I love me a mnemonic, so the 5e’s sit very nicely with me as a teaching sequence that can be used for entire programs or individual ‘as and when’ lesson plans. It is an instructional model underpinned by the constructivist approach to learning and the notion that learners construct new knowledge upon old. It is essentially about making connections and building upon prior knowledge, emphasising an experiential approach to learning (through an ‘explore’ phase).
It is obviously not a strict model, but a guiding framework to inform classroom practice. Teachers will have to vary their approach and use professional judgement throughout its use; however, I think it is a nice guide for framing the structure of a lesson.
The 5e’s consists of:
Engage: This phase is about making connections between past and present learning experiences and should involve activities that grab students’ interest and attention. Students start engaging their prior knowledge, and should be drawn to thinking about the learning outcomes – i.e. ‘what process is at play here? ‘(i.e. metacognition).
Explore: This phase is really the investigative element of the process – it involves experiments, experiences or using tools.
Explain: This phase of the 5 E’s helps students ponder and explain the concepts they have been exploring. This involves the teacher using active questioning to facilitate discussion and thinking, elaborating on different ideas that students have. Teachers can begin to define the area of study introducing new terms and explanations.
Elaborate: This phase is about application and extension of the ideas being discussed, allowing students to practice skills. Through further application and thinking about the concept in other scenarios, students are able to develop a deeper understanding of the topic area and link related concepts.
Evaluate: This phase is about evaluating students’ understanding of key concepts and skill development. This could include students reflecting on what they’ve learnt (self-assessment) or through teacher observation, portfolios, science journals, drawings, models and performance tasks.
Guess what? It’s an approach that even NASA supports!