Lifelong Learning Programme

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Cool Science
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Web Site/Portal, Downloadable software, Downloadable material
Basic, Medium, Advanced
Cooperative learning, Problem solving, Peer education, Modelling, Experiential learning
Life Chemistry, Health Science, Environmental Chemistry
Primary School, Lower Secondary School, Upper Secondary School
Cool Science is a general science site that includes chemistry related topics. It is organized in five topics: Ask a Scientist, Curious kids, BioInteractive, For Educators, Becoming a Scientist. Additionally, a link to the educational project Science Education Alliance (SEA) developed by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute is presented.
Ask a Scientist connects students to top leader scientists. Questions concerning various subjects (medicine, human biology, animals, biochemistry, microbiology, etc), can be addressed by the students. A summary of the posed top 10 questions/answers can be also viewed.
Curious Kids is a module dedicated to children. It introduces simple scientific concepts related to plants, animals, and weather, as well as some other of high complexity (genomics, biodiversity, and immunology). An example is “Build a salad”, a game where children learn facts about plant parts (leaf, stem, fruit, root and flower) by matching them with various salad ingredients (tomato, lettuce, asparagus, broccoli and carrot). At the end a real salad receipt is purposed.
BioInteractive puts students in contact with cutting-edge science topics. It offers the possibility of teaching/learning ahead of the text book by offering teaching resources for science teachers and students. The possibilities are various, among videos, animations, virtual labs, a virtual museum and a set of classrooms including teacher guides.
Becoming a scientist presents several videos of prominent researchers as a way to explain the needed qualities to succeed in the field. One main conclusion is stressed out, intelligence alone might not be sufficient and several more qualities are needed. A visit to the topic is highly recommended.
For educators is a database containing a wide range of resources for teachers of all levels. They include lesson plans, tutorials, animations and laboratory exercises. A searching tool is also included enabling a search by topic, type and target public. A set of 17 chemistry resources is presented.
Although this is a general science site with emphasis on biomedical research, several topics with interest for chemistry teachers can be found. This site puts in evidence the interdisciplinary of some research topics and highlights the importance of approaching scientists to school teachers and students. This aspect is clearly visible in the topics “Ask a Scientist” and “Becoming a Scientist”. Cool Science is a site of high scientific level and offers innumerous useful teaching resources possibilities.
The commitment of HHMI with science education is evidenced by the creation of the SEA project. This network group formed by individuals and institutions creates the “opportunity to bring leading scientists and educators together to develop, implement, and/or disseminate vetted and novel methods, technologies, and practices that can broaden scientific understanding and participation”. This is in line with the “Chemistry is all around network”.
Instituto Politécnico de Bragança

Comments about this Publication

Your comments are welcome

Date: 2013.01.25

Posted by Edyta Grzesiak (Poland)

Message: Cool science is a very intersting, interactive portal for a variety of target groups. It is divided in sections for scientists, educators, researchers and of course young learners. It includes chemistty related information among all other scientific subjects. The portal is created and run by HHMI.
Through its grants to individuals and institutions, HHMI supports scientists and educators who seek to transform the way science is taught in schools, colleges and universities across the American nation. Their grantees have created a wealth of resources that you can adapt to your own needs or use as inspiration for your own teaching.

Sharing these resources through Cool Science website is part of their commitment to nurture future scientists and create a better-informed citizenry.

The portal has a huge database which contains a wide range of resources—from lesson plans and detailed curricula to tutorials, animations and laboratory exercises—for educators at all levels. You can search these resources by topic, type, or target audience. One can use the links at the right to browse the collection, or use the resource finder provided.

Cool Science contains a part dedicated especially for kids - Cool Science for Curious kids. The goal of this project is simple: to help children appreciate science.
HHMI looked at some of the best science projects from some of the best museums in the USA. Then they adapted them for the Web. Some of these activities are entirely electronic. Children will do everything on screen. Others require the parents to go to their kitchen or backyard. They are designed for students in kindergarten through second or third grade.

In either case, the object of this part of the portal is to make science fun, practical, and realistic. It also contains information with practical advice for parents how to work with kids.

Date: 2012.09.25

Posted by Brian Dillon (Ireland)

Message: Cool Science includes some chemistry elements as part of a general science educational site. It is sub-divided into five sections; Ask a Scientist, Curious Kids, BioInteractive, For Educators and Becoming a Scientist.
The areas of cool science which I felt were most appropriate for younger pupils was the ‘curious kids’ section. The content was presented in clear and easy language and the topics appealed to the natural curiosity of pupils. Through this section, pupils are encouraged to engage in simple scientific activities to explore aspects of biology. It would have been interesting to see if the site could replicate this section to cover items chemistry topics.
Ask a scientist is an exciting section where pupils can ask any scientific question. The question may be answered from the archive or failing this the question is forwarded to a real scientist. A summary of the top 10 asked questions is also available.
There is an educators section on the website. Here teachers can search the database for lesson plans, tutorials, animations and laboratory exercises. The search allows teachers to search by type of resource, topic, grade levels or keywords. I found that there were very limited resources in this area for the K-5 level which corresponds with education for 5-11 year olds.
Overall, as a practicing primary school teacher, I feel the site does not have sufficient content to cover pupils in the K-5 area and is more suited to pupils at the secondary school level. Similarly, I think that educators at this level would find far more reasons to visit and use the many resources available on the site.

National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.