The Potential of Purposeful Play: Using the Lens and Language of Crosscutting Concepts to Enhance the Science and Engineering Practices of Play
Playing enhances learning. Teachers who recognize and foster the science and engineering practices of playful endeavors push the envelope of children’s thinking. Play is purposeful learning, and it serves an important role in human development. Researchers define play as exploratory, process oriented, intrinsically motivating, and freely chosen (Lozon, 2016). The notion of tinkering, often associated with play, has underpinned forward-thinking children’s museums and science centers for decades. This creative expression enhances deep learning when supported by intentional guidance (Bevan, Petrich, & Wilkinson, 2015). For the purposes of the current discussion, the authors found that the crosscutting concepts of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS, 2013) provide a powerful lens and language through which to provide the type of guidance that challenges students’ thinking and enhances the natural science and engineering practices of children’s play.
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