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.
With the new Mission to Marsapp for iOS, users can drive a rover, walk the Martian surface, and play robot geologist, all in augmented reality. The Mission to Mars appoffers seven experiences, starting with an overview of Martian geography.
Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants aims to inspire the next generation of scientists, explorers, and conservationists by bringing science, exploration, adventure, and conservation live into classrooms through virtual speakers and fieldtrips with leading experts across the globe.
Cohosted by Astronaut Cady Coleman and physicist/author Andrew Maynard, Mission: Interplanetary, explores the “big questions”—the challenges, opportunities, and mysteries facing us as we seek to build positive futures here on Earth and beyond.