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Your Environment. Your Health.


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Principal Investigator: Grimley, Benjamin L
Institute Receiving Award Speak Agent, Inc.
Location Rockville, MD
Grant Number R43ES031433
Funding Organization National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Award Funding Period 01 Jan 2020 to 30 Jun 2021
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Project Summary The SBIR project will develop a web-based interactive digital media product for teachers and students in grades K-8. The digital media will take the form of multimodal content and digital tools that investigate the risks of exposure to hazards in the air, water, food supply, and in consumer products—especially those that disproportionately affect the nation's 23 million low- income and English Learner students and are relevant to their homes and geographies. The product will employ a unique multimodal, language-based approach to teaching environmental health literacy that aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) "3-D" learning model. The long-term objectives will be to dramatically improve environmental health literacy, increase awareness of exposure risks, and to promote risk-avoidance behaviors. The specific aims for Phase I will be to demonstrate technical feasibility using an initial set of content at four grade levels, to develop a new digital science notebook technology to support the NGSS practices, to test the feasibility of classroom implementation and potential learning outcomes, and to collect measurable indicators of commercial success. The initial set of content will include units on air, water, food, and consumer product hazards. Phase I research will test feasibility in a three-stage study: (1) expert and teacher review, (2) usability lab testing, and (3) classroom pilot testing with classes across four grade levels over an 8-week period at a diverse K-8 inner city school in an NGSS adoption state. Investigators will use a combination of direct observation, usage data collected by the prototype, and structured interviews with teachers and experts to answer the key research questions. Phase II will include an RCT efficacy study. The new product will use a novel teaching method that integrates the four language domains (listening, speaking, reading and writing) with inquiry-based, NGSS-aligned investigation of scientific phenomena relevant to the targeted hazards, such as exposure to lead, mold, food contaminants, or nanoparticles. Preliminary data from National Science Foundation-sponsored research indicate that this approach can be highly effective, tripling the rate of learning new science concepts among elementary students. This will be the first project to ever apply the new method and supporting technologies to environmental health literacy. The proposed product has strong commercial potential because it will be integrated and interoperable with a broader product line that is targeted to the company's base of leading K-12 school district customers. !1
Science Code(s)/Area of Science(s) Primary: 94 - Communication Research/Environmental Health Literacy
Secondary: 03 - Carcinogenesis/Cell Transformation
Publications No publications associated with this grant
Program Officer Daniel Shaughnessy
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