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Supporting the Science and Engineering Practices

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.

Integrating Science Practices into Assessment Tasks - From the Research + Practice Collaboratory, a collection of task formats to support each of the SEPs. Supports teachers’ creation of aligned classroom-level assessment tasks.

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.

ASCD article: 5 Ways to Help Students Ask Better Questions - Concrete ways to help spark student curiosity and support them in developing questions to guide learning.

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.
  
NGSNavigators Podcast: Practices and Computational Thinking in Elementary NGSS  with Dr. Christina Schwarz - Outlines her thoughts on the practical ways elementary teachers can make the shifts to NGSS.

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.

Argumentation Activities from The Argumentation Toolkit - A downloadable PDF showcasing a variety of student activities to support argument development.

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 informations

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.

Science Writing Heuristic - Learn about this research-supported approach to helping students negotiate, understand and practice science from the University of Iowa College of Education.