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OpenSciEd High School Physics Units

OpenSciEd High School Physics Units

The OpenSciEd initiative was launched to address a critical need in science education: the need for high quality science instructional materials that are standards-aligned and practical for broad implementation. BSCS Science Learning is currently leading the development of a one-year, high school physics course. 

The program’s classroom materials and associated teacher professional learning materials are:

  • designed to align with the NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS),
  • based on research on student learning and teacher practice,
  • developed in collaboration with teachers and field-tested in hundreds of classrooms across the United States,
  • open-source and locally adaptable, and
  • continuously improved based on feedback from teachers and field testing.

The complete high school physics course will be freely available by early 2024. 

Learn more below about the first physics unit, which is now available.

Energy Flow from Earth’s Systems

Physics: Energy Flow from Earth's Systems. "How can we design more reliable systems to meet our communities' energy needs?" OpenSciEd High School Science. Image of power lines.

How can we design more reliable systems to meet our communities’ energy needs? 

This high school unit is designed to introduce students to the concept of energy transfer in a relevant and grounded context: the Texas power crisis of February 2021. Students read articles and wonder about the complex social, environmental, and physical realities that led to such a crisis. They figure out how energy transfers between systems from a generator to our communities, and what makes an energy source reliable. This allows the class to model and explain what happened in Texas at multiple scales, from the electrons in the wires to the power companies making difficult decisions to maintain stability. 

Students consider engineering tradeoffs, criteria, and constraints inherent in making decisions about our energy systems, and apply them in a culminating task: design a reliable energy solution that meets our communities’ needs, as articulated by interviews with friends and family members. The task is designed to give students the tools to speak up in their local and global community for a better energy future, one that aligns with their own values, and those of their families.

Learn more and download free unit here.