Science and Engineering Practices & The Inclusion of Engineering in the Framework Philip Bell Learning Sciences Graduate Program Institute for Science & Math Education University of Washington Science education should focus more on the central practices associated with multiple arenas of scientific work… including the activities, use of tools, and forms of talk that support sense-making and knowledge work. Students learn science best by engaging in the practices of science. Classrooms can productively be considered scientific communities writ small—where students engage in sustained investigations involving a full set of coordinated practices. Three Dimensions • Scientific and engineering practices • Crosscutting concepts • Disciplinary core ideas I think of practices as an 8 point booster shot for inquiry! Science and Engineering Practices 1. Asking questions (science) and defining problems (engineering) 2. Developing and using models 3. Planning and carrying out investigations 4. Analyzing and interpreting data 5. Using mathematics and computational thinking 6. Developing explanations (science) and designing solutions (engineering) 7. Engaging in argument 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information • For each, the Framework includes a description of the practice, the culminating 12th grade learning goals, and what we know about how they can progress over time Why Practices? • ‘Practices’ highlight how scientists and engineers engage in inquiry—how they do their work—through a coordination both of knowledge and skills. • Engaging students in these practices help them learn how scientific knowledge is developed and applied. • The practices in the Framework are considered to be central to science and engineering. • They engage students productively in inquiry, support important learning processes, and help students understand aspects of the science and engineering enterprises. Background Research & Practitioner Guides Practice 1: Asking Questions (Science) and Defining Problems (Engineering) Questions are the engine that drive science and engineering. Asking scientific questions is essential to developing scientific habits of mind. It is a basic element of scientific literacy. Science education should develop students’ ability to ask wellformulated questions that can be investigated empirically. SAMPLE RESEARCH QUESTIONS: Generated by a student group studying infectious disease transmission using a computer model: 1) How does poverty affect the spread of disease? 2) How does changing the probability of antiviral treatment, the efficacy of the antiviral, and the efficacy of vaccination affect the spread of disease?* * We are making the assumption that countries with a high level of poverty will have less access to antiviral treatment and vaccination, and that these methods of treatment would have less potency compared to wealthier countries. Practice 2: Developing and Using Models Scientists and engineers construct conceptual and mental models of phenomena. Conceptual models are explicit representations that are in some ways analogous to the phenomena they represent. They include diagrams, physical replicas, math representations, analogies, and computer simulations / models. Students should represent and explain phenomena using multiple kinds of models, learn to use modeling tools, and come to understand the limitations and level of precision of particular models. Practice 3: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations Scientists investigate to: (1) to systematically describe the world, and (2) to develop and test theories and explanations of how the world works. The latter requires investigations to test explanatory models and their predictions and whether inferences suggested by the models are supported by data. Students should design and conduct different kinds of investigations—laboratory experiments, field investigations, and observational inquiries. Practice 4: Analyzing and Interpreting Data Collected data must be presented in a form that can reveal patterns and relationships and that allows results to be communicated to others. Students need opportunities to analyze both small and large data sets. They need to be able to evaluate the strength of a conclusion that can be inferred from any data set. Practice 5: Using Mathematics, Information and Computer Technology, and Computational Thinking Mathematical and computational tools are central to science and engineering. Math is one of the languages of science and serves a major communicative function in science. Math also allows ideas to be expressed in a precise form and enables the identification of new ideas. Mathematics (including statistics) and computational tools are essential for data analysis. Practice 6: Constructing Explanations (Science) and Designing Solutions (Engineering) Scientific explanations are accounts that link scientific theory with specific observations or phenomena. Scientific theories are developed to provide explanations that illuminate particular phenomena. Students should be engaged with standard scientific explanations, and they should be asked to demonstrate their developing understanding by constructing their own causal explanations —which supports conceptual learning. Practice 7: Engaging in Argument from Evidence The production of scientific knowledge depends on the process of reasoning that requires a scientist to make a justified claim about the world—to construct arguments from evidence. Other scientists attempt to identify the claims weaknesses and limitations. Students should construct scientific arguments showing how data supports claims, help identify possible weaknesses in scientific arguments, and refine their arguments in response to criticism. Practice 8: Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information Being literate in science and engineering requires the ability to read and understand their literatures. Reading, interpreting, and producing text are fundamental practices of science. Communicating in written or spoken form is another fundamental practice of science. Science and Engineering Practices 1. Asking questions (science) and defining problems (engineering) 2. Developing and using models 3. Planning and carrying out investigations 4. Analyzing and interpreting data 5. Using mathematics and computational thinking 6. Developing explanations (science) and designing solutions (engineering) 7. Engaging in argument 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information Issues That Might Come Up Around the Transition to Practices • The term may be mistakenly conflated with the colloquial sense of ‘practices’ as the ‘repetitive performance of activities or skills’ • Where’s inquiry? The focus on practices is not a new idea— although it may be a new term for many with this intent. In the Framework, practices are a refinement of the previous accounts of inquiry and investigations – Takes into account the research literature on productive ways of engaging learners in science learning – The focus on ‘inquiry’ served an important purpose for the field, but it came to mean too many different things in practice Understanding the Science and Engineering Enterprises • Where’s the nature of science? This focus on practices offers the opportunity for students to stand back & reflect on how these practices contribute to the accumulation of scientific knowledge and to engineered solutions. • With support, they can develop an understanding of epistemic knowledge of science—e.g., what is meant by observation, hypothesis, theory, model, claim, explanation. Equity, Practices & Inclusive Instruction • Equitable learning can be promoted with practices by leveraging the sensemaking practices students bring to the classroom—e.g., digital fluencies, forms of argument and story-telling, mathematical practices, etc. Discussion 1. What are the implications of this set of scientific practices for curriculum and instruction within your state context? 2. What are the implications for professional development, assessment and science teacher education that you can anticipate? You can refer to a summary of the scientific practices with the left-hand column of Table 32 (on page 3-29). The Inclusion of Engineering in the Framework From a STEM learning perspective, the engineering design pursuits of youth have had a problematic relationship with the school curriculum There is an increasing demand for citizens who are technologically literate about the built world and who can enter fields LIFE • Everyday Scienceengineering & Technology Group and technology related http://everydaycognition.org Engineering Highlights • Engineering has long been part of science education, but it has been made more visible in the Framework • Framework outlines two core ideas related to Engineering, Technology & Applications of Science – Engineering material was trimmed back from July 2010 draft – More of a focus on design (in Practices and a Core Idea) and on the applications of science and interaction between engineering, technology, and science • Framework outlines a set of engineering practices— many of which are parallel to the scientific practices Why this focus on Engineering? • “any [science] education that focuses predominantly on the detailed products of scientific labor—the facts of science—without developing an understanding of how those facts were established or that ignores the many important applications of science in the world misrepresents science and marginalizes the importance of engineering.” (NRC Framework, Ch. 3) • Students should: (1) learn how science is utilized—esp. in the context of engineering design—and (2) come to appreciate the distinctions and relationships between engineering, technology, and applications of science. Disciplinary Core Ideas: Engineering, Technology and Applications of Science • ETS1 Engineering design How do engineering solve problems? – ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting an Engineering Problem What is a design for? What are the criteria and constraints of a successful solution? – ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions What is the process for developing potential design solutions? – ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution How can the various proposed design solutions be compared and improved? Disciplinary Core Ideas: Engineering, Technology and Applications of Science • ETS2 Links Among Engineering, Technology, Science, and Society How are engineering, technology, science, and society interconnected? – ETS2.A: Interdependence of Science, Engineering, and Technology What are the relationships among science, engineering and technology? – ETS2.B: Influence of Engineering, Technology and Science on Society and the Natural World How do science, engineering, and the technologies that result from them affect the ways in which people live? How do they affect the natural world? Engineering Practices (see Table 3-2 on p. 3-29) 1. A problem, need or desire defines a problem to be solved 2. Models and simulations are used to analyze systems—to look for flaws or test possible solutions 3. Engineers conduct investigations and collect data to help specify design criteria and to test their designs 4. Engineers analyze data collected to compare solutions under specific constraints with respect to design criteria 5. Mathematical and computational representations of established relationships / principles are integral to design 6. Engineers design solutions through a systematic process (where scientists construct explanations) 7. Argumentation is essential to finding best possible solution by comparing alternatives and evaluating multiple ideas 8. Engineers need to clearly and persuasively communicate their work to produce technologies Suggested Reading… While scientific research can lay the foundation for new technology, it is engineering development that allows ideas to become reality. “Science is about knowing; engineering about doing.” It is the inherent practicality of engineering that makes it vital to addressing our most urgent concerns, from dealing with climate change and natural disasters, to the development of efficient automobiles and renewable energy sources. Discussion • Given this increased emphasis on engineering in the Framework, what issues do you anticipate coming up in your state contexts? For example, what specific capacity concerns might exist for the teaching of engineering? • What partnerships already exist—or need to be developed— with industry, higher education, or organizations to help with the engineering layer? What are the issues there? See Chapter 8 on Engineering Core Ideas and the right-hand column of Box 3-2 (on page 3-29) to summarize engineering practices.