A Science Framework for K-12 Science Education identifies eight practices of science and engineering as essential for all students to learn and they 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

For more information, visit the NGSS Appendix


Developing and using models: Modeling can begin in the earliest grades, with students’ models progressing from concrete “pictures” and/or physical scale models (e.g., a toy car) to more abstract representations of relevant relationships in later grades, such as a diagram representing forces on a particular object in a system. (NRC Framework, 2012, p. 58)

General Resources

Bozemanscience introduction to Modeling: Paul Andersen explains the importance of modeling in science and engineering. See the video here.

American Modeling Teachers Association. See the official page here

NSTA Learning Center: webinar on developing and using models. Access it here.

SERC: What is a model? View here.

PhET simulations. Available here.

Concorn Concertium: digital assistance for learning science, engineering, and math. View home page here.

Annenberg Learner: interactive simulations and modules for science and mathematics. View interactives page here.


Engaging in argument from evidence: The study of science and engineering should produce a sense of the process of argument necessary for advancing and defending a new idea or an explanation of a phenomenon and the norms for conducting such arguments. In that spirit, students should argue for the explanations they construct, defend their interpretations of the associated data, and advocate for the designs they propose. (NRC Framework, 2012, p. 73)

General Resources

Lake Erie's Enormous Algal Bloom. Read the article here.

PlantingScience.org's Introduction to Arguing from Evidence. See page here

NSTA's Web Seminar "Preparing for NGSS: Engaging in Argument from Evidence" (2012). Pdf file of presentation.


Using mathematics and computational thinking:Although there are differences in how mathematics and computational thinking are applied in science and in engineering, mathematics often brings these two fields together by enabling engineers to apply the mathematical form of scientific theories and by enabling scientists to use powerful information technologies designed by engineers. Both kinds of professionals can thereby accomplish investigations and analyses and build complex models, which might otherwise be out of the question. (NRC Framework, 2012, p. 65)

General Resources

Environmental Sampling and Calculating. See instructions and calculators here


Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering): Students at any grade level should be able to ask questions of each other about the texts they read, the features of the phenomena they observe, and the conclusions they draw from their models or scientific investigations. For engineering, they should ask questions to define the problem to be solved and to elicit ideas that lead to the constraints and specifications for its solution. (NRC Framework 2012, p. 56)

General Resources

Collaborize Classroom's "The Art of Asking Questions". Available here.

Moe's Lab - Description of Lab work

Cooper's Lab - Description of Lab work

Webb's Lab - Description of Lab work

Groppo's Lab - Description of Lab work

Bondado's Lab - Description of Lab work

Testa's Lab - Description of Lab work

Walcott's Lab - Description of Lab work

Fryar's Lab - Study the changes in temperatures, pH, alkalinity, and Discharge between the Gluck Rain Garden and locations at McConnell Springs over time. Models of the karst features and water movement are used to understand how these variables change, and mathematical computations and plots are used to visualize and analyze the data. See the link for pictures of models used in Dr. Fryar's Lab. 

Stoelb & Porter's Lab - Studying and understanding intracellular bacterials symbiosis using Wolbachia as a model. Questions being asked include "Are there unique wolbachia bacteria variants within the insects they will be collecting? If so, how does their gene sequence compare with other previously characterized, archived strains collected from other parts of the country? What role(s) might geographical location, seasonal temperative variation, and infection with known Wolbachia bacteriophage play in shaping strain diversity?"