Students working collaboratively to figure out hail. Many considerations must be taken into account when designing instructional materials to create a product that lives up to the expectations of students, teachers, schools, and districts. There are the obvious and necessary elements that must be addressed, such as standards, scope and sequence, instructional model, and pacing. OpenSciEd instructional materials are thoughtfully constructed with all of these considerations and constraints in mind. Yet, these elements are not enough. Instructional materials must have a classroom vision, an image of how students will engage with the content and what type of discourse students will engage in, and a sense of what a teacher needs to make standards come alive.

Student Exploring a Speaker

OpenSciEd’s beliefs about science learning and vision of the classroom are embodied in our Design Specifications. Specifications describe what we want science learning to look like for every student, and therefore guide our materials development process and implementation support. The topics addressed range from equitable science instruction and the centrality of asking questions to meeting practical needs and constraints of a classroom. These specifications are based on A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the resulting Next Generation Science Standards, including the emphasis on three-dimensional learning that integrates science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas. 

The chapters in the Design Specifications were developed by the collaborative teams listed below. Each team had one or two designated leads and several members selected for their expertise by OpenSciEd Developer Consortium and State Steering Committee members. Their work was coordinated by Daniel Edelson and Audrey Mohan. Final editing was conducted by OpenSciEd.

Design Specification Credits