The 5E Model – A Lesson on Teaching the Fun Way!

The 5E Model:

  • Engage: Make sure to get your students involved and interested in the lesson!
    • Ex: Use pictures to help them visualize concepts and form their own opinions.
  • Explore: Allow students to formulate questions and find their own answers!
    • Don’t provide step-by-step instructions!
    • Don’t say, “No, you can’t do that.” Instead, let them make mistakes and failed attempts.
  • Explain: Explanation has nothing  to do with the teacher, and everything to do with the students!
    • Let the students see, explore, and develop their ideas amongst one another.
    • Only after they have discussed their thoughts together so should you, the teacher, start answering their questions.
  • Extend: Draw the lesson into the more complex outside world!
    • Show them how this knowledge applies to them!
  • Evaluate: This is not all about test scores!
    • Ex: Presentation, summary/writing, verbal response, etc.
    • Evaluation can- and should- happen throughout the teaching-learning cycle.

The 5E Model in YOUR Education:

If you somehow happen across this post, feel free to comment about a teacher or lesson in your life that reflects the qualities described above. Also feel free to describe a teacher or lesson that was lacking these qualities, and compare the two teachers/lessons. Which did you prefer and why?

My 5E Experience:

I will always remember a lesson my teacher presented in 4th grade. He came into class one day with a jar of peanut butter, a bagged loaf of bread, and a butter knife. Having not given us any previous directions, he proceeded to inform us that we were to instruct him on how to make a PB&J sandwich. Right away, we interjected “Put the peanut butter on the bread!” Our teacher promptly stuck the unopened jar on top of the still-bagged full loaf of bread. We were full of surprise and amusement, then clarified a bit more, “Open the jar and put the peanut butter on the bread!” He popped the lid off right away and sat the now-topless jar on top of the bagged loaf once more. After much laughter-filled trial and error, we eventually met success. By the end of the lesson, the class was beaming with satisfaction as our teacher finished off by eating his prized sandwich.

In contrast, I will also always remember my high school computers class and the dread that filled me each time I walked into the classroom. Throughout the entire semester, we had to do countless projects using the Office Suite (Excel, Publisher, Word, etc). Every single one of these projects were taken straight from our textbooks. With absolutely no room for creativity, we were expected to follow every single step listed in the book, utilizing complete precision down to the very data/writing which we had to enter. There was no conceivable way to add our own flare to any of the projects; otherwise, we lost points. The teacher was looking for exact, cookie-cutter answers. What a snore!

Clearly, I absolutely preferred the laughter-filled lesson in fourth grade. Now why is that? After having to work through something so thoroughly and really having to think, my class and I developed a feeling of ownership of the final product of the lesson. We earned that knowledge, and it felt good. Likewise, copying from a textbook took little-to-no effort, and the assignments all felt pointless. With this new observation, I plan to apply this model directly to how I substitute teach. It may take a lot more planning and creative thinking, but I’m in this to succeed and inspire, not just to skate by and bore each mind that enters my classroom!


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