The Smithsonian Science Education Center’s inquiry-based approach to science education provides students in classrooms across the country and around the world with captivating, first-hand learning experiences. The Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER) Model leads to measurably higher student achievement in science by using research-based curriculum and professional services to improve science teaching and learning. The SSEC accomplishes this by providing a holistic support system underlying excellent, equitable, career-oriented science education through the LASER Model. The LASER Model describes the infrastructure necessary to effectively implement science education reform:

The LASER Model is at the core of all of the Smithsonian Science Education Center’s work and requires five elements: research-based, inquiry-driven curriculum, professional development, materials support, administrative and community support, and appropriate assessment. For more context, check out our infographic.
This educational approach is straightforward, revolutionary and results oriented. The SSEC’s portfolio of training programs, curricula, and resources have captured the attention of national and international experts. The SSEC provides an opportunity to change students’ attitudes, improve outcomes, and connect learning to future employment through the STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering, and math. 
If you would like to learn more about how the LASER Model is being implemented in a holistic manner, please visit our Regional Initiatives pages

About Professional Services

“Professional Services” refers to the activities offered by the Smithsonian Science Education Center to educators, administrators, and stakeholders aspiring to transform science education. These activities generally fall into one of two categories:
  1. Leadership Development-overarching experiences provided to educational leadership and stakeholders within a school or district. These events and experiences usually address the five elements of the LASER Model.
  2. Professional Development-workshops provided to teachers and centered around our STC™ curriculum and modeling inquiry science teaching methods; one of the five pillars of the LASER Model.
Click through to the Leadership Development and Professional Development pages to learn more.

Get Involved!

One of the unique characteristics of Professional Services programming is the opportunity for the student to become the teacher. Did you have a transformative experience at a Strategic Planning Institute? Share your interest with us and you might be recruited to serve as a novice presenter at an upcoming institute. Were you blown away by a STC™ kit training? Let us know and you could be invited to additional training to lead a workshop.

Contact Us

If you are interested in working with the SSEC to promote inquiry science in your region, contact the Professional Services Division at:
Smithsonian Science Education Center
Attn: Professional Services
901 D Street, SW, Suite 704-B
Washington, DC 20024
Phone: 202.633.2973
Email: SSECinfo@si.edu

What are people saying about our services?

“The most valuable part of the day was the team planning time -- the mentors are invaluable.”

The Change Game was an eye-opener for me.  The people here have an obvious passion for inquiry-based science, but it is going to take a while to instill that passion in others and inspire change. The game helped me understand the benefits of persistence, analyzing reactions/results, and made me glad to be a part of such a cohesive team.”

“Our team bonded well and accomplished a lot. The presentations and activities spurred good discussions.”


“[The Institute has taught me that] it is extremely important that our students love science- we need them to be globally competitive. I must, as a co-administrator, provide opportunities to expand content knowledge among elementary teachers.


“This institute […] has been tremendous in helping us to get a plan developed and wonderful ideas in place. Thanks to all. You guys are great! Well worth those long hours!”


“It's fabulous to have the studies to back our proposals! We are inspired, motivated, and ready to go, so having access to this information will most definitely help us move forward and present our ideas to stakeholders.”


“The most useful part of the experience was the ability to collaborate with others from my district regarding implementation for science inquiry.”