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Setting the standard in 3D learning and 3D assessment

Introducing Smithsonian Science for the Classroom for Kindergarten

Four new phenomena- and problem-driven modules to engage young learners.

  • Coherent storylines
  • Proven results
  • Teacher support

Smithsonian Science for the Classroom™ is now a complete K-5 program designed to engage students in the three dimensions of learning described in the Next Generation Science Standards ®. Four new modules for kindergarten will engage young learners and encourage them to figure out the world around them.

The new modules offer the same research and resources only available from the Smithsonian Science Education Center with adaptations for kindergarten.

Designed for the Next Generation Science Standards

  • Students use three dimensions of NGSS to make sense of phenomena and solve problems
  • A Series Connection icon indicates where elements are built on or overlap in other modules

An engaging and cohesive storyline

  • The Problems and Phenomena Storyline shows clearly how lesson sequences serve to explain a phenomenon or solve a problem
  • Each explanation of a phenomenon or solution to a problem prepares students for the module’s final Science or Design Challenge

Integrated support for developing literacy skills

  • Big book written at Grades 1-2 reading level for reading aloud
  • Smaller, student books with identical content for center or small-group work
  • Full page notebook sheets allow students to draw or write responses
STEM Notebook Sheets in English and Spanish
Big Books and Student Readers in English and Spanish

An assessment system designed specifically for kindergarten level

  • A comprehensive Assessment Map illustrates how students’ progress in binding skills and knowledge throughout the module
  • Formative and checkpoint assessments that build to the module summative performance assessment, a Science or Engineering Design Challenge
  • Assessment table format that is appropriate for “in the moment” assessment guidance
  • Multiple ways for students to show what they know including peer-to-peer discussion and notebook sheets with age-appropriate supports

More connections to students’ home and prior experiences

  • Increased emphasis on eliciting and leveraging students’ existing expertise
  • A Family Letter helps teachers identify students’ prior experiences and incorporate them into teaching
  • @HOME lesson plans and demonstration video support continuous teaching and learning when students are not in the classroom
Family letters in English and Spanish

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Twenty-four phenomena- and problem-based modules from the Smithsonian that are setting the standard in 3D learning and 3D assessment

Learning Framework for Grades K–5

An integrated approach to teaching science and engineering

Life Science Earth and Space Science Physical Science Engineering Design
Kindergarten
What Do Plants and Animals Need to Live?

K-LS1-1 • K-ESS3-1
• K-ESS2-2 • K-ESS3-3

Supported by: Earth Science

How Can We Be Ready for the Weather?

K-ESS2-1 • K-ESS3-2
• K-PS3-1

Supported by: Physical Science

How Can We Change an Object’s Motion?

K-PS2-1 • K-PS2-2
• K-2-ETS1-3

Supported by: Engineering Design

How Can We Stay Cool in the Sun?

K-2-ETS1-1 • K-2-ETS1-2
• K-2-ETS1-3 • K-PS3-1
• K-PS3-2

Supported by: Physical Science

Grade 1
How Do Living Things Stay Safe and Grow?

1-LS1-1 • 1-LS1-2 • 1-LS3-1 • K-2-ETS1-1

Supported by: Engineering Design

How Can We Predict When the Sky Will Be Dark?

1-ESS1-1 • 1-ESS1-2
• 1-PS4-2

Supported by: Physical Science

How Can We Light Our Way in the Dark?

1-PS4-2 • 1-PS4-3
• 1-LS1-1 • K-2-ETS1-1

Supported by: Life Science and Engineering Design

How Can We Send a Message Using Sound?

K-2-ETS1-1 • K-2-ETS1-2
• K-2-ETS1-3 • 1-PS4-1 • 1-PS4-4

Supported by: Physical Science

Grade 2
How Can We Find the Best Place for a Plant to Grow?

2-LS2-1 • 2-LS2-2 • 2-LS4-1 • K-2-ETS1-1

Supported by: Engineering Design

What Can Maps Tell Us About Land and Water on Earth

2-ESS2-2 • 2-ESS2-3
• 2-PS1-1

Supported by: Physical Science

How Can We Change Solids and Liquids?

2-PS1-1 • 2-PS1-2
• 2-PS1-3 • 2-PS1-4
• K-2-ETS1-1

Supported by: Engineering Design

How Can We Stop Soil from Washing Away?

K-2-ETS1-1 • K-2-ETS1-2 • K-2-ETS1-3 • 2-ESS1-1 •2-ESS2-1

Supported by: Earth and Space Science

Grade 3
What Explains Similarities and Differences Between Organisms?

3-LS1-1 • 3-LS3-1 • 3-LS3-2 • 3-LS4-2 • 3-ESS2-2

Supported by: Earth and Space Science

How Do Weather and Climate Affect Our Lives?

3-ESS2-1 • 3-ESS2-2
• 3-ESS3-1 • 3-5-ETS1-1

Supported by: Engineering Design

How Can We Predict Patterns of Motion?

