MI-STAR: UNIVERSITY AND K-12 EDUCATORS PARTNER TO IMPROVE SCIENCE EDUCATION IN MICHIGAN
Mi-STAR presents science and engineering content as an integrated body of knowledge that can be used to investigate questions and develop solutions to problems that lie at the intersection of science and society. The Mi-STAR curriculum addresses the entire middle-school band of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and uses performance-based tasks embedded within each unit to support three-dimensional learning of NGSS Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts. NGSS Performance Expectations (PEs) from multiple content areas are packaged together within each Mi-STAR unit, forming the basis of the assessable component of each unit. Units are backwards-designed using NGSS Evidence Statements to guide each unit’s conceptual flow. Ultimately, Mi-STAR’s curriculum will be made available at no charge to teachers in Michigan. The curriculum is currently undergoing review and pilot testing prior to its release.
The methods to develop NGSS-aligned integrated curricula being tested and refined by Mi-STAR will be shared through the project’s products. Basic proficiency with development of NGSS-aligned curricula can be gained through a 14-hour-long online professional development program (Mi-STAR Academy). Further guidance is provided by a Unit Specifications document and Curriculum Design Guide. Collaboration of unit-development teams is supported by a Unit Sequencing Chart that lays out the structure of the curriculum within and across grades. A cadre of Mi-STAR Facilitators has been trained to guide the efforts of others.