8 Science and Engineering Practices Every Kid Should Learn

Welcome back for another Saturday Science! Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about science concepts and topics that I would like to focus on with the boys in homeschool. Since I believe in choosing topics based on a child’s interest and strengths, I decided to instead turn my attention to guiding practices I could use to help me in my planning. Using knowledge from my years in the classroom and the National Science Standards, I have gathered the following science and engineering practices that I feel every kid should know, regardless of age. 

8 Science and Engineering practices Every Kid Should Know

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Often times standards get a bad rap, especially in the wake of Common Core and all its misunderstood madness. However, the National Science Standards are something that have been well planned, well thought out and have lots of research to back them. Since I believe in the philosophy that children develop at different rates and in different stages, I am choosing to share scientific practices, opposed to standards. If you are interested in learning more about each principle, I suggest clicking on the title, and reading more from the National Science Teachers Association.

What is a Scientific Practice?

Simply put a scientific practice is a behavior. Often times you will hear the word “inquiry” attached to science with the intent to promote critical thinking and ingenuity. However, when you take a closer look at what is being taught to the children, it is more about the facts and skills instead of behaviors.

A scientific practice is a behavior that scientists use to seek and explain answers to questions they have about the world around them. By focusing on these behaviors you are enabling children to relate scientific ideas to real world situations and apply it in every day life.

What Age Can Scientific Practices Be Taught?

Would you believe me if I told you that these principles can be taught at an early age, as young as birth? I know, sounds crazy right? Its true. By being purposeful in your conversations with children, exposing them to new discoveries, and by facilitating their learning as opposed to always presenting information to them, you are enabling them to become critical scientific thinkers of the future.

8 Science Practices {Behaviors}

Asking Questions and Defining Problems

Children at any age should be able to ask questions about the world around them or about a problem they are trying to solve. As children are presented with environments that foster discovery they will begin to ask about how things work, why objects behave a certain way, and how they can make something behave the way they want it to. Encouraging children to make observations and further their investigations is the base of all scientific learning.

Getting Started With Science: 10 Simple Questions to Ask

One of the key principles in Reggio Philosophy is that documentation is an integral part of discovery and learning. By making diagrams, drawings, physical replicas, and models children are able to test their predictions and find answers to the questions they initially asked.

Tinker Box | Inspiring Little Inventors

At all ages and levels children should be encouraged and have the opportunity to plan and carry out investigations. Investigations can range from teacher driven (to help teach specific skills or to point out a problem) to children driven investigations. Over time, children should learn to become more systematic and methodical in carrying out their investigations and will learn to follow scientific method to find answers.

5 Fizzy Experiments | Testing Variables

By collecting and analyzing data, scientist are able to make meaning of the information they have collected. Beginning at a young age, this might be seen in pictures, basic graphs and charts; however as children progress this will become more complex analytical data and be represented with range of tools. Learning to analysis and interpret data will enable children to recognize patterns and make decisions based on these findings.

Science for Kids | Effecting Plant Growth

Math and science are partners in critical thinking. As children observe and collect data, it is imperative for them to learn the computation and mathematical principles associated with gathering their information. This can be through observations, measurement, recording and the processing of data.

6 Ways to Explore Math with Young Children 

In both science and engineering, children are expected to learn how to explain their findings and develop solutions to problems that arise during their investigations or engineering. Asking children, at any age to explain their understandings allows them to engage in critical thinking and encourages the development of concrete learning.

Project Approach | Celebrate Learning

In order to understand how scientist think and operate, children must learn how to appropriately argue their findings based on their evidence. Engaging children in this method of conversation encourages critical thinking and forces children to attempt to explain natural phenomena’s and defend their position based on evidence and data collected.

Think Like A Scientist | Explore Unknown Liquids

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Being able to read, interpret and create scientific text is critical in science and engineering. This can be done through leveled test, images, or text features. Even the youngest learner can communicate through pictures and drawings to represent their knowledge. As they get older, it will be a critical science practice that will enable them to collaborate and extend their knowledge.

Rock and Minerals study

How do you teach scientific and engineering practices to young children?  I would love to know! Leave me a comment or stop my Facebook and tell me! Also, don’t forget to connect with me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestInstagram or subscribe by email so you don’t miss our next adventure.

 

RESOURCE for SCIENCE and ENGINEERING PRACTICES

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10 thoughts on “8 Science and Engineering Practices Every Kid Should Learn”

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      You are very welcome. You have great science posts.

  1. Thanks for the great article! I love how detailed all of your points are. Great information 🙂

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Thank you! I am so glad you found it useful!

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