Montana Science Content Standards and Resources

Science Instructional Coordinator: Michelle McCarthy| 406-444-3537
Return to the K-12 Content Standards home page.


Announcements and Opportunities

Carnegie Corporation on the Call to Action
ICYMI: BOSE, NASEM: Taking Stock of Science Standards Implementation Summit recording


Grant or Paid Opportunities

Grant or Paid Opportunities

  • May 24:  SEEKING MENTORS for the MentorMT Initiative

    MentorMT offers grade-level and subject-area mentoring for new and underprepared rural teachers, helping them build effective pedagogy and content knowledge in their grade level and discipline. Up to 50 K-12 teachers will be partnered with mentors next year. We are seeking experienced Montana educators to become mentors. You could be one of them – apply today!

    Open the attached PDF for more information and the application link.

    Or go to: []


    Questions? Contact Jennifer Luebeck, Montana State University

    Email or call (406) 994-5341

    MentorMT is offered through the Montana State University Center for Research on Rural Education and funded by Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies and the U.S. Department of Education

  • Needed: 45 teachers in grades 3-5 across Montana who have an interest in sustaining and improving their three-dimensional science and engineering instruction. There will be an emphasis on the rural context and supporting these teachers in identifying local phenomena relevant to their students.

    All participating teachers will receive targeted support from professional learning providers and researchers to develop and implement engineering lessons during the 2023–24 and 2024–25 school years. The professional learning will be a virtual professional learning event in summer 2023 around three-dimensional instruction, phenomenon-driven inquiry, and engineering design and design-based learning. 

    Teachers who consent to participate will receive an annual stipend of $1,600 for each of the 2023–24 and 2024–25 school years, with an additional $100 stipend for any study activities in 2025–26. Teachers will also receive a small materials stipend for classroom supplies to support an engineering lesson.  

    If you are interested, please follow this link to provide us with your contact information:  contact Rebekah Hammack or the project director, Dr. Ryan Summers, if you have any questions about the project.

    We invite you to share this information with colleagues in your school or elsewhere who might be interested in participating in this project.

  • 21st Century Community Learning Center Competitive Grant Update  The 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant provides funds to Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) and community-based organizations (CBOs). Grantees are awarded a minimum of $50,000 each year for 5 years. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers provide opportunities for academic enrichment during out-of-school time in a community learning center environment.  Services reinforce and complement regular academic programs and offer literacy and educational development to students and families. You can apply, see the timeline learn a little more on the website

  • US Dept of Education examples of the Department's discretionary grants that can support STEM (best practices in science)  4th grade Teacher Recruitment for PBL piloting.  Round 1: January 2023, upon completion receive $2.000.00; Round 2 January 2024, receive another $2,000.00 upon completion, PeBLES2 - a project of MMSA and BSCS aims to design and investigate locally adaptable three-dimensional instructional materials and professional learning for elementary science. Teachers, scientists, and researchers co-design locally adaptable units of instruction and professional learning to dig deeply into the science sensemaking and localization process. Learn more about this project and apply at the MMSA website.

  • CSX Community Service Grants (includes schools) with suggested ranges from $1,000 to $5,000

  • Aldrin Family Foundation Map Package Grant Application Aldrin Family Foundation has worked with donors to make Giant Mars and Moon Map packages available for distribution to individual schools, school districts, and informal education organizations throughout the country in areas where we believe they can do the most good, especially in under-served communities.

Challenges and Competitions

Challenges and Competitions


Student and Classroom opportunities

Student and Classroom Opportunities


  • Level up by becoming a coder this summer with Girls Who Code! Choose your own adventure through our two free virtual programs and get the skills, network, and lifelong college and career support you need to change the world. All high school girls and non-binary students are welcome to apply, including past participants! 

    • In our 2-week Summer Immersion Program for current 9th-11th graders, you’ll join live virtual classrooms hosted by industry-leading companies like MetLife, Bank of America, and Accenture. By the end of the program, you’ll learn the fundamentals of game design, UX, the iterative design process, and more, as you build out a suite of short games using p5.js, a JavaScript library for creative coding. You can even apply for laptop and hotspot access and grants of $300 for financial support!
    • In our 6-week Self-Paced Program for current 9th-12th graders, you’ll learn to code through independent study and real-world projects. By the end of the program, you’ll earn beginner-level certificates of completion in HTML, CSS, or JavaScript for web development or intermediate-level certificates of completion in Python for cybersecurity or data science.
  • Air Quality Flag Program. This program is funded by the Montana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Flags, onsite training, and educational materials are free.  If you would like to get involved, contact, (406) 763-1006.
  • Bugs, bugs, bugs!  Field trips, Classroom visits, Distance Learning, all available through Missoula Butterfly House, scholarships are available.
  • Coding: CS Ed Week, Computer Science for Educators-resources
  • EPA Region 8 (Mountains and Plains) offers virtual presentations to the general public, teachers and students on a variety of environmental topics. Presentations can be tailored for any age group and are offered during the school week. EPA also has lesson plans, activity books, pre-recorded presentations and games available.  EPA Region 8 offers informal mentorships to young people who are interested in finding out more about environmental/conservation issues, projects and careers. Students are matched with a subject matter expert who can discuss with the students their environmental questions or career paths. Mentorships can be one-time visits, a phone call, virtual meetings or last a few months depending on the student’s needs/interests. Mentees can be of any age. Teachers or parents interested in finding out more about these offerings should contact Wendy Dew at dew.wendy@epa.govor 303-877-0428
National Energy Education Development (NEED):  Energy Curricular Materials and upcoming events



