Allowing Students to “EXPLORE” Science Content With the Discovery Education Science TECHBOOK

Visit any Discovery Education Science TECHBOOK concept page and you will find TONS of resources arranged by the 5E Instructional Model.  A component of the constructivist model, the 5Es lesson focuses on student participation.  Once “Engaged” students are then invited to “Explore” concepts in a way that allows them to develop their own understanding.

The “Explore” section of a 5E lesson belongs to the student.  The intention of an “Explore” activity is to  allow students to do just that… explore.  Students are provided with a problem to solve, or an essential question to answer.  They are then invited to explore a variety of resources to try to solve that problem or answer that question.  Figuring out the answer for themselves, students build their understanding of the concept, and the learning sticks.

There are two ways to accomplish this.  Students can explore content through guided inquiry or direct inquiry.  Guided inquiry refers to a process in which students are provided  a collection of resources, and make choices as to which resources to use based on their own levels of readiness and interest.  The problem, or question guides them through the resources. They pick and choose how they will attain the knowledge.

Direct inquiry, while still student focused, is more scripted.  In direct inquiry, the teacher chooses which specific resources the students will use.  A given video, reading passage or virtual lab that all students will explore. For more information about the difference between guided and direct inquiry click this link.

Discovery Education Science TECHBOOK resources such as “Explorations”, “Fun-damentals”, “Hands-on Activities” and “Virtual Labs” naturally lend themselves to both guided and direct inquiry.  Students interact with the content, gathering facts as they go.  How do students explore with resources such as video segments and reading passages?  Here are some instructional strategies:

1) Videos: Display for the students the essential question.  Play the video segment for the first time.  Instruct the students to write down all the facts that could be used to answer the essential question.  Give students 30 seconds to discuss with a neighbor.  Then give them 1 minutes to write down any facts that they learned from their classmate.  Play the segment a second time so that they can focus on the content and confirm their facts.

2) Reading passages/eBooks: List two or three  statements that relate to the content in the reading passage.  Ask students if they “agree” or “disagree” with each statement.  Have students read the passage.  Have them revisit their opinion and decide if they still “agree” or “disagree”.

3) Interactive Glossary Terms:  Provide students with a list of terms relevant to the concept they are exploring.  Have students record definition in their journals.  Students should then do a keyword search for a video segment or image that relates to the term.  In their journals the students should write about why they chose that resource, put the term in their own words and use it in a sentence.

Whether the students are reading, watching, or interacting, the point is they are doing.  That is what exploring is all about.  Given the chance to explore content, students will remember what they did, and be able to explain it back to you. But wait, that is a topic for next month.

Got a great idea for using Discovery Education Science TECHBOOK resources to “Explore”? Post it in the comment section below! Keep those great ideas coming.