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Getting Kids Interested in Research and Education

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The atrium is always full at Children’s National Health System, but yesterday kids lined tables to create art projects as a part of the Science Education Partnership Award Being Me program. It was part of our week-long celebration marking Research and Education Week. 

“We’re just starting our fifth year,” said program manager Camilla Colvin. “As a part of Research Week, we just grab our patients that are between appointments or have just finished and have a few moments to spare for learning.”

Being Me is a hands-on, science-based health curriculum developed by scientists and teachers for kids in grades 3-5. The program gets kids excited about sciences by letting them interact with everything, from mucous and bubbles to salt and sugar, so that children learn a little bit about science, math, health, and medicine through play.

Three schools in Prince George’s County and Washington, DC, participate in the Being Me curriculum, which covers five core health topics: asthma, sleep, obesity, sickle cell disease, and bullying and injury prevention.

For Research Week, the kids were learning about four of the five health topics by working on different crafts at each station. Kids crafted asthma trigger bracelets, made a fitness dice for obesity, colored pictures for sickle cell, and learned about being a good friend for bullying and injury prevention. 

Colvin explains the asthma trigger bracelets this way: “If a child’s asthma is triggered by sports, they can add soccer ball beads, if it’s pollen, they can make a flower bracelet.”. The science teachers and students who participate also have the opportunity to continue their learning through Dr. Bear’s Cubs Summer Science Experience and attending Dr. Bear’s Training Institute.

Colvin said the Bear’s Cubs Summer Science Experience was her favorite aspect of the program. Kids from each of the three Being Me schools are nominated to participate in one week camp at the hospital. This year, the program takes place in July and will cover sickle cell disease. “Over the course of the week, the kids learn about the topic and create a presentation at the end of the week,” said Colvin. “A lot of the time kids get here on Monday and worry it will be just like school, but by mid-week they’re having so much, they don’t want to leave.”

Being Me is a 5-year, grant-funded initiative at Children’s National. The program is a collaborative effort between Children’s National, the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development, and the National Children’s Museum.


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