Want to make creations as awesome as this one?

More creations to inspire you


SEP: Science & Engineering Practices

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Obtaining, Evaluating, & Communicating Information

Research using organizations, business, & mentors in STEM

Analyzing the impact of science on society

Distinguishing between scientific hypotheses, theories, & laws

Acknowledging the role of diverse scientists

Asking Questions & Defining Problems using Phenomena

Developing and Using Models

Asking Questions and Defining ProblemsA practice of science is to ask and refine questions that lead to descriptions and explanations of how the natural and designed world works and which can be empirically tested. Asking questions and defining problems in 9–12 builds on grades K–8 experiences and progresses to formulating, refining, and evaluating empirically testable questions and design problems using models and simulations.

  • Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.
  • Ask questions that arise from examining models or a theory, to clarify and/or seek additional information and relationships.
  • Ask questions to determine relationships, including quantitative relationships, between independent and dependent variables.
  • Ask questions to clarify and refine a model, an explanation, or an engineering problem.
  • Evaluate a question to determine if it is testable and relevant.
  • Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the school laboratory, research facilities, or field (e.g., outdoor environment) with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on a model or theory.
  • Ask and/or evaluate questions that challenge the premise(s) of an argument, the interpretation of a data set, or the suitability of the design.
  • Define a design problem that involves the development of a process or system with interacting components and criteria and constraints that may include social, technical and/or environmental considerations.
  • Analyze complex real-world problems by specifying criteria and constraints for successful solutions.

Developing and Using ModelsA practice of both science and engineering is to use and construct models as helpful tools for representing ideas and explanations. These tools include diagrams, drawings, physical replicas, mathematical representations, analogies, and computer simulations. Modeling in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed world(s).

  • Evaluate merits and limitations of two different models of the same proposed tool, process, mechanism, or system in order to select or revise a model that best fits the evidence or design criteria.
  • Design a test of a model to ascertain its reliability.
  • Develop, revise, and/or use a model based on evidence to illustrate and/or predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system.
  • Develop and/or use multiple types of models to provide mechanistic accounts and/or predict phenomena, and move flexibly between model types based on merits and limitations.
  • Use a model to provide mechanistic accounts of phenomena.
  • Develop a complex model that allows for manipulation and testing of a proposed process or system.
  • Develop and/or use a model (including mathematical and computational) to generate data to support explanations, predict phenomena, analyze systems, and/or solve problems.

Planning and Carrying Out InvestigationsScientists and engineers plan and carry out investigations in the field or laboratory, working collaboratively as well as individually. Their investigations are systematic and require clarifying what counts as data and identifying variables or parameters. Planning and carrying out investigations in 9-12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to include investigations that provide evidence for and test conceptual, mathematical, physical, and empirical models.

  • Plan an investigation or test a design individually and collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence as part of building and revising models, supporting explanations for phenomena, or testing solutions to problems. Consider possible variables or effects and evaluate the confounding investigation’s design to ensure variables are controlled.
  • Plan and conduct an investigation individually and collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence, and in the design: decide on types, how much, and accuracy of data needed to produce reliable measurements and consider limitations on the precision of the data (e.g., number of trials, cost, risk, time), and refine the design accordingly.
  • Plan and conduct an investigation or test a design solution in a safe and ethical manner including considerations of environmental, social, and personal impacts.
  • Select appropriate tools to collect, record, analyze, and evaluate data.
  • Make directional hypotheses that specify what happens to a dependent variable when an independent variable is manipulated.
  • Manipulate variables and collect data about a complex model of a proposed process or system to identify failure points or improve performance relative to criteria for success or other variables.

Analyzing and Interpreting DataScientific investigations produce data that must be analyzed in order to derive meaning. Because data patterns and trends are not always obvious, scientists use a range of tools—including tabulation, graphical interpretation, visualization, and statistical analysis—to identify the significant features and patterns in the data. Scientists identify sources of error in the investigations and calculate the degree of certainty in the results. Modern technology makes the collection of large data sets much easier, providing secondary sources for analysis. Analyzing data in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data.

  • Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.
  • Apply concepts of statistics and probability (including determining function fits to data, slope, intercept, and correlation coefficient for linear fits) to scientific and engineering questions and problems, using digital tools when feasible.
  • Consider limitations of data analysis (e.g., measurement error, sample selection) when analyzing and interpreting data.
  • Compare and contrast various types of data sets (e.g., self-generated, archival) to examine consistency of measurements and observations.
  • Evaluate the impact of new data on a working explanation and/or model of a proposed process or system.
  • Analyze data to identify design features or characteristics of the components of a proposed process or system to optimize it relative to criteria for success.

Using Mathematics and Computational ThinkingIn both science and engineering, mathematics and computation are fundamental tools for representing physical variables and their relationships. They are used for a range of tasks such as constructing simulations; statistically analyzing data; and recognizing, expressing, and applying quantitative relationships. Mathematical and computational thinking in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions.

  • Create and/or revise a computational model or simulation of a phenomenon, designed device, process, or system.
  • Use mathematical, computational, and/or algorithmic representations of phenomena or design solutions to describe and/or support claims and/or explanations.
  • Apply techniques of algebra and functions to represent and solve scientific and engineering problems.
  • Use simple limit cases to test mathematical expressions, computer programs, algorithms, or simulations of a process or system to see if a model “makes sense” by comparing the outcomes with what is known about the real world.
  • Apply ratios, rates, percentages, and unit conversions in the context of complicated measurement problems involving quantities with derived or compound units (such as mg/mL, kg/m3, acre-feet, etc.).

Constructing Explanations and Designing SolutionsThe products of science are explanations and the products of engineering are solutions. Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to explanations and designs that are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories.

  • Make a quantitative and/or qualitative claim regarding the relationship between dependent and independent variables.
  • Construct and revise an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students’ own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
  • Apply scientific ideas, principles, and/or evidence to provide an explanation of phenomena and solve design problems, taking into account possible unanticipated effects.
  • Apply scientific reasoning, theory, and/or models to link evidence to the claims to assess the extent to which the reasoning and data support the explanation or conclusion.
  • Design, evaluate, and/or refine a solution to a complex real-world problem, based on scientific knowledge, student-generated sources of evidence, prioritized criteria, and tradeoff considerations.

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating InformationScientists and engineers must be able to communicate clearly and persuasively the ideas and methods they generate. Critiquing and communicating ideas individually and in groups is a critical professional activity. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to evaluating the validity and reliability of the claims, methods, and designs.

  • Critically read scientific literature adapted for classroom use to determine the central ideas or conclusions and/or to obtain scientific and/or technical information to summarize complex evidence, concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
  • Compare, integrate and evaluate sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a scientific question or solve a problem.
  • Gather, read, and evaluate scientific and/or technical information from multiple authoritative sources, assessing the evidence and usefulness of each source.
  • Evaluate the validity and reliability of and/or synthesize multiple claims, methods, and/or designs that appear in scientific and technical texts or media reports, verifying the data when possible.
  • Communicate scientific and/or technical information or ideas (e.g. about phenomena and/or the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats (including orally, graphically, textually, and mathematically).

Engaging in Argument from EvidenceArgumentation is the process by which explanations and solutions are reached. Engaging in argument from evidence in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to using appropriate and sufficient evidence and scientific reasoning to defend and critique claims and explanations about the natural and designed world(s). Arguments may also come from current scientific or historical episodes in science.

  • Compare and evaluate competing arguments or design solutions in light of currently accepted explanations, new evidence, limitations (e.g., trade-offs), constraints, and ethical issues.
  • Evaluate the claims, evidence, and/or reasoning behind currently accepted explanations or solutions to determine the merits of arguments.
  • Respectfully provide and/or receive critiques on scientific arguments by probing reasoning and evidence and challenging ideas and conclusions, responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, and determining what additional information is required to resolve contradictions.
  • Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument or counter-arguments based on data and evidence.
  • Make and defend a claim based on evidence about the natural world or the effectiveness of a design solution that reflects scientific knowledge, and student-generated evidence.
  • Evaluate competing design solutions to a real-world problem based on scientific ideas and principles, empirical evidence, and logical arguments regarding relevant factors (e.g. economic, societal, environmental, ethical considerations).