Life Science

Bear and cubs in the woods

With support from an NSF grant, Smithsonian Science Education Center developed the Science and Technology Concepts Program™ (STC™): A basal, science and engineering-practices centered program for grades K-10.

Physical Science

Water droplet 
Each STC™ unit provides opportunities for students to experience scientific phenomena firsthand. The units cover life, earth, and physical sciences with technology.

Earth & Space Science

Rocks in the sunset
Carolina Biological Supply Company creates kits for each STC™ unit, supporting the teacher with everything needed for meaningful learning experiences.

Innovation in Education

The Smithsonian Science Education Center received a 5-year, $30 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant to improve K-8 science education. We are working with researchers, communities, districts, schools, and teachers in three regions to evaluate the effectiveness of our inquiry-based science education model (LASER: Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform). 


A Community of Support 

The LASER model addresses classroom instruction using a research-based science curriculum with aligned professional development for teachers.  LASER also provides the entire support system with excellent science education. This prepares students for the opportunities of our 21st century economy.

Diversity of Classrooms 

Our goal is to develop practices and procedures that can be replicated in other schools, districts, and states. LASER i3 is currently working with over 75,000 students and 3,000 teachers from urban and rural schools in grades one through eight. Learn more

Smithsonian Institution

Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian is the world's largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. The Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) was established by the Smithsonian and the National Academies in 1985. Its mission is to improve the learning and teaching of science for all students in the United States and throughout the world. Go to the Smithsonian home page

  • HISD Schools Revisit Strategic Plans

    In an effort to maintain momentum, 21 LASER i3 Phase 1 school teams from HISD took part in a two-day Implementation Institute (II), a follow-up to their 2012 II. The 64 administrators, teachers, and community members gathered together to revisit, reevaluate, and revise their five-year strategic science plans they developed roughly two years ago.

    A Phase 1 school team

    “An II brings those teams back to delve deeper into portions of the strategic plan,” said SSEC Houston Regional Coordinator Kim Ottoson. “What stood out to me was when schools would call me and ask, ‘When is the II scheduled?’ ‘We want to be sure to include it on our campus calendars.’ ‘We don’t want to miss it!’”

    Peck Elementary Assistant Principal Mario Cantu explained that the II addressed the issue of teacher mobility.

    “The [strategic plan] can assist and guide the new teachers to continue with the Laseri3.” Adding that even though the LASER i3 grant is ending, “science instruction must continue with inquiry based, hands-on, and meaningful lessons to ensure students’ academic achievement.”