It is essential for today's students to learn about science and engineering in order to make sense of the world around them and participate as informed members of a democratic society. The skills and ways of thinking that are developed and honed through engaging in scientific and engineering endeavors can be used to engage with evidence in making personal decisions, to participate responsibly in civic life, and to improve and maintain the health of the environment, as well as to prepare for careers that use science and technology.

The majority of Americans learn most of what they know about science and engineering as middle and high school students. During these years of rapid change for students' knowledge, attitudes, and interests, they can be engaged in learning science and engineering through schoolwork that piques their curiosity about the phenomena around them in ways that are relevant to their local surroundings and to their culture. Many decades of education research provide strong evidence for effective practices in teaching and learning of science and engineering. One of the effective practices that helps students learn is to engage in science investigation and engineering design. Broad implementation of science investigation and engineering design and other evidence-based practices in middle and high schools can help address present-day and future national challenges, including broadening access to science and engineering for communities who have traditionally been underrepresented and improving students' educational and life experiences.

Science and Engineering for Grades 6-12: Investigation and Design at the Center revisits America's Lab Report: Investigations in High School Science in order to consider its discussion of laboratory experiences and teacher and school readiness in an updated context. It considers how to engage today's middle and high school students in doing science and engineering through an analysis of evidence and examples. This report provides guidance for teachers, administrators, creators of instructional resources, and leaders in teacher professional learning on how to support students as they make sense of phenomena, gather and analyze data/information, construct explanations and design solutions, and communicate reasoning to self and others during science investigation and engineering design. It also provides guidance to help educators get started with designing, implementing, and assessing investigation and design.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780309482608
Publisher: National Academies Press
Publication date: 03/12/2019
Pages: 328
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Summary 1

1 Introduction 9

Current Context of Science Education 11

The Importance of Equity 12

Science Investigation and Engineering Design 13

Charge to the Committee 15

Information Gathering 17

Content of the Report 20

References 21

2 K-12 Science Education Past and Present: The Changing Role and Focus of Investigations 23

A Brief History of the Goals of K-12 Science Education and Role of Investigations 24

Influence of the Framework on K-12 Science Education 29

Today's Middle and High Schools 34

Students, Investigation and Design, and the Nature of Science and Engineering 38

Inclusiveness and Equity in the Current Context 42

Summary 45

References 47

3 Learning and Motivation 53

Dynamics of Learning 54

Learning Theory Themes 55

Interest and Motivation 63

Summary 72

References 73

4 How Students Engage with Investigation and Design 81

Putting Investigation and Design at the Center 82

Students Engage in Investigation and Design 87

Summary 103

References 105

5 How Teachers Support Investigation and Design 109

Make Sense of Phenomena 111

Gather and Analyze Data 116

Construct Explanations 120

Communicate Reasoning to Self and Others 121

Features Come Together for Investigation and Design 131

Connect Learning Through Multiple Contexts 138

Summary 144

References 145

6 Instructional Resources for Supporting Investigation and Design 153

Make Sense of Phenomena 156

Gather and Analyze Data and Construct Explanations 160

Assessment and Communicating Reasoning to Self and Others 162

Foster an Inclusive Learning Environment 163

Coherence 164

Learning Goals as Performance Expectations 166

Technology 168

Teacher Involvement in the Development of Instructional Resources 172

Instructional Resources and Professional Learning 173

Summary 174

References 174

7 Preparing and Supporting Teachers to Facilitate Investigation 181

The Current State of Teaching and Teacher Learning 182

Preparing to Teach Investigation and Design 192

Changes in the Landscape of Professional Learning 196

Ensuring Teachers Have Opportunities for Professional Learning 198

Equity and Inclusion 205

Summary 205

References 207

8 Space, Time, and Resources 215

Providing Facilities to Support Science Investigation and Engineering Design 215

Safety Considerations for Engaging in Science Investigation and Engineering Design 222

Making Science Learning a Priority in Middle and High Schools 230

Summary 239

References 240

9 The Education System and Investigation and Design 245

The Interacting Components of the Education System 246

Continuous Improvement Model 249

Potential Lessons from Previous Improvement Efforts 251

Reform Efforts 252

Pulling the Pieces Together 261

Summary 264

References 264

10 Conclusions, Recommendations, and Research Questions 267

Conclusions 268

Recommendations 275

Research Questions 278

Final Reflections 282


A The Role of Assessment in Supporting, Science Investigation and Engineering Design 285

B Public Agenda for Meeting #1-May 2017 297

C Public Agenda for Meeting #2-July 2017 299

D Agenda for Workshop at Meeting #3-November 2017 301

E Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff 303

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