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 Developing and Using Models is: Super Croc: Paul Sereno’s Dinosaur Eater by Paul Sereno and Natalie Lunis. This text is one in the Fossil Hunters series which tells the stories of the most notable finds in the lives of several paleontologists. Super Croc details Paul Sereno’s discovery of an enormous crocodile fossil, the dig to uncover the skeleton, and the science behind his quest to find out what the animal was like in real life. Because the crocodile no longer exists, Paul worked to build an accurate model of the beast to help people understand its enormous scale.
Have fun introducing your students to the career of paleontology while emphasizing to them that developing and using models helps us to understand things we cannot do or see otherwise!
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.
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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!