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CBE Life Sci Educ. 2006 Summer;5(2):128-36.

Neuroscience workshops for fifth-grade school children by undergraduate students: a university-school partnership.

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  • 1Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA 90045, USA. jfoy@lmu.edu


The National Science Education Standards recommend that science be taught using inquiry-based approaches. Inspired by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, we examined whether undergraduate students could learn how to conduct field research by teaching elementary school children basic neuroscience concepts in interactive workshops. In an inquiry-based learning experience of their own, undergraduate psychology students working under the close supervision of their instructor designed and provided free, interactive, hour-long workshops focusing on brain structure and function, brain damage and disorders, perception and illusions, and drugs and hormones to fifth-graders from diverse backgrounds, and we assessed the effectiveness of the workshops using a pretest-post-test design. The results suggest that the workshops enhanced the children's knowledge of neuroscience concepts as measured using pre- and post-open-ended assessments. The undergraduates also found their learning experience engaging and productive. The article includes detailed descriptions of the workshop activities, procedures, the course in which the undergraduates implemented the workshops, and guidance for future university-school collaborations aimed at enhancing science literacy.

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