The vast array of resources found in the Discovery Education Science TECHBOOK are arranged according the the 5E Learning Model. The 5E Learning Model is a component of the constructivist learning philosophy which holds that students learn best when they are exposed to experiences that allow them to build their own understanding of a concept before it is explained to them. Typically, the 5E Learning Model is composed of lesson components that can be categorized under one of 5 “Es”. Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend and Evaluate. This article will focus on Engage.
Engage activities should be designed with two main purposes in mind. First, they should activate a student’s prior knowledge of the science concept. Every student comes to the classroom with life experiences and prior knowledge that we can use to help them make connections. By activating that prior knowledge, we give them foundation on which they can build their understanding. With that foundation, they have something on which they can “stick” future learning. The second purpose of an Engage activity is to generate interest and curiosity regarding the concept. Building in an opportunity to ask “why” or “how” about the science encourages students to dig further and want to learn more. Let’s look at some ideas for Engage type activities using two different types of Discovery Education Science resources.
Videos: Videos have been used in educational settings for a long time. There are, however, strategies for showing videos with the explicit purpose of being an Engage activity.
- Show a short video segment that is very visual regarding the concept with the sound turned off. Ask the students to watch the video and then have a discussion about what they think will be discussed in class that day. Have them interpret what they saw and/or explain to you what they already know about the concept.
- There are many videos in DE Science TECHBOOK that set students up to make predictions. One video series that is perfect for that is “Head Rush” with Kari Byron from the Mythbusters series. In “Head Rush” Kari shows scientific experiments and asks the students to predict what will occur. A great way to Engage is to show these videos and stop them before the results are revealed.
Images: Images are a very powerful tool when it comes to prompting imagination and activating prior knowledge.
- Choose and image that displays an aspect of the scientific concept. Ask the student’s what they “see”, what they “know” and what they “wonder” about the image.
- Choose an image that has a lot of detail and zoom into one section of the image. Ask the students to describe what they think will be discussed today based on what they see.
Songs: Students are very engaged by music and songs. Playing a science based song found in the DE TECHBOOK is a great way to generate interest in a topic. Allowing students to listen to the song and report back what they know about the topic in the song will also allow you to activate prior knowledge
Got an “Engage” activity to share? Post it in the comments below, we would love to hear all about it!