Organization(s): University of Connecticut (UConn)
Funding Agency: National Institutes of Health
HRI Role: Evaluation
The “Brain Healthy” project aims to engage students in investigations of their own brain health and wellness with the goal of promoting healthier lifestyle choice. Students will participate in a real-world citizen science study on the relation between health and lifestyle factors (e.g., physical exercise) and heart rate, mood, and concentration. Students will then contribute their own data to a large-scale, de-identified, brain health and wellness database. With support from teachers and near-peer mentors (NPMs), students will then design data-driven investigations utilizing the entire de-identified citizen science database collected across all the participating schools. The program will be accompanied by professional development courses for teachers and NPMs prior to school implementation with additional just-in-time support.
The research component of the project will examine how participation in a citizen science brain health and wellness program impact: (1) students’ conceptual understanding of data analysis and brain plasticity, and their attitudes toward STEM; (2) teachers’ self-efficacy in facilitating data-driven student investigations; and (3) NPMs’ mentoring ability and intent to persist in STEM.
The evaluation is designed to investigate the program’s impact on students, teachers, and mentors, as well as the effectiveness of the professional development in preparing teachers and mentors to implement the Brain Healthy program with students.