FREE middle-school science teaching modules from NIH

A renowned, non-profit curriculum development organization in Colorado Springs, CO, called BSCS (Biological Sciences Curriculum Study) has developed for NIH three FREE teaching modules for middle school teachers. The first is called, "Doing Science: The Process of Scientific Inquiry," and helps students in grades 7-8 to develop and refine their critical-thinking skills. The complete press release and info on the two other modules is below the fold. BTW, have I mentioned that these modules are FREE?

I'm obviously committed to doing what I can to reverse the tide non-scientific intrusions into public health and educational policies in the US. I also believe that being a pro-active university instructor is good, but kids need to develop their critical-thinking skills well before they get to us in higher education.

I also find it ironic that BSCS has operated rather quietly for 50 years in Colorado Springs, a place recently known better for its conservatism, home of the US Air Force Academy, and headquarters of Dr James Dobson's Focus on the Family and other evangelical organizations.

I am fortunate to have several outstanding academic colleagues in "The Springs" and I know that they suffer indignancies as a result of media portrayals of their town.

BSCS has also developed a terrific 30-minute broadcast-quality DVD called, "Evolution - Why Bother?" together with the American Institute for Biological Sciences (AIBS) and produced by Why Bother Films of Boulder, CO. It includes, "interviews with scientists and teachers to enhance students', teachers', and the general public's understanding of the relevance of evolution to daily life." It's $34.95 for a personal copy and $349.50 for a library copy that grants public performance rights and a site license.

BSCS is a tremendous national and international resource and I applaud NIH for supporting their efforts. This investment of US tax dollars is wonderfully well-spent and will pay dividends for years to come.

I strongly encourage readers to share this information with any middle school science teacher(s) they know.

News Release: June 9, 2006


Bethesda, Maryland -- The National Institutes of Health (NIH), part of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is releasing its latest installments in a popular series of curriculum supplements designed to promote inquiry-based, interdisciplinary learning and stimulate students' interest in science. NIH -- the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research -- distributes these supplements free of charge to teachers, allowing them to update their curricula with all-in-one teaching materials that incorporate topical issues and current scientific research.

Each new supplement is a self-contained teacher's guide to two weeks of lessons on science and human health, and includes background information, lesson plans, take-home materials, and a Web-based component. The new titles (listed below) are aligned with the National Science Education Standards released by the 'National Academy of Sciences".

-- "Doing Science: The Process of Scientific Inquiry" -- Students explore the basics of scientific inquiry, refine their critical-thinking skills, and learn to appreciate the purpose of scientific research. (For grades 7 & 8)

-- "Looking Good, Feeling Good: From the Inside Out (Exploring Bone, Muscle, and Skin)" -- Students learn about the structures of the musculoskeletal and skin systems, the interactions between these body systems, and the factors that influence their functions. (For grades 7 & 8)

-- "The Science of Mental Illness" -- Students gain insight into the biological basis of mental illness and how scientific evidence and research can help us understand its causes and lead to treatments and, ultimately, cures. (For grades 6, 7, & 8)

NIH produced these modules in partnership with curriculum developers from Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), a nonprofit corporation located in Colorado Springs, CO. A team of top scientists and educators developed the modules, which were field-tested by teachers and students across the country.

To request these curriculum supplements or learn more about this series, visit the NIH Office of Science Education Website at


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Hey thanks for the info, as a new highschool science teacher I need all the help I can get. BSCS is the best method for inquiry based science teaching,

I'm sure I could have benefited from this module in middle school.

The Springs isn't that bad. I spent four years there in college, and came to hate it less and less with each year. By my senior year, I was so sick of the college bubble that I really enjoyed certain parts of the city.

Ewen, thanks for coming over to the new place. I forgot to ask if you were at UCCS or Colorado College when there. I'd live in the Springs in a heartbeat, holding court, of course, at Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. Did the Pikes Peak Ascent run once and a ton of hiking in the area. There are some advantages there relative to Denver or Boulder - especially b/c you could afford to own a house in the Springs!

I went to CC, which is in a really nice part of town. I'll still take Denver over any city in Colorado, tohugh.