Lincoln (Neb.) - July 10, 1997 - The University of Nebraska State Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has been awarded a $325,000 grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for "Wonderwise: Women in Science Learning Series."
Wonderwise is an inquiry-based multimedia learning tool composed of five educational science kits developed for fourth to sixth graders. Each kit provides a week-long science unit focusing on one prominent female scientist and one science topic. It also includes video field trips with hands-on, multi-disciplinary science activities.
The grant will be used to help teachers and expand science opportunities for young people. This is the second time the program has received a grant from the institute; the first was five years ago for $500,000.
"We've been testing and working with teachers across the state for the past five years," said Judy Diamond, assistant director for public programs at the Museum and director of the Wonderwise project. "With the new grant we'll launch an on-line version of the project, where we can train teachers over the satellite or on-line, as well as support a new kit which will focus on the prairie."
The kits are designed to integrate literature, science and math curriculums and bring women scientists into the classroom. Diamond said the kits will be distributed nationally by the end of the summer.
Current topics include:
€ "Sea Otter Biologist," featuring Brenda Ballachey, project leader for the Sea Otter Oil Spill Studies Project for the National Biological Service;
€ "Pollen Detective," with Margaret Bollick, curator of botany and associate professor at UNL;
€ "Rainforest Ecologist," with Janalee Paige Caldwell who works with the ecology of tropical amphibians;
€ "Parasite Sleuth," featuring Judy Sakanari, a parasitologist who studies the genetics of tiny worms called nematodes; and
€ "African Plant Explorer," featuring African-American biological anthropologist Fatimah Jackson.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the nation's largest philanthropic organization, awarded $8 million in four-year grants to 45 museums and other institutions across the country. The Wonderwise program received the fourth- highest total. The awards were made from 239 proposals submitted by 590 institutions invited to participate in the competition. Recipients include 33 museums, eight botanical gardens, three zoos and one aquarium.
EDITORS NOTE: Teacher and student contacts involved with
the program are available from Dr. Diamond. Dr. Diamond is
available until July 18.
For questions regarding these releases, contact:
(402) 472-8514, Fax: (402) 472-7825