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Supporting the Science and Engineering Practices

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What are the Science and Engineering Practices?

Appendix F of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) - Outlines how the SEPs connect with the Framework for K-12 Science Education and provides detailed information about each SEP.

Appendix M of the NGSS - Provides connections to the standards for Literacy in Science & Technical Subjects. Pages are available for each SEP.

Appendix L of the NGSS - Provides connections to the common core state standards for mathematics.

STEM Teaching Tool Practice Brief 4 - Are there multiple instructional strategies that fit with the SEPs in NGSS? (short answer: yes)

Science and Engineering Practices in K-12 Classrooms: Understanding A Framework for K-12 Science Education - A brief article by Roger Bybee on the eight SEPs and their origins in the Framework for K-12 Science Education.

Boston Public Schools SEP Progression for Students and Families - Similar to the SEP progressions, but formatted as “I can…” statements.

Printable-It-Yourself NGSS Classroom Posters - Posters for SEPs, CCCs, and DCIs

Exploring the Science and Engineering Practices - A series of well-designed PD activities from the California Academy of Sciences to support teachers’ learning about each of the practices and classroom implementation.

Find Your Path through the NGSS - From the Concord Consortium, use the webpage to find online simulations and other activities that support SEP and CCC integration in each science discipline.

What do educators need to know about each Science & Engineering Practice?

Asking questions and defining problems

NGSS@NSTA Progression for Asking Questions and Defining Problems - What does this Practice look like at various grade levels? Use this website to help with horizontal and vertical alignment of SEPs.

Bozeman Science: Asking Questions and Defining Problems - Paul Anderson explains how scientists ask questions and how engineers define problems in this eight-minute video.

Developing and using models

NGSS@NSTA Progression for Developing and Using Models - What does this Practice look like at various grade levels?  Use this website to help with horizontal and vertical alignment of SEPs.

Bozeman Science: Developing and Using Models - Paul Anderson explains how scientists develop and use models to help explain experiences.
 
Northern Arizona University: Model-based Inquiry - Lots of resources to support teachers’ development of lessons that engage students in model-making.

Planning and carrying out investigations

NGSS@NSTA Progression for Planning and Carrying Out Investigations - What does this Practice look like at various grade levels?  Use this website to help with horizontal and vertical alignment of SEPs.

Bozeman Science: Planning Investigations - Paul Anderson explains how scientists plan and carry out scientific investigations.

Science Practice Leadership: Instructional Strategies for Planning and Carrying Out Investigations - One-pager that outlines potential strategies for teachers to support learning around this important SEP. *also available for other SEPs

Analyzing and interpreting data

NGSS@NSTA Progressions for Analyzing and Interpreting Data - What does this Practice look like at various grade levels?  Use this website to help with horizontal and vertical alignment of SEPs.

Bozeman Science: Analyzing and Interpreting Data - Paul Anderson explains how scientists analyze and interpret data in this 7-minute video.

Field Investigations: Using Outdoor Environments to Foster Student Learning of Scientific Practices - Detailed (110 pages) supports for teachers around the use of field investigations as a means of data collection and analysis.

Iowa Conservation Education Coalition: Authentice Iowa Authentic Data for the Classroom - Includes resources and activities to support the use of authentic local data sets in K-12 classrooms.

Google’s Public Data Directory - Lots of data sets available here.  Searchable database for teachers to use when assembling data for students to analyze, visualize and interpret.

Using mathematics and computational thinking

NGSS@NSTA Progressions for Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking - What does this Practice look like at various grade levels?  Use this website to help with horizontal and vertical alignment of SEPs.

Bozeman Science: Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking - Paul Anderson’s short video that outlines the important parts of this SEP.

The Concord Consortium: Engaging in Computational Thinking Through System Modeling - A short article discussing the ways modeling can be introduced into science classrooms, with a focus on static vs dynamic models and the use of computational thinking when students engage with models.

