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Inspire Science Helps Teachers Close STEM Gap by Encouraging K-5 Students to Think Like Scientists

Built for the Next Generation Science Standards, Inspire Science integrates literacy with science and engineering teaching practices

NEW YORK, Aug. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- McGraw-Hill today announced Inspire Science, a new core elementary science curriculum for K-5 students designed specifically to address the requirements of the Next Generation Science Standards. The program aims to help teachers improve student results in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) by motivating students to become curious, creative problem solvers. Inspire Science blends science and engineering practices with problem-based learning to engage students in STEM while improving literacy and math skills. Inspire Science will initially launch this month, with additional content, features, and updates rolling out this fall. Learn more:

According to the National Math + Science Initiative, only 30 percent of American high school graduates performed at or above the proficient level in science. Among college students who begin with a STEM major, 38 percent do not graduate with a STEM major. Meanwhile STEM jobs are increasingly in demand, leaving a gap between great jobs and qualified candidates.

To address the STEM gap, Inspire Science allows students to develop a foundational understanding of science at an early age through conceptual learning and hands-on activities. The program teaches science the way it is used in real life: through the combined use of science, engineering, literacy and math skills.

"Student performance and advancement in STEM will be born from a shift to a more collaborative, problem-based learning approach that blends knowledge with skills and places a priority on curiosity, problem solving and communication," said Christine Willig, president of McGraw-Hill's K-12 group. "Inspire Science encourages students to think like scientists and explore real-world career paths they can follow with a STEM education."

Inspire Science at a glance:

  • With hands-on and problem-based learning activities, Inspire Science fosters student learning progression and collaboration while adhering to the familiar and proven 5E instructional model: engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate.
  • Inspire Science blends a digital learning experience with print resources where they are needed the most in reading, journal writing and problem solving.
  • The Inspire Science lessons focus on core topics, so students can deepen their conceptual understanding of key subjects through rich exploration and critical thinking.
  • Digital experiences, interactive content, simulations and hands-on activities help students develop critical and computational thinking skills that include making numerical predictions, organizing data, understanding variables and communicating findings or concepts to others.
  • Inspire Science improves literacy skills in a fun way through the incorporation of non-fiction readings paired with text-dependent questions, paired readings with fiction and non-fiction connections, writing arguments and explanations practiced in the context of science.
  • McGraw-Hill offers comprehensive training and professional development support to ensure teachers get the most out of the Inspire Science platform.

"Research-based models and simulations have a demonstrated ability to help students learn, particularly about concepts that they can't easily experience directly," said Chad Dorsey, president and CEO of Concord Consortium. "The scientifically accurate simulations we've co-developed for Inspire Science help make the invisible both visible and experiential to bring out the inner scientist in students and teachers alike.

McGraw Hill
McGraw Hill is a leading global education company that partners with millions of educators, learners and professionals around the world. Recognizing their diverse needs, we build trusted content, flexible tools and powerful digital platforms to help them achieve success on their own terms. Through our commitment to equity, accessibility and inclusion, we foster a culture of belonging that respects and reflects the diversity of the communities, learners and educators we serve. McGraw Hill has over 30 offices across North America, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and South America, and makes its learning solutions for PreK-12, higher education, professionals and others available in more than 80 languages. Visit us at or find us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

About the Inspire Science Partners and Authors

McGraw-Hill obtained feedback from over 4,000 educators and worked with the following thought leaders in elementary science to develop Inspire Science:

Inspire Science Partners

  • The Concord Consortium is a nonprofit educational research and digital learning organization focused on delivering the promise of technology for education in science, math and engineering. The Inspire Science simulations, created in partnership with the Concord Consortium, allow students to explore cause and effect in ways that scientists and engineers do in real life and enable them to model concepts otherwise not possible to explore in the classroom.
  • Filament Games is a game production studio that creates digital learning games and interactives designed to foster 21st-century skills through experiential learning. The immersive games included with Inspire Science, developed in partnership with Filament Games, enable students to "play" with the lesson concepts to deepen and reinforce conceptual understanding.

Inspire Science Program Authors:

  • Page Keeley is the author of the well-known Page Keeley Science probes, formative assessment tools designed to uncover student misconceptions and get a clear picture of where students are in their understanding before the lesson begins to focus instruction and support. Each Inspire Science lesson begins with a Page Keeley probe that includes multiple points in the lesson to evaluate how students are progressing in their thinking as a result of the instruction.
  • Dr. Jay Hackett, a science educator and veteran McGraw-Hill elementary school science author, is an emeritus professor of earth sciences at the University of Northern Colorado. As a professor on loan to the National Research Council, he assisted in the development of Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A Guide for Teaching and Learning. He is a past recipient of the William R. Ross Science Award as an Honored Alumnus of the University of Northern Colorado.
  • Dr. Richard Moyer, award-winning educator and science author, is an emeritus professor of science education and natural sciences at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and has been an elementary and middle school science author for McGraw-Hill for over 32 years. He is the co-author of Everyday Engineering: Putting the E in STEM Teaching and Learning, a book that looks at the engineering of the simple devices we use daily. He and Dr. Hackett are co-authors of the college science methods book, Teaching Science as Investigations.
  • Dinah Zike is an award-winning author, educator and inventor known for designing three-dimensional hands-on manipulatives and graphic organizers known as Foldables® and VKVs® (Visual Kinesthetic Vocabulary®). Dinah's kinesthetic learning aids are used nationally and internationally by teachers, parents and educational publishing companies. Each Inspire Science lesson includes a Foldable and several VKVs, which are used to reinforce the terminology and key concepts needed to understand and enhance science and engineering classroom experiences.
  • Jo Anne Vasquez has been a classroom teacher, a district science specialist, an adjunct professor, VP & Programs Director for STEM Initiatives at Helios Education Foundation and currently is a STEM Education Consultant. She is the Past President of the National Science Teachers Association and the National Science Leadership Association and is the only K-12 teacher ever to be appointed to the National Science Board. She received the 2007 New York Academy of Science’s “Willard Jacobson Award” for major contribution to the field of science education and was the 2004 NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials) honoree for her contributions to improving education.

Tyler Reed
McGraw Hill
(914) 512-4853