One of the most impactful ways a local company can get involved with education at RTHS and across the state is to work with our educators to create a curriculum module. These modules are made up of a series of lessons – web links, activities, topical videos, and research – that teach a core concept through the lens of the company’s product development or processes. The culmination of the module, which can be just one lesson or a months-long series, is a visit by all students (over a series of blocked hours) to the company site for an exploration. This visit content is then video-captured into additional material – a “virtual field trip” and perhaps interviews with key personnel – so that both the entire module and the actual interaction with the company all become part of a “digital asset” which is shared across North Carolina with teachers and students far beyond RTP. Some of these assets become part of the online curriculum developed at the NC School of Science and Math, through Race to the Top materials. Some are picked up and viewed by thousands of students around the world. All are a key part of the outreach mission at RTHS – to increase access to globally-competitive STEM education for students and teachers across North Carolina.
RTHS has built this program on the basis of work done for 10 years at its founding non-profit, the Contemporary Science Center. The CSC built these “field studies” (without the digital component) in collaboration with the companies Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Biogen Idec, Constella Group, Oriel Therapeutics, and Syngenta. The Syngenta Biotechnology unit is the first product to be brought into RTHS and expanded into a full digital asset. This module teaches classic biotechnology over the course of the 9th grade biology year through the example of the development of Bt corn at Syngenta. See our Showcase page for the full result of this work.