Students engage in the inquiry process by asking questions, researching, developing and carrying out investigations, and building evidence to support ideas about the natural world around them. In developing inquiry-based learning experiences for students, teachers must also manage the delicate balance between facilitating the learning and providing more direct guidance. Multiple checks for understanding, both formal and informal, are critical to inform the teacher’s decision about when to apply the different approaches to instruction. Discovery Education promotes the use of the 5E Model of Instruction to foster inquiry learning in the classroom.
Engage students in the concept by making connections to their past learning experiences and inspiring curiosity. During this stage:
Teachers create interest; generate curiosity; raise questions; and elicit responses that uncover what the students know or think about the concept/topic.
Students ask questions such as: Why did this happen? What do I already know about this? What can I find out about this? and show interest in topic.
- Create a series of essential questions for your concept and host a Paper Chat with your students.
- Select a video introducing your concept and use the strategy Silence is Golden to have students create a KWL chart based on what they see.
- Use an image and have students complete a Quick Write.
- As an educator, take our TGR: EDU eLearning Module: Creating an Inquiry Mindset for additional ideas for setting the stage for students.
Provide students with a common set of conceptual learning experiences to identify and develop content knowledge, processes, and skills. During this stage:
Teachers encourage students to work together without direct instruction; observe and listen to the students as they interact; ask probing questions and redirect student investigations, when necessary; and provide time for students to puzzle through problems.
Students think freely but within the limits of the activity; test predictions and hypotheses; form new predictions and hypotheses; try alternatives and discuss them with others; and record observations and ideas.
- Have students review a video, audio file, or reading passage and, based on something they learned, write one question they’d like to explore in depth.
- Have students select three to five key terms from a video segment and diagram how the concepts are connected using the Journal strategy.
- Allow students time to explore the Discovery Education Student Center for resources about the concept and provide evidence to support its connection to the essential question.
- Challenge students to explore their interests with a Discovery Education Choice Board. These ready-to-use activities can be used as-is or modified to meet the needs of your students, classroom, and lesson.
- Find activities in the Young Scientist Lab and Science Fair Central Channels for additional hands-on applications of science for all ages.
Allow students to verbalize and/or demonstrate their conceptual understanding, new skills, or behaviors. During this stage:
Teachers formally provide definitions, explanations, and new labels; use students’ previous experiences as a base for explaining concepts; and encourage students to explain concepts and definitions in their own words.
Students listen carefully to others’ explanations; question others’ explanations; listen and try to comprehend explanations that the teacher offers; refer to previous activities; record observations and explanations; and explain possible solutions to others.
- Using a variety of multimodal resources, have students complete a Connect the Dots activity to apply new learning to their daily life.
- Have students complete a Paper Slide explaining their answer to the essential question and citing evidence from resources.
Through new experiences, students develop deeper and broader understanding of major concepts, obtain more information about areas of interest, and refine their skills. During this stage:
Teachers expect students to use formal definitions, explanations, and labels previously provided; encourage students to apply or extend concepts in new situations; and direct students to real-life situations that require the application of concepts.
Students apply formal definitions, explanations, and labels in new, but similar, situations; use previous information to ask questions, propose solutions, make decisions, and design experiments; draw reasonable conclusions from evidence; record observations; and check understanding among peers.
- Have students compile a 25 Things You Didn’t Know list related to the concept using multimodal resources.
- Jigsaw the class and allow student groups to create their own questions about the concept to investigate. Then, regroup and share expertise and outcomes.
Students demonstrate their understanding of key concepts and skills through formative and summative assessments. During this stage:
Teachers observe students as they apply new concepts and skills; assess students’ knowledge and/or skills; look for evidence that students changed thinking or behavior; allow students to assess their own learning; and ask open-ended questions.
Students answer open-ended questions by using observations, evidence, and previously accepted explanations; demonstrate an understanding or knowledge of the concept or skill; evaluate their own progress; and ask related questions that would encourage future investigations.
- Have students complete a multiple-choice assessment before they begin a unit of study. Use the data to plan lessons based on the gaps in their knowledge.
- Allow students to select one component of your unit and share their learning on a board created with the Discovery Education Studio tool.
- Select an assessment strategy from Spotlight on Strategies and apply it to measure student growth and/or mastery.
- Grow students’ creative, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills with collaborative projects. A unique, web-based educational platform, GlobalLab enables students, teachers, and learners of all ages to pose questions and, together, find answers. Each project includes resources for building background knowledge, authentic investigations with collaborative data sets, and learning extensions with STEM activities.