Open-Source Science Materials Aligned to College & Career Standards
In 2017 philanthropists, state leaders, and curriculum writers formed OpenSciEd to get materials to teachers implementing the Next Generation Science Standards, which emphasize hands-on projects and integrate several scientific disciplines. This past summer, OpenSciEd released its first set of materials, in the form of freely downloadable PDFs and GoogleDocs, for grades 6, 7, and 8. The release includes the first of six instructional units for these grade levels. Each unit includes videos, slide decks, student handouts, and assessments, as well as instructions for hands-on activities. The first set of units covers thermal energy (grade 6), metabolic reactions (grade 7), and sound waves (grade 8). A key feature of OpenSciEd’s instructional model is that students’ questions about scientific phenomena guide the lesson and activities. The plan is to release more units every six months until a three-year middle school curriculum is available by the winter of 2022. The consortium working on OpenSciEd includes developers from BSCS Science Learning, a nonprofit organization that creates curriculum materials and conducts research; Boston College; Northwestern University; TheUniversity of Texas at Austin; and Digital Promise, a nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to promote innovation in education.
Through the Young Inventors’ Program (YIP) at the University of New Hampshire, Leitzel Center, teachers guide students through the invention process to solve problems while applying STEM learning and gaining 21st-century skills.