mySci Unit 21 earns highest award in science curriculum rating system

“It’s like winning a Best Picture Oscar in science curriculum instruction!”

That’s how Jeanne Norris, curriculum coordinator for the Institute School Partnership at Washington University, describes a recent accolade for one of the mySci elementary curriculum units. mySci Unit 21: From Sun to Food, has earned the Next Generation Science Standards Design Badge from Achieve – the organization behind the new science standards. The Badge is awarded to science units that meet its highest criteria.

“The Design Badge is as good as it gets in this country for NGSS aligned instruction,” said Norris, adding that the award comes from experts across the nation who are trained to identify the highest quality resources for NGSS.

The criteria to meet this high designation is stringent. Unit 21 is only the first K-5 unit in the nation to receive the Design Badge seal of approval. Only 8 percent of submissions to the Science Peer Review Panel are highlighted as high-quality examples, and only 3 percent of all accepted submissions earn the NGSS Design Badge.

In Unit 21, students consider the question: “We eat pizza made of many ingredients. How has this pizza been made?” They figure out key ideas around matter and energy in ecosystems, plant structure and function, and human impacts.  The unit culminates with an engineering design challenge in which students design their ideal pizza farm. The resource includes curriculum, student journal, answer keys, assessment, slides and more.

Unit 21 was previously evaluated and was rated as an example of High Quality NGSS Design. After some feedback from the Science PRP, the ISP curriculum writing team revised and resubmitted the unit, earning the NGSS Design Badge designation. The badge provides an easy way for educators and other consumers to be assured that a unit is high quality and designed for NGSS.

This is the second time a mySci lesson has been singled out for recognition by the Science PRP. In 2017, mySci’s middle school Module 5 Waves was identified as an example of high-quality design. The module is centered on the driving question, “How can we as engineers design a concert experience for others to enjoy?”

Norris said the recognition of the mySci curriculum reinforces the vision of mySci. That it’s not canned or scripted, but is a comprehensive, well-aligned resource that teachers can use with ease.

“We’re providing a path for equitable science education outcomes across St. Louis, and we believe in the quality of our work,” Norris said. “Teachers and students tell us that our program is fun, doable and leads to students learning and loving science.  By gathering feedback from teachers, students, and national reviewers, we have been able to design a program that meets the educational needs of our region and maintains high standards of excellence.”

Anybody across the country can access Unit 21 and Module 5 and implement them.

Click HERE to download  Module 5 materials

Click HERE to download Unit 21 materials


April 2019 | by, Myra Lopez