed a better way of integrating health sciences education into the general curriculum. Specifically, this meant developing an engaging way of educating students about the importance of healthy diets and the dangers of diabetes. Working with InScied Out, the school was able to develop new curriculum that utilizes Zebrafish embryos to observe the affects of sugar in the fish's developmental lifecycle. For kids, the results speak for themselves. Healthy food and a balanced diet have a direct, observable result on how Zebrafish develop.
The program itself, developed specifically for Moreland's needs incorporated content on genetics, embryonic development, the scientific method, and best practices gleaned from the way Mayo Clinic teaches science itself. All of this came together as a result of educators, working with InScied Out coordinators, who were committed to making sure that "science" was accessible, fun and relatable.
The story doesn't simply end within the walls of the school. Using the new curriculum focused around healthy diets and habits, Moreland Magnet School has expanded it's programmatic footprint to the community. By engaging volunteers, the school is successfully expanding into a community wellness program that helps adults make healthy nutritional and exercise choices. What began as a way of re-envisioning health sciences education, evolved into a holistic external program offering that focuses on wellness for an entire community.
58% increase in Honors High School Science track selection
81% increase in Grade 6-8 Science Fair Participation
Light Academy, Accra, Ghana
Though a world away, the Light Academy in Accra, Ghana was faced with many of the same challenges that students and teachers in St. Paul were confronted with. From a practical perspective, students there face many of the same nutritional choices that students in the United States face. While the Light Academy provided a healthy breakfast and lunch, the school found that many of the choices made by students at snacks and other meals weren't ideal.
InSciEd Out, working in partnership with the Academy and with assistance from partner InSciEd Out schools in the US set about developing it's own inquiry-based science program that used health sciences and nutrition as the focal point of the curriculum. As part of the program, InScied Out worked with teachers and administrators "on the ground" to develop strategies that were specific to the Light Academy and its localized context. They then worked to implement and grow the program both at home and from InScied Out's office in Minnesota by employing connected technologies such as video conferencing and Google Docs.
One of the key learnings from all regional program participants is that student engagement can be further enhanced through partnerships. With this in mind the Light Academy has begun working in concert with other schools and teachers from beyond Ghana on continued science curriculum refinement. This assists with knowledge sharing, but the added benefit is really aimed at student enrichment. By continuing to expose students to both the scientific process as well as to each other, the lessons learned and the sharpening of critical thinking skills continues to increase for all participants.
The ISEO Experience was very intense, and difficult but also really changed me personally to how I approach teaching now. I now aim to be inquiry-based instead of trying to fill kids up with knowledge.