George Washington Carver, United States Farm Security Administration portrait, March 1942

The Science and Engineering Practices are what scientists and engineers do.  So obviously we should have our students actively doing these practices in our classrooms!  I’ve also found it helpful for students to see these practices modeled – and who better to model the things scientists and engineers do than the scientists and engineers themselves!  An authentic way to do this is to have a scientist or engineer visit your classroom or take advantage of Zoom technology to give yourself limitless possibilities.  Another way to show students how these practices are used in the real world by some of the most accomplished minds of the past and present is by reading aloud STEM career picture books (biographies).

An exemplar text for highlighting the science and engineering practice of Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions is: The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver by Gene Barretta.  This text tells the story of George Washington Carver’s life through the lens of a secret garden he planted, cared for and learned from and which acted as a springboard for his dedicated work improving people’s lives through advancements in agriculture.  Though several science and engineering practices can be highlighted with this text, students will be able to identify how Carver uses his research data to explain poor farming outcomes and to design solutions to help farmers, particularly in in poor regions of the South.

Have fun introducing your students to the passion one of our Nation’s greatest scientists had for explaining problems and offering solutions in a way that was easily understood by all who took the time to listen.

Looking for additional science texts?  Check out StarrMatica Texts: Science Your Way, our library of K-5 science informational texts that can be customized to meet specific Common Core ELA standards. Each 1st – 5th grade text has multiple reading levels so all of your students can read the same content independently.

Not a subscriber?  Click here for a free trial to access our entire library of texts.

And if you are looking for additional picture books for your science classroom, check out the Perfect Picture Book Pairing Series that includes one-page guides with activities and discussion questions for hundreds of STEM-themed picture books aligned to every NGSS performance expectation!


Be sure to check out the other posts in this series to discover picture books to highlight each of the eight science and engineering practices in the NGSS!

Get Your Free Trial

You have Successfully Subscribed!