OpenSciEd, Made Even Better by Carolina

by Carolina Staff

Have you heard about OpenSciEd instructional science resources for grades 6–8?

These high-quality, adaptable, full-course materials have set themselves apart as a reimagined science educational experience with two key instructional shifts: phenomena-based teaching and the importance of coherence. Units move away from teacher-directed, lecture-based lessons to student collaborations facilitated by the teacher as students investigate real-world, relatable phenomena. The middle school program earned a “green” rating from EdReports indicating that the units meet expectations for standards alignment and usability and a “quality” rating by the Science Peer Review Panel at NextGenScience for every unit.

Who Is OpenSciEd?

OpenSciEd is a nonprofit organization that brings together educators, philanthropic organizations, curriculum developers, and professional development providers to create and implement high-quality science instructional materials that meet the vision described in A Framework for K–12 Science Education and embraced by the Next Generation Science Standards.

But while the instructional units are available as Open Educational Resources, OpenSciEd recognizes that there’s more to teaching science than new instructional materials and that the freely available lessons can lead to expenses such as books, lab kits, and professional learning.


Enter Carolina Biological Supply Company.

Carolina® Certified Versions of OpenSciEd

8.5 Genetics 5-Class Unit Kit

OpenSciEd teamed up with Carolina as a trusted and reliable partner that can provide teachers with the materials and support needed to get students excited about doing science and build confidence in their abilities to make sense of phenomena by asking questions and solving problems. Drawing on its more than 95 years of excellence in science education, the Carolina expert development team reengineered OpenSciEd units for middle school with ease of use, cost effectiveness, and enhanced support in mind while maintaining the standards for the high-quality instructional materials.

The resulting Carolina Certified Versions of OpenSciEd are simpler to use, require less prep and instruction time, are less expensive to implement, enhance safety, and improve accessibility—all combining to make three-dimensional science education more impactful for teachers and students while supporting OpenSciEd’s instructional model:

  • Five routines to advance students through a unit storyline and investigate and make sense of phenomena
  • Investigations driven by students’ own questions on a Driving Question Board
  • A scope and sequence where the program is organized into bundles of performance expectations used to design target outcomes

After an extensive review and approval process, the OpenSciEd Curriculum Team certified the Carolina Versions, leading OpenSciEd Executive Director James Ryan to state:

“I am impressed with how Carolina understood our vision, paired it with their expertise in designing investigations, and created a custom version with enhancements to the units. We are excited that science teachers and students have a new option to transform their science education experience.”

The Carolina Difference

Choice is key with the Carolina Certified Versions. Educators can create custom packages by selecting among printed teacher and student editions; flexible and all-inclusive options for complete kits, refurbishment materials, and individual components; and digital access for all instructional resources as downloadable or assignable content on the Carolina Science Online® platform.

Unit 6.1 Light & Matter lesson 1

I so appreciate the improvements that Carolina continues to make in their OpenSciEd Carolina Science Online materials. It is now so easy to navigate through them. Each lesson has an icon, and within the lessons sorting between different types of material is nearly effortless. I wish I had had this a few years ago.

Each Carolina Certified Version unit is easier to use and saves prep time and instructional time with:

  • Redesigned—not just reprinted—teacher guides and student resources that are easier to follow with improved formats, layouts, and labeling; consistent design and lesson flow; reengineered labs and materials; and digital resources and support
  • Simplified investigations with time-saving alternatives and materials, teacher prep videos, and labs offered as demos or videos

The video resources Carolina Biological created to support hands-on activities provide ways for students who are absent to have an experience with the activities, even if it is not possible or practical for them to complete an investigation upon their return.

Each Carolina Certified Version unit reduces lesson costs, enhances safety, and improves accessibility that supports equity in learning with:

  • Fewer or less expensive materials that make kits more cost effective
  • Additional safety guidance, lab videos, and options to reduce or replace chemicals
  • ADA compliant print and digital resources—the only ones in the market—and materials that meet Universal Design for Learning standards and adoption standards
Unit 7.2, lesson 1, Learning Plan, Day 1

The Carolina version of OpenSciEd units is very user-friendly and helpful to teachers. I especially find the highlighted sections helpful concerning safety and how to make the classroom more equitable for different populations of students. The reformatting of the lesson plans with links to other resources makes it so easy for teachers to use, and because of that, teachers have more time and energy to think about the deep changes to teaching and learning.

Throughout the units, students build a learning community where they take ownership over their learning—resulting in more engagement and excitement—as they share their thinking to make sense of phenomena. See for yourself how OpenSciEd’s high-quality instructional content and professional learning resources together with Carolina’s production expertise, service, and support can transform science education in your classroom.

Carolina Biological Supply Company is collaborating with instructional material developers from Northwestern University, Michigan State University, University of Texas at Austin, and BSCS Science Learning to develop kit materials for OpenSciEd Elementary.

Coming Soon

OpenSciEd for High School from Carolina!

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