Performing international outreach: PhUn Week in an Australian primary school
Physiology Understanding (PhUn) Week is an annual science outreach program sponsored by the American Physiological Society in which K–12 students learn about physiology through meeting a physiologist and performing an experiment. Performing PhUn Week at an Australian private primary school during a family vacation in 2014 enabled me to receive a fellowship to return the following year for further implementation. To set up the outreach, I contacted the assistant principal of a public primary school, and she connected me with the physical education (PE) teacher. Together, the PE teacher and I planned the event. Over the course of 2 days, I taught eight classes, a total of 176 K–12 students. I started each lesson by explaining the role of a physiologist. The scientific method was described and explained. A hypothesis, “Exercise increases heart rate,” was designed and tested. The students measured their heart rates, exercised, and measured their heart rates again. After data collection, results were reported, and the students all agreed that their hypothesis was supported. We then discussed heart function and why heart rate increases with exercise. The students then performed a pedometer challenge, where they estimated the number of steps during walking, running, and kangaroo hopping. They enjoyed testing their predictions and repeated these experiments several times. The students then made suggestions of ways they could continue this lesson outside of school. This first report of an international PhUn week confirmed that these events form partnerships among educators and inspire K–12 students to think about becoming scientists.
Advances in Physiology Education
American Physiological Society
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Halpin PA. (2017). Performing International Outreach: PhUn Week in an Australian Primary School. Advances in Physiology Education 41: 25-28. DOI: 10.1152/advan.00153.2016 Editor’s Pick
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