The 5E Instructional Model is a framework for improving teaching practices through discussion, observation, critique, and reflection. Teachers and students move through each phase linearly, but some may need to be repeated or cycled through several times to ensure effective learning. This is a form of inquiry-based learning where students are encouraged to discover information and formulate new insights themselves.
Understanding the 5E Instructional Model
At its core, the 5E Instructional Model helps students understand new concepts in the classroom through active participation. By understanding and then reflecting on certain activities, students are better able to reconcile new knowledge with existing ideas.
The model is a form of inquiry-based learning, encouraging students to discover information for themselves instead of having the teacher reveal information directly. It is based on research conducted by science educators J. Myron Atkin and Robert Karplus in 1962. Both argued the inquiry-based approach was more valid in science teaching, which until that point had been dominated by the rote memorization of facts.
The inquiry based-approach is a multi-faceted approach incorporating:
- The posing of questions and the planning of investigations.
- The examination of books and other sources of information to understand what is already known.
- The evaluation of known knowledge in light of experimental evidence.
- The utilization of tools to analyze and interpret data, and
- The formation or proposing of answers, explanations, predictions, and results.
The 5E Instructional Model framework
To assist the teacher and the student in learning, both must move through a framework of five phases.
While the framework should be followed in a linear fashion, the teacher may need to move back and forth between phases to ensure students understand and retain knowledge.
Each phase begins with the letter E:
- Engage – first, the teacher must understand the level of prior knowledge students possesses on a certain topic. Then, they must identify any knowledge gaps. Perhaps most importantly, the teacher needs to foster an interest in filling these gaps by ensuring students are in the right frame of mind to learn.
- Explore – this phase provides students with a learning experience where they hypothesize, investigate, question, test, or communicate with their peers. The teacher must avoid giving direct instruction during this process. Students should be free to conceptualize and collaborate in an informal setting.
- Explain – then, students describe their understanding of a topic and pose questions stimulated by their learning in the previous phase. They must be allowed to express their own ideas and explanations before the teacher introduces factual scientific information. Any misconceptions are clarified with definitions, notes, labels, videos, software, or other relevant informative materials.
- Elaborate – during the elaborative phase, students are given the space to apply what they have learned while reinforcing previous knowledge. Ideally, knowledge is broadened and deepened through further investigation, product creation, technology integration, or the application of knowledge or skills to other disciplines.
- Evaluate – traditional forms of assessment involve examinations that test rote learning. However, the 5E approach favors both formal and non-formal evaluation methods. This may include a portfolio or performance-based assessment, concept maps, physical models, or journal logs. In some cases, the student may also be allowed to self-assess or be assessed by their peers.
- The 5E Instructional Model is a framework for teaching science in a classroom setting. It was developed by educators J. Myron Atkin and Robert Karplus to replace learning based on the rote memorization of facts.
- The 5E Instructional Model is a form of inquiry-based learning where students are encouraged to discover information and formulate new insights themselves. For much of the process, the teacher takes on the role of facilitator or consultant.
- The 5E Instructional Model is based on five phases: engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate. Teachers and students move through each phase linearly, but some may need to be repeated or cycled through several times to ensure effective learning.
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