  • Registration is now open for Montana's own Code Girls United’s free after-school programs starting on Monday, Sept. 12. In addition to in-person programs at more than 20 locations across the state, there will also be two online options held on Mondays from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 4:00 - 5:15 p.m. Code Girls United teaches girls from grades 4-8 how to code and create apps while also instilling the lifelong skills of teamwork and self-confidence. The girls also have the opportunity to participate in the NW Regional App Challenge with the chance to win team scholarship prizes of $5000, $2500, or $1000, as well as the International Technovation Challenge and the Congressional App Challenge. To see the variety of programs Code Girls United offers and to find an after-school program near you, visit If you would like to bring one of Code Girls United’s programs to your school, library, or after school organization please contact Brenda Reiter, program director, at Code Girls United provides training, curriculum in a Google Classroom, support, a stipend for teachers, and OPI renewal credits.



  • Applications Open Dec. 1, 2022.  Montana’s STEM/Healthcare Scholarship Program is designed to provide an incentive for Montana high school students to prepare for, enter into, and complete degrees in postsecondary fields related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics and healthcare. The goal of this program is to increase the number of STEM/Healthcare degree recipients [] participating in Montana’s workforce.   Learn more about this opportunity.

  • Now:  Big Sky Documentary Youth Fellowship Applications Are Open!  Every year Big Sky Film Institute invites up to six promising high school students the opportunity to create their own short documentary film under the guidance of seasoned documentarians.  Starting in October, students meet once a week with a big Sky artist-in-resident to learn the ropes of documentary filmmaking, from the history and theories of the medium to the hands-on craft of the visual art form.  Once the films are completed students will recive an All-Access Pass to the 20th annual festival, allowing them to attend our slate of films, panels and workshops.  
  • October 20, 2022:  Shadow Day: Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering Catching a glimpse into life as a student in Engineering or Computing. ,contact for questions.
  • NASA Future Temperature Projections Unit
  • High School, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) offers free, innovative classroom products. These online learning resources form the foundation of a global civics curriculum, empowering young people with the essential knowledge, skills, and perspective to be responsible citizens, take on the challenges of global competition, and steer through partisan rhetoric and disinformation.  Review their resources that could be used in a science classroom.  For more information contact Lori Matza,
  • BioInteractive: High School Science Curricular Materials 



Conferences and PD

Conferences and Professional Learning



    FREE 3 Day Back to School Field Camp

    August 8th-11th, 2023

    Stay at our rustic research campus near the beautiful Beartooth Mountains

    Engage in multiple interdisciplinary, place-based climate change topics

    Outdoor activities

    Lectures from multiple university professors and experts

    Incorporate project materials and resources from industry professionals, geoscientists, and science educators into your classroom

    Align your activities with NGSS & MT state science education standards

    Earn OPI renewal credit for professional development

    Enjoy a unique program in a relaxing natural setting- FREE OF CHARGE

    Yellowstone Bighorn Research Association, established in 1936, is a nationally recognized and award-winning non-profit field research association located in Red Lodge Montana. Dedicated to boots-on-the-ground experimental education, YBRA has partnered with universities, research institutions, corporations, and private donors to lead multiple generations in earth and life science field studies. An expansive YBRA campus and rustic accommodations create an ideal setting for hands-on learning.

    REGISTER HERE                                          AGENDA

  • 18th annual Summer Institute for Climate Change Education, taking place over 3 days the week of July 17th-21st, 2023

    We know the last month or so of the school year can leave many an educator feeling frazzled and needing a break! What better way to find rejuvenation, and inspiration, than joining 300+ other educators from around North America in supporting each other and learning new ways to inspire students around climate change education and climate justice!

    Scholarships are still available!

  • The IDEAS (Innovative Differentiated Exploration Activities in Space Science) Team announces the Summer 2023 Educator Professional Development Workshop.

    What: Professional Development Workshop for Educators focused on Accessibility of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) and NASA Activities & Resources

    Who: Pre-K, K-12, and Informal In-service and Pre-service Educators

    When: July 10 – 13, 2023

    Where: Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory | Laurel, MD

    Facilitators: Troy Cline, JHU APL | Dr. Cass Runyon, SCSGC | Jobi Cook, NCSGC | Dr. Caitlin Milera, NDSGC

    Link to Draft Agenda (Subject to Change)

    Registration*: Register online Deadline: June 1, 2023.

    *Educators interested in attending, please complete this Registration Notice of Interest Form. Note, attendance is limited to 30 participants. Educators selected to attend will be notified after the registration deadline.

    Details: The IDEAS Team is comprised of the South Carolina Space Grant Consortium (SCSGC) North Carolina Space Grant Consortium (NCSGC) , and the . This hands-on workshop is funded by NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. The overall goal of this workshop is to center Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) in NASA and STEM lessons and activities for both K-12 and informal education settings. Participants will be eligible to earn two Professional Development credits (30 hours) through the University of North Dakota. Interested educators are highly encouraged to contact their local Space Grant Consortium to inquire about potential funding sponsorship to attend the workshop.


    Dr. Caitlin Milera, NDSGC (
    Jobi Cook, NCSGC (
    Dr. Cass Runyon, SCSGC (
    Troy Cline, JHU APL (

  • Summer Courses for Science Educators – Online and in the Field offered by the MSSE Program at MSU-Bozeman
    Alpine Ecology; Solar Cells; Physics by Inquiry; Computer Science; Landforms for Elementary Teachers; Quantum Mechanics; Force & Motion; Plant Science and MORE!

