• Image promoting the Smithsonian Science Education Center's new e-Book, Expedition: Insects

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

  • Meet a NASA Space Scientist

    Dr. Jennifer Stern is a Space Scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Katya Vines, a Science Curriculum Developer at the Smithsonian Science Education Center, recently interviewed Jen about her role on the Mars Curiosity Rover team and her path to becoming a space scientist. Some of Jen’s answers may surprise you!
    What was your favorite class in school?
    My favorite classes were actually visual arts and English. I loved painting with oils and did studio art every semester in school. In English, I mostly enjoyed Shakespeare and the Romantic poets.
    What inspired you to pursue a career in science?
    I wanted a career in which I could spend time outdoors and enjoy nature. I was curious about the natural world and also felt compelled to understand how we, as humans, are impacting it.
    What do you love most about science?
    I think science is very creative. Every answer brings more questions. The kind of science I am involved with is truly exploration because we're measuring things no one else has measured. In addition, the measurements we do get from Mars and other planets are few and far between, so there's a lot of creative problem solving in order to come up with the story to explain the data.