Science - 2018-19

3.1 - Scientific and Engineering Practices

The student will demonstrate an understanding of scientific and engineering practices by

a)  asking questions and defining problems

  • ask questions that can be investigated and predict reasonable outcomes  Bloom's Level: Understand / Apply
  • ask questions about what would happen if a variable is changed Bloom's Level: Understand  

  • define a simple design problem that can be solved through the development of an object, tool, process, or system. Bloom's Level: Apply

b)  planning and  out investigations

  • with guidance, plan and conduct investigations Bloom's Level: Understand / Apply
  • use appropriate methods and/or tools for collecting data Bloom's Level: Apply
  • estimate length, mass, volume and temperature Bloom's Level: Understand
  • measure length, mass, volume, and temperature in metric and U.S. Customary units using proper tools Bloom's Level: Understand / Apply
  • measure elapsed time Bloom's Level: Understand / Apply
  • use tools and/or materials to design and/or build a device that solves a specific problem Bloom's Level: Apply / Create

c)  interpreting, analyzing, and evaluating data

  • organize and represent data in pictographs or bar graphs.  Bloom's Level: Analyze
  • read, interpret, and analyze data represented in pictographs and bar graphs  Bloom's Level: Understand
  • analyze data from tests of an object or tool to determine if it works as intended   Bloom's Level: Understand 

d)  constructing and critiquing conclusions and explanations

  • use evidence  (measurements, observations, patterns) to construct or support an explanation  Bloom's LevelEvaluate
  • generate and/or compare multiple solutions to a problem  Bloom's Level: Apply / Analyze
  • describe how scientific ideas apply to design solutions  Bloom's Level: Understand

e)  developing and using models

  • use models to demonstrate simple phenomena and natural processes.  Bloom's Level: Apply
  • develop a model (e.g., diagram or simple physical prototype) to illustrate a proposed object, tool, or process  Bloom's Level: Understand

f)  obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

  • read  and comprehend reading-level appropriate texts and/or other reliable media  Bloom's Level: Apply
  • communicate scientific information, design ideas, and/or solutions with others  Bloom's Level: Understand

Adopted: 2018


Scientists make observations, ask questions, and record data to help them formulate questions, make hypotheses, and come to conclusions in science investigations.


  • The nature of science refers to the foundational concepts that govern the way scientists formulate explanations about the natural world. The nature of science includes the following concepts:
    1. a)  the natural world is understandable;
    2. b)  science is based on evidence, both observational and experimental;
    3. c)  science is a blend of logic and innovation;
    4. d)  scientific ideas are durable yet subject to change as new data are collected;
    5. e)  science is a complex social endeavor; and
    6. f)  scientists try to remain objective and engage in peer review to help avoid bias.
    In grade three, an emphasis should be placed on concepts a, b, c, and e.
  • Science assumes that the natural world is understandable. Scientific inquiry can provide explanations about nature. This expands students’thinking from just a knowledge of facts to understanding how facts are relevant to everyday life.
  • Science demands evidence. Scientists develop their ideas based on evidence and they change their ideas when new evidence becomes available or the old evidence is viewed in a different way.
  • Science uses both logic and innovation. Innovation has always been an important part of science. Scientists draw upon their creativity to visualize how nature works, using analogies, metaphors, and mathematics. 
  • Science is a complex social activity. It is a complex social process for producing knowledge about the natural world. Scientific knowledge represents the current consensus as to what is the best explanation for phenomena in the natural world. This consensus does not arise automatically, since scientists with different backgrounds from all over the world may interpret the same data differently. To build a consensus, scientists communicate their findings to other scientists and attempt to replicate one another’s findings. In order to model the work of professional scientists, it is essential for third-grade students to engage in frequent discussions with peers about their understanding of their investigations.
  • Questions frequently arise from observations. Hypotheses can be developed from those questions. Data gathered from an investigation may support a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a statement written in a manner that describes the cause and effect relationship between the independent and dependent variables in an experiment. At the third-grade level, a method for helping students understand how to develop a hypothesis is to have them build “if/then” statements (e.g., If heat is added to ice, then the ice will melt.).
  • Complete observations are made using all of the senses. Simple instruments can help extend the senses (e.g., magnifying glass enhances the vision of an item).
  • Predictions are statements of what is expected to happen in the future based on past experiences and observations.
  • In order for data from an investigation to be most useful, it must be organized so that it can be examined more easily.
  • Charts and graphs are powerful tools for reporting and organizing data.
  • It is sometimes useful to organize objects according to similarities and differences. By organizing objects in sets and subsets, it may be easier to determine a specific type of characteristic.
  • An inference is a tentative explanation based on background knowledge and available data.
  • A conclusion is a summary statement based on the results of an investigation.
  • Putting natural events in a sequence allows us to notice change over time.
  • Metric measures, including centimeters, grams, milliliters, and degrees Celsius, are a standard way to record measurements. The metric system is recognized everywhere around the world.
  • When using any standard measurement scale, measure to the marked increment and estimate one more decimal place. Scientists do not round their measurements as this would be inaccurate.
  • A bar graph can be horizontal or vertical, and it compares amounts. Both the X- and Y-axis need to be identified.
  • A line plot shows the spread of data. (See Grade 3 Mathematics Curriculum Framework, Standard 3.17, page 31.)
  • A picture graph is similar to a bar graph except that it uses symbols to represent quantities.
  • Scientists use a variety of modes to communicate about their work. Examples of ways they communicate include oral presentations; graphs and charts created to visualize, analyze and present information about their data; and written reports.


Essential Questions:

·  How do scientists formulate their questions and develop hypotheses?

·  How do scientific investigations help scientists answer questions?

·  Why do observations help scientists?

·  How do scientists communicate results of investigations?

In order to meet this standard, it is expected that students will

  • make and communicate careful observations.
  • demonstrate that observations should be repeated to ensure accuracy.
  • classify objects into at least two major sets and subsets based on similar characteristics, such as predator/prey and herbivore, carnivore, and omnivore.
  • sequence natural events chronologically 
  • measure length to the nearest centimeter, mass to the nearest gram, volume to the nearest milliliter, temperature to the nearest degree Celsius, and time to the nearest minute, using the appropriate instruments.
  • analyze data that have been gathered and organized.
  • communicate results of investigations by displaying data in the form of tables, charts, and graphs. Students will construct bar and picture graphs and line plots to display data 
  • communicate any unexpected or unusual quantitative data that are noted.
  • make and communicate predictions about the outcomes of investigations.
  • design and build a model to show experimental results.



bar graph








degrees Celsius





line graph




metric system




natural event



picture graph






unexpected data


Updated: Jun 18, 2019