eCLOSE is the first and only citizen science program for biomedicine. Built on the three core elements 1) professional laboratory training for teachers and students 2) citizen science driven research and 3) a supportive network of scientists, students and teachers that empower students and teachers to advance through the levels of citizen science. This format pairs professional scientists with members of the community (students, teachers, and families) to produce research outcomes that drive discovery forward.
Fruit flies, known by their scientific name as Drosophila melanogaster, are the model organism of choice for current eCLOSE projects. Every data point generated by participants WILL BE USED for ongoing cancer research projects. Collecting participant’s experimental findings into collaborative databases provides exceptional opportunities for interactions between student researchers and their peers or scientific and teacher mentors. Data generated by students may be used in research publications. If student data is included in a publication, they will be acknowledged for their contribution by authorship on the publication.
One of the instructional models that eCLOSE utilizes in ALL of their programming is the use of Team Instruction. eCLOSE Instructional Teams consist of a professional science educator AND a professional scientific researcher. Each member brings their skill set and expertise to eCLOSE and instruction is not just about content, but also communication. eCLOSE participants learn how to DO the science and then SHARE the science with students, families, communities, and peers. This model was instilled at the inception of eCLOSE when Aland and Dara began working together to answer similar questions through two different fields of study.
These 90-minute workshops are designed to introduce K-14 science teachers to work with fruit flies in the classroom and get them ready to have their students complete a dietary screen, testing the impact of healthy vs junk food, as part of their traditional curriculum. Materials for 32 students are included in each FlyBox and serves as a user-friendly introduction, for both teachers and their students, to laboratory research science.
Used in the classroom, student engagement happens quickly by asking them bring a junk food and a healthy food from home, working with partners to evaluate how foods they love impact development. Depending on the time available, students evaluate how junk food affects survival, development, and reproduction and make suggestions for how these foods might impact humans- including themselves!
These 5-day professional development (PD) sessions are either a great follow-up to our 90-minute workshop or the perfect time to jump into eCLOSE programming. eCLOSE PD’s provide basic laboratory skills, experience & advice in setting up a classroom laboratory, learning modules that integrate into existing curricula, and collaborative partnerships with peers and scientific mentors. Teachers that complete the 5-day PD can qualify to use the “laboratory footlocker” for enriched scientific activities in their classrooms.
Supported by their teachers, students conduct genetic screens in classroom laboratories to identify nutrients that impact cancer signaling, using fruit flies as a model system. Classroom projects focus on cultural relevance, cancer and health disparities, critical lab skills, hypothesis generation, data collections and interpretation, and presentation of results in a professional conference format. This program generates thousands of educational and biological data points for use by researchers in their primary work.
Students attend eCLOSE camps at host colleges and universities, while learning advanced experimental skills and application of mathematics to laboratory problems, students advance projects initiated in classroom eCLOSE programs. eCLOSE camp instructional teams focus students on gaining independence and facilitate collaborative work. Participants work in pairs and quads working with both lead instructors and peer teaching assistants to enhance laboratory research knowledge and skills. Participants present posters, in pairs, at an end-of-week event attended by host faculty, family, friends, and the eCLOSE community.
In response to the COVID-19 public health concerns and our desire to keep students engaged in hands-on laboratory science, eCLOSE has developed eCLOSE Camp@Home.
This program has been modeled after our successful face-to-face summer programs. To allow for social distancing, participants will use video conferencing, daily, to engage with eCLOSE scientist-science teacher teams AND Camp-Mates for instruction, demonstration, interaction, and collaboration. Monday-Thursday participants will meet and interact with professional STEM, health professionals, & near-peer science majors for career insight and course of study trajectory! All of this leads up to the webinar-style presentation on Friday! Friends, family, and community members are invited!
Once registered, participants will receive an eCLOSE Camp@Home lab kit!! There are 3 @Home Levels and EACH level includes different materials to build on skills and advance participant’s at home research. The lab materials and lab equipment, included with the registration fee, are yours to keep at the conclusion of the camp session!
eCLOSE@Home programming will be setting up class support materials, using the free, online LabXchange learning system.
“Empowering learners and educators through flexibility.”
Explore LabXchange, a new learning platform from Harvard University.