Over the past three years, more than 20,000 students at 135 schools in Washington State have participated in the Science Adventure Lab program, an initiative launched by Seattle Children's Research Institute in 2009. The program aims to improve access to high quality, hands-on science education for students. The Science Adventure Lab serves under-resourced rural and urban schools, and offers authentic laboratory experiences to students where resources and personnel to provide these activities are limited.
Now, thanks to a $1.1 million five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Science Adventure Lab program will be expanded to include structured activities for families. The NIH grant is a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), which funds innovative educational programs in which scientists work as partners with K-12 teachers and schools. Drs. Amanda Jones and Mark Ruffo from the Research Institute's Science Education Department are the principal investigators on this project.
Schools enrolled in the project to date include Wilkeson Elementary in White River, Neah Bay Elementary in Cape Flattery, Evergreen Elementary in Bethel, Skyline Elementary in Lake Stevens, Lakeridge Elementary in Renton and Sunrise Elementary in Puyallup. As part of the five-year plan, fourth-graders at the participating schools will complete two inquiry-based, hands-on curriculum modules on the Science Adventure Lab, a 45-foot mobile science lab.
Modules will focus on cardiovascular health and neuroscience. Families of participating students will be invited to attend two events, including a "Science Night" at the school and a "Science Day" at Seattle Children's Research Institute, where they will extend skills and knowledge already developed, tour the facility, interact with scientists and learn about the importance of scientific research and clinical trials for building a healthy community.