BrainTrain4Kids.com is an interactive science Internet program for children aged 7 - 9 developed with funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Based on NIDA’s classroom curriculum, Brain Power!, we adapted and expanded this material to optimize online media. The primary objective of the curriculum is to provide an early foundation for drug abuse prevention efforts by educating elementary school-aged children about the brain and how alcohol, tobacco, and drugs can harm it. Secondary aims include improving knowledge, appreciation for scientific inquiry, and improving/sustaining a positive attitude towards science. The program employs engaging and entertaining elements including Flashbased activities and educational games. Assessment of the program occurred using a two-group, randomized case/control pre/post trial with a crossover design using a convenience sample. Child participants (N = 102) from control and case groups had similar knowledge and attitudes towards science at baseline. At post-intervention, there was a significant increase in knowledge scores for the case group; this increase was retained at the six-week follow-up. Case group attitudes towards science were more positive immediately after post-intervention than at baseline, and at follow up than at baseline. BrainTrain4Kids can be an effective tool for educating children about science and drugs, and has the potential to positively impact attitudes. It can be used as a part of a drug abuse prevention program either in schools or at home.
Bell, M. L., Kelley-Baker, T., Rider, R., & Ringwalt, C. (2005). Protecting you/protecting me: Effects of an alcohol prevention and vehicle safety program on elementary students. Journal of School Health, 75, 171-175.
Brown, S. J., Lieberman, D. A., Germeny, B. A., Fan, Y. C., Wilson, D. M., & Pasta, D. J. (1997). Educational video game for juvenile diabetes: Results of a controlled trial. Medical Informatics (London), 22, 77-89. http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/14639239709089835
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2007). United States 2007: Percentage of students who drank alcohol (other than a few sips) for the first time before 13 years. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5704a1.htm
Dalacosta, K., Kamariotaki-Paparrigopoulou, M., Palyvos, J. A., & Spyrellis, N. (2009). Multimedia application with animated cartoons for teaching science in elementary education. Computers & Education, 52, 741-748. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2008.11.018
Donovan, J. E., Leech, S. L., Zucker, R. A., Loveland-Cherry, C. J., Jester, J. M., Fitzgerald, H. E., Puttler, L. I., Wong, M. M., & Looman, W. S. (2004). Really underage drinkers: Alcohol use among elementary students. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 28, 341-349. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/01.ALC.0000113922.77569.4E
DuRant, R. H., Smith, J. A., Kreiter, S. R., & Krowchuk, D. P. (1999). The relationship between early age of onset of initial substance use and engaging in multiple health risk behaviors among young adolescents. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 153, 286-291. http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/archpedi.153.3.286
Ennett, S. T., Tobler, N. S., Ringwalt, C. L., & Flewelling, R. L. (1994). How effective is drug abuse resistance education? A meta-analysis of Project DARE outcome evaluations. American Journal of Public Health, 84, 1394-1401. http://dx.doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.84.9.1394
Gonzales, P., Williams, T., Jocelyn, L., Roey, S., Kastberg, D., & Brenwald, S. (2008). Highlights from TIMSS 2007: Mathematics and science achievement of U.S. fourthand eighth-grade students in an international context (NCES 2009-001 Revised). Washington, DC: US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences.
