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March 18, 2011

Do you know the 5 E's?

Thanks to the Project Learning Tree List Serve for passing this along.

The 5E Inquiry Model has five phases: Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Elaboration, and Evaluation. Each phase has a specific function and is intended to contribute to the learning process. This model can provide guidance to curriculum developers as they design a program, and it can help teachers enhance their instructional effectiveness through an inquiry approach. Finally, it adopts a constructivist approach to learning which encourages students to actively build their knowledge.

Engage: In most instances you will want to begin with Engage. In this stage you want to create interest and generate curiosity in the topic of study; raise questions and elicit responses from students that will give you an idea of what they already know. This is also a good opportunity for you to identify misconceptions in students’ understanding. During this stage students should be asking questions (Why did this happen? How can I find out?)

Explore: During the Explore stage students should be given opportunities to work together without direct instruction from the teacher. You should act as a facilitator helping students to frame questions by asking questions and observing. This is the opportunity for students to test predictions and hypotheses and/or form new ones, try alternatives and discuss them with peers, record observations and ideas, and suspend judgment.

Explain: During Explain, you should encourage students to explain concepts in their own words, ask for evidence and clarification of their explanation, listen critically to one another’s explanation and those of the teacher. Students should use observations and recordings in their explanations. At this stage you should provide definitions and explanations using students’ previous experiences as a basis for this discussion.

Elaborate: During Elaborate students should apply concepts and skills in new (but similar) situations and use formal labels and definitions. Remind students of alternative explanations and to consider existing data and evidence as they explore new situations.

Evaluate: While evaluation should take place throughout the learning experience, the Evaluate phase provides an opportunity for you to give feedback to the students and for the students to consider their own learning. During this phase, you should assess students’ knowledge and/or skills, application of new concepts and a change in thinking. Students should assess their own learning. Ask open-ended questions and look for answers that use observation, evidence, and previously accepted explanations. Ask questions that would encourage future investigations.

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