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Merck: Curriculum and Instructional Materials for Merck Institute

Several of the school districts had begun the process of redesigning their curricula well before district representatives attended an NSRC National Elementary Science Leadership Institute. However, the NSRC Institutes served to stimulate the teams' interests in curriculum reform and greatly accelerated the pace of change in all four districts. The districts began to implement their respective plans to move toward kit-based modules drawn from the three series developed in NSF-funded programs, the Science and Technology for Children series developed by the National Science Resources Center , the Full Option Science System series developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science , and the Insights series developed by the Education Development Center.

Each of the four districts developed its own plan involving different ultimate goals, different phasing-in strategies, and, of course, different modules. Because of these differences, professional development programs were tailored to the specific needs of the individual school districts.

In support of this move to kit-based modules, the Merck Institute established a Resource Center at the company's Rahway, New Jersey facility. Merck Institute staff helped develop criteria for review of materials and assisted school personnel in evaluating and piloting new curriculum unites. The staff continues to advise and guide teachers, working with them to find what best meets their classroom needs. The Resource Center holds hundreds of curriculum modules, books, periodicals, and videos, which teachers and science supervisors can borrow. Portable planetariums are also available for classroom use. Also, Merck employee volunteers make frequent use of The Resource Center as they prepare for classroom visits or science fair activities.

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