To transform science teaching and learning through research-driven innovation.
It was 1957. The Soviets launched the world's first satellite, called Sputnik. And just like that-the United States was trailing the space race. We attempted to catch up by launching our own satellite two months later. We failed. This was a pivotal moment, representing a major shortcoming in our nation's scientific progress. And this is where our story-BSCS Science Learning's story-began.
As the Cold War heated up, the US recognized the need for science education reform. A whirlwind of action followed in 1958. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was created. Congress passed the National Defense Education Act (NDEA). And the National Science Foundation (NSF) established BSCS to develop state-of-the-art biology textbooks for students across the country.
Even in our earliest days, we were invested in the big picture: to transform science education. Our goal was not just to create effective biology curriculum. Our goal was to enhance biology teaching and learning. By embracing students' inquisitive spirits and making them active participants in the scientific process, we believed students would create stronger connections between science and the world around them.
This was only the starting point for what we would contribute to science education. Today, as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Colorado Springs, we are proud of what we have accomplished over the last 60 years.
BSCS has filled classrooms around the country with research-driven biology textbooks, pioneered effective teaching approaches, developed new education leaders, and conducted studies that will continue to alter the course of our science education system. Most importantly, we have championed the cause for meaningful, inquiry-based science learning.
There is no doubt we have made a lasting impact. But our world has changed dramatically. Science and technology have advanced. Our students are more diverse. Our teachers are being asked to do more with less. And as much as BSCS has accomplished, it feels like our work is just beginning.
We celebrated the 60th anniversary of our storied organization in 2018, and are optimistic about our future. Our work remains driven by a vision of our society providing all young people with a science education that effectively prepares them for life in our complex, interdependent world.
History of Our Name--
Did you know BSCS Science Learning was originally founded as Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS)? Like our organization, our name has a rich history.
From our origin as a single curriculum development project created by the National Science Foundation, we have grown into an independent nonprofit organization-recognized as a national leader in research, teacher professional learning, leadership development, and of course, instructional materials.
Our impact has expanded considerably over 60 years. And thus in 2018, we announced a new name for our organization that reflects our present and our future: BSCS Science Learning.
We put science learning at the heart of our name because science learning is at the heart of our work.
As researchers, we pursue deeper understandings of how teachers and students learn science through ongoing studies. As educators, we prepare teachers to improve their practice by enhancing their own science learning and by offering powerful curriculum materials. As capacity builders, we develop leaders to create a stronger system for science learning. And as an organization, we remain committed to transforming science education so that all students have an opportunity to learn science for their lives and careers.
"What first comes to mind when I think of BSCS is integrity. It's the organization that returned evolution to high school textbooks in the 1960s, and never knuckled under to the pressures exerted by "adoption states" to water down the subject, or qualify it in some way - as routinely was done by some publishers. It's the organization that stayed true to its core to not just publish scientifically accurate instructional materials, but to challenge teachers and their students with innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and do it over and over, for more than 60 years, now.
And what comes to mind for me personally is how much I cherish having been able to learn from the smart and creative administration and staff of BSCS, including (but not limited to) the late Bill Mayer, Joe McInerney, Rodger Bybee, Janet Carlson - too many to list!
Biology education is greatly enriched due to BSCS innovations. And they're just getting started!"
Genie Scott, BSCS Board Member (1993-1999)
"To me, BSCS is both a product-high quality instructional materials-and people. BSCS works thoughtfully to bring together recent science understanding, current ideas on learning and teaching, and the latest issues on school policy. BSCS is always just a little bit ahead of the times."
Angelo Collins, former Executive Director, Knowles Science Teaching Foundation
"The BSCS instructional materials are rich with a clean story line that my students find engaging. The professional development opportunities have moved the teachers in my department to a new level of understanding inquiry."
John Henry, Science Teacher and Department Chair
"BSCS has helped us to develop a close-knit community of educators and leaders that are dedicated to updating and transforming our classrooms to be student centered and inquiry based."
Elizabeth Hickey, Science Teacher
"BSCS is genuine and passionate in their quest to develop and help implement effective, inquiry-based materials. Additionally, BSCS provides authentic and continuous professional development that helps develop teachers as learners and facilitators in order to increase student learning in the science classroom."
Kristen Harris, Science Educator
"BSCS uses the most recent studies by eminent researchers to provide pertinent/relative professional development for teachers who wish to have their student learn science."
Jay L. Meyers, Secondary Science Coordinator