Minding design missteps
Science and Children
The "Next Generation Science Standards" (NGSS) (Achieve Inc. 2013) asks teachers to give engineering design equal standing with scientific inquiry in their science lessons. This article asks the following questions: What do engineering design practices look like, and how do you assess them? How similar and different is engineering design from scientific inquiry? What sorts of misconceptions are beginning designers prone to, and what can teachers do to help them? The authors suggest that looking over a table of sample design activities from well-known curriculum sources might help "make the strange familiar" and show teachers that they probably have done engineering tasks with their students already. This article outlines a watch list of misconceptions that beginners can fall prey to when designing, which could prove useful for teachers to know so that they can intervene when they notice students doing them. Common misconceptions of teachers regarding design activities are also discussed. They are: "Design tasks rarely have single 'right' answers." and "Design tasks are very different from step-by-step construction activities."
Crismond, D., Gellert, L., Cain, R., & Wright, S. (2013). Minding design missteps. Science and Children, 51(2), 80.