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Neural Engineering for Secondary Science Classrooms (Resource Exchange)

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

PCEE Resource Exchange

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Kristen Clapper Bergsman University of Washington

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Kristen Clapper Bergsman is the Engineering Education Research Manager at the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering at the University of Washington, where she is also a doctoral student and graduate research assistant in Learning Sciences and Human Development. Previously, Kristen worked as an educational consultant offering support in curriculum design and publication. She received her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction (Science Education) from the University of Washington.

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Eric H. Chudler University of Washington

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Eric H. Chudler is a research neuroscientist interested in the neuroactive properties of medicinal plants and herbs and how the brain processes information about pain and nociception. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1985. He has worked at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. (1986-1989) and in the Department of Neurosurgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass. (1989-1991). Chudler is currently a research associate professor in the Department of Bioengineering and the executive director of the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering. He is also a faculty member in the Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine and the Graduate Program in Neuroscience at the University of Washington. In addition to performing basic neuroscience research, he works with other neuroscientists and classroom teachers to develop educational materials to help K-12 students learn about the brain.

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Students are encountering media reports of cutting-edge technologies, such as brain-computer interfaces, deep brain stimulation, retinal implants, and smart prosthetic limbs, that make neural engineering a high-interest topic for the science classroom. The field of sensorimotor neural engineering brings together experts from across disciplines to develop innovative solutions to restore or enhance sensorimotor functions in the human nervous system. Engineers, scientists, ethicists, practitioners, and end-users come together to design device and therapies for neurological disorders such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and spinal cord injuries.

A growing library of teacher-authored neural engineering curriculum units is available for free to secondary science teachers. For the past six years, the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering at the University of Washington has hosted a Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program that engages secondary science teachers in a seven-week research experience paired with curriculum design. Each RET cohort designs, pilots, revises, and publishes one or more curriculum units. These units are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and provide suggestions on integrating neuroscience content with contemporary science topics through the use of engineering design challenges.

Currently available curriculum units span one to two weeks of classroom instruction. The study of bioethics is integrated into the units through the use of case studies, articles, and discussions. These curriculum units engage students in designing and building models of neuroprosthetic devices, artificial neural networks, sensory substitution devices, and more.

Bergsman, K. C., & Chudler, E. H. (2018, June), Neural Engineering for Secondary Science Classrooms (Resource Exchange) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30834

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