News Articles: 30

New Mexico Teacher, Once a Lab Scientist, Applies Real Science to Lessons

My first career was not in teaching. I worked in an HIV Lab in New York City for five years before returning to my home in New Mexico in 2012. While away, I had developed a passion for science, and became convinced that one way I could make a contribution to the community I loved might be to help spark that passion in young people. I wanted to show students that science is more than the boring, read-and-take-notes course that I was subjected to in my youth.

And now, as more people express skepticism for data, I also want to help young people learn how you go about validating it; to understand that data is real and that understanding how to document and interpret it can give one real power.

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Kentucky District Devastated by Tornado Is a National Model for Science Teaching

I, Shusheela Valdez, recently had the pleasure of joining the Knowledge Matters School Tour on a visit to Graves County, Kentucky — just down the road from where, a year ago, Mayfield, Kentucky was decimated by a Category 4 tornado. The School Tour traveled to this little community in the southwest corner of the state because of the reputation it had received as a model district for implementation of the OpenSciEd curriculum. We wanted to see what that looked like and learn how it happened.

For the last eight years, I have trained educators from Kentucky to California on implementing OpenSciEd, a high quality open source curriculum aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the instruction in Graves County — and the elegant way in which this amazing curriculum came to life — was the strongest I’ve seen anywhere.

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Louisiana Grad Returns to Old Middle School: ‘I Wish I Had Been Taught This Way’

When you walk into a science classroom at West Feliciana Middle School you will likely see a lot of excited engagement — with students exploring scientific phenomena and making observations about what they see, asking questions and making predictions about the world around them, and conducting experiments to answer their research questions. These activities model the methods of a professional scientific researcher and, while relatively new to the school, are becoming commonplace for our student body.

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In California, ‘Slow and Steady’ Is Winning With a Tougher Science Curriculum

Developing a sense of curiosity was the expectation in my house, so science had always been a part of my life. But, it wasn’t always my favorite class. So it’s been my goal as an educator to change that experience for students — to inspire them with the kind of science education that fills them with a sense of wonder, and to give them the agency that they, too, can be scientists, if they so choose.

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OpenSciEd receives all-green rating from EdReports for their Middle School Curriculum

EdReports gave the OpenSciEd Middle School program green ratings on all three benchmarks: designed for the Next Generation Science Standards; coherence and scope; and usability. Green ratings represent the highest ranking in EdReports’ review system for science programs in grades 6-8.

“We can now confirm with complete confidence that every middle school teacher has access to free, high-quality science curriculum,” said James Ryan, Executive Director of OpenSciEd. “We believe this recognition by EdReports, a trusted external review source, will mean a lot to the nearly 50,000 teachers who are currently using our materials in classrooms nationwide. And we suspect that many more teachers will turn to this program as they aim to engage and inspire students while meeting the demands of challenging science standards.” 

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OpenSciEd Announces Development of Elementary Science Program

OpenSciEd’s suite of high-quality K-12 science materials is growing once again – this time in service of the country’s youngest science learners. This fall, OpenSciEd will launch the development of an elementary science program, designed to support teachers in engaging students’ natural curiosities and interests about the world. The complete (grades K-5) program will meet the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and include ELA/literacy and math integrations. It will be freely available by spring 2026. 

Northwestern University will lead a developers consortium – including BSCS Science Learning, Carolina Biological Supply Company, Horizon Research, Inc., Michigan State University, Oakland University, and The University of Texas at Austin – to create, field-test, revise, and publicly release units over the next four years. The consortium will also provide professional learning opportunities and open source resources to address the pressing needs of elementary teachers and support their effective implementation of the science materials.

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OpenSciEd Research Community facilitated by Digital Promise

You’re invited to join a new OpenSciEd Research Community facilitated by Digital Promise! This community builds on Digital Promise’s research agenda work over the last two years. We’re developing a network of partnered innovators, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers in order to support OpenSciEd-enabled research, build cross-sector collaboration, and promote OpenSciEd innovations that support students, teachers, and districts. We strongly encourage educators and researchers from historically and systematically excluded populations to participate, so that your voices and perspectives will be heard and represented. Learn more, read our recent blog post, and join the community here.

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OpenSciEd Certifies ECA Science Kit Services as an OER Kit Provider

OpenSciEd has established a new partnership with ECA Science Kit Services to offer school districts the option to purchase Ready-to-Teach science kits. The ECA Ready-to-Teach kits are built for the open education resource version of the OpenSciEd curriculum that is free and accessible online to all districts.