3-PS2-1 • 3-PS2-2
• 3-PS2-3 • 3-PS2-4 • 3-5-ETS1-1

Supported by: Engineering Design

How Can We Protect Animals When Their Habitat Changes?

3-5-ETS1-1 • 3-5-ETS1-2
• 3-5-ETS1-3 • 3-LS2-1 • 3-LS4-1 • 3-LS4-3 • 3-LS4-4

Supported by: Life Science

Grade 4
How Can Animals Use Their Senses to Communicate?

4-LS1-1 • 4-LS1-2 • 4-PS4-2 • 4-PS4-3 • 3-5-ETS1-1

Supported by: Physical Science and Engineering Design

What Is Our Evidence That We Live on a Changing Earth?

4-ESS1-1 • 4-ESS2-1
• 4-ESS2-2 • 4-ESS3-2
• 4-PS4-1 • 3-5-ETS1-1

Supported by: Engineering Design and Physical Science

How Does Motion Energy Change in a Collision?

4-PS3-1 • 4-PS3-2 • 4-PS3-3 • 4-LS1-1 • 3-5-ETS1-1

Supported by: Engineering Design and Life Science

How Can We Provide Energy to People’s Homes?

3-5-ETS1-1 • 3-5-ETS1-2 • 3-5-ETS1-3 • 4-PS3-2 • 4-PS3-4 • 4-ESS3-1

Supported by: Physical Science and Earth and Space Science

Grade 5
How Can We Predict Change in Ecosystems?

5-LS1-1 • 5-LS2-1 • 5-PS1-1 • 5-PS3-1

Supported by: Physical Science

How Can We Use the Sky to Navigate?

5-ESS1-1 • 5-ESS1-2 • 5-PS2-1 • 3-5-ETS1-1

Supported by: Physical Science and Engineering Design

How Can We Identify Materials Based on Their Properties?

5-PS1-1 • 5-PS1-2 • 5-PS1-3 • 5-PS1-4 • 5-LS1-1

Supported by: Life Science

How Can We Provide Freshwater to Those in Need?

3-5-ETS1-1 • 3-5-ETS1-2 • 3-5-ETS1-3 • 5-ESS2-1 • 5-ESS2-2 • 5-ESS3-1

Supported by: Earth and Space Science

Smithsonian Science Module Desriptions

Select a grade level to see the module kits available

Grade K Kit Types:

Life Science

Earth/Space Science

Physical Science

Engineering Design

Performance Expectations:
K-LS1-1 • K-ESS3-1• K-ESS2-2 • K-ESS3-3
Supported by:
Earth Science
Module Highlights:
In 10 lessons spanning 14 class sessions, students investigate 2 phenomena and propose solutions to 3 problems related to what plants and animals need and how Earth’s systems support them. In lessons 1 through 3, students investigate what is causing radish plants to become unhealthy. In lessons 4 and 5, when their instructional video experiences technical problems and cannot be watched, students must figure out what caterpillars need to live. In lessons 6 and 7, students collect and analyze data to figure out the phenomenon of caterpillars building webs. In lesson 8, students identify what is causing a sidewalk to crack and propose a solution that meets the needs of both humans and non-humans in the environment. In the science challenge, lessons 9 and 10, students develop plans for a play area that minimizes its impact on the land and the organisms that depend on it.

Performance Expectations:
K-ESS2-1 • K-ESS3-2• K-PS3-1
Supported by:
Physical Science
Module Highlights:
In 10 lessons over 14 class sessions, students explain 2 weather-related phenomena and propose solutions to weather-related problems. In lessons 1 through 3, students figure out how a pole became wet on one side while remaining dry on the other side. In lessons 4 through 7, students use data to figure out and explain why a snowman melts at some times but not others. In lessons 8 and 9, students consider and propose solutions to weather-related problems based on location. In the science challenge, lesson 10, students work more independently to design a weather preparation plan for a fictional class preparing for an all-day hike at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC).

Performance Expectations:
K-PS2-1 • K-PS2-2• K-2-ETS1-3
Supported by:
Engineering Design
Module Highlights:
In 10 lessons over 13 class sessions, students explain a phenomenon and solve a problem related to the game of air hockey and explain a second phenomenon related to the game of miniature golf. In lessons 1–3 and 5–6, students explain what happened to a hockey puck before it moved quickly into a goal. In lessons 4, 7, and 8, students solve the problem of designing a hockey game that can be played at home or at school. In lessons 9 and 10, the end-of-module science challenge, students explain the phenomenon of a golf ball changing its direction of motion inside a mini golf feature.

Performance Expectations:
K-2-ETS1-1 • K-2-ETS1-2 • K-2-ETS1-3 • K-PS3-1 • K-PS3-2
Supported by:
Physical Science
Module Highlights:
In 10 lessons spanning 14 class sessions, students solve 2 problems caused by sunlight warming surfaces. In lessons 1 through 7, students solve the problem of a playground surface that is too hot to sit on during recess. To better understand the problem, in lessons 2 and 3 students investigate the phenomenon of the warm playground and figure out that sunlight can warm surfaces. In the design challenge (lessons 8 through 10), students work more independently to design a solution to the problem of a person who gets warm while out in sunlight.

