With grant, Foothill College to highlight minority scientists

Lessons to be available to science teachers across the country

Foothill College in Los Altos Hills and San Francisco State University will share a $1.1 million federal grant to develop lessons for Bay Area classrooms that highlight scientists with different racial, ethnic, sexual and gender identities.

The two-year project is being led by Foothill's Jeff Schinske and SFSU's Kimberly Tanner, both biology professors. The National Institutes of Health grant will allow undergraduate students at both schools to create hundreds of "Science Spotlights," or short assignments that focus on scientists from underrepresented populations, many of whom didn't set out to go into the science field.

The lessons, which will teach course concepts and include information on the scientists' personal lives, can be used as homework or supplementary readings. Science textbooks have traditionally "marginalized the stories and discoveries of minority scientists, which can lead students from groups not represented to disassociate with the subject," a press release states.

In an interview with SF State News, Schinske said he was "seeing all this evidence that students need to be able to see themselves in a discipline to succeed and even to be able to learn the material."

Schinske and Tanner are working to integrate the lessons into SFSU biology classes. They've also partnered with eight middle and high school instructors and four community college instructors to evaluate the lessons' efficacy in the classroom.

The lessons will be compiled in an online database that will be accessible to science teachers across the country. Eventually, the lessons will be incorporated into K-12 classrooms across the Bay Area, using surveys to "evaluate their effectiveness."

"We're collaborating to change curriculum structures that continue to send the message to students that only certain types of people do science," Tanner told SF State News.


There are no comments yet. Please share yours below.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Babka bakery to open Thursday in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 10 comments | 6,528 views

Which Cocktail Has the Least Calories?
By Laura Stec | 15 comments | 2,021 views

UCSB's CCS program
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 1,122 views

Ten Tips for Teens and Young Adults to Survive a Dysfunctional Family
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,024 views