Cornell’s Learning Initiative in Medicine and Bioengineering (CLIMB) GK-12 program is a NSF funded program that partners graduate fellows in the field of Biomedical Engineering with science teachers in middle and high schools in districts around Ithaca. The fellows collaborate with their partner teachers on ways to enhance the content of the science curriculum by developing new inquiry based modules, providing science demonstrations, assisting with labs, and being a resident scientist in the classroom. The hands-on, interactive exercises and lecture materials are based on biomedical engineering and will cover topics relevant to New York State education standards. By centering this curricular development on biomedical engineering topics that connect basic science to a tangible human health problem, we expect to provide an integrative “glue” between ideas from different disciplines as well as increase student interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.
The interactions between graduate fellows and teachers as well as the time fellows spend in middle and high school classrooms and in other program activities greatly enhance the communication and research design skills of the graduate fellows and prepare them for careers not only as researchers but as educators and citizen/scientists. The program also provides an important leadership and teambuilding experience as well as a unique preparation in pedagogy and education.