Inquiry-Based Learning of K – 12 Physiology and Nutrition Concepts Using Pedometers (Lead PI: David Holtzclaw)

Inquiry-Based Learning of K – 12 Physiology and Nutrition Concepts Using Pedometers
Students Reached:         108 Middle and High School Students, 
Lead Researcher:  Dr. J. David Holtzclaw, Transduction Technologies
Lead Teacher:Ms. Shelly Avery, Santee Community Schools; Ms. Carol Moravec, Lincoln Southeast High School   

Dr. J. David Holtzclaw, of Transduction Technologies, built on an existing relationship with middle and high school science teachers near Omaha, Nebraska to bring inquiry-based lessons about physiology to their students. The main tools used in these hands-on lessons were pedometers. Students were able to track their own exercise levels and compare how exercises (such as running) impacted their heart rate and blood pressure. The reasons for these physiological changes and how nutrition is tied to our health were covered in two in-class sessions at each of the three partner schools. In a longer experiment, students were asked to wear their pedometers for 24 hours and then analyze their activity data.

40 students from Norris Middle School, 45 students from Southeast High Schools, and 23 students from benefitted from this program. Ms. Shelly Avery served as the liason between Dr. Holtzclaw and Santee Community schools, and Ms. Carol Moravec liased with Lincoln Southeast High School and Norris Middle School. Two graduate students and one postdoctoral fellow from the University of Nebraska Medical Center volunteered with this program, and each volunteer was responsible for leading roughly eight students through a given activity.

Of the 108 students who participated in these programs, 56% were from groups underrepresented in STEM and roughly 58% were from low income households. All students seemed to enjoy the activities, and 85% of students wore their pedometers for the full 24 hours requested. The students performed better on quizzes about bioenergetics after these classes, and this pattern held right after the activities and 4 – 6 weeks afterward.

ASBMB HOPES funding was used to purchase pedometers for students, to provide students with snacks, and to cover transportation to the three schools from the University of Nebraska’s medical campus.