    Registration for MSSE Summer 2023 course is open and courses are filling up! Check out the full list of popular field and lab courses, as well as a large variety of online options.

    Online courses begin June 12th, with several field and lab course options running each week throughout the summer. Register now to ensure your spot in the courses of your choice! 

    Preferred registration deadline is May 26th. For assistance with registration you may contact MSSE Academic Advisor, Holly Thompson, at

  • Supercharge Your Classroom

    Supercharge Your Classroom with Montana Field Science Data is a free, self-paced course for educators that consists of five modules. Through these modules, educators will learn to incorporate datasets from authentic Montana research projects into their own classroom.  The Supercharge Your Classroom course is sponsored by Montana NSF EPSCoR and was originally taught by Montana Partnership with Regions for Excellence in STEM (MPRES) educators Chris Pavlovich and Bill Stockton through the Montana Office of Public Instruction's (OPI)  Teacher Learning Hub

    Getting Started:  The Supercharge Your Classroom course takes educators through research-based approaches to complete an applicable product, a unit or lesson, for their classroom. Each topic is composed of a building background knowledge portion and an inquiry portion. These steps are designed to mimic best practices in the classroom of inquiry and explicit instruction. By progressing through the modules below, educators will deepen their understanding of Montana research and better refine their end product. Simply click each module title below to access content. 

    • After you have completed this course, please share your feedback and we will send you a free STEM kit for your class! If you'd like your survey responses to be anonymous, please email to let us know you have completed it; otherwise, you can include your name, email and shipping address on the survey. Thank you!  Give us your feedback here

  • CSET's School Leaders Program 2023-24

    Building on the foundation of the department’s long-running principal fellowship, the Center to Support for Excellence in Teaching (CSET) at Stanford University is delighted to announce the launch of the School Leaders Program (SLP). This two year program will help site administrators strengthen their leadership skills, sense of identity, and instructional vision as they work at the important yet challenging work of building socially just schools for their increasingly racially and socioeconomically diverse student populations. By centering leadership practices on developing and enacting a social justice stance, our leaders will co-create classrooms, schools, and communities that are humanizing, culturally sustaining, critical, and liberatory. We are inviting participants to apply for the inaugural SLP cohort, starting in June 2023 and running through June 2025. You can learn more about the program and find the application materials by visiting our website. The Center to Support Excellence in Teaching (CSET) at Stanford University is pleased to offer a new online professional learning opportunity specifically for rural school teams. School teams (a combination of teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, district personnel, etc.) will be supported in: 

    • analyzing their school/district data
    • designing an intervention
    • implementing the intervention
    • revising/iterating based on data
      • School team participation is a 2-year commitment. Professional learning is module-based (much is asked to be done in school teams, but some individual work also exists within the modules) and will take an estimated 3-4 hrs. per month over the two years. Several modules include synchronous components over videoconferencing technology, both with other school teams and with CSET course staff.

        Data on school teams’ participation in the course will also be collected. Participation in this research component is optional. Please contact
        with any questions or interest! 

        This pilot cohort is sponsored by grant funding, meaning there is currently no fee for this course. Course enrollment is limited so as to provide 1-on-1 support. 

  • Interested in teaching about Climate Change?  Climate Generation is a nonprofit providing interdisciplinary climate change educator professional development.  Register for their newsletter and learn more!
  • Ecology Project International (EPI) presents the “Montana Science Teaching Institute Workshop Series.” Ecology Project International (EPI) is excited to announce the launch of the Montana Science Teaching Institute (MSTI), a free online professional development workshop series specifically for Montana middle and high school science teachers. Over the course of four 90-minute workshops, you'll collaborate with teachers across the state, exploring a variety of online tools and models that will support you in guiding student inquiry into the science behind anthropogenic impacts on the environment. The resources shared in these workshops are easy to access, classroom-ready, and aligned with the NGSS and Montana Science Content Standards.  APPLY FOR THE INSTITUTE TODAY! 
  • June 12- 14:  AVID, [], CSTA Montana, and the Belgrade School District have collaborated to offer a three day Computer Science Fundamentals training for K-5 teachers at Saddle Peak Elementary in Belgrade June 12-14. 

    This professional learning (PL) opportunity is designed for educators with little to no prior experience or knowledge pertaining to computer science. In short, this is "computer science for the non-computer science teacher." 

    Days #1 and #2 of the PL establish computational thinking as a foundational problem-solving framework with exposure to examples of open-source computer science curricula; day #3 dives more deeply into []'s specific K-5 training. 

    This PL provides a basic introduction to block-based coding (Code.erg, Scratch, MakeCode), with an emphasis on establishing the educator's comfort, capacity, and confidence in integrating computational thinking and computer science in core content areas. 

    The learning experience will illustrate how computational thinking serves as a universal problem-solving framework that can be integrated across subject areas, with specific classroom activity examples for ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Art. 

    The outcome of this PL will help shift mindsets from 'learning to code' to 'coding to learn' by demonstrating how computational thinking skills improve student learning across all content areas. 

    For teachers not in the Gallatin Valley, we have a block of rooms at the La Quinta Inn in Belgrade at $109/night. 

