The Next Generation Science Standards promote a vision for science education in which students learn science and engineering by doing science and engineering—like real-life scientists and engineers.
Mi-STAR is designing a middle school curriculum that supports both the NGSS and the Michigan State Standards, while empowering students to use science and engineering practices to address real-world issues. We provide professional learning for teachers implementing the curriculum. Read more about our curriculum and professional learning.
We are also researching and evaluating students’ and educators’ experiences with the Mi-STAR curriculum. See our list of publications.
Key Characteristics of Mi-STAR:
- Mi-STAR is both a middle-school curriculum and a professional development program that provide the tools that teachers need in order to be effective.
- Mi-STAR integrates across the traditional boundaries between the science disciplines in order to prepare today’s students to design the solutions to tomorrow’s challenges.
- Engineering is central to the Mi-STAR curriculum; it is not an add-on or afterthought.
- Mi-STAR was developed in full alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the new Michigan Science Standards. Many products market themselves as “NGSS-aligned” but are actually repurposed versions of pre-NGSS materials that have been correlated with some of the components of the NGSS.
- As an NGSS-aligned curriculum, Mi-STAR guides students to learn and use and integrate the practices of science and engineering, the concepts that cut across all the science and engineering disciplines, and the disciplinary content that is the foundation upon which new knowledge is constructed.
- Mi-STAR's curriculum includes formative and summative assessment items that are designed to help teachers gauge their students’ progress while also preparing students for high-stakes tests.
- Mi-STAR’s curriculum engages students in studies of problems related to the 21st-century Grand Challenges identified by the National Academies of Engineering and other science/engineering societies.
- Mi-STAR’s curriculum is place-based, in that all of the problems addressed by students are relevant to the lives of children and families in the Great Lakes Region.
- Mi-STAR’s teacher professional development program includes online and face-to-face components that familiarize teachers with the NGSS, the Mi-STAR Instructional Model, and the Mi-STAR Unit Challenges (which form the backbone of the Mi-STAR curriculum).
- Mi-STAR has tackled the problem of scalability by implementing a train-the-trainer approach for building capacity for reform-based education in Michigan.
- Mi-STAR is a professional learning community network that connects teachers from across the state who are committed to improving science education outcomes for students.
- Interest in Mi-STAR is growing rapidly because it addresses a critical need for almost every school and district.
Mi-STAR is made possible by the generous support received from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation which was established by Mrs. Grace A. Dow in 1936 in memory of her husband Dr. Herbert H. Dow. Mi-STAR wouldn't be possible without the commitment of the numerous participating staff, teachers, partner districts, and university partners from across Michigan and the country.