ECA’s Ready-to-Teach science kits for the OpenSciEd freely available curriculum, include:

  • Prepared Materials: Items are prepped in advance to save teachers’ time! (Such as Box Models (Unit 6.1), Bath Bombs (Unit 7.1), Driving Question Board Supplies and more!)
  • Teacher-Supplied Materials: ECA includes items indicated as “optional” or “locally sourced,” saving the district money and time.
  • Easy Replenishment: ECA’s core business is their unique replenishment services. ECA offers a variety of refill options to allow for easy replenishment of kits.
  • Individual Student Packets: Individual student packets are available for Virtual Academies or Remote Learning Models
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OpenSciEd Releases Complete Open Source Middle School Science Curriculum

OpenSciEd, an effort led by 10 partner states, science educators, curriculum developers, and philanthropic organizations to improve the supply of and demand for high-quality K12 science materials, announced the public release of its freely available middle school science program. The three years of classroom materials are comprised of 18 units of instruction and have been externally evaluated by NextGenScience at WestEd and are listed as examples of quality materials on

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Carolina Biological Supply Company Partners with OpenSciEd to Offer High-Quality Science Materials

Leading school science supplier Carolina Biological partners with nonprofit science developer OpenSciEd to launch a Certified Version of OpenSciEd science units for Grades 6-8 with complete lab kits, and print and digital teaching resources. OpenSciEd’s mission is to give teachers the materials, support, and power to get kids excited and curious about the world around them and confident in their ability to figure it out through questioning, investigating, and solving problems. As educators are challenged to implement new science standards, the Carolina Certified Version of OpenSciEd is a unique offering that provides ease-of-use and enhanced support through complete kits with digital, print, and hands-on materials so teachers don’t have to spend time shopping for lab materials. The new version will be available to schools for purchase through Carolina for the 2022-23 school year.

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COVID-19 Is a Science Lesson Waiting to Happen

With many children coming into the 2020-21 school year with feelings of isolation & despair, these four teachers share with EducationWeek, their experiences teaching a COVID unit. The teachers celebrate covering science literacy, SEL, inequities, community safety, and connecting the teaching of COVID to science standards.  Two of these teachers highlight OpenSciEd’s COVID-19 units for middle and high school.

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OPINION: Distrust of science in the coronavirus era reminds us why we must boost elementary science education

Jim Ryan and Janet Carlson address how critical it is for science educators to prepare our entire population to apply the practices and knowledge of science in novel ways, including working together to solve vexing and complex problems like pandemics and climate change. Current and future challenges will require all of us to use scientific ideas and practices to develop solutions. Leaders in both the private and public sectors recognize the need for a diverse group of scientists, technologists and engineers to create solutions informed by different perspectives that resonate with all of society. To meet this need, we must start young. We must make certain that all students see themselves as scientists, and that all students in all grades receive a robust, culturally relevant science education. Read more in The Hechinger Report

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OpenSciEd Unit highlighted as quality example in National Academies report

Science educators, professional organizations, non-profits, and philanthropic organizations have devoted countless hours and resources to making the vision of the Framework a reality. The efforts have provided a growing compendium of resources for curriculum, professional development, and assessment many of which are freely available online. There are also many local, regional, and national networks of science educators who are supporting each other in vibrant communities of practice as they work to implement high-quality science learning and teaching in their classrooms. Learn about our work Read the full report

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Call to Action for Science Education: Building Opportunity for the Future

This report makes recommendations for state and federal policy makers on ways to support equitable, productive pathways for all students to thrive and have opportunities to pursue careers that build on scientific skills and concepts. Call to Action for Science Education challenges the policy-making community at state and federal levels to acknowledge the importance of science, make science education a core national priority, and empower and give local communities the resources they must have to deliver a better, more equitable science education. Download the full report

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Fort Dodge schools starting new science curriculum

Students in the Fort Dodge Community School District will notice more opportunities to work and learn like scientists in their classrooms this fall. In May, the FDCSD Board of Education approved the adoption of new science curricula for the entire district. The program will largely be from free, open-source curriculum developers, saving the district hundreds of thousands of dollars in textbooks that need to be updated every few years. The students at Fort Dodge Middle School will learn from the OpenSciEd curriculum. Read more at The Messenger.

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New Investigations Now Available for Middle School Science Teachers to Help Engage Students in Three-Dimensional Learning

Vernier Software & Technology is offering new, robust investigations to help middle school teachers engage students in science as they learn in the classroom or they continue to learn from home. These resources include seven free downloadable teaching supplements that enhance the digital curricular units available through OpenSciEd, a nonprofit that provides free high-quality open educational resources. Each of the seven units includes more than a dozen ready-to-go investigations that support the three-dimensional learning approach. Read more at eSchool News.

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New $7 million initiative seeks to spark curiosity in K-12 science students

CU Boulder will lead a new $7 million effort to develop innovative, free and open access science curriculum materials for high school students across the U.S. The materials, which will align with national education standards (NGSS), include units that will encourage young people to ask and answer their own questions about topics ranging from ocean acidification to antibiotic resistant bacteria in hospitals. Over three years, the project team, led by CU Boulder’s William Penuel, will develop three full-year courses in high school biology, chemistry and physics, with earth and space sciences integrated throughout and be released as free units to the science community. The team hopes that the effort will help to ensure that all students, and especially those from groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences, can have access to a high-quality science education. Read more at The University of Colorado Boulder.


