Transforming science education through research-driven innovation



Making Evidence-Driven Decisions in a Media-Driven World


How many times have you heard or read a story about a new scientific advancement? Every day, we get new information about health and science. It is on websites, social media, television, and newspapers. It can be hard to know what to believe. Sometimes, it may sound like a great advancement or something that is too good to be true. Other times, it seems like it is completely opposite to other information that you have heard.

How can we know what is valid?

BSCS Science Learning has released new curriculum modules for middle school and high school students with this challenge in mind. The goal of these freely available materials is to help students learn strategies that they can use to evaluate the health-related information that they see or hear in the media. Through the five lessons, students gain experience in finding, analyzing, and communicating about health information. Although the modules focus on health-related examples, the strategies they learn can be applied to many areas of life that require good decision-making skills.

Overview of Lessons


This project was supported by the Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health under award number R25OD020208. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

My school has shut down due to the coronavirus. What do I do now?

BSCS Science Learning is here to help teachers during these unsure times. We have consolidated our online resources below to help you easily find programs, units, and more!

For Preservice Teacher Educators

Resources that offer interactive, online learning experiences for preservice science teachers.

  • BSCS Science Teaching Video Library – This library includes some of BSCS’s best K-12 videos available for free streaming. In this collection, you’ll find 19 videos featuring elementary physics and Earth science, along with transcripts, lesson plans, and other supporting documents. Learn more.
  • ViSTA – This online resource is designed for university preservice methods courses and inservice professional learning programs. ViSTA features five elementary science modules on Plants, Electricity, Water Cycle, Force and Motion, and Inquiry. The resource includes a range of K-8 classroom videos, assignments, and guided in-class exercises. This fall, ViSTA is free for instructors and students while supplies last. Learn more.
  • ViSTA Plus – This is a full-semester online course designed to enhance preservice elementary teachers’ science content knowledge and instructional practices. The course focuses on two content areas, food webs and water cycle, and provides access to videos, assignments, and assessments. This fall, ViSTA Plus is free for instructors and students while supplies last. Learn more.

For Secondary Science Teachers

Resources that offer interactive, online learning experiences for middle and high school students.

  • Do-At-Home Inquiry Activities with Data – This resource includes seven new citizen science lessons that middle and high school students can do independently, or as a class when technology allows. Each lesson includes do-at-home inquiry activities using data from citizen science projects hosted on FieldScope. Learn more.
  • Understanding Ebola – This is a free resource to educate the public about Ebola. The website includes an interactive model that allows teachers, students, and community members to actively explore the factors that influence a disease’s spread and mortality rate. Learn more.

Free Classroom Resources

Materials designed for the classroom that are available for free download.

  • A Medical Mystery – A free middle school science program that supports teachers in the effective instruction of an NGSS-aligned, EQuIP-reviewed body systems curriculum unit. Learn more.
  • OpenSciEd: Forces at a Distance – This free 8th grade unit launches with a slow motion video of a speaker vibrating. After developing a model of sound in the previous unit, students now have the chance to explore the cause of a speaker’s vibration as opposed to the effect. Learn more.
  • OpenSciEd: Matter Cycling & Photosynthesis – This free 7th grade unit on matter cycling and photosynthesis begins with students reflecting on what they ate for breakfast. Questions about where their food comes from lead them to consider which breakfast items might be from plants. Learn more.
  • OpenSciEd: Metabolic Reactions – In this free 7th grade unit, students build an understanding of how body systems interact to process food and use the energy stored within it. They work on the practices of developing models, interpreting data, and arguing from evidence. Learn more.
  • OpenSciEd: Soundwaves – In this free 8th grade unit, students investigate how sounds can cause objects at a distance to move. Motivated by a video of windows shaking when a truck outside plays loud music, students investigate what happens when an object makes sound. Learn more.
  • OpenSciEd: Thermal Energy – This free 6th grade unit on thermal energy engages students in a design challenge to create a cup that keeps drinks cold longer. They identify the features that make some cups better at keeping drinks cold, and they construct their own models to explain how those features prevent the transfer of thermal energy. Learn more.
  • OpenSciEd: Weather, Climate & Water Cycling – This free 6th grade unit is broken into four separate lesson sets. In the first two lesson sets, students explain small-scale storms. In the third and fourth lesson sets, students explain mesoscale weather systems and climate-level patterns of precipitation. Each of these two parts of the unit is grounded in a different anchoring phenomenon. Learn more.
  • Allergies and Scientific Inquiry – This is a free curriculum supplement developed to help middle school educators more effectively teach about food allergies. Lessons are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. Learn more.
  • Drug Abuse, Addiction, and the Adolescent Brain – This is a free curriculum unit that teaches middle school science students about drug abuse and addiction in relevant contexts. Learn more.

Citizen Science

Indoor and outdoor opportunities to engage in citizen science learning.

  • FieldScope – This is a free interactive platform where organizers of field studies can leverage sophisticated graphing and mapping visualization tools and resources to enhance their existing and future citizen science projects. Learn more.
  • Do-At-Home Inquiry Activities with Data – This resource includes seven new citizen science lessons that middle and high school students can do independently, or as a class when technology allows. Each lesson includes do-at-home inquiry activities using data from citizen science projects hosted on FieldScope. Learn more

Well-being

Take care of yourself during these tough times and always.

  • Nature Connection – This is a resource to help students, parents, and teachers get away from technology and formal learning and spend some time connecting with nature. Learn why it’s important to spend time in nature and try out several individual practices and exercises. Access now.