What's up for SY21-22! The shift to a provide a common sequence of units for grades K2-8 was a success and will continue! Students received equitable access to high quality standards aligned science instructional materials at similar times across the district. Teachers from across the district were able to collaborate on the same units at the same time. The Science Materials Center distribution operations were streamlined and allowed for timely attention to requests. The long awaited move from FOSS to OpenSciEd for grades 6-8 will begin. (See below for more details.) The STE team, along with a trained group of teachers, will continue to evaluate curricular units to inform decisions for potential field testing and ultimately recommendations for adoption and implementation.
Below, please find very brief descriptions of the K2-5 science instructional modules available to schools. To learn more about the modules, you may click the provided links.
For K2-8 BPS STE teachers, the SY21-22 sequence and distribution of science instructional units document, includes links to many additional supporting resources, including the most up-to-date pacing and scope and sequence documents.
Teachers looking for resources to support outdoor learning and make use of outdoor classrooms, click here to access BPS's Outdoor Education website.
Teachers looking for BPS developed Climate Curriculum Lessons, click here.
Elementary School Curricular Units K2 Materials & Motion (physical science) This module “students investigate the anchor phenomenon that objects are made of materials...and how material properties determine their use. … The driving questions for the module are what is made of wood, paper, and fabric, and how are the properties of those materials useful to us? Students come to understand that humans use natural resources for everything they do and that people impact the world around them. (Materials & Motion Overview, p. 1)
Animals 2x2 (life science) This module provides “students with close and personal interaction with some common land and water animals. ...Students learn what animals need to survive and the relationship between their needs and where they live.” (Animals Two by Two Overview, p.1)
First grade Air & Weather (earth science) This module provides students with learning experiences that “will heighten their awareness, curiosity, and understanding of Earth’s dynamic atmosphere and the observable patterns of objects in the sky. … Students build on the science concepts of weather and how the Sun warms Earth’s surface, introduced in kindergarten.” (Air and Weather Overview, p.1)
Plants & Animals (life science) “This module provides experiences that help students develop an understanding of how to observe and manipulate sound and light. They explore these dimensions of the natural world using simple tools and musical instruments.” (Plants and Animals Overview, p.1)
Sound & Light (physical science) “This module provides experiences that help students develop an understanding of how to observe and manipulate sound and light. They explore these dimensions of the natural world using simple tools and musical instruments.” (Sound and Light Overview, p.1)
Second Grade Pebbles, Sand & Silt (earth science) “This module provides grade 2 students with earth science core ideas dealing with the observable structures and properties of earth materials (rocks, soil, and water), weathering and erosion of Earth’s surface, natural sources of water, and how to represent the shapes and kinds of land and bodies of water on Earth. ... Students learn about the important role that earth materials have as natural resources.” (Pebbles, Sand and Silt Overview, p.1)
Solids & Liquids (physical science) This module provides an introduction to “two key concepts of physical science-that solids and liquids are two states of matter and that each state of matter has its own identifiable properties. Students begin by investigating a set of solids, focusing on properties such as shape, color, texture, and hardness. They conduct experiments to determine whether the solids will float or sink, roll or stack, or attract a magnet.” (STC Program: Solids and Liquids Unit Kit, Smithsonian Science Education Center)
Insects (life science) This module “provides experiences that heighten students' awareness of the diversity of animal forms. They come to know firsthand the life sequences of a number of insects. ...Students observe life cycles of insects and compare the stages of metamorphosis exhibited by each species.” (Insects Module Summary)
Third Grade Water and Climate (earth science) Through the study of water and climate, “students explore the properties of water, the water cycle, and interactions between water and other earth materials. Students learn how humans use water as a natural resource.” (Water and Climate Overview, p. 1)
Motion & Design + Magnetism (physical science & engineering) This module is a redesign of the STC Motion & Design module where “create vehicles using K'NEX® building pieces and use them to explore effects of force, friction, and wind resistance on distance and speed. Teams work as they use washers as weights to quantify the force applied through a string to pull their vehicles, wood blocks to quantify a vehicle's load, and more.” (STC Motion and Design, Smithsonian Science Education Center)
The enhancement was created specifically for Boston’s 3rd graders and grounds them to an engineering design context specific to Boston. It is the result of a partnership with the BPS STE department, our teachers, Tufts Engineering (Dr. Kristen Wendell), UMASS Boston (Dr. Tejaswini Dalvi), and the MBTA with funding from the National Science Foundation ITEST program. The goal of the partnership “is to help school districts weave together science and engineering learning experiences for elementary students within the context of authentic community-connected design problems.” (Motion & Design+Magnetism Navigation Guide, p.iv )
Structures of Life (life science) Through the study of Structures of Life, “students observe, compare, categorize, and care for a selection of organisms, and in so doing they learn to identify properties of plants and animals and to sort and group organisms on the basis of observable properties. Students investigate structures of the organisms and learn how some of the structures function in growth and survival.” (Structures of Life Overview, p.1)
Fourth Grade Soils, Rocks, & Landforms (earth science) In this module, students are given “firsthand experiences with soils and rocks and modeling experiences using tools such as topographic maps and stream tables to study changes to rocks and landforms at Earth’s surface.” (Soils, Rocks and Landforms Overview, p.1)
Make Way for Trains! Holding Back Earths Materials(A Community-Connected Elementary Geotechnical Engineering Unit) This unit complements Soils, Rocks and Landforms and builds upon many concepts taught in that module. In the unit, students integrate their understanding of earth science concepts and the engineering design process to generate multiple possible solutions to retain and support earth materials. The Geo-Tech unit connects to the SRL concepts that earth materials are natural resources that humans use to construct things and that their different properties, resulting from different earth processes, make them suitable for different uses.
