This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.
Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Through these lessons, students use written description of nuclear fusion reactions to create first a diagram and then a model of the nuclear equations to represent the changes to nuclei in the formation of elements in stars. Students must interpret information described in the background information on the life cycle of stars to first create a diagram documenting the life cycle of a high-mass star (Lesson 1). Then, in the Fusion Reactions Activity (Lesson 3) students use prior knowledge of subatomic particles and isotopes with what they have learned about the formation of elements in stars to develop models of the nuclear fusion reactions that occur in stars, creating gradually heavier nuclei.
To further emphasize the use of these multiple representations and consider the merits and limitations of each, students should be asked to compare the representations of the processes in an assessment following the lessons. Students could be asked to compare the level of detail included in each representation and the benefits of the format of the representations. A strong extension for this lesson would be to ask students to create a pictorial representations of one fusion reaction, showing the subatomic particles that make up the nuclei represented and have them reflect on this model compared to the other representations examined in the lessons, with particular focus on reactions that lead to the formation of iron for clear comparisons.