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How can curricula enhance science teaching and student learning? A slightly deeper and more specific question than that is: what is the form and function of effective curriculum materials? These questions will be addressed in the following discussion. After a brief introduction to BSCS (Biological Sciences Curriculum Study), I will first discuss what we know about how students learn science and introduce an instructional model based on this research from the cognitive sciences. I will then review the curriculum development process at BSCS and describe a contemporary high school program and evidence of student learning attributed to that program.