5E Cycle Integrates 21st Century Skills

“Many school focus too much on achievement… (they need) to create opportunities for young people develop their learning muscles and their learning stamina through working on real problems… to reflect on and manage their own learning.” by Guy Claxton

The 5E model was developed by The Biological Science Curriculum Study (BSCS). The 5Es represent the five stages of a sequence for teaching and learning: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaboration and Evaluate. The 5E model easily incorporates all 21st century skills (4c’s- create, critically think, communicate and collaborate) along with technology.

Engage is where the objective/task is introduced but also allows you to pre-assess. The goal is to spark the learners interest and get them involved. Using technology you can do this many ways such as creating an iMovie to introduce the topic or have the students watch a clip of  a You Tube Video about the new topic you are going to study. I also like using a mind-mapping tool such as Popplet to get the students to start thinking about a topic and telling me what they already know so I can build upon their knowledge.  

Explore is where the learners should take part in activities that allow them to work with materials that give them a ‘hands on’ experience. Simulations or models whose elements can be manipulated by learners, so that they can build relevant experiences of the topic. The learners should be collaborating, questioning, sharing and communication with other learners. The teacher should be facilitates the process and asking questions to get the students to critically think.

Explain is where the learners analyze the exploration and is encouraged to put observations, questions, hypotheses and experiences from the previous stages into action. Communication and collaboration between learners can spur the process. The teachers might choose to introduce explanations, definitions or mediate discussions. Having students create Pic Collages, iMovies or blogging etc will help seamlessly integrate technology along with having students show what they have learned through creating.

Elaborate/Extend is where the understanding gained in the previous stages by the learners, should be encouraged to build and expand upon the new knowledge. Inferences, deductions, and hypotheses can be applied to similar or real-world situations. Varied examples and applications of concepts learnt strengthen critical thinking and provide further insight and understanding.

Evaluation should be ongoing and should occur at all stages, in order to determine that learning objectives have been met and misconceptions avoided. Any number of rubrics, checklists, interviews, observation or other evaluation tools can be used. If interest in a particular aspect or concept is shown, further inquiry should be encouraged and a new cycle can begin that builds upon the previous one.

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