Lawrence Hall of Science and UC Botanical Garden are among 45 institutions nationwide to receive four-year grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
The grants are part of an $8 million program to bring science to life for young people.
The largest of the 45 grants went to Lawrence Hall of Science, which will use its $475,000 award to develop an interactive medical mystery festival in which students solve epidemiological whodunits.
With its $175,000 award, UC Botanical Garden plans to establish long-term partnerships with up to six local public schools. The garden will develop two curriculum packages-for grades 1 to 3 and 4 to 7-using California plant communities to teach the importance of biodiversity.
The Hughes Institute grant program aims to boost the quality of science education by designing means for students to carry out their own scientific investigations, rather than relying on textbooks alone.
"Museums, botanical gardens, zoos and aquariums," said Hughes Institute president Purnell W. Choppin, "have a wealth of special resources and scientific expertise to assist schools and community groups."
Over 500 institutions throughout the country were invited to participate in the competition. Winners were selected from among 239 proposals.