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North Carolina State Standards - Strands

The Middle Grades chapter of North Carolina's Science Standard Course of Study describes Strands like Science As-Inquiry and Technological Design that are common throughout grades 6-8. In the Course of Study, the analogy original found in the National Science Education Standards holds: Inquiry is to Science as Design is to Technology.

Science and Technology - Technological Design

This strand involves having students study technologies and do technological design (p. 52-53). The first book addresses this first task; the remaining ones address the latter:

• Develop an understanding of what technologies are
In sciences classes, there are a number of opportunities to link sciecen topics and skills to various cases and examples of technologies. Having students do in the Product Comparisons can build an awareness in students about different technologies, as well as the magazine Consumer Report that is filled with experiments that illustrate how Fair-Test Experiments actually do have real-world applications.

• Identify and state a problem, need, or product
You can find this design step in the Generic Design Cycle and most of the 7 Models of the Design Process. The starting point for this work is the Design Brief, but also includes determining Key Design Criteria that early on should inform the rest of the design work.

• Design a solution including cost and risk/benefit analysis
Reasoning about the tradeoffs of a design decision is key for students to move from the Ways of Naive Designers to more expert-like Informed Designing. This strategy is described in the Generic Design Cycle the Prioritize/Select Items heading.

• Implement and evaluate the solution
In the GDC, this encompasses the Build and Test/Evaluate steps. Designers need to evaluate ideas they deem worth building by conducting Fair-Test Experiments of prototypes they build.

• Accurately record and communicate observations.
In Learning By Design's Investigate/Design Model, there is a back-and-forth movement between science skills and designing. Presenting this work to others is done using a variety of presentation formats, including the Gallery Walk and Pin-Up Sessions.

Science as Inquiry

The Learning By Design curriculum shows how closely connected scientific inquiry can be to design. Compare the LBD Cycle and the Generic Design Cycle to the following description of process skills related to Scientific Inquiry (p. 80-81):

• Structure questions that can be answered through investigations.
• Clarify ideas that guide and influence inquiry
• Formulate questions leading to further investigations.
Scientific method can be viewed as a series of Criteria and Constraints that must be adhered to to generate evidence useful for exploring hypotheses. Good experimental procedures are like the constraints of a design task -- boundaries within which any creative idea can be used. Brainstorming can be used to generate research questions just as it can help with generating good design ideas.

• Design and conduct scientific investigations to test ideas.
• Control and manipulate variables.
• Review experimental procedures.
Conducting Fair-Test Experiments is important for designers, although they often do only enough tests or make a reasonable design decisions. Doing Informed Designing involves all of these skills of sciences .

• Apply safe and appropriate abilities to manipulate materials, equipment and technologies
Safety is a major concern for designers - making connections to school safety can be done.

• Use mathematics to gather, organize and present data.
• Make inferences from data.
• Think critically and logically to bridge the relationships between evidence and explanations
Giving explanations for design decision is a cornerstone to doing Informed Designing.


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