L20 — May 2011 — Fish Science
Intro: If you were to pick up a science textbook in just about any elementary or middle school in the U.S., you'd likely be looking at material that's been used, unchanged, for years. But in the real world, science is constantly changing. That's one reason scientists at Mayo Clinic have teamed up with parents, teachers and students to develop a new science curriculum. They've developed a program based on zebra fish to get more kids interested in and excited about science.
This is our system. It can hold up to about 15-thousand fish.
These tiny zebra fish are luring these middle school kids into a world of science.
Our project was called "to gate or not to gate."
For this year's science fair, these young scientists studied whether or not separating male and female zebra fish with a divider for most of the day affects how they mate.
Since the zebra fish are dawn spawners we'll take out the divider so the fish are able to interact for an hour. We found that the gated procedure was more effective.
The most important message is that we can achieve not just proficiency but excellence in science education in our public schools.
Dr. Stephen Ekker heads the zebra fish program, which brings teachers into the lab at Mayo Clinic. There they learn the curriculum and take it back into the classroom.
A lot of other science we've done before this program has been out of a textbook.
And a lot of the experiments would have the same outcome. That's not real science. Real science is where the real outcome is unknown.
Mike Gobin is a school paraprofessional who thinks the program, called Inside Out, brings science to life for kids. Dr. Ekker and his team designed it to fit easily into school curriculum. It's working so well that some of the group of scientists, teachers and kids who are piloting this project got to travel to Washington, D.C., to meet President Barack Obama.
At this school, the program is making a difference. The number of kids going on to honors biology in high school went from 33 percent to 90 percent.
And it's not just middle-school-age kids that get to study the zebra fish. These are second- and third-graders. They even offer the program to kindergartners to get kids interested in science early.
One of the greatest things about this whole project is when you can go up to any student in K through eight and ask who is a scientist, and they can look at themselves and say, I am a scientist.
Tiny fish luring kids into the world of science.
For Medical Edge, I'm Vivien Williams.
This school is in Rochester, Minn., which is where Mayo Clinic is located. Dr. Ekker says this science program can fit into any school system anywhere.
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