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What is epidemiology?
Why is the curriculum called Detectives in the Classroom?
Why develop a curriculum for middle school students?
Five Essential Questions and Enduring Understandings
Concept Map of the Five Essential Questions
Epidemiology Backgrounds
Alignment with the National Science Education Standards
Alignment with Attributes of Scientific Literacy


We developed a curriculum consisting of five instructional modules that explore specific health-related issues relevant to middle school students through the science of epidemiology. The modules, called Detectives in the Classroom, prepare students to make personal and collective, evidence-based health-related decisions. The lessons in each of the five modules prepare students to answer one of five essential questions and develop one of five enduring understandings.

The curriculum aligns with the National Science Education Standards' fundamental abilities in Science as Inquiry and the attributes of scientific literacy.

The modules were created and refined in partnership with a multidisciplinary Advisory Board of teachers and health professionals. As part of module development, the principal investigator and two middle school teachers pilot-tested prototypes with their students.

The prototype modules were then field-tested by science teachers from ten schools that were members of the New Jersey Network for Educational Renewal. The field-testing teachers were trained to teach the modules and implement them in their classes.

The impact of the modules was assessed by measuring students' abilities to meet National Science Education Standards and students' interest in science in a controlled, pre-test / post-test comparison. The prototype modules were refined further based on the field-testing experiences, the results of students' assessments, and students' feedback.