Introducing the Mystery Science Anchor Layer,
a K-5 science curriculum differentiated for teachers.

Ready to take your NGSS instruction to the next level?

Learn about the Anchor Layer

What is the Anchor Layer?


The new Mystery Science Anchor Layer enhances our existing curriculum with anchoring phenomena, student-driven inquiry, opportunities for students to develop and revise their ideas throughout the unit, and performance tasks.

Our Mystery Science lessons help teachers start teaching NGSS science regularly. The new Anchor Layer helps take their instruction to the next level.

New to NGSS?

Teachers who are new to NGSS use our core Mysteries as an on-ramp to the standards.

Ready for more?

When teachers are ready, they can turn on the Anchor Layer.
See an example

Let's unpack the 4th grade Energizing Everything Anchor Layer

The unit opens with an Anchor Phenomenon, a puzzling and complex real-world event that students will explain through scientific evidence.

Created with Sketch. 1 2 Anchor Phenomenon Student Inquiry Students are introduced to the unit- level anchor phenomenon: an entertaining and complex Rube Goldberg machine from a popular music video. Using a See-Think-Wonder chart, students make observations and ask questions about the Rube Goldberg machine. 3 Initial Student Ideas Students create a conceptual model to explain their initial thinking about how the Rube Goldberg machine works. Students use arrows to show the direction of movement through the machine.

Next, a series of hour-long Mysteries with hands-on activities helps students investigate.

Created with Sketch. 4 Investigative Phenomena Mystery 1: How can a car run without gas? Mystery 2: What makes roller coasters go so fast? Mystery 3: Why is the first hill of a roller coaster always the highest? Mystery 4: Could you knock down a building using only dominoes? Mystery 5: Can you build a chain reaction machine? Mystery 6: What if there were no electricity? Energy makes things move and is stored and released. Higher objects store more energy. When objects collide, some energy is transferred. Energy moves along a path. Energy transfers between objects along a path. Electricity is a form of energy that produces movement, light, and heat. Each hour-long Mystery presents a specific phenomenon for students to investigate. Students build conceptual understanding as they solve each Mystery.
Created with Sketch. 5 Student Revision After each Mystery, students revisit the anchor phenomenon and revise their conceptual model to reflect their deepening understanding of how energy flows through a system.

At the end of the unit, students demonstrate their understanding through a performance task.

Created with Sketch. 6 Performance Task Students work as a group to brainstorm and design a Rube Goldberg machine. After building their machine, they create a conceptual model to explain how it works.

The Anchor Layer is available now for all 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade units.

View All Anchor Layer Storylines


How do I turn on the Anchor Layer? I am a school or district leader. Can I turn this on for all of my teachers? This is great, how much more does it cost? Will you be making the Anchor Layer for other grades? Do I have to use the Anchor Layer?
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