Instructional Framework

The Data Puzzles Instructional Framework utilizes the four pedagogical practices of Ambitious Science Teaching, the gold standard in three-dimensional learning, to support student sense-making of natural phenomena. With support from AST co-author and Data Puzzles team member, Melissa Braaten, the four AST practices have been adapted to create the Data Puzzle Instructional Framework described below. Note that example prompts and models from "The Tipping Point" Data Puzzle have been used to illustrate the connections across the four practices.

Instructional framework

The Four Core Practices of Ambitious Science Teaching and Their Role in Data Puzzles


Eliciting Students' Ideas

T​he Eliciting Students' Ideas practice is used to start the Data Puzzle and to find out what your students already know about the science ideas you will teach. Students are introduced to an "opening scenario" through a video, picture, or question and asked to reflect on their past experiences and knowledge to observe and explain what is going on. Student observations and explanations for the scenario are made public through discussion and represent resources (e.g., past experiences, language) students use to make sense of ideas presented in the classroom. These resources serve as the foundation upon which students' ideas can be reconstructed and reorganized against evidence gathered in the next practice, "Identifying Important Science Ideas".

Teacher TipTeacher Tip:

This practice should take place BEFORE the student worksheet is distributed. Use the slide deck to 1) elicit students' ideas about the opening scenario (warm-up prompt, think-pair share, white boarding), and 2) introduce the natural phenomena being investigated by the scientist(s) featured in the Data Puzzle.

                                  Additional strategies for the Eliciting Students' Ideas practice here


Identifying Important Science Ideas

The Identifying Important Science Ideas practice is used to help students identify important science ideas as they relate to contemporary research conducted by the scientist(s) featured in an interactive reading (see student worksheet). As part of this practice, students read and annotate a science text, watch videos and/or data visualizations, identify an "investigative question", and engage in discussion as they seek to make connections between their own experiences and ideas (made public during the "Eliciting Students' Ideas" practice) and the ideas presented in the interactive reading. Students summarize these new science ideas by constructing an annotated sketch. This practice culminates with students creating an evidence-based prediction for the investigative question the featured scientist(s) seek to answer. Students will test their initial predictions with real data collected by the featured scientist in the next practice, "supporting ongoing changes in thinking".

Teacher TipTeacher Tip:

There are specific questions included in the slide deck designed to help students make connections between the interactive reading and their past experiences elicited during the opening scenario.

Additional strategies for the Identifying Important Science Ideas practice here


Supporting Ongoing Changes in Thinking

The Supporting Ongoing Changes in Thinking practice is used to provide students with an opportunity to test/compare their current understandings against authentic data. Students are tasked with identifying patterns in the data and establishing rules (if present) to describe the relationships between factors represented in the graph. Then, students reflect on the patterns and relationships they’ve identified to evaluate their initial predictions for the investigative question.

Teacher TipTeacher Tip:

Before students engage in data analysis tasks, help students make sense of the dataset by facilitating a conversation in which students identify and describe extremes of the data.

Additional strategies for the Supporting Ongoing Changes in Thinking practice here


Constructing Evidence-Based Explanations

The Constructing Evidence-Based Explanations practice is aimed to have students finalize new understandings/science ideas as they relate to the investigative question. Students construct conceptual models (annotated sketches that include drawings, arrows, and text) to communicate ideas related to the investigative question. Before constructing their models, students should consider the following prompts: “What parts/ideas should be included? How do the parts relate to one another in the system? Do we have any data or evidence to include that supports our thinking?” Upon completion, we recommend having students share their models publicly through a gallery walk.

Teacher TipTeacher Tip:

If this is the first time your students have constructed a model (annotated sketch), use the slide deck to introduce scientific models.

Additional strategies for the Constructing Evidence-Based Explanations here

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