Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Project EXCITE?
Project EXCITE is a seven-year professional development project funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Based at Bowling Green State University, the grant represents a partnership between the university and local school districts, scientists, and governmental and community groups. Project EXCITE focuses on the design and implementation of interdisciplinary problem-based learning (PBL) units targeting local Environmental Health Science (EHS) issues.
The Project aims to:
- Advance the awareness of environmental health science as an integrative context for learning;
- Augment the range of inquiry-based teaching techniques and best practice strategies while integrating both science and non-science concepts;
- Assist teachers and preservice teachers in creating, implementing, and disseminating interdisciplinary EHS problem-basedlearning units in 4th-9th grades;
- Enhance both student EHS content knowledge and inquiry skills;
- Generate social responsibility and awareness of career opportunities through EHS experiences;
- Create a professional network of support by establishing a collaboration of school, university, and community partners.
2. Who participates in Project EXCITE?
Schools across northwest Ohio participate in Project EXCITE. The core participants - collectively known as a "Cohort" - are groups of four or more interdisciplinary teachers. These teachers work together to create engaging units for students in grades 4-9. Our first Cohort consisted of teachers from Rossford Jr. High, Anthony Wayne Jr. High, Bowling Green Jr. High, Springfield Middle School, Youngstown City Jr. High, and Maumee Gateway Middle School . Our current cohort includes teachers and nurses from Toledo Public Schools, Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, and the Sylvanian Franciscan Academy.
3. If it is too late to participate as a part of a cohort, how can I still get involved?
There are many ways for individual teachers to be involved with Project EXCITE. We periodically present workshops that provide a basic overview of Project Based Learning and demonstrate how we use it together with Environmental Health topics to engage students. If you are interested, please email email@example.com .
4. Why does EXCITE use Environmental Health as an integrating context in its curricula?
The field Environmental Health draws from diverse academic subjects, such as public policy, political legislation, and scientific research. It deals with real-world phenomena that are relevant to local communities. While exploring these topics, students and community members become aware of environmental problems, and build balanced solutions.
5. Why does EXCITE use Problem-Based Learning strategies?
Problem-Based Learning is a tried and trusted teaching methodology that enhances investigative thinking processes. Students are presented with a problem and then use their own critical thinking skills, and the ideas of others, to analyze the problem and brainstorm solutions. Students become engaged and motivated because they determine the course of the lesson and the teacher acts as a facilitator.
6. What is an Odyssey?
We use the idea of a journey to describe the various units produced by Project EXCITE. At the beginning of the unit teachers might know where they want to go and what resources they will need, but the actual path of discovery can take twists and turns that are not planned. The Odysseys that are currently published and available for purchase are: ZoOdyssey, FoodOdyssey, AgOdyssey, and Sick of School? Odyssey. In the upcoming months, ChemOdyssey and TobaccoOdyssey will also be available. Click here for more details.
7. Does the EXCITE curricula support the state and national standards?
Yes! The Odysseys are designed to correlate to academic standards set by the federal government and the state of Ohio . The lessons support middle school standards in Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, Language Arts, Health, and Technology. Each Odyssey states specifically which standards are met and to what degree they are emphasized.
8. How long has Project EXCITE existed?
In 2001, Project EXCITE received a seven-year grant from the National Institute of Environmental Sciences (NIEHS). We are funded by the NIEHS under a group of grantees known as Environmental Health Science as an Integrative Context for learning (EHSIC). The first cohort of teachers participated from 2001 to 2003, the second cohort participated from 2003 to 2005, and the third cohort is participating from 2005 until 2007.