For Immediate Release
Contact: Chad Colby: Chad.Colby@greatminds.org (202) 297-9437
Wednesday, May 6, 2020—Great Minds® today announced that the newly developed Grades K–2 of the PhD Science™ curriculum from Great Minds PBC will be an open educational resource (OER), giving students in the earliest grades a high-quality science curriculum for free. The curriculum will be available to pilot in fall of the 2020–2021 school year. Following the successful development and rollout of Grades 3–5 in the 2019–2020 school year, Grades K–2 will be available online from Great Minds as an OER starting in the 2021–2022 school year.
“There’s no reason to wait. Great Minds believes knowledge-building science instruction should begin at the earliest grades,” said Lynne Munson, founder and CEO of Great Minds. “Developing scientific understanding requires comprehensive, coherent instruction that builds knowledge from lesson to lesson and year to year. That’s why we started PhD Science at Kindergarten and are offering the first three grades as an open educational resource for all.”
Too often, science instruction in the earliest grades consists of disparate activities rather than the comprehensive, coherent instruction called for in The Framework for K–12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In later grades, science instruction often relies on dull textbooks and memorization tasks. PhD Science is different. Its hands-on, student-driven learning model and focus on examining real-world phenomena spark students’ curiosity and reward it with the joy of building knowledge comprehensively.
PhD Science also includes interesting trade texts, knowledge-building math content, and opportunities for students to practice writing by, for instance, keeping a Science Logbook. The interdisciplinary approach reinforces what students learn in other content areas, helping teachers make the most of their instructional hours. Grades K–2 of PhD Science have the same rigor and reflect the same principles as Grades 3–5, with the trade texts and writing work adjusted for grade-appropriate literacy skills.
Like other Great Minds curricula, PhD Science integrates fine art and photography throughout so students can practice the scientific skills of making observations, asking questions, and noticing patterns.
Unlike most other science curricula, PhD Science was based from the outset on The Framework and the NGSS, and thus it incorporates a three-dimensional teaching and learning model into every lesson. Students build science knowledge and uncover Disciplinary Core Ideas by engaging in the Science and Engineering Practices, and they use Cross-Cutting Concepts to make sense of phenomena. As a result, students go beyond reading about science to actually doing science.
Beginning in fall 2021, the core curriculum files for Grades K–2 of PhD Science will be available to download for free. A print version, materials kits, professional development resources, and trade texts integral to the lessons will be available for purchase from Great Minds. This structure is similar to that of Eureka Math®/EngageNY Math, the core materials of which have always been an OER.
More than 1,000 classrooms nationwide are already using PhD Science Grades 3–5. With the addition of Grades K–2, Great Minds has answered the call for a high-quality, hands-on curriculum to help K–5 students build knowledge of core scientific topics. Great Minds plans to develop Grades 6–8 next.
PhD Science Grades 3–5 are all top-rated on first submission by the Louisiana Department of Education, highly respected for its curricular leadership. To rate Tier 1, a curriculum must meet eight criteria: three-dimensional learning; phenomenon-based instruction; alignment and accuracy; disciplinary literacy; learning progressions; scaffolding and support; usability; and assessment. The Louisiana review lists examples from the curriculum in support of the “superior quality” that instills deep learning of scientific concepts through hands-on study. PhD Science was the first science curriculum to earn a Tier 1 ranking from Louisiana.
Find information about piloting PhD Science here.
About Great Minds: Great Minds PBC is a public benefit corporation and a wholly owned subsidiary of Great Minds, a nonprofit corporation. Great Minds provides exemplary curricula to schools and districts nationwide, inspiring joy in teaching and learning. Great Minds is the only curriculum creator to have earned three Tier 1 ratings, the highest possible, from the Louisiana Department of Education. Curricula earning the Tier 1 ratings were Wit & Wisdom®, Eureka Math, and PhD Science. Eureka Math and Wit & Wisdom both earned top scores from the independent nonprofit reviewer EdReports.org. Learn more at greatminds.org.
Chad brings more than 23 years of experience in communications to Great Minds. He has served in three state education agencies, which included time assisting New Mexico’s secretary of education with the adoption of new education reform initiatives; serving as the communications director at the Washington, D.C., Office of the State Superintendent of Education; and working as an assistant to the Florida Commissioner of Education. Chad also worked at the U.S. Department of Education from 2004 to 2009 and served as the deputy assistant secretary for media affairs and strategic communication during his final two years there. Chad is a native of Bloomington, Ill., and graduated from Florida State University.