Discovery Learning Research Center

Current Research Projects

NSF entitled: A Sustainable Energy Concepts Professional Development Model for Rural Schools & Its Extension to a Systemic Approach for Integrating STEM Research & Education


Research Goes to School is transforming K-12 education by integrating advanced research topics into high school STEM curricula. The goals of the project are to develop a model for delivering the conversion of biomass to biofuels research topics into high school STEM classrooms, and establish a systemic approach for integrating research and education activities. For more information contact Lisa Kirkham (

NSF entitled Science Learning through Engineering Design (SLED) Targeted Partnership

children Purdue University and four Indiana school districts will collaborate to improve science learning in third through sixth grades. The work will focus on the use of engineering design-based teaching. The concept teaches problem solving in math and science through design projects. Partnering in the effort are Purdue's colleges of Education, Engineering, Science, and Technology; the Discovery Learning Research Center; regional industries; and the Lafayette, Tippecanoe, Taylor Community and Plymouth school corporations. For more information contact Dr. Alyssa Panitch ( or Dr. Brenda Capobianco (

NIH entitled: Fat Dogs and Coughing Horses: Animal Contributions towards a Healthier Citizenry

child in lab gear

The long term objective of this cooperative effort among Purdue University, public schools in Indiana, and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, is to develop, evaluate and disseminate educational programs for K-12 students, parents, teachers, and the public about the science involved in making people healthy. Concepts will be exemplified by emphasizing health issues that affect both people and animals in Indiana and the U.S., including obesity prevention, cancer prevention, and asthma. This SEPA will take a systems approach in which fitness programs, research programs using animal models, K-12 outreach programs, professional development workshops for teachers, and recruiting efforts will be networked to form an innovative educational model that fills current gaps in health science education, excites and recruits schoolchildren to careers in health science research, and leads to a healthier citizenry. For more information contact Dr. Timothy Ratliff (

Howard Hughes Medical Institute entitled: zipTrips (Electronic Field Trips in Comparative Biology)

zipTrips The Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, Discovery Learning Research Center, Purdue Agriculture, ITAP, and faculty from the College of Education are collaborating with the Indiana higher Education Telecommunications System, and Indiana Public Broadcasting Services, to bring the scientific research community to middle school classrooms through the development of a series of Electronic Field Trips. These field trips will help middle school students: relate to science through intrinsically exciting and age-appropriate presentations of comparative biology issues, better understand the role and relevance of science in society and increase their potential to function as scientifically literate citizens, and learn about career opportunities in science and the academic preparation pathways to becoming a scientist. zipTrips has won many awards with it's most recent one from the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE). Purdue zipTrips: Disease Detectives won the Silver Award for the 2011 ACE Critique and Awards Program in the category of Electronic Media, Video: Class 30 programs. For more information contact Dr. J. Paul Robinson (

NSF entitled Making Sense of Global Warming and Climate Change: Model of Student Learning via Collaborative Research

globe The investigation of environmental issues, such as climate change provides a natural context for studying science through personal and social applications. A review of existing high school science textbooks and laboratory manuals found few instructional materials that foster students’ conceptual understanding about climate and climate change. This project is informed by the general notion that the ways scientific knowledge develops that is the basic structure of scientific inquiry can help novice students’ learning in several ways. The team plans to construct models for students and teachers to improve classroom instruction of global warming and climate change topics. For more information contact Dr. Anita Roychoudhury (

For information on our past projects, click here.


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207 South Martin Jischke Drive, Suite 203
West Lafayette , IN 47907-1791

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