By Daniel Strain

Principal investigator
William Penuel

Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY); OpenSciEd

Collaboration + support
BSCS Science Learning; the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin; Denver Public Schools; Institute of Cognitive Science; Northwestern University; CU Boulder School of Education

William Penuel, a professor in the Institute of Cognitive Science (ICS), imagines science classrooms where children are free to explore what makes them curious—asking then answering their own questions on topics ranging from ocean acidification to antibiotic resistance in hospitals.

Penuel and his colleagues are working to foster those kinds of learning spaces through a new $7 million effort that’s part of a national initiative called OpenSciEd. The team will develop three years’ worth of high school science curriculum materials that are open access and free for all. The researchers want to show young people that science isn’t just about following directions in a lab—it can be a whole new way of looking at the world around them.

“We’re really trying to help students understand that science is not just a body of knowledge but practices for developing, critiquing and defending that knowledge,” Penuel said.

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