Office of Science Education

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The Office of Science Education (OSE) of the United States National Institutes of Health plans, develops, and coordinates a comprehensive science education program to strengthen and enhance efforts of the NIH to attract young people to biomedical and behavioral science careers and to improve science literacy in both adults and children.

NIH Curriculum Supplements

The NIH Curriculum Supplement Series are interactive teaching units that combine cutting-edge science research discoveries from the National Institutes of Health. Each supplement was developed in collaboration with one or more divisions within NIH, a professional curriculum development company, and OSE. A curriculum supplement is a teacher’s guide to one-to-two weeks’ worth of lesson plans and student activities on science and human health.

There are 16 curriculum supplements currently available online and in hard copy by request. Over 250,000 copies of supplements have been requested by classroom teachers, health professionals, curriculum specialists, university professors, and others from across the US and the world.

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High School Curriculum Supplements

High School

Middle School

Elementary School

OSE Exhibit Booth at Conferences

The NIH Science Education Exhibit Booth is displayed at many national and regional conferences such as the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT), and the National Middle School Association (NMSA).

Beginning in 2005, NSTA increased the impact of the medical research community at its annual national meeting by creating an “NIH Research Zone” in the exhibit hall, clearly marked on the exhibit hall map for attendees. Two rows of exhibits are now designated exclusively for medical research. The National Institutes of Health spearheaded this endeavor by coordinating exhibitors from several of its 27 institutes and centers and from professional societies and other supporting partners. This provides one-stop shopping for teachers interested in discovering the resources available from the medical scientific community.

2007 Convention Schedule

NSTA - National Science Teachers Association National Conference
St. Louis, MO
March 29 - April 1, 2007

NSTA - National Science Teachers Association Regional Conference
Detroit, MI
October 18 - 20, 2007

NMSA - National Middle School Association National Conference
Houston, TX
November 8 - 10, 2007

CAST - Conference for the Advancement of Science Teachers Science Teachers Association of Texas
Austin, TX
November 14 - 17, 2007

NABT - National Association of Biology Teachers National Conference
Atlanta, GA
November 28 – Dec 1, 2007

NSTA - National Science Teachers Association Regional Conference
Birmingham, AL
December 6 - 8, 2007

Career Resources

OSE has developed several ways to provide career resource information to students, educators, guidance counselors, and parents.

LifeWorks Career Database

LifeWorks is an interactive health and medical science career exploration web site for middle and high school students, parents, mentors, advisors, and guidance counselors. Users can browse for information on more than 125 medical science and health careers by title, education required, interest area, or median salary. Alternatively, the "Career Finder" can be used to generate a customized list of careers especially suited for users' skills and interests. LifeWorks promotes awareness of the wide variety of occupations in health and medical sciences and the range of opportunities at different education levels. The site complements its factual career data by highlighting true stories of successful people. They illustrate the variety of real-life career pathways, from the carefully planned to the unpredictable.

Women In Science: Video, DVD, and Poster Series

(Supported by the Office of Research on Women's Health)

Women Are Scientists

Each of these resources profiles the careers of three scientists from various backgrounds. This informative series is designed to motivate students to elect more challenging advanced science and math courses, and enable them to successfully direct their own career paths. Titles include:

DVD format:

  • Women Are Researchers
  • Women Are Surgeons
  • Women Are Pathologists

VHS format and poster:

  • Women Scientists with Disabilities

DVD format and poster:

  • Women in Dental Research (in production)

Careers in Science: Women in Research

This project has two components--a web site and a series of colorful posters. The web site features short profiles of each woman shown on the posters. We chose the women featured on each poster to showcase the variety of careers that young people today might pursue--not all of which need graduate degrees.

  • Women in Neuroscience Research
  • Women in Heart Disease Research
  • Women in Cancer Research

DC Metro Educational Outreach Programs

Science in the Cinema

Science in the Cinema is a free film festival designed to promote public understanding of science, health, and medicine. This popular summer film festival is open to the public and intended for a broad range of individuals who enjoy the cinema and have an interest in science and medicine. An expert on the subject provides a commentary and leads an audience question and answer period. OSE seeks out experts on the topic highlighted in the movie from throughout the NIH.

This program is presented in partnership with the American Film Institute (AFI) Silver Theatre and Cultural Center.

NIH Speakers Bureau

The OSE currently handles the database for the NIH Speakers Bureau. The Speakers Bureau is a service that lists NIH researchers, clinicians, and other professionals who are available to speak to school groups and other local and national organizations.

Mini-Med School

Mini-Med Schools are public education programs now offered by more than 70 medical schools, universities, research institutions, and hospitals across the nation. There are even Mini-Med Schools in Ireland, Malta, and Canada! The program is typically a lecture series that meets once a week and provides "mini-med students" information on some of the same subjects studied by "real" medical students. Mini-Med School students do not need a science background to attend. Some mini-med schools augment the lectures with laboratory tours, hands-on demonstrations, videos, and more.

  • Mini-Med School is not affiliated with or sponsored by MiniMed Inc.