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Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems
Engineering Research Center
University of Southern California

1450 San Pablo Street
DVRC - 130
Los Angeles, CA 90033

T. 323-442-6786
F. 323-442-6790

The Science for Life (SFL) outreach program is a collaborative science education initiative between USC and Murchison Elementary School. Science for Life introduces young children to the excitement and relevance of science and engineering in their everyday lives. MES is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District and is located in East Los Angeles, approximately 2 miles from the USC Health Science Campus. The student body is 99.3% Latino; 81% of the students are English language learners, and 100% come from families living below the poverty line.

In collaboration with MES teachers, USC scientists, engineers, and pedagogy experts have designed a series of modules which use the research of the Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems Engineering Research Center as focal points to make science relevant to the young children. Lesson plans are age-appropriate, standards-aligned, and incorporate multiple-problem based learning exercises demonstrating the discipline of scientific discovery so that students learn science by doing science.

The modules also adhere to both the California State Science Education and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) science and math standards. Each science education module lesson incorporates multiple problem-based learning exercises and experiments demonstrating scientific principles and the discipline of scientific discovery. Further, all science education components stress the applicability of the science addressed to the students’ every day lives and incorporate skills to improve the students’ ability to apply the science principles they have learned to other areas of their lives. The modules were also designed to generate student and teacher interest in science and engineering. The modules:
  • Utilize and build upon students’ pre-knowledge and nascent curiosity
  • Introduce novel information in step-wise and incremental fashion
  • Involve students in hands-on, experiential activities or demonstrations
    in which students collect and record data
  • Require students to analyze data, compare predicted and measured results,
    and draw conclusions
  • Utilize theme of module (vision and the neuromuscular bione device) to learn science and new information
  • Stress scientific process over “right or wrong” mindset
  • Intuitive and logical progression to next area of investigation
Mentoring is central to the Science for Life Outreach Program. USC faculty and students and Bravo high school STAR students serve as role models of scientists and engineers in the classroom and guide the elementary students through the module lessons. Following each lesson all SFL mentors convene to offer feedback and input. This information serves as a formative assessment and enables mentors to monitor student progress and modify lessons to meet the students’ specific needs.

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