Grade 1 Kit Types:

Life Science

Earth/Space Science

Physical Science

Engineering Design

Performance Expectations:
1-LS1-1 • 1-LS1-2• 1-LS3-1 • K-2-ETS1-1
Supported by:
Engineering Design
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: How can we tell living things apart? How are young and adult plants similar and different? How are young and adult animals similar and different? How are animals of the same type alike and different? What do parents and their young do to survive? How can we help young animals grow and survive? How do body parts help plants and animals grow and survive? And How can we mimic plant and animal parts to solve a problem? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final two-lesson Science Challenge, Survive, Behave, and Save! where they answer the questions How do body parts and behaviors help plants and animals survive? and How can we communicate how plants and animal survive? Students play a problem-based Survival Game to practice their argumentation skills while defending their decisions made during the game. Students record their reasoning by creating a comic that they will be interviewed on by another student where they communicate their explanations.

Performance Expectations:
1-ESS1-1 • 1-ESS1-2 • 1-PS4-2
Supported by:
Physical Science
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: What objects can we see in the sky during daytime and night? Why can we see objects? How can we model the Moon? How does the Sun appear to move in the sky? How does the Moon appear to move in the sky? Does the amount of daylight change throughout the year? And How does the amount of daylight change throughout the year? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final two-lesson Science Challenge, Oksana’s Walk to School, where they answer the questions In Oksana’s town, what times of the year will it be dark when kids walk to school or walk home from school? How can kids walking to school in the dark be seen and see objects in their path? Students determine what time of year students would be walking to or from school in the dark, choose a light source and explain how it will allow objects to be seen during their walk in the dark.

Performance Expectations:
1-PS4-2 • 1-PS4- • 1-LS1-1 • K-2-ETS1-1
Supported by:
Engineering Design
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: Can we see in the dark? How can lights warn us about danger? What happens when you put something in a beam of light? How can you change a shadow? How can light, shadows, and reflections be used to keep animals safe? How can lights and reflectors keep students safe? And How can we mimic animal structures to solve a human problem? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final two-lesson Science Challenge, Emergency Escape, where they answer the questions How can people find a building in an emergency? and How can people survive by finding a building exit in an emergency? Students investigate and incorporate materials into a structure that makes an exit path visible, helping humans survive an emergency in a new museum gallery.

Performance Expectations:
K-2-ETS1-1 • K-2-ETS1-2 • K-2-ETS1-3 • 1-PS4-1 • 1-PS4-4
Supported by:
Physical Science
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: What are the ways to send a message? How can I send a message using a drum? What is needed to make sound? How is music made? How can I make the best kazoo? Does sound cause vibration? How do our ears hear sounds? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final two-lesson Design Challenge, Help Hopper Cross the River, where they solve the problem: How can I make a musical instrument that can send a message? By constructing their own simple instrument whose sound sends a code, they help Hopper the Frog to safely cross a river.

Grade 2 Kit Types:

Life Science

Earth/Space Science

Physical Science

Engineering Design

Performance Expectations:
2-LS2-1 • 2-LS2-2 • 2-LS4-1 • K-2-ETS1-1
Supported by:
Engineering Design
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: Why can a plant survive in one place but not another? How do a plant’s parts help it live and grow? How can we find out if plants need light and water to grow? Do plants need light and water to grow? How can animals move pollen from flower to flower? How can we design a tool to pollinate flowers? How can seeds move to new places? And Are there different plants and animals in different places? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final two-lesson Science Challenge, Place that Plant! where they answer the questions How can we find the best habitats for different kinds of plants? and How can we use evidence to analyze someone else’s argument? to help solve the problem of where to plant two new kinds of plants on the school grounds. Using their science knowledge and a map of the schoolyard students are challenged to make a recommendation on where to plant the plants to a parent volunteer. In the second part of the challenge, students are presented with the parent volunteer’s own ideas about where the plants should go. Students decide whether they agree or disagree and analyze the quality of her argument.

Performance Expectations:
2-ESS2-2 • 2-ESS2-3 • 2-PS1-1
Supported by:
Physical Science
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: What do maps tell us? How can we model the kinds of land on Earth? How can we model the kinds of water on Earth? How are solid and liquid water alike and different? Where can we find snow and ice on Earth? What are the patterns of land and water on Earth? How do people use maps to show land and water? And How can I use symbols to show land and water? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final two-lesson Science Challenge, Mapping My Model, where they answer the questions How can I make a map of my Land and Water model? and How can maps help me find my way? Calling on all the knowledge gained over the course of the module about the patterns of land and water, three-dimensional models, and two-dimensional symbols, students translate their Land and Water models into two-dimensional paper maps. The Science Challenge concludes with students trading their maps with another group. Students use them to find the corresponding Land and Water model in a matching exercise and evaluate the effectiveness of the map.

