Science and Technology Concepts TM - Elementary and Secondary Program


"STC units have helped me to completely change the way I teach science. They promote not only a hands-on, but a minds-on approach to science. They have helped my students to learn to become better thinkers and problem solvers. I cannot imagine going back to a textbook approach to teaching science."

-- Sue Gunter, Teacher in Residence, Hands on Activity Science Program, University of Alabama

Program Type

Curriculum/Instructional Materials

Target Audience

All Students




Pre-K - 5
Grades 6 - 8

 Accomplished link

Program Impact

The Science and Technology Concepts (STC) curriculum is helping students in every state in the United States and seven foreign countries gain first-hand experience of science and engineering practices Rigorous research shows that STC can have a strong positive impact on the quality of teaching and student performance in science.


Program Overview

The Science and Technology Concepts (STC) Program (TM) for grades K-10 provides students with curricula that fully address science standards and present opportunities for children to engage directly with natural phenomena, tools of science, real world problems and technical design challenges. The program aims to help all students develop age-appropriate scientific habits of mind while building on students' prior knowledge and experiences and allowing them to apply knowledge and problem-solving strategies in new contexts.

The STC Program (TM) units explore life, earth and physical science with technological design. Based on how children learn, each unit challenges students to take responsibility for their own learning, guiding them to plan and conduct their own experiments and to design data tables. They analyze and communicate their own experimental work. The units are intended to prepare scientifically literate students for high school, college and careers in science and technology fields.

Units in the STC (TM) Program fall into two categories: STC-Elementary (TM), grades K-5 and STC- Secondary (TM), grades 6-10.

The STC (TM) Program was developed by the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) through a partnership with Carolina Biological Supply Company. The SSEC was established by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Academies to address the critical need to improve the teaching and learning of science and to actively promote science education reform using current research and best practices for teachers, schools, districts and states.

How To Get Involved


Funders and Partners
The Smithsonian Science Education Center is grateful to the Smithsonian for its overall project support and sharing its scientific expertise-critical for the development of world-class products. Support for project staff and the associated work to produce and publish these materials has been made possible by the National Science Foundation, our publisher Carolina Biological Supply Company, and numerous private foundations and corporations, including Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, The Dow Chemical Company Foundation, DuPont, the Hewlett-Packard Company, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


Dr. Carol O'Donnell, Director, Smithsonian Science Education Center

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Design Principles

The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against the Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.

  • Accomplished
  • Developing
  • Undeveloped

Overarching Principles

  • Need

    Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.

  • Evaluation

    Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.

  • Sustainability

    Ensure work is sustainable.

  • Replication and Scalability

    Demonstrate replicability and scalability.

  • Partnerships

    Create high impact partnerships

  • Capacity

    Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.

STEM Principles

  • Challenging and Relevant Content

    Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience

  • STEM Practices

    Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.

  • Inspiration

    Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.

  • Under-Represented Groups

    Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.