K-12 Science, Technology and Engineering

Transfer Goals, Overarching Understandings & Overarching Essential Questions

Transfer Goals
(Students will be able to use their learning to…)


Engage in scientific and engineering practices to design solutions and  construct explanations supported by multiple sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories.

Problem solve

Engage in the engineering design process by defining problems, designing and refining optimal solutions, and taking into account constraints or limitations that impact real-world situations.

Analyze data & think mathematically

Collect, analyze and interpret data and apply appropriate mathematical concepts to evaluate the data, test solutions or to make logical conclusions.

Develop models

Develop, evaluate and use models to communicate scientific phenomena.


Communicate the results of scientific investigations in multiple formats, using scientific evidence to analyze observations, justify conclusions and/or support the revision of an engineering design.

Make informed decisions

Utilize scientific knowledge to make informed personal and civic decisions as they relate to and impact the natural environment and society.

Content Strands

Big ideas

Overarching Understandings:

(Students will understand that…)

Overarching Essential Questions:

(Students will keep understanding…)

Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods  

  • Science investigations use diverse methods and do not always use the same set of procedures to obtain data.
  • New technologies advance scientific knowledge.
  • Scientific inquiry is characterized by logical thinking, precision, open-mindedness, objectivity, skepticism, replicability of results, and honest and ethical reporting of findings.  
  • Scientific investigations use a variety of methods, tools, and techniques to revise and produce new knowledge.
  • What is science?
  • How do we identify credible science and why do we study it?
  • How do scientists practice science?
  • What do all scientists have in common?
  • What is inquiry?
  • Why does one need to chose the most effective method or tool for a scientific investigation?
  • How do you design a good, testable experiment?
  • What makes a problem worth investigating?

Scientific Knowledge is Based on Empirical Evidence

  • Science knowledge is based on empirical evidence.  
  • Science disciplines share common rules of evidence used to evaluate explanations about natural systems.  
  • Science includes the process of coordinating evidence with current theory.
  • Science arguments are strengthened by a variety of evidence supporting a single explanation.
  • What is strong evidence and why do we need it?
  • How much evidence is needed to support a claim or explanation?
  • What is involved in identifying a pattern?
  • How does one identify relationship between patterns, natural systems, and scientific theories?
  • Why is it important to collect evidence about the performance of a proposed tool, object, process or system under a range of conditions?

Scientific Knowledge is Open to Revision in Light of New Evidence

  • Most scientific knowledge is quite durable but is, in principle, subject to change based on new evidence and/or reinterpretation of existing evidence.  
  • Scientific argumentation is a mode of logical discourse used to clarify the strength of relationships between ideas and evidence that may result in revision of an explanation.
  • How/why does our understanding in science change over time?
  • How do scientists use ideas, evidence, and argumentation to construct and evaluate a claim?
  • How does communication contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge?

Science Models, Laws, Mechanisms, and Theories Explain

Natural Phenomena

  • Theories and laws provide explanations in science, but theories do not with time become laws or facts.  
  • A scientific theory is a substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that has been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment, and the science community validates each theory before it is accepted.
  • Models, mechanisms, and explanations collectively serve as tools in the development of a scientific theory.  
  • Scientists often use hypotheses to develop and test theories and explanations.
  • How do scientists develop and test theories and laws?
  • How can models be used to explain a scientific theory?
  • Why are only some scientific theories accepted?
  • How do scientists use observation to develop a hypothesis?

Science is a Way of Knowing

  • Science is both a body of knowledge that represents a current understanding of natural systems and the processes used to refine, elaborate, revise, and extend this knowledge.  
  • Science distinguishes itself from other ways of knowing through use of empirical standards, logical arguments, and skeptical review.
  • How do we use science to understand the world around us?
  • How does scientific knowledge impact how we interact with the world?

Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems         

  • Scientific knowledge is based on the assumption that natural laws operate today as they did in the past and they will continue to do so in the future.  
  • Science assumes the universe is a vast single system in which basic laws are consistent.
  • What role does order and consistency in natural systems play in science?
  • Why does science make assumptions?
  • Are basic laws of science consistent?
  • Why does scientific knowledge assume that natural laws operate today as they did in the past?  Will they continue to do so in the future?  

                                   Science is a Human Endeavor

  • Scientific knowledge is a result of human endeavor, imagination, and creativity.  
  • Individuals and teams from many nations and cultures have contributed to science and to advances in engineering.  
  • Technological advances have influenced the progress of science and engineering and science and engineering has influenced advances in technology.  
  • How does technology advance science?
  • How do different cultures offer varying perspectives to advance science and engineering?
  • How can people use their imagination and creativity to expand scientific knowledge?
  • How does the needs of society drive and reflect scientific and engineering transformations?
  • Why is it difficult for scientists to be truly objective?

                                   Science Addresses Questions About the Natural and Material World.                        

  • Not all questions can be answered by science.  
  • Science and technology may raise ethical issues for which science, by itself, does not provide answers and solutions.
  • Science knowledge indicates what can happen in natural systems—not what should happen.
  • Many decisions are not made using science alone, but rely on social and cultural contexts to resolve issues.
  • Why do conflicts occur between ethics and science?
  • How do social and cultural norms influence the way scientific knowledge is utilized?
  • How does scientific knowledge impact the way society interprets trends in the natural world?
  • Why is science unable to answer all questions?



HWRSD Science, Technology and Engineering Transfer Goals, 6.21.16