Smithsonian Science Education Center

Go Back-to-School with Resources from the Smithsonian Science Education Center!

Science teachers, are you still preparing for the new school year? We've got you covered! We have curriculum, professional development, and digital media resources to help you start the new school year off right!

Smithsonian Science for the Classroom

Curriculum | Grades 1-5

Smithsonian Science for the Classroom was designed from the ground up to meet the Next Generation Science Standards.
Smithsonian Science for the Classroom was designed from the ground up to meet the Next Generation Science Standards. (Carolina Biological )

Smithsonian Science for the Classroom is a new curriculum developed by the Smithsonian Science Education Center. It is designed to engage, inspire, and connect your students firsthand to the world around them. The curriculum has been developed in consultation with teachers and field tested in a range of schools with diverse populations. It draws on the latest findings and best practices from educational research.

For decades, the Smithsonian Science Education Center has been a leader in providing curriculum, professional development, and leadership development in support of inquiry-based science education.

We developed Smithsonian Science for the Classroom to:

  • be designed from the ground up to meet the Next Generation Science Standards
  • be educative for teachers as they learn to implement new standards
  • incorporate findings from education research on how students learn
  • be centered on coherent storylines with a logical flow from lesson to lesson as students work toward explaining phenomena or designing solutions to problems
  • broaden access to world-class Smithsonian collections, experts, and resources
  • include instructional supports to ensure all students can meet the standards
  • incorporate a comprehensive assessment system to monitor student progress

Learn more: https://ssec.si.edu/smithsonian-science-for-the-classroom

Smithsonian Science Stories

Literacy Series | Grades 1-5

Beats and Banjos is one of the books in the Smithsonian Science Stories Literacy Series.
Beats and Banjos is one of the books in the Smithsonian Science Stories Literacy Series. (Smithsonian Science Education Center)

The Smithsonian Science Stories Literacy Series pairs with Smithsonian Science for the Classroom. The curriculum is designed to engage, inspire, and connect students firsthand to the world around them. Smithsonian Science Stories helps teachers link students’ science activities to learning in other areas of the curriculum, particularly history, language arts, and social studies. The full Smithsonian Science Stories Literacy Series has the following strands: life science, earth science, physical science, engineering design.

Learn more: https://ssec.si.edu/literacy-integration

STCMS

Curriculum | Grades 6-8

Science and engineering practices, teachable core ideas, and crosscutting concepts are integrated in every lesson.
Science and engineering practices, teachable core ideas, and crosscutting concepts are integrated in every lesson. (Carolina Biological )

Engage students in authentic science, technology, engineering, and math experiences using STCMS™ units. These hands-on, practice-based units are centered around specific bundles of Next Generation Science Standard Performance Expectations that result in coherent unit storylines that will engage your middle school students in the investigation of exciting phenomena. Whether your students are planning investigations and designing solutions to explore Newtonian physics through objects that roll, fall, and collide, or they are gathering evidence and making predictions about reproduction and heredity, STCMS is the only way to prepare your students to be the next generation of scientifically literate citizens.

Learn more: https://ssec.si.edu/stcms

Smithsonian Science for Global Goals

Curriculum | Ages 8-17

Smithsonian Science for Global Goals was field-tested and reviewed by subject matter experts, teachers, and students from around the world.
Smithsonian Science for Global Goals was field-tested and reviewed by subject matter experts, teachers, and students from around the world. (Smithsonian Science Education Center)

Smithsonian Science for Global Goals is a new freely available curriculum developed by the Smithsonian Science Education Center in partnership with the InterAcademy Partnership. It uses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to focus on sustainable actions that are student-defined and implemented.

The Smithsonian Science Education Center, attempting to empower the next generation of decision makers capable of making the right choices about the complex socio-scientific issues facing human society, blends together previous practices in Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE), Social Studies Education (SSE), Global Citizenship Education (GCE), and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

Smithsonian Science for Global Goals modules are:

  • Developed to be region- and grade-level-agnostic, meaning that teachers across the world teaching students from ages 8-17 will be able to engage in this material
  • Field-tested and reviewed by subject matter experts, teachers, and students from around the world
  • Available in multiple languages
  • Freely available on the Smithsonian Learning Lab, a digital tool, that allows all students around the world, regardless of background or national origin, to access the world-class educative materials
  • An opportunity to learn first-hand from researchers working on the problem from around the world
  • Engages students in inquiry-based experiences in their local community
  • Presenting the problem through multiple perspectives (social, ethical, economic, environmental).
  • Built on a rich storyline that begins with students creating an Identity Map and Defining the Problem, and ends with the development of an Action Plan.

Learn more: https://ssec.si.edu/global-goals

Next Steps Institute

Advanced Professional and Leadership Development | Open to all educators

The 2018 Next Steps Institute  will be held in Colorado Springs, CO from October 10-12, 2018.
(Smithsonian Science Education Center)

The 2018 Next Steps Institute will be held in Colorado Springs, CO from October 10-12, 2018. This institute, hosted by the Smithsonian Science Education Center and the South Carolina Coalition for Mathematics and Science (SCCMS), is an advanced professional and leadership development institute designed to provide a rich science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning experience for educators while supporting them to grow their professional network.

The goals of the Institute is to:

  • Showcase successful strategies for engaging schools and communities in STEM.
  • Think and inspire new ideas.
  • Engage in dialogue as partners and colleagues.
  • Make new connections with people and ideas.

