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TEA Science Workshop #3 October 1, 2012 Kim Lott Utah State University

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Dimension 1 Practice 2: Developing and Using Models Mental Models: internal models, used for thinking, making predictions, and making sense of experiences Conceptual Models: explicit representations of observed phenomena Conceptual models can be diagrams, physical replicas, mathematical representations, analogies, and computer simulations.

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Goals for Modeling By 12 th grade, students should be able to: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems. Represent and explain phenomena using multiple types of models. Discuss limitations and precision of a model Use computer simulations or other simulation tools for understanding aspects of a system, particularly parts that are unseen. Make and use models to test a design and to compare the effectiveness of different design solutions.

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Progression Modeling begins at the earliest of grades with students’ models progressing from the concrete (pictures or scale models) to more abstract at the later grades. More sophisticated types of models should increasingly be used across the grades, both in instruction and curriculum materials.

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Dimension 1 Practice 3: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations Two goals of investigations: (1) to systematically describe the world and (2) to develop and test theories and explanations of how the world works. Students must learn to carefully and thoughtfully plan out experiments, paying particular attentions to controls and measurement of data.

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Goals for Planning Investigations By 12 th grade, students should be able to: Formulate a questions that can be investigated within the scope of the classroom, school laboratory or field available. Decide the most appropriate data to be gathered and what tools are needed and how much data is enough to produce reliable results. Plan experimental or field research, identifying independent and dependent variables, and controls when appropriate. Consider possible confounding variables or effects and ensure that the investigation design has controlled for them.

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Progression Students should have opportunities to plan and carry out several different kinds of investigations during K-12 years. Investigations start out structured by students and eventually students should have opportunities to ask their own questions and design their own investigations.

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Dimension 1 Practice 4: Analyzing and Interpreting Data Data must be organized in order to reveal patterns and relationships. Scientists organize and interpret data through tabulating, graphing and statistical analysis. Engineers also make decisions based on evidence. They will often collect extensive data on their prototypes and will analyze this data to determine the feasibility of their solutions.

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Goals for Interpreting Data By 12 th grade, students should be able to: Analyze data systematically. Recognize data that is in conflict with expectations. Use spreadsheets, databases, tables, charts, graphs, etc. to collate and display data. Evaluate the strength of a conclusion that can be inferred from a data set. Recognize patterns in data that indicate further investigation. Collect data from physical models and analyze performance of a design under a range of conditions.

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Progression At the elementary level, student need support to recognize the need to record observations. They can begin to collect categorical or numerical data in the form of tables and graphs. In middle school, students should have the opportunities to explore different types of graphs and use averaging to reduce measurement errors. By high school, with more complex investigations come more sophisticated graphs and statistical analysis. Students need opportunities to use computers and other digital tools as means of collecting, organizing, and analyzing data.

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Dimension 1 Practice 5: Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking Mathematics and computational tools are central to both science and engineering. Mathematics allows for numerical representations of variables, the relationships between physical entities and the prediction of outcomes.

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Goals for Interpreting Data By 12 th grade, students should be able to: Recognize dimensional quantities and use appropriate units in scientific applications. Express relationships and quantities in appropriate mathematical forms. Recognize that computer simulations are based upon mathematical models. Use simple test cases of mathematical expression to see if they “make sense” in the real world. Use grade-level appropriate understanding of mathematics and statistics in analyzing data.

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Progression As soon as math skills develop, these can be used in scientific investigations. In later elementary, student can begin to use simple statistics (mean, median, mode) to identify patterns in simple data sets. Significant advances in mathematic computations occur when students learn algebra. Students at younger ages can examine data sets simple data charts and later progress to larger spreadsheets and computer simulations.

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Dimension 1 Practice 6: Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions Scientific explanations (theories) are developed to explain a particular phenomena, predict future events or explain past events. A scientific hypothesis is a plausible explanation of observed phenomena that can predict what will happen in a given situation. In engineering, the goal is a design rather than an explanation.

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Goals for Interpreting Data By 12 th grade, students should be able to: Construct their own explanations of phenomena using their own knowledge of scientific theory. Use primary or secondary scientific evidence and models to support or refute an explanation. Offer causal explanations appropriate to their level of scientific knowledge.

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Goals for Interpreting Data (cont) Identify gaps or weakness in explanations. In engineering, students should have the opportunity to solve design problems by appropriately applying scientific knowledge. Undertake design project, construct a device, and evaluate and critique design solutions.

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Progression For explanations, students need opportunities to engage in constructing and critiquing explanations using grade appropriate investigations. For designs, students can need to participate in grade appropriate engineering tasks. Design tasks should not just be limited to structural, but should also include other areas of engineering (i.e. design a traffic pattern for the parking lot or planting layout in a school garden box).

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Dimension 1 Practice 7: Engaging in Argument from Evidence Scientists and engineers use reasoning and argumentation to make their cases for either their explanations or designs. Argumentations can be informal or formal. Can occur all during the investigation (or design) process.

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Goals for Argumentation By 12 th grade, students should be able to: Construct a scientific argument showing how data support a claim. Identify possible weaknesses in scientific arguments. Identify the flaws in their own arguments. Recognize the major features of scientific arguments (claims, data, and reasons)

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Goals for Argumentation (cont) Explain the nature of the controversy in the development of a given scientific idea. Explain how claims to knowledge are judged by the scientific community today, identify the merits and limitation of peer review. Read media reports of science or technology in a critical manner to identify the strengths and weaknesses.

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Progression Younger students can begin constructing arguments for their own interpretation of the phenomena they observe and of any data they collect. Teachers can help them move beyond simply making claims, but to include reasons and evidence. As students grow, they can begin to draw on a wider range of reasons and evidence, so their arguments become more sophisticated.

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Dimension 1 Practice 8: Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information Being literate in science and engineering requires the ability to read and understand their literatures. Communicating in written form is an essential practice for both scientists and engineers. Recognizing “bad science” is essential for scientists, engineers or just regular citizens.

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Goals for Communicating Information By 12 th grade, students should be able to: Use a variety of methods to communicate understanding. Read scientific and engineering texts and explain key ideas being communicated. Recognize the major features of scientific and engineering writing and be able to produce written expressions of their own ideas and accomplishments. Engage in critical reading of primary scientific literature.

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Progression Students need sustained practice in reading and interpreting grade- appropriate scientific (non-fiction) text. Students should be engaged in communication of science from the very first investigations. Starting in early grades, students need to be writing down understandings in science notebooks/journals with the entries becoming more sophisticated as the students grow. In engineering, students also need opportunities to communicate ideas.

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