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What are Scientific and Engineering Practices?

Scientific practices are the behaviors that scientists engage in as they investigate and build models and theories about the natural world. The NRC uses the term “practices” instead of a term such as “skills” to emphasize that engaging in scientific investigation requires not only skill but also knowledge that is specific to each practice. (NRC Framework, 2012, p. 30)

The eight practices of science and engineering that the Framework identifies as essential for all students to learn and describes in detail are listed below:

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