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It was 1957. The Soviets launched the world’s first satellite, called Sputnik. And just like that—the United States was trailing the space race. We attempted to catch up by launching our own satellite two months later. We failed. This was a pivotal moment, representing a major shortcoming in our nation’s scientific progress. And this is where our story—BSCS Science Learning’s story—began.

As the Cold War heated up, the US recognized the need for science education reform. A whirlwind of action followed in 1958. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was created. Congress passed the National Defense Education Act (NDEA). And the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) approved a proposal to establish BSCS. Funded by a $143,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), we were tasked with developing state-of-the-art biology textbooks for students across the country.

Even in our earliest days, working within the University of Colorado Boulder, we were invested in the big picture: to transform science education. Our goal was not just to create effective biology curriculum. Our goal was to enhance biology teaching and learning. By embracing students’ inquisitive spirits and making them active participants in the scientific process, we believed students would create stronger connections between science and the world around them.


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