Integrating The Three Dimensions – Explore

Crafting A 3D Exploration

Explore activities should very naturally connect to the three dimensions.  In terms of Science and Engineering Practices, they should simply put be rooted in one.  Students should be engaging in practice – or some component of practice (remember, check out the NSTA’s Science and Engineering Practices Matrix!) – during the activity to actually DISCOVER — figure out, puzzle out — the content (the Disciplinary Core Idea). 

But some activities are more difficult to tie a Science and Engineering Practice to — for example, card sorts.  In some cases, the Science and Engineering Practices may take a backseat in a card sort activity. Yes, students are making observations; they are also potentially obtaining information or constructing explanations.  But there is less of a focus on the SEPs than in other activities. That said, these are perfect opportunities to emphasize Crosscutting Concepts. Ask students explicitly to identify patterns — what patterns do they notice in all of the changes in this group? Ask students to focus on the scale of each example, or tie in how energy is moving through the model they created with their cards.