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

  • Bugs, Biomimicry, and Biodiversity

    A Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers event

    Two weeks ago, the Smithsonian museums and research facilities were filled with the sights and sounds of adults mimicking insect mating calls, hunting for organisms in brackish water, and allowing African Giant Millipedes to scurry across their willing hands.  These adults were participants in the Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEATS), week-long events focusing on the professional development of science educators. Emphasis is placed on inquiry-based teaching to facilitate effective learning in the sciences. Throughout the week, 20 teachers from all across the country gained a behind-the-scenes look at exhibits within the Smithsonian, participated in hands-on presentations with various scientists, and hiked through the historic Java Trail—land which has been used by Native Americans, colonists, and dairy farmers—all the while discovering creative ways to incorporate the overall theme of biodiversity into their classrooms.
    Biodiversity refers to the variety of different species within a region, and while the week included a look at creatures local to Washington, DC, the teachers were also given creative ideas and resources for completing similar tasks within their own cities.  EntomologistsNate Erwin, who was with the Smithsonian for 20 years and is currently a freelance biologist, and Gary Hevel, who has been with the Institution for 45 years, spent the day sharing their love of bugs. The participants were given a look into Gary’s 25-drawer project, a collection of over 4,000 different species obtained from his backyard over a period of four years. His collection included a golden bug hypothesized to be the star of an Edgar Allen Poe short story, a Sunset moth considered by most to be the prettiest of all the butterflies, and the largest beetle in the Eastern USA—aptly named the Hercules beetle.  He concluded his tour by encouraging the group and the public to go out, collect, record, and illustrate.  “There’s so many darn things out there!”

    Entomologist, Gary Hevel, displaying the beauty of the Sunset Moth.