MSU curriculum earns highest rating for science standards alignment

March 19, 2018

Update: Another curriculum unit created by MSU researchers, from the Multiple Literacies in Project Based Learning project, earned the NGSS Design Badge. The third-grade unit is called “Why Do I See So Many Squirrels, But I Can’t Find Any Stegosauruses?”

The Achieve organization announced that Interactions, the ninth grade physical science curriculum developed through the CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University, has been awarded its first NGSS Design Badge.

Interactions was recognized for the quality of its Unit 1, the example CREATE submitted for review. Using a special rubric designed to evaluate how well materials meet the Next Generation Science Standards, Achieve gave the Interactions unit its highest rating of E: Example of high-quality NGSS design.

In announcing the award, Achieve noted that “many science instructional materials claim to be aligned to the NGSS with little or no evidence.” The NGSS Design Badge is intended to enable educators to make “smarter decisions about which instructional materials to use.”

“The Interactions team is honored to receive this recognition for our ground-breaking work in developing student and teacher materials,” said Joe Krajcik, Lappan-Phillips Professor of Science Education and director of CREATE for STEM. “Along with our partners at the Concord Consortium and Learning Partnerships, our goal was to embody the intent of the Framework for K-12 Science Education endorsed by the National Academies of Science.

“Our work represents a fundamental shift in how students learn, from learning about the facts of science to using science ideas and practices to make sense of phenomena and solve problems.”

Interactions helps high school students develop an integrated understanding of the forces and energetics involved in interactions that occur between atoms and molecules. It was one of the first projects funded by the National Science Foundation to develop instructional materials and strategies that focus on physical science core ideas identified in “A Framework for K-12 Science Education,” the College Board Standards for College Success and the NGSS.

Learn more about Interactions and other MSU efforts to improve Science Education for All in the New Educator magazine.

Related news

(Updated 3/5/20) The MSU team, called Next Generation Project-Based Learning or NextGen PBL, that created the Interactions curriculum is also now featured in Rivet Education group’s Professional Learning Partnership Guide. Interactions is one of only three science curricula identified as High-Quality Instructional Materials (HQIMs) in the guide, and the only secondary science offering.

The provider profile can be found by school districts nationwide and could eventually showcase other instructional materials developed by CREATE for STEM at MSU.