Hartford.Health.Works Teacher Workshop to Integrate BME into Middle School Classrooms
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Hartford.Health.Works Teacher Workshop to Integrate BME into Middle School Classrooms

Biomedical engineering (BME) faculty offered a summer workshop for middle school science teachers called BME-4-STEM. This three-week workshop was developed to bring applications of BME into science curriculum. Connecticut has adopted Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). BME-4-STEM will help middle school teachers with developing curricular units that align with NGSS and introduce students to biomedical engineering. For example, one lesson is to introduce students to how anatomy, physiology, and biomedical engineering are relevant to their daily lives.

The Co-PIs of BME-4-STEM are Professor Mary Arico, of UHart, Professor Harry Blaise at Trinity College, and Jerry Crystal of CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering. This project is the first funded program out of Hartford.Health.Works and is funded by Connecticut Health & Educational Facilities Authority (CHEFA).

Professor Andrea Kwaczala of UHart and Professor Joe Paladino of Trinity College taught biomedical topics to five middle school teachers. Participants were from Hartford Public Schools, CREC schools, and Talcott Mountain Science Center. In addition to instruction on biomedical topics, the three week program also included presentations from industry using real-world applications, development of curriculum, and piloting the curriculum as one-day sessions to over 100 children in summer camps and summer school programs in the Hartford area. The program concluded with a behind-the-scenes tour of Medtronic in North Haven, Conn.

The curriculum will be adapted for use this academic year in the five participating middle schools. Professor Arico focused on industry involvement and evaluation of the program. Two teaching assistants, Jackie Maynard, biomedical engineering major at UHart and Jessica Voight, biomedical engineering major at Trinity College, helped run the labs and connect the engineering to the science. The middle school teachers helped identify what engineering applications were best for the middle school level student.

Next steps will include further evaluation, data analysis, follow up with the middle school teachers in the fall term, and applying for more funding. BME-4-STEM was presented at the Connecticut STEM conference in the fall hosted by ENHP.