Engineering is featured prominently in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and related reform documents, but how its nature and methods are described is problematic. This paper is a systematic review and critique of that representation, and proposes that the disciplinary core ideas of engineering (as described in the NGSS) can be disregarded safely if the practices of engineering are better articulated and modeled through student engagement in engineering projects. A clearer distinction between science and engineering practices is outlined, and prior research is described that suggests that precollege engineering design can strengthen children's understandings about scientific concepts. However, a piecemeal approach to teaching engineering practices is unlikely to result in students understanding engineering as a discipline. The implications for science teacher education are supplemented with lessons learned from a number of engineering education professional development projects.
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