Team Packs: Group Instruction for K-12

by Parker A. Small, Jr.

Several years ago I was invited to a meeting on medical education in Buenos Aires at which I was extolling the virtues of small group teaching. A participant from Argentina asked "How many students and how many faculty do you have?" I answered "About 70 students and 9 faculty." He replied, "I am the professor of microbiology at my institution. That means I have 1000 students and do all the teaching. How can I use small group teaching?" I had no good answer, but thought about his question all night. The next day was a materials development workshop, and I decided to try combining my prior experience in writing self instructional materials with small group teaching. That day I wrote the first draft of the Tetanus POPS for use by medical students.

Subsequently, we adapted the POPS approach to teach high school students about pregnancy, gonorrhea, herpes and AIDS. These modules, called Team Packs, have been used by more than 300,000 students in Florida. The AIDS Team Pack was a key component of our local high school AIDS education program which was chosen by the National PTA as the best in the nation. To mark the 200th anniversary of Jenner's experiment, we developed the CELEBRATE IMMUNIZATION! Team Packs and related videos. These materials are based on the "Science, Technology and Society" approach to science education, wherein the science is related to issues of importance to society and involves students in relevant related activities. CELEBRATE IMMUNIZATION! materials teach the science behind vaccines and their impact on health. These materials have been used by more than 1300 students in 17 states and were well received by grade 6 through 11 teachers and students.

By the 8th grade most students have "turned off" to science. If our society is to prosper, we must find effective ways to share the challenges and fun of science with these students. Team Packs help with this critical task. Information about Team Packs can be obtained from our Web site or e-mail:

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