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Free Middle School Unit Explores COVID-19 and Health

A partnership between OpenSciEd and BSCS Science Learning, two organizations deeply committed to transforming science education, have released a beta version of a new instructional unit on COVID-19 and health. The free units were collaboratively designed to help students learn how people help end pandemics. Learn more and download the units at The Journal

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OpenSciEd, Kendall Hunt Expand Existing Partnership

OpenSciEd and Kendall Hunt first formed a manufacturing and distribution partnership in 2019. Since then, the two have strengthened their partnership allowing Kendall Hunt to become an OpenSciEd Certified partner, offering customized versions of the high-quality OpenSciEd middle school science units. These new offerings will be available to the open education resource market this fall. To learn more, visit the Certified Distributors page.

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Activate Learning Partners with OpenSciEd to provide an Interactive Digital Edition and Material Kits for Middle School Science

Activate Learning has partnered with OpenSciEd to deliver OpenSciEd middle school science as an interactive digital edition on the Activate Learning Digital Platform. Activate Learning will make available for purchase OpenSciEd science material kits for middle school units. Learn more about the partnership. To learn more, visit the Certified Distributors page.

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Tuva Partners with OpenSciEd to Engage Middle School Students with Authentic Datasets and Tools

OpenSciEd is partnering with Tuva, the leading data literacy instructional platform, to catalyze data literacy and bring authentic datasets and interactive data tools into its middle grades curriculum. Through this partnership, a selection of Tuva datasets will be integrated with OpenSciEd lessons and investigations and be freely available to all districts, schools, teachers, and students. The Tuva datasets will be included in the following units upon public release: 6.5 Natural Hazards, 7.6 Earth’s Resources & Human Impact, and 8.5 Genetics.

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Vernier Software & Technology Partners with OpenSciEd to Engage Middle School Students in Three-Dimensional Learning

Vernier Software & Technology has partnered with OpenSciEd to make it easy for middle school teachers to integrate Vernier data-collection technology into OpenSciEd’s lessons, which align with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Through the partnership, teachers can now use Vernier sensors with OpenSciEd’s curriculum to engage students in hands-on learning as they develop an even deeper understanding of important scientific concepts.

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Weymouth pilots new middle school science curriculum

Weymouth, MA is one of seven districts participating in a three-year pilot to use a new curriculum called OpenSciEd which proponents say has the potential to revolutionize science education. Five of the school’s 10 seventh and eighth grade science teachers are part of the pilot. “When you look at it as a philosophy for student learning, it’s a no-brainer,” Weymouth Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Director Terri Fleming said, adding that it encourages 21st-century problem solving. “It’s what colleges are asking for. It’s what corporations are looking for,”

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Finding High-Quality Science Materials

In this article, Lori Andersen shares three key features that help to distinguish high-quality, NGSS-aligned science teaching materials from other materials: 1) sequence of activities 2) use of the three dimensions and 3) supporting sensemaking.

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OpenSciEd Releases OER MS Science Curriculum

OpenSciEd released the first round of middle school science units covering “thermal energy,” “metabolic reactions” and “sound waves.” The units have passed evaluation by Achieve’s Science Peer Review Panel (which has reviewed almost 300 units and given the top seal of approval to just 14, including these three) and are listed as examples of quality materials on

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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. 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; The University of Texas at Austin; and Digital Promise, a nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to promote innovation in education.

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Open Source for Opening Minds

This article describes OpenSciEd, as a partnership of 10 states, a consortium of curriculum developers, and science education leaders and experts working to create a complete set of robust, research-based, open-source, K-12 science instructional materials and professional learning supports to increase accessibility for all teachers and students. The instructional materials are being designed not as stand-alone units but as a full coherent sequence that builds across units and across years. OpenSciEd is designed to shift teachers’ and students’ vision of science. instruction and science learning. The professional learning approaches are not just about learning to use the instructional materials, but about supporting teachers to learn new instructional strategies that will better support every student in learning science.

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Nationwide project provides free science materials to meet California’s new standards

A new nationwide effort is trying to speed up that process by offering free, open source science materials to teachers and schools. “Some districts are looking at OpenSciEd saying ‘We don’t have to spend a million dollars,’” said Phillip Lafontaine, a regional director with K-12 Alliance at WestEd and project director for OpenSciEd in California. “That’s the whole point of open source materials.”

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Teachers Nationwide Now Have Access to Open-Source Science Curriculum

When Susan McClarty’s district made the switch to open educational resources, the 6th and 7th grade science teacher at Centennial Middle School in Broken Arrow, Okla., initially struggled to find quality materials aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. “We were kind of wading through water, trying to create something out of nothing,” she said. But last school year, her school participated in a field test for a new, open-source middle grades science curriculum: OpenSciEd. The units were easy to use and emphasized hands-on discovery, she said, and using them took the pressure off of teachers to shape a coherent curriculum.

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Successful Implementation of High-Quality Instructional Materials 5 Case Studies

This report examines five different approaches to successful professional learning as it relates to the implementation of high-quality instructional materials. Through each of the 5 case studies, lessons learned are shared that districts and school leaders should consider as they prepare teachers and provide them with the knowledge and skills to ensure that the adoption of high-quality instructional materials translates into improvements in student achievement.

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