  • June 19 - 23 OPI Summer Institute MSU Bozeman, more information coming soon!
  • July  31 - Aug 2 5th Annual STEM  Summer Institute, MSU Bozeman
  • Oct  19 & 20th Educators Conference, Billings, MT
  • Downloadable Stem Interactive Audio Online Learning Modules for the 2022/2023 School year – N2X Stem Interactive: The first one is free then there is a fee of $50.00 per audio.  Through their downloadable interactive audio you can listen anywhere, at any time to the content and conversations within STEM education. They offer 5 modules, each worth 5 renewal units - "Empathy and Equity in Education", "Project-Based Learning", "STEM Applications", "STEM Pathways", and new this year, “STEM K5”. Their technology was developed to fit into the margins of your busy life. Listen while you drive, take a walk, or work around your house. The interactive features will ask questions, record your verbal reflections on our servers for verification of completion, and link you to additional resources. When you have completed your desired renewal units, we verify your completion on the Montana Renewal Unit Provider System. It’s that easy!

  • More Self-Paced Science Courses:
    • Place-based Education: Your Local Watershed  STEM inquiry will guide you through problem-based learning with real-world authentic data. Engage your students in their community and see an exemplar curriculum that meets standards!*

    • Exploring NASA with Inquiry:  Earth and Space Science lessons and activities reinforced with NASA website!*

    • "Backpack Science" Inquiry Activities: Mapping:  Hands-on mapping activities and resources that can be integrated into science class, as well as, other disciplines!

    • Science Fair 101: Using Science Fair Projects in your Classroom:  Using Science Fairs in the classroom to meet MT Standards and 3 Dimensional learning!

    • New Montana Science Assessment This course presents an overview of the New Montana Science Assessment that was implemented in 2022 and provides guidance on how to best prepare your students for the science assessment by teaching you how to access and administer preparatory materials in your classroom. There are many opportunities for you to engage with the content and actually test out the practice questions before you introduce them to your students. Student-facing videos are included.

  • Are you missing Walt's Science eBlast?  I know I have been, and was so glad to see it back up and running as of January 2022!  However, in order to get back on the list please follow these steps:
  1. Go to NSTA (

  2. If you have an account, login and skip to step 9

  3. Click "Join" in the top right

  4. Scroll down and click "Create a Free NSTA User Account"

  5. Click "Continue and Complete Your Profile to Get Started"

  6. Enter our Name, Email and Password, click "Continue"

  7. Complete the form, click "Continue"

  8. Select your Areas on Interest, click "Get Started"

  9. In the top right click "menu" and then "My Account"

  10. Click "Manage Subscriptions"

  11. Select the "Montana Science Matters Listserve" is the one you want to subscribe to, click "Save"

NASEM: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering

NASEM Opportunities/Information

Subscribe to the NASEM Climate Resources at the National Academies Newsletter

Subscribe to the NASEM Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

Other News:

Board on Science Education (BOSE):

Coffee Talk #5:  Teacher Preparation Pathways and Science Standards Implementation
Wednesday, April 6 at 3PM ET
This final webinar in the series, moderated by Susan Gomez Zwiep, will consider the pathways for teacher preparation. Panel and small group think time are structures that will be implemented in this webinar as we reflect on and discuss as a community the preparation of our educators.
More Information and registration

Past Coffee Talk Recordings:

Coffee Talk #1:  A Review of the Numbers
Watch the first in the series as Sean Smith from Horizon Research, Inc. provides an overview of the landscape of implementation described in a number of reports produced by Horizon. 
Watch the archived video

Coffee Talk #2:  Rural Science Standards Implementation
The second webinar in the series, moderated by Tom Keller, hones in on implementation efforts within rural communities. A panel discussion with small group think time was used to allow the science education community to reflect on and discuss how to best support rural science standards implementation efforts.
Watch the archived video

Coffee Talk #3:  Informal Ed Science Implementation
The third webinar in the series, moderated by Elizabeth Mulkerrin, includes panel discussion to consider the opportunities that exist within informal education spaces.
Watch the archived video








STEM Community

Montana Accomplishments

If you know of accomplishments not listed here, please notify


Congratulations to the 2023 Montana Teacher of the Year:

Catherine Matthews, Hyalite Elementary School



Congratulations to the 2022 Montana Teacher of the Year:

Bill Stockton, Arlee High School

Headshot Bill Stockton 2022 Teacher of the Year


Congratulations to Debra Flynn 2021 Rural Teacher of the Year, Molt, MT

Congratulations to Diana Burd, Montana Global Educator of the Year Award


Congratulations 2021 Montana Teacher of the Year, Kristi Borge!


Polaris, MT K-8 Teacher

Congratulations to 2020-2021 National Rural Teacher of the Year, Joni Carroll

Congratulations to the 2021 PAEMST Science Finalists: Miles McGeehan: Bozeman HS, Kimberly Popham Belgrade HS, and Steve Riccio: Gallatin HS



Congratulations to 2020 Montana PAEMST Winners! 

Christina Pavlovich

East Side Intermediate School

Livingston, MT

Shianne Schmidt

Olney-Bissell School

Whitefish, MT

Congratulations to 2019-2020 Montana Rural Teacher of the Year, Joni Carroll


Congratulations 2020 Montana Teacher of the Year, Linda Rost!

  Linda Rost TOY 2020637032271177259532

Baker High School Science Teacher


Congratulations to the 2019/2020 NABT Outstanding Biology Teacher of the Year

Sarah Urban of Capitol High School in Helena, MT 

Congratulations to the 2020 Montana Environmental Education Award Winners:

Formal Educator: Matt Wenger, Belgrade Middle School
Non-Formal Educator: Nick Ehlers, Missoula, MT
Award of Appreciation: Dr. Amanda Obery, MSU-Billings



Congratulations to the Apollo 50th Anniversary Competition Winners!              

