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.
Each STC™ unit provides opportunities for students to experience scientific phenomena firsthand. The units cover life, earth, and physical sciences with technology.
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
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.
Some professionals may be a little bit jealous that teachers get the summer off. Well, teachers don’t necessarily get the whole summer off. Laser i3 school districts in North Carolina, Texas, and New Mexico are currently undergoing summer professional development that brings the teachers back into the classroom and puts them on the other side of the desk.
Two groups of teachers participated in training in Houston, Texas, last week. The first participants were elementary and middle school teachers whose schools are currently using units from the Science and Technology Concepts (STC)TM curriculum. The sessions focused on deepening content knowledge through inquiry while strengthening pedagogy, exploring student thinking, and learning to address misconceptions in a peer-to-peer setting. For example, in grades 1 and 2, they may teach students about clouds in a unit on weather. Learning would focus on different types of clouds, some names of clouds, and what the different types look like. To increase background knowledge, the facilitators and co-facilitators introduce some higher-level content, like under what type of pressure and density conditions the clouds form and how convection in the atmosphere helps create the weather that we experience around us. The discussions on pressure and density are not designed to be taken back and taught in a first- or second-grade classroom; rather, they give the teachers a richer foundation of understanding and more of the backstory that relates to the subjects they teach.