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$1.2M NIH Grant Puts Health in the Hands of Students, Community

July 25, 2020
$1.2M NIH Grant Puts Health in the Hands of Students, Community

$1.2M NIH Grant Puts Health in the Hands of Students, Community

What controls your health?

It's a complicated question, but middle schoolers in the City of Flint and Genesee county area are able to answer that question, and more, with the Health In Our Hands project. 

Now, they will be able to inspire even more change in their community.

The project is continuing thanks to a five-year, $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award, or NIH-SEPA.

"The kids and their teachers who have participated in this project are amazing," said Renee Bayer, a specialist at the Michigan State University CREATE for STEM Institute and principal investigator on the grant. 

Health In Our Hands, or HiOH, develops, tests and implements learning materials, blending classroom instruction and community-based learning. The goal is to give students and community members opportunities to understand, explain and apply ideas about health-related phenomena to their lives. Through these units, students investigate diabetes and addiction. 

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Announcing: The Health in Our Hands Simulations Collection

July 2, 2019
Announcing: The Health in Our Hands Simulations Collection

For the convenience of teachers and other interested users, all of the Concord Consortium simulations related to the Health in Our Hands curriculum have been collected in one handy location on the Concord website.

This set of simulations is used in the Health in Our Hands curriculum to study how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms. Links to classroom materials are also included. The simulations can also be used independently from the curriculum to investigate gene-environment interactions in afterschool or summer settings or just for fun!

One of the simulations, How does food affect the health of sand rats?, was developed in partnership with the Concord Consortium especially for the curriculum.  Gene-environment Interaction: How does food affect the health of sand rats?

NGSS Curricula Is For All Teachers: Use Our Roadmaps!

May 5, 2019
NGSS Curricula Is For All Teachers: Use Our Roadmaps!

Health in Our Hands (HiOH) was recently featured in a blog and webinar hosted by THE Journal and STEAM Universe. Research associate Idit Adler and project manager Renee Bayer were invited to talk about how the project-based curriculum, HiOH, brings the vision of the NGSS into classrooms using Roadmap. Partnering with Professor Elliot Soloway at the University of Michigan College of Engineering we shared our experience about how teachers can use HiOH and its visualization through RoadMap technology to shift their instructional practices to align with NGSS. THE Journal is dedicated to K12 educational technology.

HiOH is a research project led by CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University in a community-academic-school partnership, supported by the National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA). Designed to meet NGSS, HiOH is a coordinated set of classroom and community activities intended to give youth and adults an understanding of modern concepts in genetics using diabetes and addiction as real-world contexts.  Students and their families can use these concepts to appreciate the importance of both genetic and environmental factors in their risk for disease.

Young People Learn about Careers in Addiction Research Through Scientists' Stories

May 4, 2019

Introducing young people to the work of scientists and encouraging them to pursue STEM-related careers is an important aspect of a new research-based science curriculum for middle school called Health in Our Hands: How can looking for thrills make me miserable? The unit, which explores the biology of addiction, starts with a video with teens’ testimonials about addiction to vaping. Students investigate the brain’s reward system from an evolutionary perspective, and examine its role in addictive behavior.

To make career connections, we partnered with public health students who produced wonderful videos as part of their course requirements. The videos featured plant biologist Dr. David Lowry from Michigan State University who studies evolutionary genomics and neuroscientist Dr. Shelly Flagel from University of Michigan who studies addiction in mice models. Our thanks to Ross Baiers, Madison Hafitz, and Erika Holiday, Health Behavior Health Education masters students from University of Michigan School of Public Health!

Health in Our Hands (HiOH) is a research project led by CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University in a community-academic-school partnership, supported by the NIH Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA).

Get Ready for the Next Generation of Scientists!

May 22, 2019
Get Ready for the Next Generation of Scientists!

Many people think that young people can't conduct meaningful research and help solve problems in their community. Sixth grade students from Mrs. Savoie’s class at Freeman Elementary School were invited to present results of their community action research project, "How can healthy smoothies attract consumers?" at the 2019 Healthy Flint Research Coordinating Center (HFRCC) Annual Symposium on March 15, 2019. Their presentation gave visibility to their research and the wonderful work that Flint students are doing in their science classes. The HFRCC symposium also gave students the opportunity to learn about other research conducted about health in Flint.

The community action research project was conducted as part of the science curriculum, Health in Our Hands: What controls my health?” during which 6th graders in Flint Community Schools studied type 2 diabetes to appreciate the importance of both genetic and environmental factors in their risk for disease. The curriculum connected students to real-world experiences. One in 10 adults in Michigan are diagnosed with diabetes, which like many common diseases, is caused by a combination of both genetic and environmental factors. During the unit, students investigated how lifestyle options for healthy foods and exercise help prevent or reduce diabetes. For the final project, the classes conducted an action research project to improve our school or neighborhood to help prevent or reduce diabetes.

Mrs. Savoie’s class chose to research healthy smoothies. First, they researched what makes for a healthy smoothie. They consulted with Katherine Alaimo, Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University and developed their own healthy smoothie recipes. The class then organized a healthy smoothie event where smoothies were served to family members and school friends. “Pink” was a very popular color for smoothies, although some people liked knowing the healthy ingredients when making choices. Students reported that more smoothies are being served at home.

Students were funded by a grant from the University of Michigan Flint-Discovering Place and the HFRCC. Health in Our Hands is a research project led by CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University in partnership with Flint Community Schools, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Community-based Organization Partners of Flint, Sloan Museum, Flint Public Library, Concord Consortium in Massachusetts and Detroit Public Schools Community District, University Prep Science and Math Middle School, Charles W. Wright Museum of African American History, Michigan Science Center, Detroit Public Library, Friends of Parkside in Detroit. This project is supported by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), Award Number R25 GM129186-05.