The National Science Education Standards are explicit in their call for science teachers to create a learning environment that fosters scientific inquiry of authentic questions. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics states that "students must learn mathematics with understanding, actively building new knowledge from experience and prior knowledge."
These strategies are not supported by having students simply memorize rigid scientific facts in a teacher-centered classroom. Teacher must make use of problem-based instruction, such as is found in the Legacy Cycle, to make use of interdisciplinary studies, based in real world contexts. The Legacy Cycle is a research-based structure for designing instructional materials that has been effectively implemented through the Vanderbilt Bioengineering Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) and the Vanderbilt Instruction in Biomedical Engineering for Secondary Science (VIBES) programs. Use of the VIBES curriculum has shown an increase over traditional classroom instruction in student mastery of basic content as well as an increased ability to transfer knowledge to new areas. The Legacy-cycle based instructional materials developed by RET participants have been shown to increase student motivation over traditional classroom instruction. Additionally, teachers report that their students become more independent thinkers and learners while taking more ownership and responsibility for their own learning.
Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering, 1996,
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
M.S. Biomedical Engineering, 1993,
Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.
B.S.E. Biomedical and Electrical Engineering, 1991,
Duke University, Durham, NC.