HS Team Fusion of Helena traveled to NASA's Johnson Space Center  

Middle School Girl Scouts Lunar Loonies traveled to NASA's Kennedy Space Center   

Browning Middle School Moon Dancers traveled to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 


Congratulations to Curriculum Developer and Teacher Leader Chris Pavlovich!

Chris developed a place-based watershed unit, "Watershed Warriors" that incorporates all standards for 5th grade.  She will be sharing this process with Mongolian teachers when she goes to Mongolia this summer!  Chris has also shared this curriculum with all Montana Teachers on the Teacher Learning Hub in the course she wrote, "Place-based Education: Your Local Watershed

Picture of the team

Congratulations to NSTA Award Winners!

To:  Maggie Chioko Hammel, teacher of science, Carter County HS, Ekalaka, MT for receiving the Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award for New Teachers of Science at the National Science Teaching Association's Annual Awards Gala.

To: Rayelynn Brandl, director of Clark Fork Watershed Education Program, MT Tech, Butte, for receiving the Distinguished Informal Science Education Award

Montana PAEMST Winners

Robert Jensen Portrait Photo
"Having worked with many talented colleagues and mentors for over 20 years, I feel extremely fortunate to have a turn at such a prestigious honor. Teaching is a calling, and none of us became educators for the awards, so any distinction is welcome recognition of the hard work of education. Poincaré’s quote, 'A collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house,' articulates my teaching philosophy, so I also see this award attesting to the value of giving context to science."

Robert Jensen Missoula, MT | 7-12, Science, 2019

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Robert “Rob” Jensen began his teaching career through the Teach For America program at Yerba Buena High School, teaching Integrated science and biology for three years. He has since taught at Hellgate High School for nearly 20 years and currently teaches 10th grade Biology and a 9th-12th grade STEM research course. Rob consistently involves his students in real-world applications of science, from real-time investigations of epidemics to watching a veterinarian spay cats in his classroom. He has also shared his love of travel with students, leading them on many trips to study sea turtles and ecology in Latin America. Rob was named Outstanding Montana Biology Teacher by the National Biology Teachers Association, has been recognized as the most influential teacher of a U.S. Presidential Scholar, and authored a published workbook on student engagement strategies. Rob has helped guide his talented research students to the state science championship six times. He was named Montana Science Mentor of the Year and received the Outstanding Teacher award for his support of student research. Inspired by his Peace Corps service in Morocco and Cameroon, Rob has also long been interested in international education. He studied the Japanese education system through the Fulbright Memorial Fund, worked with science teachers in Russia, and led a workshop for local science teachers in China through Teachers Without Borders. Rob holds degrees from the University Montana (B.S in wildlife ecology, B.S. in forest resources management, and B.A. in zoology) and from the University of Minnesota (M.S. in wildlife ecology, for his studies of Barbary macaques in Morocco). He holds broadfield certification in secondary science and has been National Board Certified in biology since 2007.

Mary McMahon Portrait Photo"The Presidential Award means that my career has positively impacted others! Every day I go to work to make a difference in the lives of teens. I absolutely love helping kids learn mathematics, gain confidence, dream of their futures, and strive to reach their full potential. I love learning from, collaborating with, and growing friendships with fellow educators. I am forever grateful to my family, students, and colleagues who've helped me along this journey to become a Presidential Awardee!"

Mary McMahon Helena, MT | 7-12, Mathematics, 2019

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Mary Anne McMahon has been a teacher for 23 years and is beginning her first year at Jefferson High School where she will teach 9th-12th grade Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, and Algebra II. Previously, she spent two years at Helena High School and 21 years at Bozeman High School. Her last six years at Bozeman High were spent as the coordinator of the math tutoring center, providing differentiated instruction to students of all abilities along with coordinating schoolwide online mathematics programs for colleagues to use in filling student mathematics skills gaps. Mary Anne is passionate about building confidence in all students. She strives to make a positive difference in their lives through mutual respect, teaching them mathematics, and attending their activities. Her enthusiasm is contagious and because students know that she cares, they are motivated to take risks doing their best to exceed expectations. Mary Anne has presented professional development for improving mathematics literacy and closing skills gaps to colleagues, school board members, and at conferences. She led Bozeman High's adoption of both IXL and EdReady online skills gap closure programs along with doing extensive STAR testing data analysis for the school. She also networked with educators statewide as a member of the STREAM and Math and Science Partnerships (MSP)-Lead grants at Montana State University to create and implement curriculum, including a statewide bison population modeling project. Mary Anne earned a B.A. in secondary education with a mathematics emphasis from Carroll College. Her master's degree is in mathematics secondary education from Montana State University. Mary Anne is also a seven-time recipient of the Distinguished Educator Award and a Gold Star Educator of Montana.

2016 - 2019

Justine Hurley Portrait Photo

"Being a Presidential Award recipient is an incredible honor. This award is a tribute to all who have supported me in my career: my family, friends, community, and all my students. My students have made me the teacher that I am and I'm so grateful for all of them. This award ignites my goal of motivating and engaging other rural elementary teachers in quality science education. It is extremely rewarding to be recognized for something I truly enjoy and about which I am so passionate."

Justine Hurley White Sulphur Springs, MT | K-6, Science, 2018

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Justine Hurley has spent her 12-year teaching career at White Sulphur Springs Elementary. She currently teaches all subjects to her third-grade class and previously served as the elementary reading specialist for four years. Justine’s passion for teaching elementary science extends to her students by creating a classroom culture that is constantly evolving, engaging, and hands-on. Students in her classroom benefit from using a cross-disciplinary science instruction model that makes science relevant in everything that they are learning. Justine strives to bring current science-related educational practices and opportunities to rural schools in the state of Montana. She has organized and led professional development sessions regarding implementation of new mathematics and science programs. Justine earned a B.A. in elementary education from Eastern Washington University and is currently completing a M.S. in curriculum and instruction. She is certified to teach kindergarten through eighth grade elementary school curriculum.


