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A practice of science is to ask and refine questions that lead to descriptions and explanations of how the natural and designed world works and which can be empirically tested.
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Introducing students to Science and Engineering Practice 1, which focuses on asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering), is essential for cultivating their curiosity and critical thinking skills. Here are some effective strategies to introduce this practice to students:



1. Start with Real-World Examples: Begin the lesson by presenting authentic examples of scientists and engineers who have asked meaningful questions or defined significant problems. Show how these inquiries have led to discoveries and innovations. This will help students understand the relevance and impact of this practice.


2. Engage in Wondering Activities: Foster a sense of wonder and curiosity by engaging students in activities that prompt them to ask questions or identify problems. Encourage open-ended discussions and brainstorming sessions to stimulate their thinking and generate a list of inquiries or problems they are interested in exploring.


3. Teach Questioning Techniques: Provide guidance on how to ask effective and meaningful questions. Teach students to formulate open-ended questions that require investigation and critical thinking. Introduce question starters such as "What if...?" or "Why does...?" to help them frame their inquiries.


4. Utilize Science Notebooks: Encourage students to maintain science notebooks where they can record their questions and problems. This will help them develop a habit of inquiry and provide a reference for further exploration. Regularly review and discuss their entries to ensure they are on the right track.


5. Explore Scientific Phenomena: Engage students in hands-on experiments or observations that prompt them to question why things happen the way they do. Encourage them to make observations, collect data, and analyze patterns, which will lead to further questions and problem identification.


6. Design Engineering Challenges: Introduce engineering challenges that require students to define real-world problems. Provide opportunities for them to engage in the engineering design process by identifying a problem, brainstorming possible solutions, and developing prototypes. Emphasize the importance of considering multiple perspectives and constraints.


7. Inquiry-Based Projects: Assign inquiry-based projects that allow students to investigate a topic of interest. Encourage them to develop their own research questions or engineering problems to explore. Provide guidance and resources to support their investigations while allowing them to take ownership of their learning.


8. Foster Collaboration: Promote collaboration and discussion among students. Encourage them to share their questions or problems with their peers and engage in group discussions. This will enhance their critical thinking skills and expose them to a variety of perspectives and ideas.


9. Connect to Cross-Curricular Subjects: Highlight the interdisciplinary nature of asking questions and defining problems by connecting this practice to other subjects. Show students how questioning and problem-solving are essential in fields like mathematics, social sciences, and technology.


10. Reflect and Revise: Encourage regular reflection on students' questions and identified problems. Guide them to refine their inquiries based on new information or insights gained throughout the learning process. Emphasize the importance of revising and refining their questions as they delve deeper into their investigations.


By implementing these strategies, educators can effectively introduce Science and Engineering Practice 1 - Asking Questions (for Science) and Defining Problems (for Engineering) - to students, nurturing their curiosity, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities across various disciplines.


Rethinking Kindergarten thru 2nd Grade

Asking questions and defining problems in K–2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to simple descriptive questions

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Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
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