Hallfors, D., & Godette, D. (2002). Will the “principles of effectiveness” improve prevention practice? Early findings from a diffusion study. Health Education Research, 17, 461-470. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/her/17.4.461
Hanson, L., Deere, D., Lee, C., Lewin, A., & Seval, C. (2001). Key principles in providing integrated behavioral health services for young children and their families: The starting early starting smart experience. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services
Hornung, R. L., Lennon, P. A., Garrett, J. M., DeVellis, R. F., Weinberg, P. D., & Stretcher, V. J. (2000). Interactive computer technology for skin cancer prevention targeting children. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 18, 69-76. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0749-3797(99)00115-4
Jarvis, T., & Pell, A. (2005). Factors influencing elementary school children's attitudes toward science, before, during, and after a visit to the UK National Space Centre. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 42, 53-83. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tea.20045
Krishna, S., Francisco, B. D., Balas, E. A., Konig, P., Graff, G. R., & Madsen, R. W. (2003). Internet-enabled interactive multimedia asthma education program: A randomized trial. Pediatrics, 111, 503-510. http://dx.doi.org/10.1542/peds.111.3.503
Lennox, R. D., & Cecchini, M. A. (2008). The NARCONON drug education curriculum for high school students: A non-randomized, controlled prevention trial. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy [electronic], 3, 8. http://www.substanceabusepolicy.com/content/3/1/8 http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1747-597X-3-8
Lieberman, D. A. (2001). Management of chronic pediatric diseases with interactive health games: Theory and research findings. Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, 24, 26-38. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00004479-200101000-00004
Miller, L., Moreno, J., Willcockson, I., Smith, D., & Mayes, J. (2005). An online, interactive approach to teaching neuroscience to adolescents.CBE-Life Sciences Education, 5, 137-143. http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.05-08-0115
National Center for Education Statistics (2003). Trends in international mathematics and science study (TIMSS), mathematics and science achievement of fourth-graders between 1995 and 2003. http://nces.ed.gov/Timss/results03_fourth95.asp
National Institute on Drug Abuse (2000). Evaluation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign (No. N01DA-8-5063). Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Health.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (2003). Preventing drug use among children and adolescents: A research-based guide for parents, educators, and community leaders (2nd ed.). Bethesda, MD: US Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics.
O’Leary, S., Diepenhorst, L., Churley-Strom, R., & Magrane, D. (2005). Educational games in an obstetrics and gynecology core curriculum. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 193, 1848-1851. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2005.07.059
Reis, J., Riley, W., Lokman, L., & Baer, J. (2000). Interactive multimedia preventive alcohol education: A technology application in higher education. Journal of Drug Education, 30, 399-421. http://dx.doi.org/10.2190/LWMQ-9CQA-B78H-9MA7
Schinke, S. P., Orlandi, M. A., Schilling, R. F., & Parms, C. (1992). Feasibility of interactive videodisc technology to teach minority youth about preventing HIV infection. Public Health Reports, 107, 323-330.
Shegog R., Bartholomew, R. K., Parcel, G. S., Sockrider, M. M, Masse, L., & Abramson, S. L. (2001). Impact of a computer-assisted education program on factors related to asthma self-management behavior. Journal of the American Medical Informatics, 8, 49-61. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jamia.2001.0080049
Sigelman, C. K., Bridges, L. J., Leach, D. B., Mack, K. L., Rinehart, C. S., Sorongon, A. G., Brewster, A. B., & Wirtz, P. W. (2003). The efficacy of an education program to teach children a scientific theory of how drugs affect behavior. Applied Developmental Psychology, 24, 573-593. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2003.08.001
Strecher, V. J., Greenwood, T., Wang, C., & Dumont, D. (1999). Interactive multimedia and risk communication. Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs, 1999, 134-139. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.jncimonographs.a024188
United States Department of Education. (1998). Growing up drug free: A parents’ guide to prevention. Washington, DC: US Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program.
Wilson, N., Battistich, V., Syme, S. L., & Boyce, W. T. (2002). Does elementary school alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use increase middle school risk? Journal of Adolescent Health, 30, 442-447. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1054-139X(01)00416-5
Winters, K. C., Fawkes, T. Fahnhorst, A., Botzet, & August, G. (2007). A synthesis review of exemplary drug abuse prevention programs in the United States. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 32, 371380. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2006.10.002
Yuan, L., Manderson, L., Tempongko, M. S., Wei, W., & Aiguo, P. (2000). The impact of educational videotapes on water contact behavior of primary school students in the Dongting Lakes region, China. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 5, 538-544. http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-3156.2000.00602.x