Updates from the Smithsonian Science Education Center 
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Coming soon: Zika!, an online, inquiry-based science education curriculum  

The Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) won a $145,000 grant award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to develop Zika!, an online, inquiry-based science education (IBSE) curriculum module for K-8 teachers and students to address the challenges and mitigation of mosquito-borne illnesses, with a particular and timely focus on the Dengue and Zika viruses. Supported by the scientific expertise of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama, as well as the scientific and international expertise of the Science Education Programme Global Council (SEP) of the InterAcademies Partnership (IAP), this curriculum module is made up of a series of IBSE lessons adaptable for grades K-8 and will draw on the scientific and pedagogical expertise of the Smithsonian’s SSEC and STRI research and education facilities. It will be disseminated by the SSEC, STRI, IMP, and IAP/SEP websites as a free online resource. Learn more about the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Just Launched: A New Phase of NGSS Development 

On November 28thSSEC launched a new phase of its Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) curriculum development project. Now that five new engineering modules have been developed and field tested, SSEC is starting work on nine new science modules. Our development team will focus on providing examples and careful walk-throughs of the approach to developing coherent storylines that engage students in the 3 dimensions of NGSS: practices, core ideas, and crosscutting concepts. 


SSEC Director, Dr. Carol O’Donnell, and Division Director of Professional Services, Dr. Amy D’Amico, travelled to Mexico City, Mexico for a two-day seminar of the results and lessons learned from the LASER Investing in Innovation (i3) Validation study. Read more on STEMvisions

Dr. Carol O’Donnell provided the keynote address for the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Counties (OCM) Boards of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) It’s Go Time: Seeing the Future through the New New York State Science Learning Standards (NYSSLS). O’Donnell’s presentation helped conference attendees understand the importance of K-12 science education, which is grounded in the new standards, and share the results of SSEC’s recent large-scale LASER i3 study that illustrates the benefits of a cohesive, practice-focused science program. Learn more

A Chinese Delegation of 25 individuals from the Xining City Bureau of Education visited the SSEC. The delegation was on a study trip to learn about STEM education, K-12 course design, and teaching practices in the United States. Dr. Amy D’Amico, Science Education Research Specialist, Jean Flanagan, and Program Specialist, Alberto Lopez, provided the delegation a brief introduction of the SSEC, LASER, our curriculum, professional development, and leadership development. 
Curriculum Developer, Dr. Katya Vines, presented at the South Carolina Science Council. Vines led a 3-hour workshop on engineering practices using hands on activities from Smithsonian Science for the Classroom engineering modules. Teachers also learned how to identify crosscutting concepts through doing hands on activities from Smithsonian Science for the Classroom.

Free Resource 
Morphy and his fellow alien crew have crash-landed on a foreign planet! His crewmembers evacuated at different times and are now missing. Help Morphy locate the crewmembers so that they can repair their spaceship. Morphy! is a life science game that teaches students that animals have external structures that function to support survival and behavior.
Download Now

Featured Video
Good Thinking!: ‘Tis the Season for a Reason investigates common student difficulties in understanding the cause of the seasons as well as common pitfalls and helpful approaches. 

Each episode of Good Thinking! is grounded in findings from peer-reviewed science and education research, has been vetted by experts, and was developed with national standards in mind. 
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