Immersion Science Program: For Teachers
Hear what Alumi from the ISP Course for Teachers have to say:
Abraham Lincoln High School,
School District Of Philadelphia
"I consider myself extremely fortunate to be selected onto to the Fox Chase Cancer Center Teacher Immersion Pilot program. I gained so much insight into the functioning of a research laboratory; elements of which I incorporated into my physics curriculum and shared with other teachers within my Academy. I had the opportunity of working and sharing ideas with other teachers I may not have had the good fortunate of otherwise meeting. This was time well spent and I encourage other teachers to embrace this pivotal opportunity."
William Tennent High School,
Centennial School District
"This past spring I attended the symposium at Fox Chase Cancer Center with a few of my students. Our experience was transformative in many ways. First, it allowed our students to get exposed to a multitude of fields within the hospital, from surgery to nursing to radiology, all the way to the financial aspects of how to run a healthcare organization. Many of the professionals shared how they arrived to where they are now. Some of the speakers were seasoned researchers and physicians;; some were nurses and financial officers, and some were recent medical school graduates and current university students. It was extremely helpful for our students to hear their stories, as they were able to identify with some, and they were also able to start thinking about their own paths to take. It was particularly wonderful for our female students to see many successful women who are excelling in the field of science.
This fall I have been fortunate enough to participate in the teacher lab immersion program, in which I get to experience what the first cohort of high school students experienced last spring. This experience has been transformative for me. I have been teaching for ten years, and this experience has provided me with a platform to incorporate a true problem based learning approach into my classroom. This year, my Biology students will be learning about cancer in a different way. In addition to learning about mitosis and the cell cycle, and how this process is affected in cancer cells, I will be sharing my experiences of working at Fox Chase with them. My deeper understanding of cell signaling pathways (which are a central part of our program at Fox Chase) will be extremely useful in teaching how cells become cancerous and how cancerous cells can evade different forms of treatment. I will also ask students at the end of the year to develop an original research question and design their own experiment, using the same inquiry based, student centered approach we are using in the lab immersion program. For most of the students in my ELL Biology class, this will be their first time participating in science this way,
since they often come from rural and/or disadvantaged areas where their access to education was quite limited.
Additionally, the Fox Chase Immersion Science program has inspired me to propose a new course to be added to the Plan of Studies at our school. My idea is to run a Genetics of Cancer course modeled after the Fox Chase Lab Immersion program. I can see a course in which students are expected to develop their own novel cancer research question that they will then get to explore via various projects and experiments through the length of the course. The students would be taught the necessary scaffolding to pursue the different projects they choose to explore. The students would also be encouraged to use their original research to participate in various science fairs and competitions. I think that this type of course would present a complete paradigm change from the traditional “cookie cutter” labs performed in most high school science courses, where students are merely asked to follow set procedures in order to obtain expected results, to students developing their own novel question, doing their own literature search and designing and carrying out their own cancer research. I believe that this will prepare students to “do science”, the way it is done in labs, and it would also prepare them for future science courses in college. If this course proposal is approved, it would run every year and hopefully 25-50 students would be able to participate each year."
The Academy at Palumbo H.S.
School District of Philadelphia
"At first, I was concerned with my personal lack of knowledge concerning the lab procedures used and cancer research in general. I was very pleased that the workshop was designed for the novice in a non-stressful environment. I appreciated the patience and encouragement given by Dara and Alana to try things that took me out of my comfort zone. (That’s how we want our students to learn.)
The workshop allowed me to think and experience the moment as the student. That set my mind into the planning stage and helped me think about how I could incorporate this experience into my classroom.
I was able to evaluate the resources that I had available at my school and plan on how to obtain the resources that I was lacking.
I applied for and was awarded a Dow Mini Grant. This money will be used to purchase the materials that I need to start experiments for teaching my students.
My goal is to continue to develop this experiment each year. This development I hope will help instill in my students the fascination of learning and discovering science beyond the textbook.
Thank you for a wonderful experience"