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No, a phenomenon does not have to be flashy. A hands-on inquiry lesson is not necessarily phenomenon driven. And not every fun science lesson is phenomenon driven either--but that doesn’t mean phenomenon driven lessons can’t be fun.
Phenomena (smelling pizza in the cafeteria, mold growing on the fruit in your fridge, going down a slide and getting an electric shock) are specific examples of something in the world that is happening—an event or a specific example of a general process that we can use our science knowledge, practices, and crosscutting concepts to explain or predict.
Engineering involves designing solutions to problems that arise from phenomena, and using explanations of phenomena to design solutions.
A puddle drying on the sidewalk is not flashy but it’s...