Inquiry and NGSS

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.
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