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SEP8: Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Any education in science and engineering needs to develop students' ability to read and produce domain-specific text. As such, every science or engineering lesson is in part a language lesson, particularly reading and producing the genres of texts that are intrinsic to science and engineering. (NRC Framework 2012, p. 76)


Introduction to SEP8: Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

from NGSS Appendix F: Science and Engineering Practices in the NGSS

Any education in science and engineering needs to develop students’ ability to read and produce domain-specific text. As such, every science or engineering lesson is in part a language lesson, particularly reading and producing the genres of texts that are intrinsic to science and engineering. (NRC Framework, 2012, p. 76)  
 
Being able to read, interpret, and produce scientific and technical text are fundamental practices of science and engineering, as is the ability to communicate clearly and persuasively. Being a critical consumer of information about science and engineering requires the ability to read or view reports of scientific or technological advances or applications (whether found in the press, the Internet, or in a town meeting) and to recognize the salient ideas, identify sources of error and methodological flaws, distinguish observations from inferences, arguments from explanations, and claims from evidence. 

Scientists and engineers employ multiple sources to obtain information used to evaluate the merit and validity of claims, methods, and designs. Communicating information, evidence, and ideas can be done in multiple ways:  using tables, diagrams, graphs, models, interactive displays, and equations as well as orally, in writing, and through extended discussions. 


Distinguishing Practices In Science from Those In Engineering

from A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (page 53)

8. Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
Science cannot advance if scientists are unable to communicate their findings clearly and persuasively or to learn about the findings of others. A major practice of science is thus the communication of ideas and the results of inquiry—orally, in writing, with the use of tables, diagrams, graphs, and equations, and by engaging in extended discussions with scientific peers. Science requires the ability to derive meaning from scientific texts (such as papers, the Internet, symposia, and lectures), to evaluate the scientific validity of the information thus acquired, and to integrate that information. Engineers cannot produce new or improved technologies if the advantages of their designs are not communicated clearly and persuasively. Engineers need to be able to express their ideas, orally and in writing, with the use of tables, graphs, drawings, or models and by engaging in extended discussions with peers. Moreover, as with scientists, they need to be able to derive meaning from colleagues’ texts, evaluate the information, and apply it usefully. In engineering and science alike, new technologies are now routinely available that extend the possibilities for collaboration and communication.

 


K-12 Progressions

from NGSS Appendix F: Science and Engineering Practices in the NGSS

K-2 3-5 6-8 9-12
Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information 

Scientists and engineers must be able to communicate clearly and persuasively the ideas and methods they generate. Critiquing and communicating ideas individually and in groups is a critical professional activity. 

Communicating information and ideas can be done in multiple ways: using tables, diagrams, graphs, models, and equations as well as orally, in writing, and through extended discussions. Scientists and engineers employ multiple sources to obtain information that is used to evaluate the merit and validity of claims, methods, and designs. 


Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in K–2 builds on prior experiences and uses observations and texts to communicate new information. 

Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to evaluating the merit and accuracy of ideas and methods.

Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to evaluating the merit and validity of ideas and methods. 

Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to evaluating the validity and reliability of the claims, methods, and designs.

Read grade-appropriate texts and/or use media to obtain scientific and/or technical information to determine patterns in and/or evidence about the natural and designed world(s).
Read and comprehend grade-appropriate complex texts and/or other reliable media to summarize and obtain scientific and technical ideas and describe how they are supported by evidence. 

Compare and/or combine across complex texts and/or other reliable media to support the engagement in other scientific and/or engineering practices. 
Critically read scientific texts adapted for classroom use to determine the central ideas and/or obtain scientific and/or technical information to describe patterns in and/or evidence about the natural and designed world(s). 
Critically read scientific literature adapted for classroom use to determine the central ideas or conclusions and/or to obtain scientific and/or technical information to summarize complex evidence, concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms. 
Describe how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) support a scientific or engineering idea. 
Combine information in written text with that contained in corresponding tables, diagrams, and/or charts to support the engagement in other scientific and/or engineering practices. 
Integrate qualitative and/or quantitative scientific and/or technical information in written text with that contained in media and visual displays to clarify claims and findings. 
Compare, integrate and evaluate sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a scientific question or solve a problem. 
Obtain information using various texts, text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, electronic menus, icons), and other media that will be useful in answering a scientific question and/or supporting a scientific claim. 
Obtain and combine information from books and/or other reliable media to explain phenomena or solutions to a design problem. 
Gather, read, synthesize information from multiple appropriate sources and assess the credibility, accuracy, and possible bias of each publication and methods used, and describe how they are supported or not supported by evidence. 

Evaluate data, hypotheses, and/or conclusions in scientific and technical texts in light of competing information or accounts. 
Gather, read, and evaluate scientific and/or technical information from multiple authoritative sources, assessing the evidence and usefulness of each source. 

Evaluate the validity and reliability of and/or synthesize multiple claims, methods, and/or designs that appear in scientific and technical texts or media reports, verifying the data when possible. 
Communicate information or design ideas and/or solutions with others in oral and/or written forms using models, drawings, writing, or numbers that provide detail about scientific ideas, practices, and/or design ideas. 
Communicate scientific and/or technical information orally and/or in written formats, including various forms of media as well as tables, diagrams, and charts. 
Communicate scientific and/or technical information (e.g. about a proposed object, tool, process, system) in writing and/or through oral presentations. 
Communicate scientific and/or technical information or ideas (e.g. about phenomena and/or the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats (including orally, graphically, textually, and mathematically). 


Goals for SEP8: Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

from A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (pages 75-76)

By grade 12, students should be able to 

  • Use words, tables, diagrams, and graphs (whether in hard copy or electronically), as well as mathematical expressions, to communicate their understanding or to ask questions about a system under study. 
  • Read scientific and engineering text, including tables, diagrams, and graphs, commensurate with their scientific knowledge and explain the key ideas being communicated. 
  • Recognize the major features of scientific and engineering writing and speaking and be able to produce written and illustrated text or oral presentations that communicate their own ideas and accomplishments. 
  • Engage in a critical reading of primary scientific literature (adapted for classroom use) or of media reports of science and discuss the validity and reliability of the data, hypotheses, and conclusions.

Performance Expectations Associated with SEP8: Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

K-2 3-5 6-8 9-12
K-ESS3-2
K-ESS3-3
1-LS1-2
2-ESS2-3
3-ESS2-2
4-ESS3-1
5-ESS3-1
MS-PS1-3
MS-PS4-3
MS-LS1-8
MS-LS4-5

HS-PS2-6
HS-PS4-4
HS-PS4-5
HS-LS4-1
HS-ESS1-3

Additional Resources

A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (pages 74-77)

Science Practices Continuum - Students' Performance
This tool is a continuum for each practice that shows how students' performance can progress over time. A teacher can use the continuum to assess students' abilities to engage in the practices and to inform future instruction. From Instructional Leadership for Science Practices.

Science Practices Continuum - Supervision
This tool is a continuum for each practice that shows how instruction can progress over time. An instructional supervisor can use the continuum to identify the current level for a practice in a science lesson. Then the supervisor can provide feedback, such as offering instructional strategies to help move future instruction farther along the continuum. From Instructional Leadership for Science Practices.

Potential Instructional Strategies for Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
This instructional strategies document provide examples of strategies that teachers can use to support the science practice. Supervisors might share these strategies with teachers as they work on improving instruction of the science practices. Teachers might find these helpful for lesson planning and implementing science practices in their classrooms. From Instructional Leadership for Science Practices.

Bozemanscience Video

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