Kids and Medical Science:
Established in 1993 this program's primary goal is to plant a seed of excitement and curiosity for science in the minds of young children who perform poorly in their science classes at school.
How it Works:
Kids & Medical Science is based on the principal that children can learn science better by experiencing it as it is applied by real people in a real world setting of a medical center. During summer vacation, the program brings small groups of four children (ages 7-11) into the Louisville Medical Center where for one week they interact with doctors, nurses,
scientists and medical staff in a variety of “hands-on” activities.
Evaluating its Impact:
To assess the impact the program has on the children who participate, we have used standardized questionnaires to evaluate their impressions and those of their teachers and parents prior to and regularly for 3 years after the program. We found that these children eagerly share their experiences with their peers
leading to their peers identifying them as "science experts". This in turn stimulates them to do better in their science classes to uphold their newfound identity among their peers.
The success of Kids & Medical Science has created a great unmet demand to enroll many children in the program. However, the nature of the medical activities in which the children participate dictate that the groups be small. This demand has also made it necessary to limit the experience to once only per child.
Expanding the Program:
To address these demands and expose more children many times to the program we plan to use interactive television technology to broadcast activities multiple times per school per year from the Louisville Medical Center to several different schools in the Louisville area.
On one occasion a pilot program was attempted that employed interactive television technology to immerse students into a busy medical center to accompany surgeons into surgery, discuss a patient with a doctor, nurse or family member at the patient’s bedside, interact with a research scientist in his/her laboratory or experience a hectic hour in the hospital
While we did not formally evaluate this latest addition to the program it appeared to successfully raise the interest of the Kids that participated and we are now seeking funding to establish a series of regularly transmitted activities from the medical center to schools in the Louisville area.