My thoughts keep drifting back to the science fair and how to integrate the NGSS with it. I would like to help my students to truly know there is no one way, no linear Scientific Method. I am as guilty as anyone else for perpetuating that myth. It made for an easy way to breakdown the project for the students, to make it easy to help assess as they went along, but it perpetuated a misconception.

I am now thinking I am going to take an approach, using the Science and Engineering Practices listed in Appendix F of the NGSS below:

1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering) – student will have develop a quality question or problem to solve. Now what is quality, well, to me, that means it will be meaningful and impactful to the student.

2. Developing and using models – student will develop a model that helps in the explanation, understanding, investigation of the question/problem. A new question, or a more refined question may come after the model has been developed. This model may also alter procedure.

3. Planning and carrying out investigations – student will develop a written out procedure to investigate the question/problem. This procedure will be a draft document until the project is completed.

4. Analyzing and interpreting data – student will collect data, organize it, analyze it for trends. This may lead to a better question, different question, a change in procedure or a clarification on the model for better understanding.

5. Using mathematics and computational thinking – student will develop graphs and/or use mathematical processes to help with understanding of the data.

6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering) – student will, after data is collected and analyzed, develop an explanation based on their evidence to state if their hypothesis was supported or not. This again, may lead to a change in the procedure, data collection process, reanalyze data, refinement of the model.

7. Engaging in argument from evidence & 8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information – Students will communicate their results of their project. This should lead to additional questions and/or problems to be investigated.

Ultimately, what I would like to see is a project that did not run through the linear Scientific Method, but instead used the SEP’s to investigate a question/problem to keep working through a question/problem and having to go back to square one. My thought is to give them a list similar to above and just say each week or two, we will sit down and talk about where they are on their project and what is happening. I’m not going to say step one is due on this day, step two is do on that day. I am leaning to, like I said, give them the whole thing and then just say on this day, we’ll sit down and see where you are at. We’ll see. I figure it can’t hurt.

What do you all think?

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