Partnership for Science & Engineering Practices

The Partnership for Science and Engineering Practices is supported by a Math and Science Partnership award from Washington’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction partnering Seattle Public Schools, the Renton School District, University of Washington’s Colleges of Engineering and Education, and the Institute for Systems Biology.


Project Overview

In partnership with the University of Washington Colleges of Engineering and Education and the Institute for Systems Biology, elementary and middle school teachers from Seattle Public Schools and the Renton School District enhance their science and engineering content and pedagogical content knowledge as related to the Science and Engineering Practices of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Each of the three years of the project, teacher participants engage in a 10 day professional development cycle comprised of 7 summer workshop days and 3 school year release days. Throughout each cycle, teacher participants explore the NGSS Practices of Engaging in Argument from Evidence, Constructing Explanations, and Designing Solutions to Problems. Working in collaborative teams supported by experts in science education and STEM professionals, the teacher participants adapt their existing science instructional materials to align with the NGSS Practices. Tools developed to support teacher participants in adapting their instructional materials, as well as the specific enhancements, are available on the working project website.

Project Goals

Increase teachers’ content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge for:

  1. The NGSS Scientific and Engineering Practice of Engaging in Arguments from Evidence
  2. The NGSS Scientific Practice of Constructing Explanations and the Engineering Practice of Designing Solutions
  3. NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas for Engineering
    • Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems
    • Developing Possible Solutions
    • Optimizing the Design Solution

Project Strategy

Teacher professional development takes place over the course of a calendar year. At the beginning of each summer, project participants convene for a 1-day Annual Project Launch. Later in the summer project participants convene for a 5-day Institute during which time they work with STEM professionals to develop enhancements for specific sets of science instructional materials. During the school year, project participants pilot their instructional materials enhancements as well as meet with project colleagues during 3 Release Days. At the end of the school year, project participants join the subsequent 1-day Annual Project Launch to reflect on progress to date, setting the stage for the next year’s scope of work.



Instructional Material Enhancements


Year 1 (2013-14)

Year 2 (2014-15)

Year 3 (2015-16) (tentative)


Sound (STC)

Rocks & Minerals (STC)

Plant Growth & Development (STC)


Circuits & Pathways (Insight)

Ecosystems (STC)

Food Chemistry (STC)


Land & Water (STC)

Models & Designs (FOSS)

Microworlds (STC)


Levers & Pulleys (FOSS)

Rocks & Minerals (SEPUP)



Force & Motion (SEPUP)

Plate Tectonics (SEPUP)

Evolution and Genetics


Populations & Ecosystems (FOSS)

Earth & Space (SEPUP)



Participating Teachers/Schools


Year 1

Year 2

Year 3 (anticipated)

Renton School District

All (25) middle school science teachers from three  middle schools

All (25) middle school science teachers from three middle schools and four elementary teachers

All (25) middle school science teachers from three middle schools and four elementary teachers

Seattle Public Schools

45 elementary teachers

From 25 elementary schools

78 elementary teachers (31 returning from year 1 and 47 new) from 44 elementary schools

120 elementary teachers (78 returning from year 2 and  42 new)


Partnering Institutions

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