Phenomena-Based 3D Learning STEM Curriculum

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STEMscopes was born in the lab and is continuously refined in the classroom, combining the career and college success expertise of Rice University with the pedagogical and instructional know-how of practicing teachers.
“By Teachers for Teachers” is not a slogan—it’s a fact.

Why Teachers Prefer STEMscopes

The Next Generation Science Standards are complex and hard to unpack, but STEMscopes Michigan 3D’s award-winning curriculum design and embedded professional development make it easy for new and veteran teachers alike to teach to the rigor and depth demanded by these new standards.

Built on a digital platform, enhanced by print, and brought to life in hands-on kits, STEMscopes Michigan 3D employs 3D learning to comprehensively address the Disciplinary Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts, and Science and Engineering Practices through the student-driven inquiry of phenomena across flexible storylines.

Our Core Principles for STEM Curriculum

  • Results-Driven
  • Teacher-Friendly
  • Low-Cost
  • Engagement-Sparking
  • Feedback-Centered

STEMscopes Michigan 3D Features at a Glance

  • Hands-on Lessons
  • Downloadable Resources
  • Embedded PD & Facilitation Resources
  • Standards Alignment Tools
  • Wide Variety of Assessments

Coherent Lesson Flow

Coherence means that student learning modules—units (bundles), chapters (scopes), and lessons (hands-on Explores)—logically flow between one another and also build upon each other to form sequenced missions. Often publishers misrepresent coherence to mean teaching by numbered steps. Coherence in the Michigan NGSS allows students to explore a variety of phenomena and the ability to link the application of the three dimensions to real-world phenomena using prior knowledge and new understandings and abilities.

STEMscopes Michigan 3D provides two levels of coherence:

Each STEMscopes chapter (scope) is built on the 5E lesson model—Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. Lesson elements within the scope are scaffolded to build upon previous elements’ three-dimensional learning, allowing both a gradual release of control from teacher-led to student-led learning. Along the way, teachers have access to unique intervention and acceleration lessons to differentiate for all the unique learners in the classroom.

Each bundle (unit) begins with an anchoring phenomena event, anchoring phenomena driving question, and a mission action plan (performance expectation). Together, these drive the instructional focus of the scopes (chapter) within a bundle. Scopes are tied to investigative and everyday phenomena, forming a bridge that builds students’ knowledge progressively towards the bundle's anchoring phenomena and culminates in the bundle's mission action plan (performance expectation).

Experience Award‑Winning Curriculum Design



Storylines help students jump from one area of content to another in a logical flow. Given the distinct dynamic of PreK-12 classrooms across the country, STEMscopes Michigan 3D offers pre-made bundles and enables teachers to create their own. By allowing teachers to select their own sequence, they can create their own bundles and storylines that are custom-tailored to their classroom dynamic so that “jumps” from content to content are not so much leaps as a continuous flow based on student-driven interest and inquiry.



STEMscopes Michigan 3D is filled with phenomena, from investigative labs to Student Wondering of Phenomena to hook activities. Phenomena are infused into all STEMscopes activities from beginning to end in the 5E+IA lesson model. Phenomena are used by teachers to help students develop inquiry when investigating phenomena of their own interest in the content area. Teachers can then use the student-driven phenomena as anchor phenomena to connect the lesson to real-life issues students are passionate about.

Three-Dimensional Learning


STEMscopes Michigan 3D is built on Three-Dimensional Learning—crosscutting connections, discipline-specific core ideas, and science and engineering practices.

All three dimensions are seamlessly woven together in lesson activities so that students come to understand the Next Generation Science Standards not as discrete facts and skills, but as the process of applying science in our lives.

This type of learning means that students can interact with science as scientists themselves, combining personal interests, a spirit of inquiry, and the overarching concepts that govern how we understand the natural world.

