I.N.Q.U.I.R.E. program develops health, science teaching materials for middle schools

During this summer’s I.N.Q.U.I.R.E. program (L-R) Selene Tovar, Northside ISD; Lee Ann Young, Hondo ISD; and Teresa Gatell, Edgewood ISD, perfect their ‘stabilometer’ that measures balance.

San Antonio (Aug. 24, 2004) – In June, 16 middle school and high school teachers from 14 schools and six school districts spent six weeks at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio interacting with scientists and researchers to create new teaching materials to improve science, math and health education at the middle school level.

This year’s program built on work done over the past several years in the Positively Aging®: Choices and Changes curriculum project. That project has evolved into a K-12 teacher professional development program called I.N.Q.U.I.R.E. (Investigating, Networking, Questioning, Understanding, Involving, Researching and Evolving).

Participants worked to increase the curricular materials available that address the math, science, health and reading language arts objectives in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) assessment.

Participants created a 10-foot model of a blood vessel, a working heart model and the ‘stabilometer,’ that measures balance, as they developed ideas and created working models. The work also resulted in the beginning of six new units to add to the existing 12 produced under the Positively Aging® program.

More than 40 Health Science Center researchers volunteered their expertise during the program. Some researchers participated by presenting seminars, some worked one-on-one with teachers in developing lessons and all of the researchers provided information that stimulated inspiring, health-related lessons in the minds of the teachers.

“This program has given me the opportunity to learn the latest in medical research from scientists who are on the cutting edge of that research,” said Lee Ann Young, Hondo High School teacher. “Programs like I.N.Q.U.I.R.E. allow us to learn from the best and then transfer that knowledge into usable lessons and activities for our kids.”

A culminating event of the summer program was a July 29 visit from the Honorable Cyndi Taylor Krier, vice chair of the UT System Board of Regents, Sen. Jeff Wentworth, Rep. Ken Mercer and Jackie Mace of Rep. Frank Corte’s staff. The legislators visited with the teachers for more than two hours as the teachers presented new lesson ideas they generated throughout the six week program.

This program builds upon the success of the Positively Aging® program and is currently supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

All the new materials will be available, free of charge, at teachhealthk-12.uthscsa.edu, along with the 276 activities already available.

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