Thomas Redmon Portrait Photo

"Receiving the Presidential Award is quite an honor. It is humbling to see the accomplishments and impact other awardees have had across the country; I aspire to their success. Most of all, becoming an awardee has made me particularly reflective and appreciative of my incredible colleagues that inspire and challenge me every day. I am beyond fortunate to work with amazing teachers and friends in Hamilton and beyond. They all deserve recognition."

Thomas Redmon Hamilton, MT | K-6, Mathematics, 2018

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Thomas “Tom” Redmon has been an educator for nine years. For the past year he has taught all subjects for first grade at Washington Primary. Tom previously taught fourth grade for two years at Daly Elementary and third, fourth, sixth, and eighth grades at Lolo Elementary for six years. Developing deep conceptual understanding of mathematics is Tom’s passion. He enjoys creating engaging lessons to help students make connections to prior knowledge and form new understandings. Tom’s passion for teaching extends beyond the classroom to leadership throughout the state. He helped create the Montana Elementary Math Community, facilitates math matters workshops for the Office of Public Instruction, and serves on the board for the Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics. LearnZillion helped Tom develop as a teacher. He created instructional videos for eighth grade functions, coached teachers in developing conceptual understanding lessons for third grade, and oversaw the development of fractions lessons in a kindergarten through eighth grade curriculum. He also led professional development about productive struggle and task-based learning. Tom earned a B.A. in mathematics and in elementary education from St. John’s University. He earned his M.Ed. in educational leadership from the University of Montana. Tom is certified in elementary education and secondary mathematics education.


Claire Pichette Portrait Photo

"The Presidential Award is a honor I am proud to share with my students, my school, and my community. It is a celebration of all the people who have challenged and inspired me to grow and improve as a teacher. Learning, much like science, is a process that doesn’t happen without some ups and downs. This award validates the hours we’ve spent together, struggling through hard work and mistakes, to reach a greater understanding of the natural world."

Claire Pichette Helena, MT | 7-12, Science, 2017

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Claire Pichette has been a science teacher at Helena High School for the past 11 years. She currently teaches Project Lead the Way Principles of Biomedical Sciences, which is an elective for grades 9-12, and Biology I for 10th-grade students. As a coach for the school’s science Olympiad and Envirothon teams, Claire enjoys helping students prepare to compete at state and national levels. Her favorite activities involve getting outdoors in the field to learn and teach about Montana’s natural resources and management. With funding from the National Institutes of Health, Claire has worked with researchers from Montana Tech and the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program to help students learn about bacteriophages and how they can be used to combat antibiotic-resistant bacterial diseases such as tuberculosis. This opportunity has provided students with real-life, hands-on scientific research experience and exposure to graduate-level laboratory science in the classroom. Claire earned a B.A., cum laude, in biological sciences from Willamette University and a B.S. in biological sciences and secondary education from Montana State University. She is certified in broad field science and health professions—therapeutics.


Beth Walsh Portrait Photo

"This award recognizes the love and care that I invest in my students and career to provide a meaningful mathematics education. It validates professional development and encourages teachers to improve their craft while serving as leaders to advance mathematics education. It is a privilege to be considered for the highest honor an educator can receive, as it honors all whom influenced and supported me. Most importantly, it honors the students who trust me to inspire and prepare them for success."

Beth Walsh East Helena, MT | 7-12, Mathematics, 2017

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Beth Walsh has been an educator for 20 years. She teaches seventh-grade Mathematics and Pre-Algebra at East Valley Middle School, where she's taught for the past 16 years. Previously, she taught seventh-grade mathematics for one year at Woodland Park Middle School. She has also taught at Bethel Regional Junior High School and Kwigillingok School. Beth communicates her love for mathematics with humor and engaging activities that encourage critical thought and foster open communication with her students. Her classroom is a place where students feel safe to share their solutions, ideas, and questions. She lives by a “Success for All” motto. Beth extends her commitment for mathematics to colleagues as well. Her leadership roles have spanned the school, district, and state curriculum. She leads her school's professional learning community and her district's mathematics department to cultivate teachers' best practices. She serves on the board of directors for the Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics and Carroll College's Teacher Advisory Board. Beth continues to develop leadership skills by participating in the Teacher Leadership Institute and Mathematics. Beth earned a B.S. in elementary education from Central Michigan University. She is certified to teach kindergarten through eighth-grade mathematics and has child development and English endorsements.


Judith Boyle Portrait Photo

"Receiving this award is not only an honor for myself but one I share with the school’s community. This recognition brings to light the uniqueness a rural, one-room school offers and honors all the exceptional teachers in this unparalleled environment. This award motivates me to continue my quest to bring conceptual change in the pedagogy of teaching science to teachers, and it challenges and motivates me to invigorate other teachers to bring science to the forefront of education."