Performance Expectations:
2-PS1-1 • 2-PS1-2 • 2-PS1-3 • 2-PS1-4 • K-2-ETS1-1
Supported by:
Engineering Design
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: How can we sort gemstones? How can we sort objects by hardness? How are different materials used to make sculptures? Can we make two sculptures with different properties from the same pieces? Is sand a solid or a liquid? What is the best material for a boo-boo pack? What happens to wax when it is heated and then cooled? And How can a silver necklace be made starting from wax? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final two-lesson Science Challenge, Gemstone Swap, where they answer the question What material has the best properties for a replica gemstone? Students observe and use data about water, gelatin, vegetable oil, clay, crayon, a candle, and food coloring to choose the best material and create a replica of a transparent, colored gemstone. Students present their results for whether the material they used has the best properties for a replica gemstone using evidence to support their claim.

Performance Expectations:
K-2-ETS1-1 • K-2-ETS1-2 • K-2-ETS1-3 • 2-ESS1-1 • 2-ESS2-1
Supported by:
Earth and Space Science
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: What is land made of? How can wind and water change the land? What happens to soils on a construction site? How can we model the changes water can make to lands? How can we model ways to stop soil from washing away? How can we compare solutions to the erosion problem? What are some new solutions to old erosion problems? How much time do you have to save a castle on the edge? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final two-lesson Design Challenge, Save the Sand Towers, where they solve the problem: How can you design a way to save the sand towers? Students form an engineering company and are tasked with minimizing soil loss around two sand towers. With a budget of $100 to develop, test, and refine a solution to the problem, they use evidence from their tests to present a final proposed solution to the class.

Grade 3 Kit Types:

Life Science

Earth/Space Science

Physical Science

Engineering Design

Performance Expectations:
3-LS1-1 • 3-LS3-1 • 3-LS3-2 • 3-LS4-2 • 3-ESS2-2
Supported by:
Earth and Space Science
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: What can an organism get from its parents? What can an organism get from its environment? How do organisms change throughout their lives? How could being different be an advantage? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final two-lesson Science Challenge, Guppy Mystery, where they answer the question: Why are some guppies more colorful than others? Students work in groups to explain the phenomenon of why male guppies in some streams have bright orange coloration and males in other streams are relatively dull.

Performance Expectations:
3-ESS2-1 • 3-ESS2-2 • 3-ESS3-1 • 3-5-ETS1-1
Supported by:
Engineering Design
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: Why measure weather? What does weather in the past tell us about weather in the future? How does climate affect the way buildings are designed? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final three-lesson Science Challenge, Kids Cup, where they answer the question: How can climate and weather data help us plan a soccer tournament? Students form Climate Task Force groups to research one of eight cities that have applied to host the tournament. Students analyze and interpret climate data to make a recommendation about the best time to host the tournament in that city. Groups present their recommendation, then a class vote determines the best time and location to present to the Kids Cup Council.

Performance Expectations:
3-PS2-1 • 3-PS2-2 • 3-PS2-3 • 3-PS2-4 • 3-5-ETS1-1
Supported by:
Engineering Design
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: How do forces applied by touch affect an object’s motion? How can we observe and measure repeating patterns of motion? What kinds of forces can act at a distance? How can magnets be used to solve problems? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final three-lesson Science Challenge, The Dynamic Duo Swing Ride, where they answer the question: How can magnets affect the pattern of motion of a pendulum? Students use what they have learned about forces and motion to plan and carry out an investigation to determine how magnets affect the motion of a steel pendulum. Using their results, students prepare a claim for Outdoor Playtime about how they could make a better swing.

Performance Expectations:
3-5-ETS1-1 • 3-5-ETS1-2 • 3-5-ETS1-3 • 3-LS2-1 • 3-LS4-1 • 3-LS4-3 • 3-LS4-4
Supported by:
Life Science
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: What do animals need to survive? Why do animals live in different habitats? What can fossils tell us about animals and habitats? What happens to animals when their habitat changes? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final two-lesson Design Challenge, Salamander Tunnel, where they solve the problem: How can we reduce salamander deaths on roads? Students are given a budget and criteria and are tasked with planning, designing, and testing a tunnel, using roly-polies as a model for amphibians.

Grade 4 Kit Types:

Life Science

Earth/Space Science

Physical Science

Engineering Design

Performance Expectations:
4-LS1-1 • 4-LS1-2 • 4-PS4-2 • 4-PS4-3 • 3-5-ETS1-1
Supported by:
Physical Science and Engineering Design
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: How can animals sense the world around them? How can animals process and respond to information? How can animals send and receive information to communicate? What are some challenges in communication? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final three-lesson Science Challenge, Firefly Flashes, where they answer the question: How can fireflies communicate to attract a mate? Students use models and develop an argument to answer the question: Are fireflies with more distinct flash patterns better at communicating to find a mate? Students use all of their gathered evidence to construct an argument to support their claim and present it to other groups.

