Science and Engineering Practices

Science and Engineering Practices: The Ultimate Guide

What are Science and Engineering Practices?

Science and engineering practices (SEPs) make up one of the three dimensions of 3-D learning and are designed to be taught in context. They highlight the skills that scientists and engineers actually use, such as modeling, developing explanations, and engaging in critique and evaluation. Simply put, they are the things that almost all scientists and engineers do as part of their daily work.

The SEPs require students to learn by doing and seeking out their own information rather than being given it, thus acquiring skills that can be applied to problems across all STEM disciplines. 

Twig Science On… Science and Engineering Practices Podcast

Science and Engineering Practices Blog Series

Throughout this blog series, we will take a look at each of the eight science and engineering practices in-depth, and the progression throughout kindergarten, elementary and middle school.

Asking Questions and Defining Problems

In science, asking questions helps us to understand and explain phenomena, and in engineering, to define problems and design solutions.

Developing and Using Models

In science, models help to explain phenomena and can represent a system (or part of) which would otherwise be difficult to study. In engineering, models are used to test designs.

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

In science, investigations help to better understand phenomena and test theories—and ultimately, answer questions. In engineering, the goal of investigations is to test designs.

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Analyzing and interpreting data can reveal trends, patterns, and relationships in science.

Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

Math is at the core of both science and engineering—without it, scientists would not be able to effectively present and compare findings or improve designs.

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Scientists and engineers will use the evidence they have collected and analyzed to explain phenomena and come up with solutions to engineering problems.

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

For scientists, the goal is always to come up with the best explanation for a phenomenon—scientific discoveries are usually made by scientists putting forward arguments and then other scientists trying to prove them wrong.

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

A significant amount of what scientists and engineers do day-to-day is read other scientists’ work—they are highly collaborative fields. Students need to become used to getting information from scientific texts.

Science and Engineering Practices Printable Poster Series

Download our free printable posters to serve as a reminder for your students that the Science and Engineering Practices are an important part of the process of scientific investigations.

Explore Science and Engineering Practices with a Dedicated 3-D Science Program

To ensure that you hit the three dimensions, you need the support of a good 3-D science program. Twig Science Next Gen is a phenomena-based science program for Grades PK/TK–8 created specifically to ensure that all students have an interwoven understanding of Crosscutting Concepts, Science and Engineering Practices, and Disciplinary Core Ideas

In Twig Science Next Gen, students experience dozens of different STEM roles as they become creative problem solvers, making sense of engaging, real-world phenomena. To learn more about how Twig Science Next Gen can help you incorporate the crosscutting concepts into your curriculum, contact us today.

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