- Prior to entering a research laboratory, teachers are invited to attend Part I of a lecture course sponsored by AAI: the AAI Introductory Course in Immunology. This will familiarize the teachers with the basic concepts of the field and help provide a foundation upon which to base the laboratory experience. (Attendance at this course is optional.)
- Teachers will work in a research laboratory of a "mentor" (an AAI member with a research program) for 4-6 weeks during the summer. The time period is by mutual agreement. In some cases, this period is structured such that the teachers are primarily learning about the mentor's research. They will observe the research, assist with lab protocols, converse with graduate students and read about immunology in general and the laboratory research in particular. In other cases the teacher may pursue an independent project developed in consultation with the mentor. Teachers will receive a $2,500 stipend for their laboratory time (and another $2,500 upon completion of the entire program: see below).
- At the end of the lab experience, teachers develop a curriculum unit designed to introduce high school students to key immunological concepts through activities and lab protocols. Teachers work in collaboration with an education specialist and use curriculum templates to guide the creation of these units. In the coming school year, teachers "field test" the units in their own classrooms and revise their curriculum units based on the experience with their students and specialist review. When finalized, these units are made available to all interested science teachers through an archive on the AAI web site.
- During the academic year, teachers also prepare an abstract, a poster presentation, and a short talk (PowerPoint presentation) that summarize their summer projects. The mentor and education specialist are available to assist and guide with the development of these presentations. The teachers are expected to attend a professional meeting where they present their project and program experiences. AAI provides financial support for travel, accommodations, and other expenses associated with attending this meeting.
- Upon successful attendance of the meeting and completion of all program requirements, teachers receive the final payment ($2,500).
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