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Program History

The CUNY Science Now GK-12 Program’s primary goal is to train doctoral students to become better communicators of their own scientific knowledge and research. Our strategy is to engage the GK-12 fellows in a curriculum development process in collaboration with high school teachers to create research experiences in which students investigate their own neighborhoods. The curriculum products that result from this partnership, Authentic Research Modules in Science (ARMS), become a permanent resource for teachers and their high schools. These Modules also become part of a collection of science courses that are offered to high school students through CUNY’s College Now Program. By translating their research into ARMS that engage high school students in research projects of real value and by collaborating with both their research advisors and high school teachers, Science Now Fellows will become more effective science communicators.

By working together to produce and teach the ARMS, the fellow and teacher gain valuable expertise and experience, which in turn directly benefits the students:

  • Fellows deepen their understanding of pedagogy and instructional design
  • Teachers deepen their scientific knowledge and ability to direct student research
  • Students deepen their understanding of concepts in biology, mathematics, and earth and environmental sciences.

By participating in research projects focused on the urban environment—their own backyard—students acquire critical science process skills and research experience. They learn, possibly for the first time, what science is and how to think and work like scientists!

ARMS curriculum development follows the paradigm proposed in the final report of the National Conference on Student and Scientist Partnerships (1996). It serves as a primary training tool for the fellows and as a practical curriculum development experience that will increase their skills and capacities regarding learning and instruction.  It also addresses the need to make science education at the K-12 level more inquiry based. The project’s overarching, real-world research focus is the Living Urban Environment

Check the ARMS section of the website for more information about authentic research experiences and to preview courses that can be downloaded and used in your school. Contact us for more information. Also, visit the website for the AP Fellows project, a predecessor to the CUNY GK-12 program.


Dr. Gillian Small

Office of Academic Affairs, CUNY
Vice Chancellor for Research and Professor of Biology, CUNY


Dr. Victor Strozak

Center for Advanced Study in Education, Graduate Center, CUNY
Senior Research Associate for Science Education

Number of Graduate Fellows per Year: 9
School District Partners: The New York City (NYC) Department of Education
Other Project Partners: The CUNY College Now Program
Target Audience: 9 High Schools per year throughout NYC
NSF Supported Disciplines Involved: Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Sciences and Physics

Project Goals:

Goal 1: Improve Fellows’ communication, teaching, and team building skills to prepare them for their role as communicators either in academia or in the broad range of careers open to them beyond academia.*

Goal 2: Enhance high school science teachers’ ability to deliver research-and-inquiry-based instruction to urban students.

Goal 3: Develop high levels of science interest and achievement in high school students, especially in their early high school years, through participation in interdisciplinary ARMS* activities.

Goal 4: Institutionalize the Science Now GK-12 activities within CUNY and the NYC public high schools.

Goal 5: Document and disseminate project outcomes and activities and develop a replicable model for use of authentic research experiences in the secondary school science curriculum.