Performance Expectations:
4-ESS1-1 • 4-ESS2-1 • 4-ESS2-2 • 4-ESS3-2 • 4-PS4-1 • 3-5-ETS1-1
Supported by:
Engineering Design and Physical Science
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: How do volcanoes and earthquakes affect humans? How can humans protect themselves from earthquakes? How do Earth processes change the landscape? How do rock layers show that landscapes change? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final two-lesson Science Challenge, Our Changing Earth Exhibit, where they answer the question: How can we use evidence to tell the story of a changing Earth? Students combine what they have learned over the course of the module to create an exhibit plan that tells a story about Our Changing Earth. Students participate in a gallery walk, viewing peers’ exhibits, reviewing at least four different exhibits, comparing and contrasting different approaches used to tell their story of Our Changing Earth.

Performance Expectations:
4-PS3-1 • 4-PS3-2 • 4-PS3-3 • 4-LS1-1 • 3-5-ETS1-1
Supported by:
Engineering Design and Life Science
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: How does motion energy move and change? How does speed affect motion energy? What causes moving objects to slow down? How can we protect our brains in a collision? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final two-lesson Science Challenge, Slide ‘n’ Collide, where they answer the question: How can we predict how far an object will slide in a collision? Students will play a slide game where they have to use one washer to slide another washer a certain distance. Students test materials and collect data on the effect of speed and surface on how the washers move. They are given a distance and use their data to decide on the best combination of ramp height and surface to achieve this distance.

Performance Expectations:
3-5-ETS1-1 • 3-5-ETS1-2 • 3-5-ETS1-3 • 4-PS3-2 • 4-PS3-4 • 4-ESS3-1
Supported by:
Physical Science and Earth and Space Science
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: How does motion energy move and change? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different energy resources used to generate electricity? How does electricity power our devices? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final three-lesson Design Challenge, I’m Here! Let Me In! Model House Doorbell, where they solve the problem: How can you design a house that runs on renewable energy? Students design, build, test, identify failure points, and optimize a solar-powered device to work in a model house that is based on doorbell systems for hearing-impaired or visually-impaired residents. Students use circuit diagrams, floor plans, energy models, test results, and an explanation of the strengths and weaknesses of the design to present their model house doorbells to the class.

Grade 5 Kit Types:

Life Science

Earth/Space Science

Physical Science

Engineering Design

Performance Expectations:
5-LS1-1 • 5-LS2-1 • 5-PS1-1 • 5-PS3-1
Supported by:
Physical Science
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: How can plants get what they need to live and grow? How can animals get what they need to live and grow? How do matter and energy flow through ecosystems? What affects the stability of ecosystems? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final two-lesson Science Challenge, Surveying Sea Squirts, where they answer the question: How can we use models to make predictions about invasive sea squirts? Students develop and use models to make predictions about which of two sites is at higher risk for sea squirt invasion. Using evidence from their models, past investigations, and other data, students construct an argument to support their prediction.

Performance Expectations:
5-ESS1-1 • 5-ESS1-2 • 5-PS2-1 • 3-5-ETS1-1
Supported by:
Engineering Design and Physical Science
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: What is the evidence for a spherical Earth? How can we explain daily observations of the sky? What causes the annual patterns of motion of the Sun and stars? How are tools and systems used to navigate? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final three-lesson Science Challenge, Sweet Potato Mystery, where they answer the question: How could ancient Polynesians navigate the ocean without instruments? Students work to solve the mystery of the presence of the sweet potato, which is native to South America. How did it find its way to Polynesia? Did ancient Polynesians sail more than 7,000 kilometers to South America and bring it back? Or did sweet potato seeds spread by birds or ocean currents? Students obtain evidence from a text to answer the question: Did ancient Polynesians sail from the Marquesas Islands to Peru without instruments? Students work though an activity using reference of the Sunrise, Noon, Sunset, and Night to navigate the Southern Hemisphere, replicating a sailing voyage without instruments, to see if it is possible that ancient Polynesians did the same.

Performance Expectations:
5-PS1-1 • 5-PS1-2 • 5-PS1-3 • 5-PS1-4 • 5-LS1-1
Supported by:
Life Science
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: How can we use our senses to compare materials? What happens when materials are mixed with water? How do heating and cooling affect materials? Does mixing materials together form a new material? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final three-lesson Science Challenge, Kitchen Crisis, where they answer the question: How can we identify unknown kitchen materials? Using what they’ve learned in prior lessons, students plan and carry out an investigation using fair tests to identify four unknown white solids, presenting their conclusions about the identities of the unknown materials to the class.

Performance Expectations:
3-5-ETS1-1 • 3-5-ETS1-2 • 3-5-ETS1-3 • 5-ESS2-1 • 5-ESS2-2 • 5-ESS3-1
Supported by:
Earth and Space Science
Module Highlights:
Over the course of this module students engage in 3D tasks and assessments to answer the questions: Where does the water you need come from? How have humans impacted the water we need? How have humans tried to solve the problem of getting freshwater? How have humans tried to solve the problem of getting freshwater to where it’s needed? By working through lessons to answer these questions, students build to the final two-lesson Design Challenge, Get It, Treat It, Share It, where they solve the problem: How can we provide freshwater to agriculture, industry, the environment, and housing in your town? Students work as a group to design and system test a water pumping system to access and treat water for their town while advocating for one of four stakeholders on the allocation of the freshwater, representing a real-world challenge faced by many communities.

