Scientific phenomena are occurrences in the natural or human-made world that cause one to wonder and ask questions. They do not have to be phenomenal, but should be engaging to students and make them wonder and ask questions or identify a problem to be solved.  The key reason for identifying possible phenomenon is to ensure that the learning of science concepts are anchored around something that will engage students (make them wonder and ask questions), whereby they seek accurate, evidence-based explanations for how and why things occur by using the Science and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas of the Next Generation Science Standards.

Student participation in three-dimensional learning occurs as a classroom culture is established where students are continually asked to figure out phenomena or design solutions to problems (Krajcik, 2015). Much of science involves finding patterns in observations of phenomena (using the Crosscutting Concepts) and explaining them using a small number of science concepts (Disciplinary Core Ideas). For students to appreciate how science works, they need to engage in the Science and Engineering Practices to develop models of observations, construct explanations using scientific reasoning, and engage in argumentation with others to refine those models and explanations. Building progressively more sophisticated explanations of natural phenomena is central throughout the K-12 science experience (National Research Council, 2012).

This website has been developed in response to a need to help teachers identify grade level appropriate phenomena that could be incorporated into science instruction. #ProjectPhenomena is a collaboration of teacher, industry, university, and community organization leaders who want to help students engage in relevant, engaging, and meaningful phenomena as part of science process. For more information on how to become involved in this collaborative project, please contact:

John Spiegel
Science Coordinator
San Diego County Office of Education
Twitter: @sdngss

Chelsea Cochrane
Project Specialist
San Diego County Office of Education

Jennifer McCluan
Teacher on Special Assignment
San Dieguito Unified School District
Twitter: @jmccluan

Michael Goodbody
STEM Resource Teacher
San Diego Unified School District
Twitter: @sd_stem

Crystal Howe
Science Resource Specialist
San Diego Unified School District

Nikki DiRanna
SET Project Director
San Marcos Unified School District