Monday, January 10, 2011

Making Science Relevant using the 5E's

How can a science lesson be made more student-centered?
What strategies can be used to help students be more engaged in their learning?
How can technology play a role as an important tool in the learning process?

A valuable pedagogical approach is the 5E Instructional Model.

In this posting I will explain each of the components of the 5E model along with recommendations of digital and non-digital tools that can be incorporated at each stage.
The last section includes four lesson plans that incorporates the 5E model for each of the major sciences: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science and Physics.

The five phases of the Learning Cycle as proposed by the National Science Education Standards can be integrated into the '5E' Instructional model as follows:

Students become engaged in the process of scientific inquiry. The teacher can ask questions to find out what students already know, or think they know, about the topic and concepts to be covered. These questions typically start with "how" instead of with "why.”
Digital Tools:
Exploratree: Interactive Thinking Guides
Non-Digital Tools:
Graphic Organizers

Students decide what makes questions scientifically testable. Students gain a common set of experiences upon which to begin building their understanding.
Digital Tools:
PhET Simulations
Virtual Dissections, Labs, and Field Trips
Non-Digital Tools
Hands-On Labs:

Students acquire opportunities to connect their previous experiences with current learning and to make conceptual sense of the main ideas of the topic being studied. This stage also allows for the introduction of formal language, scientific terms, and content information that might make students’ previous experiences easier to describe. The teacher acts as a facilitator that explains concepts and addresses misconceptions.
Online Tutorials
Hippocampus: Biology, Physics, Environmental Science
Chemistry Tutorials

Students apply or extend previously introduced concepts and experiences to new situations.
Students apply their knowledge to real world applications.
Project-Based Learning
Exemplary Projects for Project-Based Learning (PBL)
How Stuff Works
Problem-Based learning in Biology: 20 Case Examples

Students, with their teachers, review and assess what they have learned and how they have learned it. Students can be given a summative assessment to demonstrate what they know and can do.
Digital and Non-Digital Resources


Topic: Osmosis

Learning Objectives:
Students will understand the role of cell organelles in homeostasis and will be able to measure the rate of osmosis in cells.

Topic: Solubility

Learning Objectives:
Students will understand that there is a dependence of solubility with temperature and will be able to design an experiment showing how the solubility of several substances depend on temperature.

Topic: Hydrological Cycle

Learning Objectives:
Students will understand the factors affecting domestic water use, and will be able to design a system for collecting data and calculating individual, group, state and national domestic water use.

Link for the: Virtual House

Topic: Refraction

Learning Objectives:
Students will understand that light refracts as it passes from air into a more dense medium such as glass, and will be able to use a convex lens, light source, and a screen to form real images.

For more information the 5E Instructional model and sample lessons visit the sites below:


Tyler (@MrTRice_Science) said...


Great post! Thanks for sharing. I love the practical ideas you provided for multiple content areas. I might even use a couple of them!

I've used the 5E model in a variety of ways over the years and - when I do it well - it really works.

The 5E model can be applied successfully to large, long-term inquiry based projects as well. I've also done projects with repeated 5E cycles which spiral to greater levels of complexity. Those are really fun and effective!

Britt Gow said...

Hi Dolores,

Thanks for this great post on e5 in science. E5 is something our Education Department in Victoria has started to push. I really like your lesson plans that give an example of each stage. There are many digital tools that are applicable to this model, thanks for introducing me to some of them.

dgende said...

Thank you Tyler and Britt for your kind comments!
Even though the 5E model can be applied to all disciplines I like how it fits very nicely with the sciences.

Unknown said...

hi Dolores,
your 5e lesson plans were of great help.This concept is new to us and I had no idea about it .Your post helped me to understand how to write 5e lesson plans.Thanks a lot...

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