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What Makes PBIScience Unique?

PBIScience® is a 3-year middle-school curriculum designed to be taught as stand-alone units. You can teach by the domain (Life, Physical, Earth, and Space Science) or you can integrate the sciences each year.


Students Learn Like Scientists and Engineers

  • Based on research in the cognitive and learning sciences.
  • Developed through rigorous, iterative, research-based cycles.
  • Integrates science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas.
  • Big Questions and Big Challenges guide instruction and organize learning progressions.
  • Collaborative groups engage in rigorous science discourse.
  • Students design investigations, generate data, assess the trustworthiness of their data, make claims, and justify claims with evidence-based explanations.

Engineering and Science Go Hand-in-Hand

  • Solving an engineering problem: Students are presented with a realistic community scenario and a problem they need to address.
  • Addressing an engineering design challenge: Students iteratively design, build, and test a device.
  • Answering a Driving Question: Students answer a complex science question about a phenomenon that has real-world implications.

Support for Teachers

  • Student Editions and educative Teacher Guides are available in print and digital formats.
  • A CyberPD website provides preparation and just-in-time support, including professional-
development, unit walkthrough, and setup videos.
  • A professional learning community provides opportunities to communicate and share
    ideas with others.


In PBIScience, students take part in science learning experiences framed around answering Big Questions or addressing Big Challenges that guide instruction and serve to organize their learning progressions. As students pursue answers, they conduct investigations, make models, collect and analyze data, weigh evidence, write explanations, and discuss and present findings.

Project-Based Inquiry Science is based on research.
PBIScience is based on the latest research from the cognitive and learning sciences on how students learn. It was supported through National Science Foundation funding and consequently produced through rigorous, iterative, research-based development cycles.

PBIScience empowers students with STEM.
Students practice science in the classroom the way that scientists and engineers do. They work in collaborative groups to iteratively solve problems and explore challenges. Science and engineering practices are not just found in isolated inquiry activities, but permeate the entire curriculum.

Introduction videos to PBIScience CyberPD.
Total Support for Teaching PBIScience Successfully: Preparation, Just-in-Time Support, Reflection, and a Professional Learning Community.

Student Engagement with PBIScience - NY

PBIScience Authors

Janet L. Kolodner, Ph.D.

Georgia Institute of Technology

A Regents’ Professor in the School of Interactive Computing in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s College of Computing. Since 1978, her research has focused on learning from experience, both in computers and in people. She pioneered the Artificial Intelligence method called case-based reasoning, providing a way for computers to solve new problems based on their past experiences. Her book, Case-Based Reasoning, synthesizes work across the case-based reasoning research community from its inception to 1993.

Since 1994, Dr. Kolodner has focused on the applications and implications of case-based reasoning for education. In her approach to science education, called Learning by Design (LBD), students learn science while pursuing design challenges. Dr. Kolodner has investigated how to create a culture of collaboration and rigorous science talk in classrooms, how to use a project challenge to promote a focus on science content, and how students learn and develop when classrooms function as learning communities. Currently, Dr. Kolodner is investigating how to help young people come to think of themselves as scientific reasoners. Dr. Kolodner’s research results have been widely published, including in Cognitive Science, Design Studies, and the Journal of the Learning Sciences.

Dr. Kolodner was founding Director of Georgia Tech’s EduTech Institute, served as coordinator of Georgia Tech’s Cognitive Science program for many years, and is founding Editor in Chief of the Journal of the Learning Sciences. She is a founder of the International Society for the Learning Sciences, and she served as its fi rst Executive Officer. She is a fellow of the American Association of Artificial Intelligence.

Joe Krajcik, Ph.D.

Michigan State University

Brian Reiser, Ph.D.

Northwestern University

Daniel C. Edelson, Ph.D.

National Geographic Society

Mary L. Starr, Ph.D.

University of Michigan

Joe Krajcik has focused on working with science teachers to reform science teaching practices (3-Dimensional Learning) to promote students' learning of science. He was head of The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Physical Science Design team and led the Physical Science Design Team for the Framework for K – 12 Science Education.

Brian J. Reiser worked with the National Research Council committee to develop the Framework for K-12 Science Education, which guided the design of The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Vice President for Education and Children’s Programs at the National Geographic Society. Previously, he was the director of the Geographic Data in Education (GEODE) Initiative at Northwestern University, where he led the development of Planetary Forecaster and Earth Systems and Processes. Since 1992, Dr. Edelson has directed a series of projects exploring the use of technology as a catalyst for reform in science education and has led the development of a number of software environments for education. These include My World GIS, a geographic information system for inquiry-based learning, and WorldWatcher, a data visualization and analysis system for gridded geographic data. Dr. Edelson is the author of the high school environmental science text, Investigations in Environmental Science: A Case-Based Approach to the Study of Environmental Systems. His research has been widely published, including in the Journal of the Learning Sciences, the Journal of Research on Science Teaching, Science Educator, and The Science Teacher.

A Research Specialist in Science Education in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. She collaborates with teachers and students in elementary and middle school science classrooms around the United States who are implementing Project-Based Inquiry Science. Before joining the PBIScience team, Dr. Starr created professional learning experiences in science, math, and technology, designed to assist teachers in successfully changing their classroom practices to promote student learning from coherent inquiry experiences. She has developed instructional materials in several STEM areas, including nanoscale science education, has presented at national and regional teacher education and educational research meetings, and has served in a leadership role in the Michigan Science Education Leadership Association. Dr. Starr has authored articles and book chapters and has worked to improve elementary science teacher preparation through teaching science courses for pre-service teachers and acting as a consultant in elementary science teacher preparation. As part of the PBIScience team, Dr. Starr has played a lead role in making units cohere as a curriculum, in developing the framework for PBIScience Teacher’s Planning Guides, and in developing teacher professional development experiences and materials.



This document charts the alignment between PBIScience® lessons and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) performance expectations.

Click here to view.


NGSS Alignment Badge - Practices, Content, Crosscutting