Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs)

Activities scientists and engineers engage in as they work to understand the world and solve problems. Science is more than just a body of knowledge that reflects current understanding of the world; it is also a set of practices used to develop, grow, and revise that knowledge.

Why Science and Engineering Practices?

Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) shift the focus from the science classroom as environments where students learn about science ideas to places where students explore, examine, and use science ideas to explain how and why phenomena occur. The SEPs describe the activities that scientists and engineers engage in when they do their work. Scientists build theories, investigating them by using models; engineers have specific practices in use to design and build effective, efficient systems.

These practices are designed to work with the Crosscutting Concepts in order for students to build a deeper understanding of core science. It useful to consider these practices in three groups: investigating practices, sense-making practices, and critiquing practices (McNeill, Katsh-Singer, & Pelletier, 2015; Figure 1).