1. What are the science and engineering practices?
These are the actions that scientists and our students should take to better practice and understand science. They can be used simultaneously and a lesson can have any number of practices being showcased. However, one will be correlated to the disciplinary core idea that is being studied in the Performance Expectation and that is the one that should be most assessed with that idea.
2. What is the purpose of having students engage in science and engineering practices?
Students shouldn't just be memorizing random facts, keeping them at a novice level. In order to become better members of society and maybe even great experts in science in the future, students have to interact with science. They need to see the big picture, the concepts, through investigation and models. Students need to be challenged to draw models or explain scientific ideas out loud so they can identify when the models and explanations are flawed or when key ideas seems to be lacking. Teachers need to see the inner thoughts of the students in order to assess their misconceptions and build towards more higher level thinking. As far as being college and career ready, students need to be dynamic problem solver sand critical thinkers in order to solve our new environmental and societal issues. Even if they won't become scientists or engineers, students will need to be able to analyze data in order to make informed life decisions and engage in adult arguments to better our society.
3. How can the SEP be used during a lesson or unit of study in chemistry class?
Nuclear chemistry is a great topic to look into. Students can generate questions about the topic because they seems to have some prior knowledge and misconceptions that they will want to investigate. Some students may even identify problems with the use of nuclear chemistry before we start the unit. We could use modeling to show how the decay and transmutation reactions occur- possibly using pom-poms as the protons and neutrons to demonstrate conservation of mass, and then creating a drawn model from that. Investigations are limited in this topic but students could still analyze and interpret data to determine which energy sources are cleanest and most cost effective (coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, etc). Students could then argue about which energy they believe we should use based on the evidence they identify. The could teach each other through this argumentation, using models, pictures, and charts or graphs to communicate their ideas. An engineering design can also include problem solving to help make power plants less dangerous, or ways nuclear chemistry could be used in the medical field.