Science Practices and Concepts
SEPs1: Asking Questions and Defining Problems
Asking questions and defining problems in K-12 builds on prior experiences and progresses to simple descriptive questions.
SEPs2: Developing and Using Models
Modeling in K-12 builds on prior experiences and progresses to include using and developing models (i.e., diagrams, drawing, physical replica, diorama, dramatization, or storyboard) that represent concrete events or design solutions.
SEPs3: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
Planning and carrying out K-12 investigations to answer questions or test solutions to problems build on prior experiences and progresses to simple investigations, based on fair tests, which provide data to support explanations or design solutions.
SEPs4: Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Analyzing data in K-12 builds on prior experiences and progresses to collecting, recording, and sharing observations.
SEPs5: Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
Using mathematics and computational thinking in K-12 builds logical reasoning and problem-solving skills.
SEPs6: Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Constructing explanations and designing solutions in K-12 builds on prior experiences and progresses to the use of evidence and ideas in constructing evidence-based accounts of natural phenomena and designing solutions.
SEPs7: Engaging in Argument from Evidence
Engaging in argument from evidence in K-12 builds on prior experiences and progresses to comparing ideas and representations about the natural and designed world(s).
SEPs8: Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in K-12 builds on prior experiences and uses observations and texts to communicate new information.
Structures or events are often consistent and repeated.
CCCs2: Cause and Effect
Events gave causes, sometimes esimple, sometimes multifaceted.
CCCs3: Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
Different measures of size and time affect a system's structure, performance, and our ability to observe phenomena.
CCCs4: Systems and System Models
A set of connected things or parts forming a complete whole.
CCCs5: Energy and Matter
Tracking energy and matter flows, into, out of, and within systems helps one understand their systems behaviors.
CCCs6: Structure and Function
The ways an object is shaped or structured determines many of its properties and functions.
Over time, a system might stay the same or become different, depending on a variety of factors.
Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
In both science and engineering, mathematics and computation are fundamental tools for representing physical variables and their relationships. They are used for a range of tasks such as constructing simulations; statistically analyzing data; and recognizing, expressing, and applying quantitative relationships.
Although there are differences in how mathematics and computational thinking are applied in science and in engineering, mathematics often brings these two fields together by enabling engineers to apply the mathematical form of scientific theories and by enabling scientists to use powerful information technologies designed by engineers. Both kinds of professionals can thereby accomplish investigations and analyses and build complex models, which might otherwise be out of the question.
Students are expected to use mathematics to represent physical variables and their relationships, and to make quantitative predictions. Other applications of mathematics in science and engineering include logic, geometry, and at the highest levels, calculus. Computers and digital tools can enhance the power of mathematics by automating calculations, approximating solutions to problems that cannot be calculated precisely, and analyzing large data sets available to identify meaningful patterns. Students are expected to use laboratory tools connected to computers for observing, measuring, recording, and processing data. Students are also expected to engage in computational thinking, which involves strategies for organizing and searching data, creating sequences of steps called algorithms, and using and developing new simulations of natural and designed systems. Mathematics is a tool that is key to understanding science. As such, classroom instruction must include critical skills of mathematics. The ND Science Standards displays many of those skills through the performance expectations, but classroom instruction should enhance all of science through the use of quality mathematical and computational thinking.
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
The products of science are explanations and the products of engineering are solutions.
The goal of science is to construct explanations for the causes of phenomena. Students are expected to construct their own explanations, as well as apply standard explanations they learn about from their teachers or reading. The Framework states the following about explanation:
The goal of science is the construction of theories that provide explanatory accounts of the world. A theory becomes accepted when it has multiple lines of empirical evidence and greater explanatory power of phenomena than previous theories.
An explanation includes a claim that relates how a variable or variables relate to another variable or a set of variables. A claim is often made in response to a question and in the process of answering the question, scientists often design investigations to generate data.
The goal of engineering is to solve problems. Designing solutions to problems is a systematic process that involves defining the problem, then generating, testing, and improving solutions. This practice is described in the Framework as follows.
Asking students to demonstrate their own understanding of the implications of a scientific idea by developing their own explanations of phenomena, whether based on observations they have made or models they have developed, engages them in an essential part of the process by which conceptual change can occur.
In engineering, the goal is a design rather than an explanation. The process of developing a design is iterative and systematic, as is the process of developing an explanation or a theory in science. Engineers’ activities, however, have elements that are distinct from those of scientists. These elements include specifying constraints and criteria for desired qualities of the solution, developing a design plan, producing and testing models or prototypes, selecting among alternative design features to optimize the achievement of design criteria, and refining design ideas based on the performance of a prototype or simulation.
Engaging in Argument from Evidence
Argumentation is the process by which explanations and solutions are reached.
The study of science and engineering should produce a sense of the process of argument necessary for advancing and defending a new idea or an explanation of a phenomenon and the norms for conducting such arguments. In that spirit, students should argue for the explanations they construct, defend their interpretations of the associated data, and advocate for the designs they propose.
Argumentation is a process for reaching agreements about explanations and design solutions. In science, reasoning and argument based on evidence are essential in identifying the best explanation for a natural phenomenon. In engineering, reasoning and argument are needed to identify the best solution to a design problem. Student engagement in scientific argumentation is critical if students are to understand the culture in which scientists live, and how to apply science and engineering for the benefit of society. As such, argument is a process based on evidence and reasoning that leads to explanations acceptable by the scientific community and design solutions acceptable by the engineering community.
Argument in science goes beyond reaching agreements in explanations and design solutions. Whether investigating a phenomenon, testing a design, or constructing a model to provide a mechanism for an explanation, students are expected to use argumentation to listen to, compare, and evaluate competing ideas and methods based on their merits. Scientists and engineers engage in argumentation when investigating a phenomenon, testing a design solution, resolving questions about measurements, building data models, and using evidence to evaluate claims.
Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
Scientists and engineers must be able to communicate clearly and persuasively the ideas and methods they generate. Critiquing and communicating ideas individually and in groups is a critical professional activity.
Any education in science and engineering needs to develop students’ ability to read and produce domain-specific text. As such, every science or engineering lesson is in part a language lesson, particularly reading and producing the genres of texts that are intrinsic to science and engineering.
Being able to read, interpret, and produce scientific and technical text is a fundamental practice of science and engineering, as is the ability to communicate clearly and persuasively. Being a critical consumer of information about science and engineering requires the ability to read or view reports of scientific or technological advances or applications (whether found in the press, or the Internet, or in a town meeting) and to recognize the salient ideas, identify sources of error and methodological flaws, distinguish observations from inferences, arguments from explanations, and claims from evidence. Scientists and engineers employ multiple sources to obtain information used to evaluate the merit and validity of claims, methods, and designs. Communicating information, evidence, and ideas can be done in multiple ways: using tables, diagrams, graphs, models, interactive displays, and equations as well as orally, in writing, and through extended discussions.