Dimension 1: Scientific and Engineering Practices

Overview: Dimension 1, Scientific and Engineering Practices

There are eight Scientific and Engineering Practices in Dimension 1 of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Below are multimedia and text resources that will need to be reviewed before you precede to the class assignments described at the bottom of this webpage. Please click on the 8 practices below to access the resources. Note, you should have already read at least chapter 3 from the free book A Framework For K-12 Science Education.

DIMENSION 1: SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING PRACTICES

  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

Dimension 1 focuses on important practices used by scientists and engineers: modeling, developing explanations, and engaging in argumentation. These practices have too often been under emphasized in K-12 science education. For example, all of the disciplines of science share a commitment to data and evidence as the foundation for developing claims about the world. As they carry out investigations and revise or extend their explanations, scientists examine, review, and evaluate their own knowledge and ideas and critique those of others through a process of argumentation.

Engaging in the full range of scientific practices helps students understand how knowledge develops and gives them an appreciation of the wide range of approaches that are used to investigate, model, and explain the world. Similarly, engaging in the practices of engineering helps students understand the work of engineers and the links between engineering and science.

The full report describes these eight practices, articulating the major competencies that students should have by the end of 12th grade and outlining how student competence might progress across the grades.

(This short excerpt is from A Framework for K-12 Science Standards: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas Report Brief)

NSTA archived webinars:

Connections Between Practices in NGSS, Common Core Math, and Common Core ELA. To access the webinar click here.

Using the NGSS Practices in the Elementary Grades. To access the webinar click here. To access a Venn diagram that identifies the commonalities among the practices in science, mathematics, and english language arts click here.

Engineering Practices in the Next Generation Science Standards. To access the webinar click here.

Assignments

  1. Design a lesson plan highlighting a science practice from NGSS Dimension 1. (Graduate Students must Design two lesson plans highlighting two different science practices from Dimension 1).

    Clarification: all of the 8 practices work dynamically together. It may not be possible to isolate one practice in a lesson or unit. However, for the sake of this activity, please make explicit how you will help students learn deeply at least one practice from Dimension 1.

    Procedure: Review all text and multimedia content. Go to the NGSS final document and select one or a group of performance expectations. A video tutorial on "How to Read the NGSS" is available. Although all NGSS performance expectations are a combination of all three Dimensions, please explicitly describe how you will reinforce Dimension 1.

    Using the 5 E Learning Cycle Model, create your lesson plan(s) using this template. Be sure to show specifically how you will incorporate one of the eight NGSS Science and Engineering Practices in Dimension 1

    For more resources on the 5 E Learning Cycle Model please click here. The lesson plans will be evaluated using this rubric (clicking on this link will open up a Microsoft Word document on your computer. You may have to click "allow" on your computer for it to download) Please have a colleague evaluate the lesson plan using the rubric before you submit. Additionally, please revise your lesson plan using the feedback you received. Lastly, please email the final version to johnsog@resa.net. All lesson plans will be shared on this website.

  2. Design a lesson plan highlighting an engineering practice from NGSS Dimension 1

    Procedure: Review all text and multimedia content. In the book, A Framework for K-12 Science Education, read chapter 8 and re-read Box 3-2, Distinguishing Practices in Science from those In Engineering, found on pages 50-53 (Adobe Acrobat PDF numbering system: 65/401). Additionally, read APPENDIX I - Engineering Design in the NGSS. This document lists the performance expectations that incorporate engineering practices. Go to the NGSS final document and select one or a group of performance expectations. A video tutorial on "How to Read the NGSS" is available. Two examples of identifying the engineering content expectations in 3rd and 4th grade can be found at:
    Working with the NGSS Performance Expectations.


Using the 5 E Learning Cycle Model, create your lesson plan(s) using this template. Be sure to show specifically how you will incorporate one of the eight NGSS Engineering Practices in Dimension 1.

For more resources on the 5 E Learning Cycle Model please click hereThe lesson plans will be evaluated using this rubric (clicking on this link will open up a Microsoft Word document on your computer. You may have to click "allow" on your computer for it to download). Please have a colleague evaluate the lesson plan using the rubric before you submit.  Additionally, please revise your lesson plan using the feedback you received. Lastly, please email the final version to johnsog@resa.net. All lesson plans will be shared on this website.

For insight into how engineering fits in with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) please see my 8 webpages at www.resa.net/stem. You navigate these webpages using the links under STEM Education in the left-hand column. There are some classroom examples provided.

Alternative assignment for administrators or interested teacher groups. In lieu of one lesson plan, you can create an evaluation rubric that an administrator can use to evaluate teachers. The rubric should be based on the Science and Engineering Practices in Dimension 1. Please use Charlotte Danielson's work as a guide. Her 2011 Framework for Teaching Instrument can be found here. Please do not disseminate her framework.

Additional Resources:

The University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh is offering an online course on NGSS. The materials will be archived and available at University of Wisconsin Stem Lab.

Tools for Ambitious Science Teaching This website has a wealth of resources to support teaching and learning.

NGSS Practices Poster

NGSS Case Study. This document may support your understanding as to how the 3 dimensions of NGSS can be intertwined successfully with disadvantaged students.