Constructing explanations and designing solutions

NGSS@NSTA Progressions for Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions - What does this Practice look like at various grade levels?  Use this website to help with horizontal and vertical alignment of SEPs.

Bozeman Science: Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions - Another short video with Paul Anderson outlining important aspects of this SEP.

STEM Teaching Tools: Is it important to distinguish between the explanation and argumentation practices in the classroom? - Another great Practice Brief from STT about the differences and similarities between these SEPs.

Engaging in argument from evidence

NGSS@NSTA Progressions for Engaging in Argument from Evidence - What does this Practice look like at various grade levels?  Use this website to help with horizontal and vertical alignment of SEPs.

Bozeman Science: Engaging in Argument from Evidence - Paul Anderson discusses concrete ways to support students’ development of formal arguments in science classrooms.

Lawrence Hall of Science: The Argumentation Toolkit - A collection of resources to support teachers’ development of learning experiences that lead to high quality scientific arguments.

STEM Teaching Tools: Incorporating Scientific Argumentation into Your Classroom - A series of activities for teachers focused on incorporating scientific argumentation into science classrooms.

Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

NGSS@NSTA Progressions for Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communication Information - What does this Practice look like at various grade levels?  Use this website to help with horizontal and vertical alignment of SEPs.

Bozeman Science: Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information - Another great video from Paul Anderson about how scientists engage with this particular SEP.

Science Practices Leadership: Instructional Strategies for Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information - Another one-pager with potential instruction strategies to support development of this SEP.

How might students engage with the Science and Engineering Practices?

Asking questions and defining problems

Google Jamboard - Much like collecting sticky notes on a wall or poster paper, students can use Jamboard to post and organize questions. Notes can be updated as thinking changes throughout a unit of learning.

Question Formulation Technique (QFT) - A simple way to help students develop questions and a great addition to any science teacher’s toolbox.

Getting their hands dirty: Engaging learners in authentic science practices outside the classroom - Outlines important considerations when supporting students’ inquiry experiences outside the classroom.

Developing and using models

SageModeler - A student-friendly systems modeling tool. There are pre-loaded examples, or students can create their own from scratch.

Code.org - Resources for modeling and simulations through engaging activities.

What is meant by engaging youth in scientific modeling? - Outlines equitable methods for helping students develop scientific models.

Planning and carrying out investigations

Why should students learn to plan and carry out investigations in science and engineering? - Learn how to equitably engage students in investigation design while supporting learner agency, choice and identity.

How science works - A project outlining the differences between “the scientific method” and how science really works from the University of California, Berkeley.

Analyzing and interpreting data

Data Nuggets - Activities that use real data to guide students through the analysis and interpretation of data.

Data in the Classroom - A website that includes both teacher- and student-facing resources from the National Oceanic and Atomspheric Administration, Satellite and Information Service. 

Using mathematics and computational thinking

Loopy: a tool for thinking in systems - A simple online tool to help students visualize and analyze the effects of various changes in a system.

Early Learning Strategies for Developing Computational Thinking Skills - An informative article that provides background and “ideas to try.”

Constructing explanations and designing solutions

Constructing Explanations - A website that includes specific examples, scaffolds and implementation ideas from the California Academy of Sciences.

Lab Out Loud podcast: Using the Claim, Evidence and Reasoning Framework - Dr. Kate McNeill and Dr. Joe Krajcik discuss the C-E-R framework to support students' development of explanations in science classrooms.

Engaging in argument from evidence

How can formative assessment support culturally responsive argumentation in a classroom community? - Explores how teachers can use argumentation to foster culturally-responsive formative assessment through the development of a respectful classroom experience.

What is the Argument-based Strategies for STEM Infused Science Teaching (ASSIST) Approach? - Provides a framework for developing engaging science learning environments at all grade levels.

Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Setting Up Your Science Notebooks - Learn how notebooks can help students to process through complex ideas and record and share their thoughts from the California Academy of Sciences.