Preventing the Tragedy of FASD: A Curriculum for Health &Science

Period of Performance: 09/30/2009 - 03/31/2010

$156K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Science Learning Resources, Inc.
Carrboro, NC 27510
Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The objective of this proposal is to create learning resources that are designed to meet curriculum standards while addressing a vital societal need;promotion of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) prevention. To this end, Science Learning Resources, Inc. (SLR, www.science-learning.com) and its collaborators will develop and distribute a classroom-ready, innovative high school health and science curriculum. An interactive DVD platform will be utilized to provide a menu of engaging activities for students as well as readily-employed resources for teachers. The student-centered components will include: 1) an age- appropriate short film that is designed to introduce the reality and tragedy of FASD and to stimulate discussion of prevention approaches;2) an exploration featuring micrographic images and computer animations that highlight the remarkable similarities between normal human development and that of an FASD animal model (the Medaka fish);3) a virtual experiment illustrating the effects of alcohol on brain development in the fish model system;4) a post- laboratory multimedia summary relating these experimental findings to the insult on human brain structure and function that prenatal alcohol exposure causes;and 5) a selection of proposed student-driven prevention activities. The resources for teachers will include: 1) instructive FASD background materials;2) sample lesson plans;3) student assessment instruments;and 4) alignment with National Education Standards. Each of the components of the curriculum, as well as the DVD itself, will be formally evaluated and the results will be used to guide final production. National distribution of this product will be facilitated via collaborative arrangements with well-respected science and health education companies (Realityworks, Inc. www.realityworks.com and Carolina Biological Supply Company www.carolina.com). This curriculum will fill a critical educational void and promises to aid in reducing common, yet preventable, birth defects. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy can result in a spectrum of birth defects estimated to affect 40,000 babies each year in our country. Each of these birth defects is entirely preventable if a woman avoids drinking during pregnancy. Educational resources focused on prevention of alcohol-induced birth defects are limited. The proposed science-based health curriculum for high school students will provide resources for teachers and students to heighten awareness about effects of alcohol on development of the brain and behavior, and thereby promote prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.