Associate Professor Dawn Rickey's first realization that lab classes could be more educational came when she was a teaching assistant for California's cream-of-the-crop chemistry undergrads at UC Berkeley.
"I was really surprised," Rickey says. "They were really good at the mathematics and plugging the information into the equations, but they didn't really understand the lab in terms of what was actually happening."
That realization started Rickey on work to develop a new method of lab instruction. The result, a course module named Exploring Gold Nanoparticles, has been awarded the Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction (IBI).
Science's IBI Prize was developed to showcase outstanding materials, usable in a wide range of schools and settings, for teaching introductory science courses at the college level. The materials must be designed to encourage students' natural curiosity about how the world works, rather than to deliver facts and principles about what scientists have already discovered. Organized as one free-standing "module," the materials should offer real understanding of the nature of science, as well as providing an experience in generating and evaluating scientific evidence. Each month, Science publishes an essay by a recipient of the award, which explains the winning project. The essay about Exploring Gold Nanoparticles, co-authored by Rickey, A. Colin Blair and Ellen R. Fisher, will be published on August 31.
"We're trying to advance science education," says Bruce Alberts, editor-in-chief of Science. "This competition provides much-needed recognition to innovators in the field whose efforts promise significant benefits for students and for science literacy in general. The publication in Science of an article on each laboratory module will help guide educators around the globe to valuable free resources that might otherwise be missed."
Rickey grew up on the East Coas
|Contact: Natasha Pinol|
American Association for the Advancement of Science