“Science of the Eye: Bringing Vision into the Classroom” was founded in the summer of 2009 to work with high school biology teachers and others to increase access to active, inquiry-based science education in Massachusetts public schools. It is funded by a grant from the National Eye Institute–part of the National Institutes of Health.
Science of the Eye offers regional professional development workshops to biology teachers, in partnership with the Massachusetts Association of Biology Teachers (MABT). The workshops present curriculum modules that emphasize hands-on, laboratory activities and incorporate current research into the eye and vision.
In the summer of 2010, we offered a two-week summer research seminar and follow-up support to a group of highly motivated high school biology teachers. We have symposia and other events for the scientific and education communities such as our recent Symposium on the Evolution of the Vertebrate Eye in honor of the 150th Anniversary of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.
Science of the Eye is based in Prof. Jonathan King’s lab in the MIT Biology Department. In addition to Professor King, our staff includes Dr. Ishara Mills-Henry, an accomplished biochemist working on science curriculum and professional development, and Lisa Guisbond, our outreach coordinator, a writer with a longstanding interest in supporting and strengthening public education.
A key part of our mission is to engage high school science teachers in important vision research and have them bring their newfound knowledge and enthusiasm back to the classroom to engage and excite their students. We chose to focus on vision and the eye because of the King lab’s research into the molecular basis of eye diseases such as cataracts and because it seems that vision and the eye are inherently compelling topics for many children and adults. After all, nearly everyone has reason to think about their own vision and eye health, whether they wear glasses or have a family member with a significant eye condition or disease.
We are open to hearing from teachers and others with ideas on how we can better bridge the gap between those who do important vision research and science teachers, who do the critical daily work of nurturing our emerging scientists, whether they go into research, become eye doctors or perhaps become artists with a deep appreciation of the importance of science and the natural world.