UA and CFSD teaming up for sleep study

Published: Oct. 6, 2015 at 2:08 PM MST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2015 at 4:12 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The University of Arizona is working with the Catalina Foothills School District in the largest-ever sleep study on elementary school students' sleep habits and STEM learning.

The "Z-Factor" project, will involve developing students' interest in STEM while also studying sleeping habits of more than 500 students.

Charlotte Ackerman, a teacher leader for science and engineering in CFSD, said she's seen how the lack of sleep affects students.

"We actually have children who go down to the nurses office, lie down on the sofa and go to sleep. I've had children and teachers tell me children put their heads down on the table and go to sleep during school," Ackerman said. She will work as the liaison between researchers, students and parents throughout this study.

Students will wear a watch like monitoring device and all of the data collected will be condensed by a web-based software called 'MySleep.'

MySleep, designed by Janet Meiling Roveda, a UA associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, gives students an online platform to look at things such as how long they sleep and how much time they spend in front of a computer. Students will then use this data in their science class. 
Parents will also be able to use this to learn about their child's sleeping patterns.

Researchers and CFSD say they hope this interactive approach using the topic of sleep will get students interested in STEM fields at a young age..

"We hope that they are, separate from sleep, that they are interested in asking their own questions and get curious about something that is passionate to them. So that they continue taking courses in the stem fields," said Michelle Perfect, associate professor in the College of Education's Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies.

The study isn't ready to start yet, but researchers said they're already getting interest from schools across the country wanting to implement this curriculum in their classrooms.

"The grant is a three year project because we have extensive work to develop he curriculum. We're developing software as well. Then we need to field test it, pilot it. And most importantly very serious evaluation of does this work.p to excite children about science," Ackerman said.

This $1.2 million dollar project is funded by the  National Science Foundation's Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers.