Science and Engineering Practices in Action (SEPA)

Science and Engineering Practices in Action (SEPA)

A science professional development workshop like no other

Hamline University, funded through the Math/Science Partnership grant, has developed a comprehensive, interactive set of online professional development modules for use in science methods classes and by K-12 teachers of science throughout Minnesota.

All six modules are completed:

  1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)

  2. Developing and using models

  3. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)

  4. Planning and Carrying Out Investigations and Analyzing Data

  5. Arguing from Evidence

  6. Evaluating and Communicating Information

These online modules are designed to be "self-facilitating," i.e., they require minimal preparation and are organized to guide a group of science teachers through a series of activities and discussions. Each session in each module ends with a quick evaluation of that session.

Each module is designed for groups of science teachers, e.g., professional learning communities (PLC) or curriculum teams (CT), at any grade level or mixed grade levels, to review and discuss a single practice in a series of 20-30 minute sessions totaling about 10 hours of professional development per module. These modules provide a convenient, self-placed, teacher-focused set of professional development "workshops" in science practices and science teaching.

The focus is on experiencing, discussing and enriching our teaching of the practices. The overall goal for the K-12 teachers of science that engage in these modules is to raise awareness of the importance of the practices in science teaching and provide strategies for teaching science and engineering practices more directly and more often.

Each online module contains:

  • Overview of the practice pdf

  • Hands-on, practice-focused activities

  • Discussion prompts

  • Multimedia interactives

  • Reading and resources

  • Strategies to try in the classroom and report back at your next meeting

  • Interviews with scientists and engineers

  • Classroom footage

  • A Facilitator's Guide for each module with practical advice for leading each session

All of the modules in this course are designed for group interaction and discussion. It is strongly encouraged that you experience these modules with others. However, if distance and time make it impossible to gather with other science teachers, try to find at least one teaching colleague in another building or district to experience these modules with you. If you cannot meet face-to-face, plan to have email or phone conversations for reflection and discussion as you move through the modules in this course.

Enroll in sepa:

Click here to enroll in the SEPA "Course" where you will set up and submit a username and password.

Then, enter the SEPA course at any time by clicking here.

Questions? Contact your district’s Science Teaching and Learning Specialist, or Lee Schmitt at

Funded through the federal Math/Science Partnership grant program, Title II, Part B, administered by the Minnesota Dept. of Education.


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