Mi-STAR is not just a curriculum: it is also a professional learning pathway and a community designed to support you in implementing Mi-STAR and MSS in your middle school classroom.

Teacher Pathway Overview

Mi-STAR recognizes that teachers need time and support in learning to implement an NGSS-aligned curriculum. Where and how that occurs may be unique to each teacher or school.

In response, we train local teacher leaders to provide professional learning in their communities. We also offer a variety of virtual learning experiences, both synchronously and asynchronously, giving teachers voice and choice in how they learn.

Regardless of how it’s delivered, we have structured our professional learning pathway through a series of phases:


The Next Generation Science Standards represent a paradigm shift in science education. Prior professional learning experience with the NGSS and Three Dimensional Learning such as the online asynchronous Canvas course Mi-STAR Academy: Introduction to NGSS, the face-to-face NGSX program, or similar experience is strongly recommended.

Access to Mi-STAR Academy: Introduction to NGSS is included as an option with every teacher’s subscription.

Phase 1: Introduction to the Mi-STAR Curriculum

Introduction to the Mi-STAR Curriculum - Canvas Course

New Mi-STAR teachers complete an online asynchronous Canvas course. This course provides an introduction to the structure of the Mi-STAR curriculum and resources to support teachers to engage students in 3D learning. This course takes about six hours to complete.

Introduction to the Mi-STAR Curriculum - PLC Meetings

Teachers also participate in a one-hour orientation followed by three two-hour sessions conducted by Mi-STAR staff. Alternatively, a local Mi-STAR Professional Learning Facilitator may provide six hours of training, structured as needed. These sessions can be held virtually or face-to-face and will be held at regular intervals as teachers complete their Canvas course.

Topics of the PLCs are:

  • Mi-STAR Unit Structure
  • Mi-STAR Lesson Structure
  • Mi-STAR Assessment Opportunities and Applications

Teachers will receive access to Unit 6.1 to accompany the Phase 1 training.  Teachers may request immediate access to another unit or units if needed.  Upon completion of both platforms for Phase 1, teachers will be prepared to teach Unit 6.1 and may request other units.  With each unit request, teachers will be invited to complete the Canvas Unit Prep Course for that unit.  The Unit Prep Course reviews basic Mi-STAR pedagogy and structure, while providing an in-depth dive into the unit challenge, materials, labs, and science concepts for the specific unit.  Tips, tricks, and previews are provided to aid in planning. Teachers should complete at least one Unit Prep Course before requesting a fourth unit.

Phase 2: Building Your Mi-STAR Toolkit

Unit Prep Courses to Prepare for Specific Units

While teachers are introduced to the general structure and pedagogy of Mi-STAR units and lessons in Phase 1, each unit has unique content and activities.  To prepare, new teachers complete online, asynchronous “Unit Prep Courses" in Canvas for one of the first Mi-STAR units they teach. Unit Prep Courses take approximately two to three hours to complete.  Mi-STAR recommends that district leaders plan to provide time or compensation for this critical teacher preparation.

After at least one Unit Prep Course is completed, teachers are invited, but not required, to complete Unit Prep Courses for each unit they request.

Build Your Toolkit Series

Designed to support teachers new to Mi-STAR during their first year of teaching, the Toolkit courses in Phase 2 focus on key NGSS pedagogy and skills, the whats, the whys, and most importantly, the hows of classroom implementation. 

Build Your Toolkit sessions may be offered by a local Professional Learning Facilitator, and are also offered synchronously and asynchronously by Mi-STAR staff. 

Teachers select three of the five topics, in any combination of platforms, to complete a total of six hours of professional learning by the end of their first year.  While designed to meet the needs of new Mi-STAR teachers, we encourage any and all interested teachers to use Phase 2 courses to build pedagogical skills.

Phase 2 Build Your Toolkit topics:

  • The Unit Bubble Map
  • System Models
  • Productive Talk 
  • Claim, Evidence, Reasoning
  • 3D Assessment

Phase 3: Expanding Your Craft

Continued Professional Learning and Support

Teachers continue to receive support through their Mi-STAR Professional Learning Facilitator or Mi-STAR Teacher Leader, the Mi-STAR Curriculum Helpline, and community forums. As teachers implement Mi-STAR in the classroom, regular PLC meetings led by their Mi-STAR PLF are recommended.

Teachers are also encouraged to attend the monthly virtual Mi-STAR Learning Series sessions, virtual collaborative office hours, and to participate in Phase 2 Build Your Toolkit opportunities.

Copyright © 2024 Mi-STAR
Mi-STAR was founded in 2015 through generous support provided by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation. Mi-STAR has also received substantial support from the National Science Foundation, the MiSTEM Advisory Council through the Michigan Department of Education, and Michigan Technological University.