Looking over the new science standards, I’ve come to the realization that the Engineering strand of the standards is all about Inquiry:
– Next Generation Science Standards; Appendix F states that the eight practices of science and engineering, the Framework identifies as essential for all students to learn, and describes in detail, are listed below:
- 1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
- 2. Developing and using models
- 3. Planning and carrying out investigations
- 4. Analyzing and interpreting data
- 5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
- 6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
- 7. Engaging in argument from evidence
- 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information:
While the NSTA Official Position (Oct 2004) has this to say about Scientific Inquiry: Regarding students’ abilities to do scientific inquiry, NSTA recommends that teachers help students:
- Learn how to identify and ask appropriate questions that can be answered through scientific investigations.
- Design and conduct investigations to collect the evidence needed to answer a variety of questions.
- Use appropriate equipment and tools to interpret and analyze data.
- Learn how to draw conclusions and think critically and logically to create explanations based on their evidence.
- Communicate and defend their results to their peers and others.
Regarding students’ understanding about scientific inquiry, NSTA recommends that teachers help students understand:
- That science involves asking questions about the world and then developing scientific investigations to answer their questions.
- That there is no fixed sequence of steps that all scientific investigations follow. Different kinds of questions suggest different kinds of scientific investigations.
- That scientific inquiry is central to the learning of science and reflects how science is done.
- The importance of gathering empirical data using appropriate tools and instruments.
- That the evidence they collect can change their perceptions about the world and increase their scientific knowledge.
- The importance of being skeptical when they assess their own work and the work of others.
- That the scientific community, in the end, seeks explanations that are empirically based and logically consistent.