Blended Learning Throughout

Teach the Way You Want

We believe in teacher expertise and choice to provide the best possible student learning experience. Our blended learning platform offers teachers modular ways to teach—use our digital platform to assign activities directly to students, enhance literacy with our print, and make hands-on lab set up a snap with our intuitively packaged kits.

icon Digital
  • Any device, any time
  • Google Classroom compatible
  • Updated continuously at no extra cost
icon Print
  • Support Literacy
  • Consumable and hard cover book options
icon Hands-on Kits
  • Enhance Inquiry, Engage
  • Organized by Activity
  • Inexpensive to refill materials within kits / Not forced to buy new kits for refill

Professional Learning

  • Hands-on use of instruction materials
  • Practice using embedded, high-impact instructional strategies
  • Start with on-demand training, grow to full STEM certification
  • Partnered with the National Institute for STEM Education

How STEMscopes is Built

Rooted in the Scientifically Proven 5E Model PLUS Intervention and Acceleration.

STEMscopes pedagogy has its roots in Bybee’s 5E model, Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences, and the back‑flipped classroom wherein students learn by doing and experiencing rather than passively observing.

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STEMscopes case studies are longitudinal in nature and focus on real classrooms. Leveraging thousands of schools in a district at once, time and time again, STEMscopes has demonstrated its ability to improve student academic outcomes and dramatically boost performance of ELL students and other subpopulation groups.

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What Teachers are Saying

“STEMscopes is great. Until we began using STEMscopes, students didn’t understand that science is everywhere. In kindergarten through fourth grade, they thought science was a book. They didn’t see science as being connected to the real world, so they thought that when they left school they’d never use it again. Now they realize science is everyday life.” Karen Silensky, Fifth Grade Teacher Horizon Elementary, Broward County Public Schools, Florida

“STEMscopes is a major motivator for our students. It helps them grasp concepts, build their critical thinking skills, and connect science to real-world situations." Robin Butcher, Fifth Grade Teacher Horizon Elementary, Broward County Public Schools, Florida

“Because we’ve been using STEMscopes for a few years now, our students are better prepared in science at each subsequent grade level. Our middle school teachers say that students are arriving with a stronger foundation in science than they did a few years ago. They also have a better understanding of what’s expected of them, which is moving the learning process forward much quicker.” Don E. Cowart II, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Coventry Public Schools, Rhode Island

"Being a first-year teacher, I love having everything you need at the access of your computer to complete a lesson plan. From vocabulary, to video with worksheets in not only English, but also in Spanish, as well as extended activities. I love having the hands-on components that include a supply list as well as a quick how-to video on those hands on activities." Amber Moenning, Teacher Crockett Elementary, Wichita Falls ISD, Texas

"STEMscopes has benefited my students and me tremendously. Its practice has encouraged my students to further investigate into the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as a whole. Its curriculum and experiments/activities are readily accessible, easy to use, and educationally comprehensive. I couldn’t be happier with STEMscopes!" Elizabeth Dennis, Fifth Grade Teacher Centro Mater East II, Miami Dade County, Florida

"STEMscopes allows me to focus on students doing science, not just reading about science. The annual student subscription is reasonable and suggests materials that are inexpensive and easy to find, making hands-on science affordable for a small school with a limited science budget." Angelin Petit, Middle School Science Teacher Sacred Heart Catholic School, Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis, Minnesota

"When a new curriculum gets adopted, teachers worry that they’ll need a lot of professional development and that they’ll have to spend hours planning to implement it. They didn’t do that with STEMscopes. They jumped in really quickly. STEMscopes is very intuitive and simple to use." Cyndi Ganfield, Principal Aumsville Elementary, Cascade School District, Oregon

"The vertical alignment in STEMscopes has been a big benefit. It standardized science so everyone is now speaking the same language." Bryan Dyer, Principal Cloverdale Elementary, Cascade, Oregon

How STEMscopes has Evolved with Changes in NGSS



April 2013

Achieve Releases Next Generation Science Standards



July 2014

STEMscopes 1.0 Released



January & June 2015

Achieve Releases Evidence Statements



May 2016

STEMscopes 2.0 Released



September 2016

NGSS Phenomena Position Paper Released



January 2017

STEMscopes 2.0 Adds Student Wondering of Phenomena



April 2018

STEMscopes 3D Released