A Complete Package!
Each Smithsonian Science for the Classroom™ Kindergarten Module Kit Includes:

Print and Digital Resources
  • Teacher Guide
  • 1 Smithsonian Science Stories Big Book
  • 4 Smithsonian Science Stories Student Literacy Readers
  • Interactive Digital Access Through CarolinaScienceOnline.com
    • Digital Teacher Guide
    • Digital Student Literacy Readers
    • Simulations and Videos
    • Spanish Student Literacy Readers and Blackline Masters

Hands-On Materials Kit of Choice for up to 24 Students:
  • 1-Use Kit (with enough materials to teach 1 class, 1 time)
  • 3-Use Kit (with enough materials to teach 1 class, 3 times)

Kits are easily refurbished! Smithsonian Science for the Classroom™ refurbishments sets contain all the items used up while teaching the module.

Each Smithsonian Science for the Classroom™ Module Kit for Grades 1-5 Includes:

Print and Digital Resources
  • Teacher Guide
  • 16 Student Literacy Readers
  • 10 Student Activity Guides (grades 3-5)
  • Interactive Digital Access Through CarolinaScienceOnline.com
    • Digital Teacher Guide
    • Digital Student Literacy Readers
    • Simulations and Videos
    • Spanish Student Literacy Readers and Blackline Masters

Hands-On Materials Kit of Choice for up to 24 Students:
  • 1-Use Kit (with enough materials to teach 1 class, 1 time)
  • 3-Use Kit (with enough materials to teach 1 class, 3 times)

Kits are easily refurbished! Smithsonian Science for the Classroom™ refurbishments sets contain all the items used up while teaching the module.

Smithsonian Science for the Classroom Resources

Learn More About the Program

Coherent Storylines

  • → Build toward students answering a question or solving a problem
  • → Engage students’ curiosity with Lesson Focus Questions

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Proven Results

  • Raise test scores in science, reading, and math using proven, research-based instructional methods

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Teacher Support

  • → Point-of-use Teacher Edition support
  • → 3D assessment system
  • → 3D investigations with a focus on phenomena

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Learning Framework

  • → A complete program for middle school
  • → Make connections between the science and engineering at every grade level

VIEW LEARNING FRAMEWORK

Support DEAI

Making K-12 STEM education more accessible and inclusive to diverse audiences across all platforms and communities

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Lesson Samplers

  • → Grades K–5
  • → Contain One Complete Lesson
  • → Contains a sample from student literacy reader

VIEW SAMPLES

Get Ready! Professional Learning Video Library

Learn the ins and outs of the Smithsonian Programs for K–8 on your schedule using online videos, webinars, and chats with Carolina consultants and educational trainers.

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SS@Home

Whether you’re teaching from your classroom or teaching your students at home, you need to be able to engage your students in three-dimensional learning and continue to support ELA and math.

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Smithsonian Science for Classroom Literacy

Integrate science content, literacy resources, and Smithsonian resources to create a rich, complete, experience for students.

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Science and Engineering

  • → Science and Engineering integrated at every grade level
  • → Working like engineers to solve problems
  • → Working like scientists to explain phenomena

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White Papers, Case Studies, and Infographics

Learn more about Smithsonian programs through a variety of whitepapers and case studies

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are you looking for a new middle school science program? Here are some common questions educators like yourself have about Smithsonian’s STCMS.

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Carolina Science Online

Learn how Carolina Science online supports teachers and students in using STCMS

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Videos

Click on these short videos to learn more about the philosophy of the Smithsonian Science Education Center and what drives the development of their programs.

WATCH NOW

More About the Development from the Smithsonian

Module Design

Literacy Integration

Digital Integration

Centered on Student Ideas

Smithsonian Connections

Correlations

NGSS Correlation

Find My State Correlations

Professional Development

From Program Implementation to Assessing and Needs Check-in

  • → A working partnership
  • → Customized to your individual needs
  • → Multiple formats available

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Digital Support

  • → Training to get you started
  • → Online tutorials for when you need them
  • → Help Desk and live chat available to answer questions

REQUEST SUPPORT

Science Content and Pedagogy Support

Professional Development for teachers and Leadership Development for teacher, administrators, and community leaders available from the Smithsonian

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Resources from the Smithsonian Science Education Center

Smithsonian Science for Makerspaces

A series of engineering design challenges for students

SMITHSONIAN MAKERSPACES

Good Thinking Misconception Support

Short-format videos that explore common student ideas and misconceptions and how to address them

GO TO GOOD THINKING

Smithsonian's Game Center

Educational games for K–8

GO TO GAMES

Explore Smithsonian

A behind-the-scenes look at the science and research of the Smithsonian Institution.

EXPLORE NOW

Free Resources from the Smithsonian

Explore Curriculum and Resources from the Smithsonian

GET FREE RESOURCES

Smithsonian Programs in the News

Visit the Smithsonian Science Education Center for more news and information.

