I was thinking how much the NGSS eight practices and the scientific method are related. Thinking this way helps me to keep things simple in trying to understand something new or something complex. Hopefully this will help you as well.
Observe-You notice the changes in the science curriculum and all this talk about NGSS. You observe other teachers in you building and District talking about the Science and Engineering Practices, grade banding, performance expectations, cross cutting concepts, Disciplinary Core Ideas. You could become overwhelmed. Take a deep breath and remember you are a scientist and there are steps and processes that can help us through this.
Define a Problem– Practice 1 of the New Standards is Asking Questions and Defining Problems
You begin to realize that you need to start learning more about these new practices and developing new units or adapting your current units to work within the framework of the new science standards and practices.
Form a Question– Practice 1 of the New Standards is Asking Questions and Defining Problems. How am I going to begin this process? What are my resources? What is my background knowledge? What do I hope to accomplish? What is my time frame? What do I consider success in the classroom?
Research-Begin researching uses Practice 1 Asking questions and a Defining Problems. Research could include periodicals (Science Scope), the web (NSTA, blogs), social media (google+, twitter) and PLC’s in your building or district.
Hypothesis– When you develop a Hypothesis you are engaging in Practice 3 Planning and Carrying out investigations. What outcomes do you expect? What background knowledge do you have to predict an outcome?
Materials-Practice 3 Planning and Carrying out Investigations. What resources will you need? What steps will you take to complete this experiment? Have others (colleagues) completed a similar experiment? If so could you repeat the experiment?
Procedures-Practice 3 Planning and Carrying out investigations. How do you plan to carry the investigation out? How will you collect data?
Test your hypothesis Practice 2 develop and use models. The model could be your lesson plans, units and activities your are using in class. You could also use Understanding By Design (backward design). This is for a future post.
Collect Data– Practice 4 Analyzing and Interpreting Data and Practise 5 Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking. Practice 8 Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information. As you collect your data (summative and formative assessments, student feedback and evaluations) you begin to look for trends and evidence to support or dispute your hypothesis.
Communicate Results– Practice 2 Develop and Use Models. Practice 6 Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions. Practice 7 Engaging in Arguments from Evidence. Practice 8 Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information. In communicating your results you will use evidence from your findings to create models. This could be a mathematical model (charts, graphs). You will construct explanations as to why the results turned out as they did. You may begin to reflect and design solutions for future units. After you evaluate your results you may communicate the results with your colleagues. Seek feedback and share your success and failures during the process. This process may include the productive discussions with yourself and other science teachers on what worked and did not work based on the evidence you have collected.