Learn more: https://ssec.si.edu/event/next-steps-stem-learning-and-leadership-colorado-springs-co

Quick Tips for Teachers

Video Series | For teachers

"Quick Tips" was filmed with real teachers that use STC™ in their classrooms.
"Quick Tips" was filmed with real teachers that use STC™ in their classrooms. (Smithsonian Science Education Center)

"Quick Tips: Resources for Teachers” is a series of short videos providing down-to-earth advice and instructional tips to teachers of STC™, our signature science curriculum. Each “Quick Tip” offers practical suggestions by experienced teachers for handling materials or managing classrooms in science investigations.

Watch here: https://ssec.si.edu/quick-tips

Good Thinking! The Science of Teaching Science

Video Series | For teachers

Each episode of Good Thinking! is grounded in findings from peer-reviewed science and education research, has been vetted by experts, and was developed with national standards in mind.
Each episode of Good Thinking! is grounded in findings from peer-reviewed science and education research, has been vetted by experts, and was developed with national standards in mind. (Smithsonian Science Education Center)

Have you ever wished you could see into the minds of your students? We’ve partnered with FableVision Studios to create a new animated series that helps teachers do just that, with Good Thinking! The Science of Teaching Science.

This original web series is designed to support K-12 science educators through targeted short-format videos that explore common student ideas and misconceptions about a range of science topics such as energy, chemical reactions, and natural selection, as well as pedagogical subjects like student motivation and the myth of left and right-brained people.

Each episode is grounded in findings from peer-reviewed science and education research, has been vetted by experts, and was developed with national standards in mind. Whether you’re looking to refresh your content knowledge before beginning a new unit, or to pick up tips to refine and enhance your teaching practices, we believe great science education begins with Good Thinking!

Watch now: https://ssec.si.edu/goodthinking

Girls and Women in STEM

Activities and Resources | Grades 1-8

It is our belief that firsthand experiences in STEM will serve girls and young women well–so that the young girls of today, will be the history-makers of tomorrow.
It is our belief that firsthand experiences in STEM will serve girls and young women well–so that the young girls of today, will be the history-makers of tomorrow. (Smithsonian Science Education Center, FHI360, JA Worldwide, and Johnson & Johnson)

Women have influenced eras and changed nations. Throughout history, women have made extensive contributions in STEM. Whether it is Sally Ride, who transformed history by being the first American woman to fly into space, or Katherine Johnson, whose historical contributions to STEM were captured in "Hidden Figures." The STEM fields should be open to all. Yet, across the US there is a lack of gender diversity in STEM fields. Although women made up 57.2 percent of all professional workers in 2015, they comprised only 46.6 percent of science professionals, 24.7 percent of computer and math professionals, and 15.1 percent of engineering and architecture professionals. The scarcity of women in STEM fields is a long-standing and persistent problem.

This web page is designed to provide STEM resources for all students–girls and boys. It is our belief that firsthand experiences in STEM will serve girls and young women well–so that the young girls of today, will be the history-makers of tomorrow.

To learn more about one of the initiatives we are involved in, which seeks to cultivate females' STEM, manufacturing, and design (STEM2D) interests at an early age and help them continue to grow and develop in these areas, led by a network of volunteers from across Johnson & Johnson and its local operating companies, click below.

Learn more: https://ssec.si.edu/girls-and-women-in-stem

Explore Smithsonian

Video Series | Grades 3-8

Each video in this series is designed for use in the classroom by highlighting a driving question and following Smithsonian scientists as they go about the process of science.
Each video in this series is designed for use in the classroom by highlighting a driving question and following Smithsonian scientists as they go about the process of science. (Smithsonian Science Education Center)

Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at the science and research of the Smithsonian Institution. Each video in this series is designed for use in the classroom by highlighting a driving question and following Smithsonian scientists as they go about the process of science. Viewers are taken from the waters of the Chesapeake Bay at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, to the Chandra Telescope Mission Control Center at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Viewers even get to visit the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoological Park to learn about the types of adaptations pandas, like Bao Bao, have for their distinctive bamboo diet.

Learn more: https://ssec.si.edu/explore-smithsonian

Game Center

Games and Interactives | Grades K-8

You can find more games like Disaster Detector in our Game Center!
You can find more games like Disaster Detector in our Game Center! (Smithsonian Science Education Center)

Check out our Game Center to find the latest games and interactives developed by the Smithsonian Science Education Center. Our games are designed for classroom use, aligned to national science standards with clear learning objectives, and are available for free online or for download on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

Learn more: https://ssec.si.edu/game-center

Be sure to follow us throughout the year as we add more resources designed to transform the teaching and learning of science!

Ashley Deese

Ashley Deese is the Manager of Digital Media at the Smithsonian Science Education Center, a part of the Smithsonian Institution, where she leads the digital media team throughout the production and distribution of Smithsonian STEM products such as game apps, interactives, and videos for children around the world.

Ashley is a voting member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a member of the Smithsonian Networks Review Committee for Smithsonian Channel, a Smithsonian unit editor for the Smithsonian Magazine Voices blog, member of the digital advisory board for the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative, the Smithsonian representative for the White House’s Computer Science for All initiative, and the co-chair for Smithsonian Gaming. She has helped fundraise for digital development and served as a co-principal investigator for several grants related to game development. She has presented her game apps around the Smithsonian, DC, and across the United States. She earned her BS in Biology from Methodist University and a MA in Interactive Media from Elon University.

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