Unit 4: What are the NGSS Science & Engineering Practices?

College Biology Curriculum and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

What are the NGSS Science & Engineering Practices?


The eight Science and Engineering Practices of the NGSS provide a means for students to apply their scientific knowledge. Without context provided by the Practices students will not have the opportunity to fully engage with, or understand, scientific and engineering ideas. In this unit we close the loop on the three dimensional nature of the Next Generation Science Standards. Just as ideas cannot be fully realized without putting them to practice students will not have an opportunity to show competence in scientific and engineering practices without the context of specific content (DCI and Concepts).

As you familiarize yourself with each of the NGSS Practices you should think about which of the eight apply to your chosen learning objective. Keep in mind that our goal is a sustainable curriculum. This will require two or more Practices to provide a realistic progression from understanding to analysis/evaluation while leaving flexibility for the inevitable variations between learning communities.

The eight Scientific and Engineering Practices are as follows. Videos are hyperlinked to the title of each Practice.

  1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
  2. Developing and using models
  3. Planning and carrying out investigations
  4. Analyzing and interpreting data
  5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
  6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
  7. Engaging in argument from evidence
  8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Additional Content for Review


NGSS Appendix F: Science and Engineering Practices

TeachingChannel: Science and Engineering Practices


GDL journal.jpg

Journal Entry 1: Exploring connections between each of the three NGSS dimensions.

Summarize each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices and identify one Core Idea and one Concept that relates to each.

Journal Entry 2: Aligning your Learning Objective Part 2

Explain which Practices best suit your chosen learning objective and discuss potential ideas for modeling and implementing them within the learning community.

Unit 4 Journal Entry

Unit 3: What are the NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas and Crosscutting Concepts?

Unit 5: Using the NGSS to guide curriculum.