SMITHSONIAN NEWS

Supporting DEAI

Making K-12 STEM education more accessible and inclusive to diverse audiences across all platforms and communities

LEARN MORE

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you looking for a new K-5 science program? Here are some common questions educators like yourself have about Smithsonian Science for the Classroom.

Smithsonian Science for the Classroom™ is a hands-on science program that brings highly engaging 3D learning and 3D assessment to K–5 classrooms. Developed by the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC), Smithsonian Science for the Classroom modules:
  • → Present engaging storylines that pique students’ curiosity and drive student learning
  • → Provide everything teachers need to teach the new standards
    • → 3D instruction and 3D assessment
    • → Seamless literacy, math, and digital integration
    • → Hands-on materials kits
  Four modules per grade level provide a full year’s worth of instruction to teach all your K–5 standards.

Everything a teacher needs to teach! Every module purchase includes:

  • → Print and digital Teacher Guide for complete 3D instruction
  • → 3D assessment system
  • → Print and digital student literacy
  • → Print and digital Student Activity Guides (grades 3–5)
  • → Digital resources
  • → Hands-on materials kits for 1 or 3 uses
  • → Spanish resources
  • → eBook student literacy
  • → eBook Student Activity Guides
  • → Lesson Notebook and Activity Sheets

Hands-on materials kits come with enough materials for 32 students. Digital access for teachers and students through Carolina Science Online™ is always included! There are never any teacher or student licensing fees—ever!

Yes! With module titles like How Can Animals Use Their Senses to Communicate? and How Can We Provide Freshwater to Those in Need? it’s evident that students are engaging directly with exciting, real-world phenomena and solving real-world problems. Smithsonian Science for the Classroom was developed to meet the three dimensions of NGSS.

A complete 3D assessment system is integrated directly into the investigations. The lessons within Smithsonian Science for the Classroom were developed to provide 3D assessments as part of the investigations that students are already doing, not as separate tasks that need to be added on to instruction and take additional time.
The 3D assessment system includes:
  • → Pre-assessments that gauge students’ prior knowledge and reveal student misconceptions
  • → Formative assessments that require students to show their skills and knowledge across the three dimensions
  • → Student self-assessments that cultivate self-regulated learners who become aware of their strengths and weaknesses and reflect on ways to improve
  • → Performance-task and written summative assessments—a module’s culminating Science or Engineering Design Challenge
  • → 3D Assessment Task Charts and Summative Assessment Rubrics that help teachers monitor student progress and evaluate performance
  • → Remediation strategies for each assessed task
Learn more about 3D Learning and 3D Assessment
Science, literacy, and math are natural partners. By using Smithsonian Science for the Classroom, teachers can efficiently prepare students to meet science, math, and English language arts (ELA) standards.
Each module integrates Smithsonian Science Stories literacy readers and student-created STEM notebooks.
Reading selections from literacy readers are incorporated into the main activities of many of the lessons in each module. These culturally relevant and historically accurate readers incorporate research and artifacts that only the Smithsonian can provide.
Smithsonian Science Stories are available in a variety of formats:
  • → Printed readers and eBooks
  • → On- and below-level
  • → English and Spanish
  • → Interactive digital reader
Smithsonian Science Stories reading levels are carefully calibrated to grade level–appropriate Lexile measurements according to text complexity guidelines.
Student-created STEM notebooks provide a space for students to record and organize their design and testing plans, collected data, ideas and explanations of phenomena, evaluations of design solutions, and more.
Hands-on investigations engage students in standards-based math skills that relate to science content and science and engineering practices.
Common Core ELA and Math connections are highlighted in each Teacher Guide in the lesson planner and with the lessons at point-of-use.

