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Enhancing Teacher Stem Content Knowledge through Problem-Based Learning Approach to Neuroscience

It is widely accepted that the brain is a vital and fascinating organ. Unfortunately, despite its significance, the science behind how the brain functions remains a mystery to many high school students. Because neuroscience courses are not a required component of a college biology degree, most high school science teachers are not trained in the subject area. Therefore, although it is a component of Tennessee's high school Biology, State of Tennessee, International Baccalaureate, Cambridge, and AP biology standards, teachers are often not well equipped to effectively teach it. Additionally, traditional teaching methods typically minimize the importance of real-world applications in favor of rote memorization of facts, to the detriment of the students. Problem-Based Learning (PBL) approaches allow teachers to incorporate the real world significance of neuroscience into the classroom. By participating in actual PBL units during a professional development workshop, teachers will gain the understanding of scientific research and PBL, which will help to effectively implement PBL in the science classroom. The proposal presented here addresses all of these aforementioned issues by implementing a one week professional development workshop for teaching the topics of neuroscience and psychology through a PBL lens. The instruction, activities, and labs provided will cover a range of topics, including the physics behind concussions, the neurology of post traumatic stress disorder and the neuropathology of C. elegans. The objective of this workshop is to provide high school teachers in MNPS with an understanding of PBL and interdisciplinary science content covered in neuroscience. Teachers to develop a PBL unit for their classrooms that pertains to the information gained and will be provided with the resources necessary to implement that PBL in fall 2017.

Grantor: THEC

Expected completion date: 12/31/2017

Project or Grant: Grant
Date Span: January 01, 2017 to December 31, 2017
Principal Investigators: Marci Howdyshell
Academic Department: Center for Science Outreach



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