Science and Engineering Practices 5-8
by Mariana Garcia-Serrato
| 2 Questions
Note from the author:
This is the third in a series of 3 formatives aimed at explaining/introducing the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices to students. The goal is to make students aware of what they are, when they are using them in class and why. Once students have gone through the series, and to promote metacognition, I have them write a weekly reflection where they identify the practice that helped them most in our class that particular week.
You will notice that I do not use CER but rather ACE (answer/cite/explain). I find that this focuses my middle schoolers on the question as opposed to making "wild" claims.

S&EP 5: Using Mathematical Thinking

In science, 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. Mathematical and computational approaches enable prediction of the behavior of physical systems along with the testing of such predictions. Moreover, statistical techniques are also invaluable for identifying significant patterns and establishing correlational relationships.
The outlined content above was added from outside of Formative.
1 pt
A student collected the following data.
Which type of graph or chart would be best to use to gather come to some meaningful conclusions about this data?
bar graph
line graph
pie chart

SP6: Constructing explanations and designing solutions

The goal of science is the construction of theories that provide explanations about the natural world. A theory becomes accepted when it has multiple independent lines of empirical evidence and greater explanatory power.

SP7: Engaging in argument from evidence

In science, reasoning and argument are essential for clarifying strengths and weaknesses of a line of evidence and for identifying the best explanation for a natural phenomenon. Scientists must defend their explanations, formulate evidence based on a solid foundation of data, examine their understanding in light of the evidence and comments by others, and collaborate with peers in searching for the best explanation for the phenomena being investigated.
The basic format for S&EP 6 and 7 is the ACE strategy
The outlined content above was added from outside of Formative.

SP8: Obtain, evaluate and communicate information

Science cannot advance if scientists are unable to communicate their findings clearly and persuasively or learn about the findings of others. A major practice of science is thus to communicate ideas and the results of inquiry—orally; in writing; with the use of tables, diagrams, graphs and equations; and by engaging in extended discussions with peers. Science requires the ability to derive meaning from scientific texts such as papers, the internet, symposia, or lectures to evaluate the scientific validity of the information thus acquired and to integrate that information into proposed explanations.
1 pt
Match each practice with its definition
  • Formulating, refining and evaluating empirically testable questions using models and simulations.
  • Using synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural world.
  • Planning and carrying out investigations that provide evidence for and test conceptual, mathematical, physical and empirical models
  • Organize and interpret data through tabulating, graphing or statistical analysis. Such analysis can bring about the meaning of data - and their relevance - so that it may be used as evidence.
  • Using algebraic thinking and analysis to analyze, represent and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions.
  • Constructing explanations that are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles and theories.
  • Using appropriate and sufficient evidence and scientific reasoning to defend and critique the claims and explanations about the natural world. Arguments may also come from current scientific and historical episodes in science.
  • Evaluating the validity and reliability of the claims and methods. Communicating information, evidence and ideas in multiple ways: using tables, diagrams, graphs, models, interactive displays and equations as well as orally, in writing and through extended discussions.
  • Asking questions
  • Developing and using models
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking.
  • Constructing explanations
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Obtaining, evaluating and communicating informattion.
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