Bone Education Resource Center International Osteoporosis Foundation
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USA

Name of education programme
Bone Biology for Kids

Originating organisation
University of Washington

Contact
Susan Ott
Associate Professor
Division of Metabolism, Box 356426
1959 NE Pacific Street
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-6426

Tel:+1 206 598 6318
Fax:+1 206 598 3736
E-mail:  smott@u.washington.edu

Description of the programme
The overall goal of this project is to develop and maintain an interactive internet web site about bone biology that will attract children aged 9-14 and will be used as a classroom resource. Bone biology is an exciting field of biological research, with rapidly expanding knowledge at all levels, from molecular genetics to clinical epidemiology. Basic concepts that are essential for science education include understanding how we learn about a topic, how to avoid misinterpretation of observations, and how experiments can be designed. It is an interactive site, engaging students' imagination. Also, it's fun! The underlying goal of the project is to improve diet and exercise patterns of children and adolescents by increasing their knowledge and understanding of bone biology. Once the site is developed, it will be updated by teachers and students.

One important reason to use bone biology as a model for teaching scientific understanding is that the behaviour of children aged 9 to 14 is critical to the development of their bone strength. During these years of rapid skeletal growth, diet and exercise can increase the bone mass and allow attainment of the maximum potential bone mass. Recent evidence shows that children and adolescents with low bone mass are more likely to get fractures. Later in life, those who did not realise their maximal bone mass are at higher risk for osteoporosis.

Is the programme still running?
Yes

Target audience
Girls aged 9-14
Boys aged 9-14

Has the programme been approved by your scientific advisory committee?
Yes, site still being developed.

What worked well
It is too early to tell yet, especially as the site is still under development. The game Bone Quiz Yahtzee is very popular with the students.

What didn't work well
So far there are only a few visits a day but the site is new and hasn't been promoted.

Type of information and material available
Internet site (www.depts.washington.edu/bonebio)

Are you willing to provide material and advice to other IOF members?
Yes

Languages in which the material is available
English

Budget
National Institutes of Health funding application made.

Corporate sponsors
Not yet. Software games companies could be approached to help make some bone-related games (we would love a 'sim-bone').

Other partners
No

Did the programme use celebrities, role models or mentors?
No

Is the programme suitable for other countries?
Yes

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