By Marisa Seitz

How to prepare young scientists to tackle the problems of our 21st-century world? That’s the question that CU Boulder’s Institute of Cognitive Science (ICS), School of Education and the Denver Public Schools (DPS) are tackling with a partnership aimed at teaching science concepts in a new way.

Tamara Sumner, director of ICS, leads the project to develop innovative science curricula that reflect the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), incorporate technology and are freely available online. For their latest unit, “Why Don’t Antibiotics Work Like They Used To?,” CU researchers partnered with teacher educators from DPS who, after collaborating on the design, took the lessons to their students for pilot testing. The teachers returned with insights about the successes of the lessons, and researchers used that data to improve the unit.

The partnership seems to be on the right track: Achieve Inc., a nonprofit education organization that helped develop the NGSS, awarded the unit with one of its highest quality ratings to date.