Exploring Databases: STEM Learning and Authentic Research in the High School Classroom

Exploring Databases: STEM Learning and Authentic Research in the High School Classroom

SUMMARY

In 2010-2011, over 900 high school students in Washington state will conduct scientific research using a database as part of their science curriculum, developing their understanding of the process of science and skills.


DESCRIPTION

Exploring Databases involves high school students in carrying out authentic research using a scientific database, mirroring the way many scientists today conduct their research. This project emphasizes the STEM areas of genetics and neuroscience, as well as development of skills in scientific research, scientific reasoning, and using information and communication technology. Exploring Databases builds on a previous project that involved high school students in conducting an epidemiological study of smoking behavior. This study collected genetic and environmental data from 300 adult smokers and non-smokers, which were entered into the “smoking behavior database.” In Exploring Databases, students use the unanalyzed database to answer their own research questions about factors that affect smoking behavior. Project components include teacher professional development, support of a teacher professional learning community, and ongoing curriculum development. The project is testing a model of how to design a curriculum so that students can effectively conduct research using databases. The project is also comparing the effects of two types of research experiences--wet-lab (genotyping) and computer-based (using the database) on student understanding of the nature of science. The study examines the effects of this research experience on how students think about scientific research, student learning of STEM knowledge, and student interest in STEM learning and careers.

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PROJECT DETAILS

Award Number: 

0929181

PROJECT DURATION:

2009 - 2013

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Organization(s): 

University of Washington Seattle, WA

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Project Status: 

Expired