Learn more about literacy integration

Yes! Smithsonian Science for the Classroom’s hands-on program INCLUDES kits with every purchase. The quality, durability, and age appropriateness of curriculum kit materials are at the forefront of the development of kits from Carolina. All materials are rigorously tested for quality and durability in the classroom and for effectiveness of intended outcomes in investigations. Careful consideration is given to cost and reusability of materials for all kits. Kits are packaged in durable, stackable totes for maximum storability and mobility.
Show me the kits
1-Use kits contain enough consumable materials to teach the unit 1 time to a class of up to 32 students. 3-Use kits contain enough consumables (including living materials cards for those kits that have them) to teach the unit to up to 3 nonconcurrent classes of 32 students. The number of reusable/non-consumable items does not vary between a 1- and 3-use kit.
Many of the items in the Smithsonian Science module kits can be reused. For items that are consumed and need to be replenished, 1-use and 3-use refurbishment sets are available. Refurbishment kit vouchers are available for pre-purchase at the start of implementation for future use. Additionally, individual component items are available for purchase using the Smithsonian Components Catalog, Carolina.com, or Carolina’s Customer Service.
Refurbishment kit vouchers allow you to pre-purchase refurbishment kits for multiple years of program implementation. Vouchers can be redeemed when you are ready to refurbish your kits. Vouchers include the cost of shipping, so there is no added expense at the time of redemption.
Yes! The hands-on approach of Smithsonian Science for the Classroom naturally supports the diverse learning styles and abilities among students. The program provides teachers with tools to support these diverse needs and students with first-hand learning experiences.
Hands-on investigations offer students a variety of ways to demonstrate understanding through writing, drawing, and student discourse. This in turn offers teachers a variety of ways to monitor students’ progress and understanding.
The program’s instructional resources for teachers and students offer several ways to reach all students. Throughout each module, relevant, research-based ELL strategies are embedded at point-of-use, in addition to student misconception support and remediation and enrichment strategies.
Functionality of resources was considered during development. Modules provide:
  • → Digital PDF formats of lesson notebook sheets that allow teachers the ability to edit for the different needs of their students.
  • → Student Activity Guides and student literacy readers in print and digital formats and in English and Spanish.
  • → Student literacy in on and below grade level.
Digital literacy readers that allow for close reading strategies and text-to-speech capabilities.
Yes! All student resources are available in Spanish—both in print and digitally.
Spanish resources include:
  • → Smithsonian Science Stories literacy reader
  • → Student Activity Guides
  • → Lesson Notebook Sheets and Activity Sheets
  • → Investigation card sets
Smithsonian Science for the Classroom thoughtfully and flexibly integrates digital resources that meaningfully enhance learning. Whether a classroom is 1-to-1 or has only one computer, you can fully teach this program.
Digital resources include:
  • → Video and audio clips
  • → Informational web links
  • → Photos
  • → Games
  • → Simulations
  • → Maps
  • → Data sets and more!
Point-of-use Teacher Tips suggest modifications based on limited technology availability. Tech Tips suggest additional ways to incorporate technology into lessons or activities.
Yes. Carolina Science Online is compatible with most LMS.
No! Recognizing that there is tremendous variation in access to technology, Smithsonian Science was designed for flexible integration of digital resources. Whether a classroom is 1-to-1 or has only one computer, students have everything they need to complete every investigation.
Yes! There are two ways to preview the program. We offer a digital review of the complete program. If you would like to see more, we can arrange to have samples sent for your review or talk to you about setting up a pilot.

Contact me about reviewing the program.

As the diversity of students’ academic, cultural, social, and linguistic backgrounds continues to rise across the United States, how do teachers continue to move those young minds forward? Support for minority or non-dominant groups was carefully considered in the design of each Smithsonian Science module. The incorporation of Smithsonian Science Stories literacy readers, which intentionally feature women and minority scientists and engineers, provide information about possible career paths and incorporate topics relevant to a variety of racial and ethnic minority groups.
Never! Smithsonian Science for the Classroom is an all-inclusive program. Digital access for teachers and students is included with your purchase of the program and extends through the life of the adoption.
Yes! Carolina Biological Supply Company is committed to providing comprehensive, customized professional development to meet the needs of teachers, staff, and administrators. Carolina’s professional development provides multiple opportunities for all teachers to master the curriculum and implement best practices. Formats include hands-on workshops, webinars, and teacher resource videos.

You’ve purchased Smithsonian Science for the Classroom. Here are some common questions.

Spiral-bound teacher’s guides are found within the blue crate that has the item number in this format: XXXXXX-1. Teacher’s guides are typically found on the floor of the crate to avoid any warping.

Digital resources are accessed using a code sent via email when your kit is shipped. We often send the email to whoever placed the order, usually a purchaser at your school or district. If you cannot find the email, call our customer service team at 800.334.5551.
They will be able to locate the code and help you access your resources. If possible, have the order number or purchase order number available to help them locate your information quickly.

To redeem your voucher and request shipment of your materials, follow the steps below. Place your order 10 days prior to when you want to receive it.

1. Go to www.carolina.com/vouchers

2. Enter your shipping information and the redemption code(s) from your voucher(s).

3. Follow the remaining instructions to complete your request.

Your living materials sheets will be in a clear shipping envelope that looks like this that is adhered to the side of the blue tub of the kit if it is new or the side of the brown Carolina box if it is a refurbishment. (Remember to hang on to the 2 additional sheets/sheet sets if you’ve purchased a 3-Use kit or refurbishment.)

Living materials sheets have a control number that can be used to order the live materials. Directions for ordering are on the sheet.

Call customer service at 800.334.5551 with your order number. They will be able to look up the living materials control number for your specific order.

Care guide information for units that have living materials can be found in the Materials Management and Safety section of the Module Overview in the teacher’s guide. If you are using the digital teacher’s guide, this information can be found under the Module Overview Tab→ Materials Management and Safety→Care and Handling of Live Materials

Module materials that require and SDS are designated in the Materials List of the Teacher’s Guide with a dagger (†).

Chemical components that require SDS information (components designated in the Materials List of the Teacher’s Guide with a dagger (†)) are available at www.carolina.com/SDS .

Click here to view regional sales information and identify your region’s sales manager or contact us at curriculum@carolina.com .

Have more questions?

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