Issue #1 | July 2022


Hi {First Name},

Welcome to the launch of Activate OpenSciEd!

Activate OpenSciEd is a monthly newsletter dedicated to sharing the most relevant, insightful information, strategies, and resources for OpenSciEd educators to maximize their use of this innovative, award-winning curriculum. We'll also be highlighting the inspiring ways teachers are using OpenSciEd to excite students in science learning!

Why are we launching this newsletter, and how can it help you?

You might already be using OpenSciEd, or maybe you're considering upgrading your current instructional materials and you're exploring OpenSciEd -- either way, there will be something useful for you in this newsletter. 

Having a strong, standards-based curriculum like OpenSciEd is crucial for any teacher wanting to upgrade their instructional materials. However, strong curriculum alone is not enough.

Teachers need a solid implementation strategy, high-quality professional learning, and unwavering support. We offer these services to our current OpenSciEd customers and this newsletter is an extension of our support for the OpenSciEd community.

Not only is Activate Learning a certified provider of OpenSciEd curriculum and professional learning, but OpenSciEd and Activate Learning share the same "pedagogical-DNA", having partnered with the same innovative curriculum specialists over 15 years ago, using the same NGSS standards and principles. We understand the challenges of implementing new, NGSS-aligned curriculum from decades of experience and we look forward to bringing you helpful insights every month.

Enjoy this first issue. Let us know how you're using OpenSciEd or, if you're interested in using it and have questions on where to start, connect with us and we'll be happy to help you. 

Have a great start to Summer 2022!

The Activate Learning Team! 

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How One Science Teacher Developed a Meaningful Connection with Students Using OpenSciEd

"For the spring semester, I decided to teach the @OpenSciEd HS biology Cancer Unit. I was initially hesitant to teach this unit because I had just lost my aunt to lung cancer earlier in the school year. Here is a summary of how it went...1/18" — William Baur (@Pearwilliambaur) June 16, 2022

William Baur is a science teacher based in Washington State (and a farm hand!). Baur recently took to Twitter to share his experience, creating a meaningful connection with his students and connecting science learning to real-life human experience in a way that not only engaged students, but helped them share their personal experiences as well. At a time when teachers and students are experiencing a lack of meaningful connection in classrooms disrupted by the pandemic, this is no small accomplishment!

How did he do it?

Baur outlined his process of experimentation and discovery in 18 tweets. For starters, he embraced his fears and allowed himself to be vulnerable with students: "I decided to be upfront with my students and share with them about my aunt's recent passing. I had never been so vulnerable with students. This really helped students feel comfortable to share their family's cancer history and ask meaningful questions." 

He then developed a series of interactive lessons using OpenSciEd curriculum, which gave him the freedom and flexibility to explore the sensitive, difficult topic of cancer through the lens of science while giving students a voice in co-creating the learning journey through interactive exercises. This resonated with students and opened a pathway to deeper learning and a more meaningful connection between Baur and his students. Hats off to Baur and his students!


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How to Create a Successful OpenSciEd Implementation Strategy

The chorus of teachers singing the collective praises of OpenSciEd online in social media and forums is strong and growing. It's clear from the public discourse that teachers love OpenSciEd, with good reason. It offers teachers the freedom and flexibility they've been wanting to teach science their way.

However, having access to high-quality curriculum and implementing it effectively are two different things. Implementing curriculum can be challenging. In an online discussion on Fishbowl forums, one Michigan teacher shared that, while she loves OpenSciEd, it can be a lot to take on:

"[OpenSciEd] is vetted and designed by teachers, and provides all print resources including slides to walk through the process with a mix of group, independent, and partner activities. The main negative is that can be very overwhelming to dive into." -- Michigan Teacher

How can teachers avoid becoming overwhelmed when implementing OpenSciEd? We explored this and more in our recent blog post.


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And the Winner Is... OpenSciEd and Liberty Science Center! 

Congratulations to Liberty Science Center and OpenSciEd for winning the Corporate Bronze 2022 International Distance Learning Award by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)!  

Every year, the USDLA recognizes innovators and leaders within the distance/digital learning industry as part of our International Award program. The awards highlight distance learning instructors, programs, and professionals who have achieved and demonstrated extraordinary achievements through the use of online learning techniques, innovation, and video delivery technologies around the globe.

It's no surprise to us that OpenSciEd won this highly-coveted award for distance learning! During the pandemic, OpenSciEd launched a program called Staying Grounded when Teaching Remote -- a webinar series to help educators stay grounded in the best practices of science teaching and learning while shifting to remote learning during school closures during the pandemic. The series focused on routines and elements of storyline instructional models that are central to OpenSciEd, inquiryHub Biology, and NextGen Storylines materials.

How does OpenSciEd help teachers become winners at distance learning?

Here are several informative resources: 

  • Remote Science Lesson Learning Adaptations [view]
  • Remote Learning Adaptations Webinar [view]
  • Remote Learning Online Tool Organizer [view]

Also, take a look at the Activate Learning Digital Platform for OpenSciEd, which gives students and teachers everything they need for high-quality distance learning! 

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The Eternal Search for Unit Materials

We'll be sharing frequently asked OpenSciEd questions from teachers that we receive and find on various platforms.

The following question was asked and debated on the popular Science Teachers Subreddit by a teacher seeking advice on getting materials for an OpenSciEd unit. We gave the question to our awesome product manager, who answered the question below.

QUESTION:  I'm looking for a light source for physics/optics demonstrations. I use OpenSciEd curriculum and they recommend bright incandescent flashlights. But the only mini ones I can find (~10 bucks each) aren't very bright. What kind of cheap light source do y'all use for prisms and light demos?

OUR ANSWER:  Our flashlights provided in the kits have been tested and certified by OpenSciEd. We suggest using a Xenon zoomable lamp (mini Mag-lite), 14 lumens, which works very well in the rainbow investigation. LED lamps can be used if they are not too blueish. Incandescent bulbs are sometimes challenging in the classroom if the room cannot be made dark enough. In addition, we provide a colored set of 3 LED flashlights (red, green, and blue) for the teacher to demonstrate in Investigation 11.

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Do you have questions about OpenSciEd? 

Whether your question is about materials for units, implementation, or professional learning, ask us anything and we will post answers in our future newsletters. 

Submit your question below. 🚀


Get a Sneak Peek

at OpenSciEd High School Units

Zombie fires, lightning in chemistry, and earth-splitting chemistry, oh my!

The OpenSciEd team recently visited Northwestern University for their High School Field Test Facilitator Training.

The event hashtag (#OSEHighSchool) offers a great recap of the training session, including images of the units. These High School units will launch in the Fall.


At Activate Learning, we believe there is a better way to engage students in STEM. Our K-12, interactive curriculum engages students with authentic learning and phenomena that are relevant and meaningful. We inspire teachers with research-based curricula that support three-dimensional learning and prepare students for the careers of tomorrow.

To learn more about how we can help bring transformational learning to your classroom, submit your info below and one of our curriculum specialists will contact you.