The shift from science inquiry to science practices as recommended in the US reports A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas and the Next Generation Science Standards has implications for classroom/school level instruction and assessment practices and, therefore, for teacher’s professional development. We explore some of these implications and the nuances of adopting a practice orientation for science education through the lens of one NGSS practice ‘Planning and Carrying Out Investigations’ (PCOI). We argue that a focus on any one practice must necessarily consider embracing a ‘suite of practices’ approach to guide in the design of the curriculum, instruction, assessment, and evaluation. We introduce the 5D model as a curriculum and instruction framework (1) to examine how unpacking PCOI can help teachers bridge to other less-familiar-to-teachers NGSS practices and (2) to help capture the ‘struggle’ of doing science by problematizing and unpacking for students the 5D component elements of measurement and observation. 1. Deciding what and how to measure, observe, and sample; 2. Developing or selecting procedures/tools to measure and collect data; 3. Documenting and systematically recording results and observations; 4. Devising representations for structuring data and patterns of observations; and 5. Determining if (1) the data are good (valid and reliable) and can be used as evidence, (2) additional or new data are needed, or (3) a new investigation design or set of measurements are needed. Our hypothesis is that the 5D model provides struggle type experiences for students to acquire not only conceptual, procedural and epistemic knowledge but also to attain desired ‘knowledge problematic’ images of the nature of science. Additionally, we further contend that PCOI is a more familiar professional development context for teachers wherein the 5D approach can help bridge the gap between the less familiar and the more complex practices such as building and refining models and explanations.
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