In our continuing discussion about ideas for the 5E’s instructional model this month we will look at ways to use DE Science Techbook resources to “Elaborate”
Typically, by this point in your lesson the students have “Explored” the concept and “Explained” what they understand regarding the material. Now it is time for them to SHOW you what they know. Elaborate activities should encourage students to APPLY concepts learned. There is a big distinction here between “Explain” activities and “Elaborate” activities. “Explain” activities are those that have students demonstrate what they know. In these activities, students recap, review, interpret and put their understanding on concepts in their own words. “Elaborate” activities differ in that they are about application. They USE what they know to think critically and solve problems.
There are many options for these types of activities. The best are those that relate the content learned to a real world problem. When students can see the connection between knowledge and problem solving they respect the knowledge even more. Once they understand that they can learn things that will help them in the real world, they will make deeper connections and put more effort in their learning.
One resource from the Discovery Education Science Techbook that encourages students to apply what they have learned is the Virtual Lab. Each virtual lab starts out by giving the student a real world problem to solve. Students in grades K-5 are encouraged to manipulate variables and learn the outcomes. These outcomes can then be applied to solving the real world problem. Students in grades 6-8 are also given a real world problem to solve, but are then encouraged to do research and make a plan before they solve the problem. By going through these steps, students learn that content knowledge in integral to the problem solving process.
Another resource that provides students an opportunity to apply what they know is the Science Sleuth Activity. Being a Science Sleuth is a very big accomplishment indeed. Students are introduced to a problem that needs to be solved and dive in to a series of interviews that provide clues. They also have to collect information, read articles, and do CSI type tests on evidence. Once they think they have all of the information they need, they submit a solution. IF they try to submit a solution before spending enough time with the evidence they are told to go back and do more… “We can’t just guess, we have to PROVE what we know”. This is an excellent exercise in backing up knowledge with reasoning and proof.
You can find both the Virtual Labs and Science Sleuths in the Process Skills Library, which can be found in the Teacher Center.