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 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
Smithsonian Science Stories
Literacy Series | Grades 1-5
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
Curriculum | Grades 6-8
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 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
Smithsonian Science for Makerspaces
Activities | Grades 1-5
Smithsonian Science for Makerspaces is a series of free engineering design challenges for students to engage with emerging technologies through hands-on learning. Inspired by Smithsonian Science for the Classroom, these activities bridge formal science education and the makerspace movement by helping educators and teachers engage with digital and physical technologies within the context of science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) by asking them to make something new.
Smithsonian Science for Makerspaces include 3-D models and thoughtfully designed lesson plans that will guide educators and students throughout the engineering design process by observing, making, designing and testing solutions to a problem.
- Use Smithsonian resources to introduce the topics
- Teacher support is provided through step-by-step instructions
- Aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards
- Available for free
- Designed for grades 1-5
- Can be used in the classroom and makerspaces
Learn more: https://ssec.si.edu/makerspaces
Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers
Professional Development | Open to all educators
The Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEATs) bridge the gap between the SSEC’s formal science education programs and informal education programs at the Smithsonian museums and research facilities.
Teachers from around the country venture to Washington, DC, for a weeklong course going behind the scenes at the Smithsonian’s museums and world-class research facilities. The academies combine training in science pedagogy with content presented by scientists and researchers who are experts in their fields. Recent Academy topics include Biodiversity, Energy’s Innovations and Implications, and Earth’s History and Global Change. The goals of SSEATs include:
- Improving teacher understanding of scientific concepts pertaining to each academy
- Providing teachers with pedagogical approaches to increase student achievement
- Engaging teachers in dialogue with scientists and engineers in the field
- Familiarizing teachers with Smithsonian resources to support the teaching and learning of science
Learn more: https://ssec.si.edu/professional-development
Quick Tips for Teachers
Video Series | For teachers
"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
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
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
Video Series | Grades 3-8
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
Games and Interactives | Grades K-8
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!
Note: This blog post was originally published on August 30, 2018 and was updated on August 21, 2019 for the 2019-20 school year.