Judith Boyle Divide, MT | K-6, Science, 2016

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Judith "Judy" Boyle has been teaching for 34 years in various states, including Vermont, New Hampshire, Idaho, and Montana. For 13 years, she has been teaching at Divide School (a one-room schoolhouse), as its only teacher. Given this situation, she teaches kindergarten through eighth grade students in all subjects, integrating science, mathematics, and English/language arts into her curriculum. Judy participates in the Montana Partnership with Regions for Excellence in STEM, and is a Northwest earth and space science pipeline trainer bringing the Next Generation Science Standards to Montana teachers. She is the President-elect of the Montana Science Teachers Association and was the Montana alternate delegate at the National Science Teachers Association’s National Congress on Science Education in 2016. In addition, she was a member of the Negotiated Rulemaking Committee for the new Montana Science Standards, and presented in support of these standards to Montana’s Education and Local Government Committee at the Montana state capitol. She was awarded the Montana PBS Mission US Award in 2010, and the Montana Environmental Educator Teacher of the Year in 2011. Judy earned a B.S. in elementary education, magna cum laude, from Norwich University and she is a certified teacher in kindergarten through eighth grade elementary education.


Dacia Lackey Portrait Photo

"The Presidential Award is symbolic of the colleagues, administrators, and students that I am fortunate to work with. Their support through collaboration, questioning, learning, laughing and growing inspires me daily. It means that perseverance, courage and teamwork are essential elements to our success. This award encourages me to continue to follow my passion in regards to teaching mathematics and helping productive strugglers through discourse and authentic mathematical modeling tasks."

Dacia Lackey Bozeman, MT | K-6, Mathematics, 2016

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Dacia Lackey has been an educator for 21 years. She has spent the last six years at Hyalite Elementary School where she teaches mathematics, science, and art to fifth grade classes. Dacia engages her students in real-world mathematical modeling experiences, providing them the opportunity to take risks, engage in discourse, analyze data, and take part in a variety of STEM challenges. These young mathematicians see how mathematics concepts are connected and applied in real life. Her students self-differentiate, form and test conjectures, use technology, and investigate real-world situations by asking mathematical questions. Dacia has presented at the 2016 Montana State Office of Public Instruction, Title 1 Conference, and recently (through the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) co-authored an article in Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, "Exploring Yellowstone National Park with Mathematical Modeling.". She currently serves on Bozeman's District Math and Professional Development Committees and is a cooperating teacher for education students through Montana State University. Dacia also co-teaches an afterschool STEM club where students learn about engineering, coding, and LEGO robotics. Dacia earned a B.A., cum laude, in elementary education from Washington State University, and is a certified kindergarten through eighth grade teacher


Vetted Curriculum

Curriculum Case Study: A Massachusetts Town Boosts Students’ STEM Learning by Letting the Students Do the Talking, ‘It’s Real Life’

Can you believe it?!  Free science curriculum from OpenSciEd.  Currently they have middle school curriculum available and the High School curriculum is currently being piloted.  They are also scheduled to have an EdReports review.  When this data becomes available, it will be reflected here.

To be completely transparent, below is a response to my questions about this curriculum from Casandra Gonzalez, Science Content Support Specialist from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education where they have been using OpenSciEd for over two years in middle schools:

"OpenSciEd is an NGSS-designed curriculum where students use the science and engineering practices to figure out a scientific phenomena. There is a big emphasis on discussion, use of evidence, and what I have heard called “minds-on” learning. So the students do lab activities and experiments in each unit, but they are very much connected to the overall themes that they are figuring out. They don’t necessarily do a lab every day – some days are more dedicated to discussion or making sense of data. There is a lot of writing as well.

The biggest shifts are pedagogical. The content is usually well within the wheelhouse of the teachers. But it’s a shift from starting each class with “ok, this is what we’re going to talk about today” to “hey, who can tell me what we figured out in our last class? And what questions will still have to answer about our anchoring phenomenon?” The students are really co-piloting the unit.

The biggest challenges we have run into are – 1-the first time around, teachers take a longer time than estimated to do the unit. It usually stresses them out a bit. But by the second time around it is much easier and smoother. And 2-the students are often not used to the teacher really turning around on them and saying “no, I’m not going to tell you the answer, you tell me what the evidence says”, but if the teacher sticks to it and really makes it a classroom expectation, the students do rise to the occasion.

It is critical to have the PD along with the curriculum, and OpenSciEd has certified providers that do it. I also strongly recommend that whenever possible, building administrators or whoever is in charge of evaluating teachers also attend the PD, so that they know what to expect and are on board with the changes. OpenSciEd classrooms are not necessarily going to be quiet and orderly, so admin need to know that is not a bad thing.

One legitimate critique of the curriculum is that, in appealing to a national audience, there may not be locally/culturally relevant phenomena or connections for every place in the country. I think this is an important concern. My recommendation would be that if the teachers & students feel this way, they spend the first year trying to teach the curriculum “out of the box” so that they get used to the pedagogical shifts, which are critical and important. Then spend some time, maybe in PLCs or with support from experts on culturally relevant teaching, thinking about how they could modify the phenomena, the transfer tasks, or other components of the units to make them more relevant, but still staying true to the rigor and coherence of the units. I do also know that the middle school student materials are available in Spanish. I am hopeful that they will add more languages soon."


NextGen Science, NGSS, and Edreports release on, "Critical Features of Instructional Materials Design for Today's Science Standards: A Resource for Science Curriculum Developers and the Educations Field"  Released July 2021

NSTA's Daily Do Playlists are suggested instructional sequences of NSTA Lessons that can be used to help students coherently build science ideas over time.

