Professional and Curricular Resources

Published: 2/19/2024 1:07 PM

​​In addition to this list, the Kentucky Department of Education has developed additional resources that may be of further interest to teachers. These may be found on the Science-specific page of KYs​

Professional Resources

Professional Organizations

Professional Learning

Nonformal Groups that Support Science Education

These organizations offer field trip opportunities and educator experiences.​​

  • At Kentucky Down Under visitors stroll through an open field where kangaroos, emus, and other Australian natives roam freely. Interpreters discuss the animals' habits and habitat. It is located in Horse Cave, Ky. Included as a part of Kentucky Down Under, Kentucky Caverns (formerly Mammoth Onyx Cave) is one of the gems of Kentucky's "Cave Country." It is located in Horse Cave, Ky. At Kentucky Caverns visitors will marvel at the beautiful onyx formations found in the underground chambers of Kentucky Caverns.  
  • The Kentucky Science Center aims to educate and inspire you, while keeping you entertained and engaged with one of the most unique experiences you will ever have.  

  • The Hummel Planetarium is located on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University, the Hummel Planetarium is one of the largest and most sophisticated planetariums in the United States, especially on a university campus. The Hummel Planetarium has seating for 164 people in very comfortable and generously sized seats. 

  • The Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium is located on the campus of the University of Louisville provides a friendly, comfortable, hi-tech, multi-media, learning venue for the presentation of educational and entertaining programs supporting astronomy and space science education, the arts, humanities, and sciences. 

  • Morehead State University Space Science Cente​​r 

  • The Newport Aquarium, a state-of-the art facility, brings to the banks of the Ohio River some of the world's most advanced, creative technology -- not to mention amazing animals -- all designed to take you around the globe, visiting each continent, every ocean and hundreds of waterways in between. 

  • The Louisville Zoo offers field trips and teacher resources (grades 3 and 4) using the biodiversity the zoo. 

Curricular Resources

Lesson and Unit Design Supports

  • Understanding Science is a site that provides fun, accessible, and free resources that accurately communicates what science is and how it really works.

  • Understanding Evolution is a site that provides resources for teaching the science and history of evolutionary biology. 

  • Global Climate Change, managed by NASA, is a reviewed listing of the best available student and educator resources related to global climate change. ​

  • Understanding Global Change is a site that focuses on the use of model development to understand the interactions of earths systems. 

  • CLEAN​ provides resources for teaching about climate and energy. Also available are webinars for educators to support the teaching of these topics. This curated site is supported through grants from NOAA, NASA, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.

  • Ambitious Science Teaching provides sample lessons, videos and support materials  

  • Phenomenal GRC Lessons contains sample lessons for all grade levels as well as tools for developing your own three-dimensional lessons using a phenomenon. 

  • Next Generation Science Storylines contains sample storylines demonstrating sense-making of a phenomenon. The tools used in the development of storylines are provided so that teachers may begin developing their own units following a storyline. 

  • Concord Consortium contains simulations that could be included within designed lessons/units. 

  • PhET is a free science and math simulations site for teaching STEM topics, including physics, chemistry, biology and math, from the University of Colorado Boulder. 

  • NASA for Educators  provides aeronautics and space resource for education.  

  • Science at NASA  is a current online magazine of scientific research, events, and information for students and teachers.  ​

  • The Kentucky Virtual Library (KYVL) provides access to two of the largest periodical database providers, EBSCO and ProQuest, both of which have Lexile® measures for articles. EBSCO’s NoveList (accessed through KYVL) assists fiction readers in finding new authors and titles and provides Lexile measures as a guide. Contact your child’s school library media specialist for login and password information to KYVL.

  • Decoding Science is a site developed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The site has compiled a video, real-world science stories and an interactive quiz to help students understand how science works and why it’s important to their lives. 

  • Learning in Places provides free resources for using place-based science experiences for students. These place-based experiences include using the outdoors, student culture and homelife and family engagement.  

  • Stanford NGSS Curriculum and Assessment The home of both SCALE and SNAP, this site provides free resources, including developed units of study and assessments that meet the expectations laid out in the Framework for K12 Science Education. You will also find free self-paced professional development in the development of science performance assessments. 

  • Quality Examples of Science Lessons and Units​ A spotlight on emerging examples of quality lessons and units for all grade levels available to download and use in a variety of ways to support high-quality science teaching and learning, including classroom use and professional learning experiences for educators. 

High School Specific
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) BioInteractive provides data-rich learning experiences, case studies, interactive media and high-quality videos to connect students to the big ideas in biology. HHMI BioInteractive also provides planning tools to build resource playlists and storylines. While designed specifically for high school students, materials may be modified for elementary and middle school students.

  • OpenSciEd is an open education resource site that is developing units of study. Middle and High school units are currently being developed with three to four units being released each year.

  • inquiryHub (iHub) The inquiryHub lessons engage students in practices where they investigate,make sense of phenomena and problems, construct and critique models, and develop explanations and arguments. The units are designed to support students in becoming more sophisticated in their use of practices over the school year and go ​​​​beyond traditional science content.  ​

Middle School Specific
  • OpenSciEd is an open education resource site that is developing units of study. Middle and High school units are currently being developed with three to four units being released each year.

Elementary School Specific

  • ML-PBL is a research and development project to build and test project-based, literacy-focused elementary science curriculum and teacher professional development. Developed by the CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan ​State University, academic, social & emotional learning and equity for elementary students is promoted through the use of project-based learning features and the three dimensions of scientific knowledge. Open source project-based learning opportunities are available for grades 3 - 5.

  • Phenomenal Science K-5 Units Full years curriculum for all K-5 grades aligned to the topic arrangement. Phenomena are aligned to Michigan so may need conversion to be place based in Kentucky. 

  • PhD Science Great Minds K-2 PhD Science presents the same expectations for all students and provides teachers with support strategies that ensure students have equitable access to a phenomenon and the science information they need to make sense of that phenomenon. Levels K–2 are available as a free OER to all educators across the country, any school can implement this accessible curriculum at the earliest grades. ​

  • NYU Sail Research Lab Grade 5 Curriculum The materials promote three-dimensional learning that leads toward mastery of NGSS performance expectations (PEs) in fifth grade. The instructional materials promote both science learning and language learning for all students, including English learners. The project built on our conceptual framework for language use in the science classroom that highlights key features of talk and text as students engage in science and engineering practices (Lee, Quinn, Valdes, 2013).​​

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Resources 

Due to a few changes from the revision process, the December 2022 Kentucky Academic Standards  for Science are not 100% NGSS. Some standards have shifted grade levels and there have been a  few minor modifications in the language. While the tools below can be a valuable resource to support teachers and leaders, please be aware of the differences that exist.

  • Next Generation Science Standards​ provides information on the Next Generation Science Standards. Within the site is the Next Generation Science Resource Library which includes information for districts and parents, tools to evaluate lesson and instructional materials, and sample bundles for unit design. 

  • Phenomena for NGSS provides sample phenomena that teachers could use to create student engagement in the sciences. 

  • NGSS@NSTA is a dedicated NSTA site for resources specifically related to the NGSS. Educators may find vetted sample lessons, tools for planning curriculum and professional learning opportunities. 

  • STEM Teaching Tools are 2-page resource tools, with embedded links to further information, on all things NGSS related.  Also available on this site are PD Modules that are self-paced. 

Please email the science team if you have any questions.

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