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Professional Development

Making Sense of SCIENCE: Building Stronger Science Education Communities with Transformative Professional Learning and Needs-Based Technical Assistance

Making Sense of SCIENCE empowers teachers, leaders, administrators, and all science educators with the knowledge and skills needed to engage learners and increase achievement in 21st century science classrooms and beyond.

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What You Will Learn

The Making Sense of SCIENCE (MSS) project provides a variety of transformative professional learning pathways for science teachers and leaders. MSS learning pathways:

  • Engage teachers in collaborative adult-level learning experiences that foster the deep content knowledge and strong pedagogical skills needed to effectively implement engaging and impactful student-driven learning
  • Equip leaders with materials, knowledge, and techniques to facilitate high-quality, nationally field-tested professional learning experiences for teachers
  • Empower teachers and leaders with tools for planning, implementing, and sustaining a culture of effective and meaningful professional learning

Who Will Benefit

  • Preservice Teachers
  • K-12 Classroom Teachers
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Implementers
  • Science Leaders
  • Staff Developers
  • Administrators
  • Curriculum Specialists
  • Schools, Districts, County Offices of Education, and State Science Networks with professional learning needs

Service Details

MSS’s goal is to provide transformative professional learning that empowers teachers and leaders with the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to support a culture of productive learning.

MSS designs custom learning pathways for teachers and leaders and provides technical assistance to schools and districts that draw on a suite of research-proven products and services.


Pre-Service, K–12 Classroom Teachers, Leaders, NGSS Implementers, Administrators

MSS provides a variety of transformative professional learning experiences ranging from half-day sessions to 10-day immersive experiences. We offer dozens of high-quality, research-based, and effective courses for teachers and leaders:

  • Content Courses prioritize diving deep into challenging science content
  • Pedagogical Content Courses balance making sense of challenging science content, the literacy support, and the pedagogical skills needed to effectively foster rich, engaging, equitable student-driven science learning
  • Content Integration Courses immerse teachers in the techniques required to integrate science, literacy, and mathematics
  • NGSS Implementation Courses provide the supports teachers/leaders need to initiate and sustain their NGSS implementation
  • NGSS Student Unit Courses prepare teachers with the knowledge and skills to effectively implement an MSS NGSS-shifted student unit
  • Courses for science leaders spotlight the tools teacher leaders, curriculum specialists, and administrators need to support effective science teaching

Facilitation Academies for Courses

Science Leaders, Staff Developers, Administrators

While Making Sense of SCIENCE often facilitates MSS Courses as a direct service to learners, the project also offers Facilitation Academies that equip staff developers and other professional learning providers with materials, knowledge, and techniques to facilitate an MSS Course at their own site.

MSS provides private Facilitation Academies for sites. We also offer two annual community Facilitation Academy events that attract diverse groups of participants from around the country and even worldwide:

  • Camp MSS: A 2.5–3 day choose-your-own-adventure style professional learning conference in California where MSS staff guide participants in a series of Facilitation Academies for a variety of half-day to 2-day courses
  • Spring SCIENCE: A 5-day professional learning event in Alameda, CA, where MSS staff guide participants through a Facilitation Academy for a longer-format MSS Course

Technical Assistance

Schools, Districts, County Offices of Education, State Science Networks

MSS provides a range of services to empower sites with tools for planning, implementing, and sustaining a culture of productive and meaningful professional learning and science education. MSS technical assistance is ideal for sites that need the following support:

  • Implementing new science and engineering standards, student curricula, and professional learning initiatives
  • Mentoring teachers, leaders, and staff developers
  • Assessing student and teacher science content knowledge (formative and summative)

Build a Custom Learning Pathway Today!

Each MSS service can stand alone or be linked together with other services to create a custom learning pathway to foster ongoing collaboration and increase impact. Sample pathways include the following:

  • Engage teachers in a comprehensive 5-day teacher course to strengthen their content knowledge and hone their practice, then use the MSS Making Sense of Student Work™ protocol as the base of a year-long professional learning community experience
  • Engage science leaders in a MSS Facilitation Academy that prepares science leaders to host one or more MSS Teacher Courses, which maximizes regional capacity and reaches a large number of teachers followed with a series of workshops focused on leadership development
  • Create a culture of sustained professional learning with a series of short courses on a range of teacher-selected topics

What Makes This Service Unique

MSS professional learning builds on more than a decade of research and development and combines in-depth earth, life, and physical science content with a focus on supporting literacy, pedagogical reasoning, and effective classroom practices. In rigorous national studies, MSS professional learning courses have been shown to significantly strengthen teachers’ content knowledge and classroom practices and, most importantly, significantly improve student achievement.


Costs vary based on the design of the learning pathway. Download our 2018 Services Catalog (PDF) and contact us ( for a complete pricing list and sample pathways.

Learn More

Interested in learning more about the ways you can strengthen your knowledge and skills in the classroom? Visit the Making Sense of SCIENCE website or contact us at

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