Grant Funded NGSS Aligned 9th Grade Curriculum

  • Physics and Chemistry Course, The Montana Office of Public Instruction worked in conjunction with Washington, Idaho, and Oregon in the Northwest Earth and Space Science Pipeline (NESSP) grant that was sponsored by NASA.  One product to be shared among the states (if you so choose), is the following:
  • High School Integrated

                      High School Integrated Physics and Chemistry Course


                    The High School Integrated Conceptual Science Program (ICSP) is a NGSS-aligned curriculum that utilizes the conceptual progressions model for bundling of the NGSS, High School Conceptual Model Course 1 and strategies from Ambitious Science Teaching (AST) to focus on teaching practices needed to engage students in science discourse and learning. 

                    Course 1 is the High School Integrated Physics and Chemistry Course.   The goal of these units is to encourage students to continue in STEM by providing engaging and aligned curriculum. The focus of this year long course is on the first year of high school (freshman).  While the course is designed to be taught as a collection of  the units, each unit could be taught as a separate unit in a science course.  

                    A video about the new course shared its unique approach to learning and teaching. Wenatchee School District, one of the participating districts, wanted a way to share the program with the community.

                    Course 1 of the ICSP development was funded by Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP) which is funded through the NASA Science Mission Directorate and housed with Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium at the University of Washington.





     Please notify me if I have neglected to mention a science competition in Montana!



Participating Grade Levels

Registration and more information

U of M Adams Center

April 3 & 4

6-8 and 9-12

Intermountain Science and Humanities Symposium

Mar 2 & 3


Mont Tech Sci & Engineering Fair

March 3


Flathead County Fairgrounds

March 9


Great Falls Coll MSU Science & Engineering Fair

March 7


Great Falls Coll MSU Science & Engineering Fair

March 9


MSU Billings Science Expo

March 3 & 4


Science Olympiad MSU Bozeman

March 8


National Science Bowl

April 27 – May 1








Helpful Resources

*Covid-19 Toolkit for Montana Child Care & Out of School Programs 

Montana Science Assessment (MSA) and MSA Alt

New Self-paced Hub Course:  New Montana Science Assessment

     The state of Montana implemented the summative Montana Science Assessment (MSA) field test and the Alt MSA that aligns with the current science standards for the first time in the spring of 2022, as a scored test. 

Summative Assessment Preparedness and Resources Available

     The assessments measure the three dimensions of the science standards, the Science and Engineering Practices, the Disciplinary Core Ideas, and the Crosscutting Concepts.  


Science Alternate Assessment Information


Purpose of the Alternate Academic Achievement Standards in Science (AAAS)
The Montana Board of Public Education (Board) is responsible for adopting standards of accreditation for Montana schools including challenging academic achievement standards (see §20-2-121 and §20-7-101, MCA). All Montana public and non-public accredited schools are required to follow these standards of accreditation and participate in state assessments (see ARM 10.55.603):
Montana was a member-state of this consortium and leveraged the grant to help design, develop, and deliver the OPI’s Alternate Assessments that assess student proficiency and progress on Alternate Academic Achievement Standards (AAAS) in mathematics (math), English Language Arts (ELA), science, and English language proficiency (ELP) for students with significant cognitive disabilities (NCSC Brief 1 and ARM 10.53).
The AAAS set expectations of performance that differ in scope and complexity from grade-level achievement standards. In Montana, the AAAS are not adopted separately by the Board because they are the “same but different” standards-based expectations for students with significant cognitive disabilities. For students who, because of their disability, cannot participate in the state’s general assessment, the OPI has constructed and implemented guidelines for participation in the Alternate Assessment, including eligibility criteria (see Appendix A). The OPI meets the requirement of providing Alternate Assessments aligned to the State challenging academic achievement standards through its selection of the state assessments.
The decision to move a special education student to an Alternate Assessment has significant implications for the path that a student will take in their K–12 school career. It means the student is not able to participate in the general education curriculum even when provided with accommodations. A student who participates in an Alternate Assessment requires a modified curriculum. In addition, the IEP team for a student shall determine if the student meets the eligibility criteria for the Alternate Assessment. All students enrolled in accredited schools are expected to take part in state assessments in one of three ways:
1. Participate in the general education assessments without accommodations (ARM 10.56.104(1)).
2. Participate in the general education assessments with accommodations (ARM 10.56.104(1)).
3. Participate in Alternate Assessments when the participation criteria are met (see Appendix A and ARM 10.56.104(2)).

Formative assessment is valuable to teachers in the classroom.  Below are examples of formative assessment that align with the 3 Dimensional science standards. 

What does formative assessment look like in 3D Science?

Want to learn more about…

…how NGSA designed and developed 3-dimensional assessments using evidence-center design?

…how NGSA developed 3-dimensional scoring rubrics for formative assessment tasks?

  • Designing NGSS-aligned Assessment Tasks and Rubrics to Support Classroom-based Formative Assessment. We describe how principles of evidence-centered design inform the development of classroom-based science assessment tasks and rubrics that integrate three dimensions of science proficiency addressed in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The rubric development approach centers on the development of multiple rubric components, each of which corresponds to distinct aspects of proficiency of interest to teachers for classroom assessment.

…the NGSA 3-dimensional tasks?

…how NGSA designed and developed formative assessment tasks to promote equity?

Montana Science Standards

Comparison NGSS to Montana Science Standards


Standards and Resources

Model Curriculum Guides   


Grade Level and Grade Band

Tech Directors: To access a machine readable version of the official Montana Content Standards for Science, please visit the IMS Global CASE Network site.  Create a free login, select Montana Office of Public Instruction, and view or download the standards. The CASE version of the standards can be uploaded to student information systems, curriculum mapping programs, and a variety of other uses. Learn more about the CASE Network CASE Network FAQ