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Museum of Science Launches First School Textbook Publishing Partnership with Key Curriculum Press

Press Release [Return to listing page]

June 05, 2007

BOSTON and EMERYVILLE, CA — The Museum of Science, Boston, and Key Curriculum Press, Emeryville, Calif., announced plans today to publish an engaging new high school science and engineering curriculum, Engineering the Future: Science, Technology, and the Design Process (EtF). The innovative curriculum, developed by the Museum of Science's National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®) and already field-tested successfully in more than 100 high schools nationally, immerses students in hands-on design and building challenges reflecting real engineering problems — from designing and testing a boat model to constructing a building prototype. With Key Curriculum Press, the Museum launches its first school textbook publishing partnership.

The Engineering the Future textbook, Engineer's Notebook and Teacher's Guide will be available August 2007 nationwide. For ordering information, visit:

With the importance of technological literacy, the need for trained scientists and engineers and the nation's standards-driven educational system, the Museum of Science established the National Center for Technological Literacy in 2004 to enhance knowledge of engineering and technology for people of all ages and to help build the workforce of the 21st century.

"Until now, school curricula focused more on the natural world," says Museum of Science president and director Ioannis (Yannis) Miaoulis. "But it is the technological, or human-made, world that facilitates 95 percent of our daily experience. The key to educating students for today's competitive global economy is introducing them to the engineering design skills and concepts that engage them in applying their math and science knowledge to solve real problems, often fueling innovation of new technologies. That's why we are developing standards-based engineering curricula reflecting the human-made world. Partnering with Key Curriculum Press enables us to expand our impact significantly." Along with the NCTL's elementary and middle school curricula, Engineering the Future is part of the Museum's strategy to introduce engineering as early as elementary school and continue it through high school, college and beyond.

"Key Curriculum Press is committed to promoting the widespread adoption of Engineering the Future because we believe that students who experience this course will develop the habits of mind that will facilitate success in high school and beyond. The curriculum's engaging nature encourages students to commit to science-oriented courses and careers," says Key Curriculum Press publisher Steven Rasmussen. "Having developed and sold innovative mathematics and science curricula for 35 years, we think that the Museum's curriculum is a perfect match for us."

Engineering the Future content

Engineering the Future is equivalent in academic credit to an introductory course in physics, biology or chemistry. In addition to the technology design practices that will be assessed in the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam, the year-long course addresses the national Standards for Technological Literacy (ITEA 2000) as well as the Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework (MA DOE 2006), while also introducing key physics concepts. Students create products that solve problems involving thermal, fluid and electrical power systems; communications; manufacturing; and construction. Each challenge involves applications of science and math. The goal is to build technological literacy and critical reasoning skills and increase the pool of students interested in technical and scientific careers. Students develop a practical understanding of how science and technology influence their own lives and how they will influence technological innovation in the future as consumers, workers and citizens. The course textbook is narrated by 32 engineers from different backgrounds who describe practicing their diverse professions — from designing a running shoe to building a bridge. Students record their research, designs and conclusions in an Engineer's Notebook as engineers do. A Teacher's Guide provides lesson plans, assessment tools and other materials.

Teachers' reactions

>Dan Moriarty, a teacher at Whitman-Hanson Regional High School in Massachusetts, reported that his students liked Engineering the Future "because it is practical, hands-on, and fun. One girl decided to study engineering in college. This project-based learning really gets kids into the role of working engineer."

>Dave Roberts, a teacher at Westfield Regional Vocational Technical High School in Massachusetts, said: "This is the most meaningful curriculum I've taught in 16 years. It teaches students how to think."

>Pete Murdock, an instructor at the Marine Academy of Science & Technology in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, said: "Students are challenged to find answers through a discovery process rather than just learning for a test."

Reach and evaluation

Since 2005, Engineering the Future has reached 162 educators and 7,573 high school students in 102 schools in 10 states, including 131 teachers in 81 Massachusetts schools. Evaluation studies show that students significantly increase their understanding in all four Engineering the Future units. For more information on this curriculum, visit: The NCTL has been in contact with parties interested in K-12 education in 39 states (plus Washington, D.C.) in various ways. They include responding to educators ordering course materials, working with states on their educational standards and field-testing curricula. Led in part by Miaoulis, Massachusetts was the first state in 2001 to develop a K-12 curriculum framework and assessments for technology/engineering. Over 30 states now address technology/engineering through science standards and/or technology education. Many of them work with the NCTL — from Alabama, Florida and Texas to New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maine and Minnesota.

About Key Curriculum Press

Founded in 1971 by mathematics educators, Key Curriculum Press is a leading publisher of inquiry-based textbooks, dynamic mathematics software and supplementary materials for middle-school and high-school students. Key materials incorporate effective use of technology with careful concept development and an inquiry-based approach. Key's award-winning educational software line includes The Geometer's Sketchpad®, the leading mathematics software in grades 6 to 12, and two data analysis programs, Fathom™ Dynamic Data software for students in grade 8 to college and TinkerPlots™ Dynamic Data Exploration software for students in grades 4 to 8. In 1996, Key became affiliated with Springer, one of the world's largest and most prestigious scientific publishers. Visit

About the Museum of Science, Boston

The nation's only science museum with a comprehensive strategy and infrastructure to foster technological literacy in both science museums and schools nationwide, the Museum of Science is developing technology exhibits and programs and integrating engineering as a new discipline in schools via standards-based K-12 curricular reform. One of the world's largest science centers, the Museum takes a hands-on approach to science, engineering and technology, attracting about 1.6 million visitors a year via its programs and 700 interactive exhibits. Founded in 1830, the Museum was first to embrace all the sciences under one roof. Highlights include the Thomson Theater of Electricity, Charles Hayden Planetarium, Mugar Omni Theater, Gordon Current Science & Technology Center, 3-D Digital Cinema and Butterfly Garden. Reaching 50,000 teens worldwide via the Intel Computer Clubhouse®, the Museum also leads a multi-museum, $20 million National Science Foundation-funded nanotechnology education initiative. The Museum's "Science Is an Activity" exhibit plan has been awarded many NSF grants and influenced science centers worldwide. Visit


Leigh Muzslay Browne, 510-595-7000 ext. 126,

Carole McFall, 617-589-0257,

Gail Jennes, 617-589-0393,


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The Museum of Science, Boston

  1 Science Park, Boston, MA 02114  phone: 617-723-2500   email: