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Dimension 1: Practices

Engaging in argument from evidence

Argumentation is the process by which explanations and solutions are reached.

Reasoning and argumentation are key components of the scientific process. For any given natural phenomenon, data must be collected to form the basis for constructing a logical explanation. Scientists then use this data to build an argument for their explanation and defend it when challenged. They also actively consider criticisms from colleagues and take into account evidence when making revisions. Through collaboration with peers, scientists can develop a stronger understanding of the phenomenon under investigation and generate better explanations as they work together.



In engineering, the most successful solutions are often achieved through collaboration and meaningful argument. During the design process, engineers use systematic methods to compare alternatives and present evidence-based arguments for their current state of the solution. Testing data is essential for validating initial assumptions and defending conclusions. Furthermore, engineers must evaluate the ideas of their peers critically in order to find the best possible outcome. Finally, flexibility is also necessary in order to effectively revise designs as needed.

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) recognize and emphasize the importance of three main dimensions for learning science. These dimensions are essential components in forming each standard—or performance expectation. When taken together, they allow students a chance to gain a more cohesive understanding of science concepts as they progress through their courses.

Three Dimensions of Science Learning

​It is important to understand how scientists work in order to make sense of the world around us. The scientific process is a methodical and logical approach to discovering how things in the universe work. It is the foundation upon which all scientific knowledge is built.

The scientific process begins with a question or problem that scientists want to solve. They then gather data and observations about the problem. This data is used to form a hypothesis, which is a proposed explanation for the problem. The hypothesis is then tested through experimentation. If the results of the experiment support the hypothesis, then it becomes a theory. If the results of the experiment do not support the hypothesis, then the hypothesis is rejected and a new hypothesis is formed. This process is repeated until a theory is supported by a large body of evidence.

The scientific process is not always linear. Scientists may go backand revise their understanding due to new evidence or data. The process generally starts with making an observation or asking a question, followed by formulating a hypothesis, conducting experiments and tests to collect data, analyzing the data, and then either accepting or rejecting the hypothesis. If the hypothesis is accepted, scientists create a conclusion. This conclusion is then put out for peer review or further discussion before it is accepted as scientific fact.

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