"The Force is With You" Curriculum Program
Project Investigator: Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH
Project Team: Luann D'Ambrosio, MEd, Rob Kaufman, BS, Kathy Loeffler, RN
One approach to reducing motor vehicle-related and other types of serious injuries for teenagers is to actively involve students by integrating the concepts of injury prevention with the basic principles of physics. "The Force is with You" is an educational outreach curriculum program developed for 9th and 10th grade students by the HIPRC. This program uses human biology and physics to help students critically think and problem solve ways to reduce injury. The curriculum is divided into a three-lesson unit plan including a pre-lesson and post-lesson delivered by the classroom teacher. The outreach lesson is presented by healthcare professionals from HMC who have witnessed first-hand, the devastating outcomes of injuries while delivering care in the emergency room. There is a core of volunteers, mainly trauma nurses, who deliver this program. The one-hour educational outreach presentation focuses student learning by building on their own personal experience and knowledge with the scientific principles of energy, force and motion. This approach allows students to explore, discover and construct knowledge in terms of their everyday lives. This approach directs teens so they can make their own critical decisions about everyday safety practices and risk-taking behaviors. This constructivist model for learning has been used extensively in math and science disciplines. The program was evaluated and found increases in knowledge and attitudes after the curriculum was delivered. The program has been delivered to about 1500 9th and 10th graders in King County.
The HIPRC is working with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to distribute a CD ROM to schools throughout the state. Trauma nurses at HMC continue to present the program upon requests from schools.