Energy (physical science) “The Energy Module provides first-hand experiences in physical science dealing with energy and change. Students investigate electricity and magnetism as related effects and engage in engineering design while learning useful applications of electromagnetism in everyday life. They explore energy transfer through waves, repeating patterns of motion, that result in sound and motion.” (Energy Overview, p.1)
How Can We Provide Energy to People’s Homes? (physical science) This module provides students with opportunities to observe and explore how energy moves in systems. Students research different sources of energy, e.g., wind and solar, and develop explanations on the impact of those sources on the environment. Students complete the module by designing and testing their own models of solar powered doorbell systems.
Fifth Grade Earth & Sun (earth science) This module provides students “with experiences to explore the properties of the atmosphere, energy transfer from the Sun to Earth, and the dynamics of weather and water cycling in Earth’s atmosphere. Other experiences help students to develop and use models to understand Earth’s place in the solar system, and the interactions of Earth, the Sun, and the Moon to reveal predictable patterns... .” (Earth and Sun Overview, p. 1)
Mixtures & Solutions (physical science) This module introduces students “to fundamental ideas about matter and its interactions. Students come to know that matter is made of particles too small to be seen and develop the understanding that matter is conserved when it changes state...when it dissolves in another substance, and when it is part of a chemical reaction.” (Mixtures & Solutions Overview, p. 1)
Ecosystems (life science) In this module, students first observe the interactions within two habitats, an aquarium and a terrarium. When the two habitats are connected together to form an “eco-column,” the observations of the now mini-ecosystem continue. Finally, students introduce pollutants to simulate the effect of pollution. Students develop an understanding about how energy, organisms, and matter interact in an ecosystem and how changes to any of the three impact the ecosystem.
Middle School Curricular Units (UPDATE for SY21-22) Boston Public Schools participated in a three year field test (SY18-19, SY19-20, and SY20-21) for newly designed instructional units and professional learning materials aligned with the 2016 MA STE standards. The OpenSciEdfield test occurred in middle school (6-8) classrooms across the district. Based on the feedback from teachers, administrators and strong evaluations using theEQuiP (Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products)rubric, we will be adopting and implementing OpenSciEd(OSE) units in 6th, 7th, & 8th grade beginning in the fall of 2021. The adoption will take 2 years. We will offer two 4-day trainings this summer, June 22 - 25 and August 17 - 20. Teachers new to OSE will need to register here for one of the 4-day sessions. Stipends will be provided. We will follow up directly with you with specific times and information regarding hybrid or remote. We are very excited for your students (and you) to increase their science understanding with the OSE instructional approach and materials!
For information on OpenSciEd, click here for a PPT (must use a BPS email address) or go directly to the source, OpenSciEd
Refer to ourFAQs document, which has been created to answer many of your questions
Teachers: to register for the mandatory 4-day foundational training in either June or August, click here
Principals: to indicate your school's commitment to this implementation, click here
High School Content Courses & Resources An initiative that began several years ago brought BPS teachers from across the district together to create working draft guidance documents that group the 2016 STE standards into meaningful clusters by quarter. The purpose of this organization is to help reduce the redundancy/gaps that students may experience if they move from school to school across the city. Documents are shared as comment only and must be accessed with a BPS email address.
Physics MA 2016 Physics Standards guidance document(revised doc updated 9/10/19)
Biology MA 2016 Biology Standards guidance document(revised doc updated 9/10/19)
Chemistry MA 2016 Chemistry Standards guidance document is under development
BPS HS science teachers will have full access toJoVE, an experiential literacy platform where students can learn science concepts and pre-view lab techniques through high-quality videos, through June 30, 2023! With this resource, BPS science teachers can access, and embed into Google Classroom, thousands of peer-reviewed videos that will enhance teaching and learning for their students. The videos cover a range of concepts in-depth and can be aligned to MA 2016 STE standards. Closed-captioning is available in multiple languages to support English Language Learners and visual learners. BPS teachers simply use their BPS email address to log onto the platform. Google Single Sign-On is possible for students. Our access to this phenomenal resource is due to the generosity of Northeastern University's Snell Library.