NEW TOOL: Designing ‘productive uncertainty’ into investigations to support meaningful engagement in science practices

Posted on May 25, 2019

How should we support engagement in the science and engineering practices so that, from the first years of school, students experience them as meaningful for their current and personal activities, rather than as images of what distant scientists do? This brief provides a description of how students can be supported to engage with the uncertainties that drive scientific activity. This approach to realizing the practices in instruction provides unique opportunities for sense-making and meaningful engagement in science and engineering practices during investigations. It includes resources for readers to explore how uncertainty functions in scientific activity and to implement strategies for supporting productive uncertainty in instruction. This new STEM Teaching Tool came from a collaboration between researchers at Boston University and educators in Somerville, MA Public Schools who are working to implement productive uncertainty in second and fifth grade investigations and develop design principles of use for others. The collaboration is funded by the National Science Foundation (DRL-1749324).