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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Science Education
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
 Science and Engineering for Grades 6-12: Investigation and Design at the Center

Science Investigations CoverThis report released in November 2018 from the Board on Science Education and the National Academy of Engineering Education,  shows that one effective way to help students learn is to engage them in science investigation and engineering design by asking questions, collecting and analyzing data, and using this evidence to better understand the natural and built world. Science investigation and engineering design are heavily emphasized in A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards, which are now guiding the science education of many U.S. students. But this entails a dramatic shift from the traditional classroom dynamic, and teachers will need support and guidance as they implement this approach. The report describes evidence-based ways that teaching and learning can shift toward science investigations and engineering design to help realize this new vision in the classroom. The report provides guidance for teachers, administrators, providers of professional development, and creators of instructional materials on how to support students and teachers as they learn and instruct in this way.

Sponsors: The Amgen Foundation and The Carnegie Corporation of New York

Read the summary  | 
Read the report  |  Read the press releaseRead the highlights |  Interactive Infographic

Related Reports

EL-in-STEM coverLEnglish Learners in STEM Subjects: Transforming Classrooms, Schools, and Lives (2018)
Released in October 2018, this publication from the Board on Science Education and the Board on Children, Youth, and Families calls for a shift in how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects are taught to students in grades preK-12 who are learning English. The report recommends strategies for instruction in the classroom, requisite tools educators need, and ways for building capacity in schools and districts so that English learners have opportunities to develop proficiency in both STEM subjects and language.

Design Selection Instructional Materials NGSSDesign, Selection, and Implementation of Instructional Materials for the Next Generation Science Standards (2018)
This report examines how evidence based on research relevant to the development of DLLs/ELs from birth to age 21 can inform education and health policies and related practices that can result in better educational outcomes. This report makes recommendations for policy, practice, and research and data collection focused on addressing the challenges in caring for and educating DLLs/ELs from birth to grade 12.

Science Teachers Learning coverScience Teacher's Learning: Enhancing Opportunities, Creating Supportive Context (2015)
This report reviews research on science investigations and engineering design problems for middle and high school students and explores promising models of innovative investigations and experiences both inside and outside the classroom. Through published research, this report provides ideas for teaching and learning, and incorporates the new vision for science education embodied in the Framework and the NGSS. The resulting report will provide guidance for designing science investigations and engineering design problems for middle and high school students that align with this vision. 

Implementing NGSSGuide to Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards (2015)
Guide to Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards provides guidance to district and school leaders and teachers charged with developing a plan and implementing the NGSS as they change their curriculum, instruction, professional learning, policies, and assessment to align with the new standards. For each of these elements, this report lays out recommendations for action around key issues and cautions about potential pitfalls. As a foundation for that process, Guide to Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards identifies some overarching principles that should guide the planning and implementation process.

Developing Assessments for NGSS CoverDeveloping Assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards (2014) 
Developing Assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards develops an approach to science assessment to meet the vision of science education for the future as it has been elaborated in A Framework for K-12 Science Education (Framework) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This report recommends strategies for developing assessments that yield valid measures of student proficiency in science as described in the new Framework. The report offers a systems approach to science assessment, in which a range of assessment strategies are designed to answer different kinds of questions with appropriate degrees of specificity and provide results that complement one another. The recommendations of this report will be key to making sure that the dramatic changes in curriculum and instruction signaled by Framework and the NGSS reduce inequities in science education and raise the level of science education for all students.

Am_Lab_ReportAmerica's Lab Report: Investigations in High School Science (2006)  
With increased attention to the U.S. education system and student outcomes, no part of the high school curriculum should escape scrutiny. This timely book investigates factors that influence a high school laboratory experience, looking closely at what currently takes place and what the goals of those experiences are and should be. Science educators, school administrators, policy makers, and parents will all benefit from a better understanding of the need for laboratory experiences to be an integral part of the science curriculum�and how that can be accomplished.

Upcoming Events

Public Event (information forthcoming):
Washington, DC - NAS Building
February 12, 2019

Commissioned Papers 

The Nature of the Teacher's Role in Supporting Student Investigations in Middle and High School Science Classrooms: Creating and Participating in a Community of Practice
Matthew Kloser, University of Notre Dame
Read Now

Data Use by Middle and Secondary Students in the Digital Age: A Status Report and Future Prospects
Victor R. Lee and Michelle H. Wilkerson
Utah State University, University of California-Berkeley
Read Now


A Summary of Inclusive Pedagogies for Science Education 
Felicia Moore Mensah and Kristen Larson, Teachers College, Columbia University 
Read Now

The Role of Interest and Motivation in Science Investigation and Engineering Design Instruction 
Joseph E. Michaelis, University of Wisconsin
Read Now

Engineering Approaches to Problem Solving and Design in Secondary School Science: Teachers as Design Coaches
Senay Purzer, Purdue University 
Read Now


Designing NGSS-Aligned Curriculum Materials
William R. Penuel and Brian J. Reiser,
University of Colorado, Boulder, Northwestern University
Read Now


Committee Information

Committee Biographies

Brett Moulding(Co-Chair)
, Partnership for Effective Science Teaching and Learning
Nancy Songer (Co-Chair), Drexel University

Juan-Carlos Aguilar, Georgia Department of Education
Anne E. Egger, Central Washington University
Erin Furtak, University of Colorado Boulder
Kenneth L. Huff, Mill Middle School
Joseph Krajcik, Michigan State University
Michael Lach, UChicago STEM Education, University of Chicago
Ronald Latanision, Exponent
Mitchell Nathan, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Eileen Parsons, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Cynthia Passmore, University of California, Davis
Helen Quinn, Stanford University
Andrea Tracy, Lawton High School


Staff Information


Kerry Brenner, Study Director
Greg Pearson, Scholar 
Amy Stephens, Program Officer
Tiffany Taylor, Research Associate 
Jessica Covington, Senior Program Assistant (since January 2018)
Coreetha Entzminger, Program Assistant (until November 2017) 
Heidi Schweingruber, Director, BOSE




Mailing Address


Keck Center
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001





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