Professional Learning Design Specifications

Science Professional Development for Teachers

Teacher participating in PD

These design specifications inform the development of a variety of professional learning experiences for teachers, including educative elements embedded within the curriculum and in-person professional development. They were created to guide the development of a set of OpenSciEd resources that offer a coherent and ongoing system of support as teachers engage in this important work. The resulting professional learning materials are designed to prepare teachers with the practical elements of enacting a curriculum for the first time and provide a vision for the long term goals of the OpenSciEd Project and the implementation of A Framework for K–12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). For a full description of the Professional Learning Design Specifications, download the document at the bottom of this page. 

Teachers collaborating on a lab

    • Provide images of classroom instruction. The professional learning experiences will use videos of classroom instruction and artifacts to illustrate what the curriculum looks like with a range of students. These images will highlight key aspects of the curriculum, such as the introduction of a phenomenon, or aspects that can be challenging for classroom instruction, such as engaging students in critique during argumentation. 


    • Offer the student perspective. The professional learning experiences will provide teachers with opportunities to experience 3D science instruction from the student perspective, such as developing models using the particulate nature of matter to explain phenomena (e.g., smell traveling across a room) or analyzing data on the properties of substances to determine whether or not a chemical reaction occurred (e.g., a nail rusting). 


  • Rethink approaches to science instruction. The professional learning experiences will help teachers think critically about the shifts called for by the NGSS. They will support teachers in learning about the shift from learning about to figuring out, in which the science practices serve as a learning goal in themselves as students make sense of the natural world.
Teachers trying out a lab investigation

    • Encourage teacher reflection and application. The professional learning experiences will support teacher reflection and application to their classrooms in relation to their previous teaching experiences, the needs of their students, and their own professional learning trajectory. 


    • Engage teachers in collaborative learning. The professional learning experiences will encourage teachers to collaborate with each other and with other stakeholders within their school system (e.g., instructional leaders, coaches). 


  • Provide a coordinated system of support. The professional learning experiences will be integrated with the teachers’ implementation of the OpenSciEd curriculum to provide a coordinated and aligned system of ongoing support. The professional learning experiences, including in-person PD, online support, and educative elements within the curriculum will provide multiple avenues for teacher support around different goals.