Best Research-based Teaching Practices

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. Graphic Organizers Wait Time Questioning Teaching for Conceptual Change Scientific Literacy Metacognition Simulations / Role Play Hands-On/Minds-On Learning Authentic Problem Based or Issue-Based Learning Inquiry Approaches Using Analogies Discrepant Events Conceptual Understanding of Problem Solving Real-life Situations and Problem Solving Learning Cycle

Graphic Organizers
Graphic organizers provide a visual, holistic representation of facts and concepts and their relationships within an organized frame. They have proven to be effective tools to aid learning and thinking by helping students and teachers to represent abstract information in more concrete form, depict relationships among facts and concepts, relate new information to prior knowledge, and organize thoughts for writing. Graphic organizers exist in a variety of forms. Perhaps the most widely known is the web. Other types of graphic organizers include the concept map, sequence chain, story map, main idea table, flowchart, matrix, and venn diagram.

Graphic organizers may be productively utilized before instructional activities, such as reading or viewing a film, to activate prior knowledge, to provide a conceptual framework for integrating new information, and to encourage student prediction. During instruction, they can help students to process and reorganize information actively. After instruction, graphic organizers may be used to summarize learning, encourage elaboration, help organize ideas for writing, provide a structure for review, and assess the degree of student understanding.

and when teachers do not affirm answers immediately. In the Classrooms: Increasing the wait time from three to seven seconds results in an increase in: 1) the length of student responses. and items involving probabilistic reasoning. teachers can then encourage students to create their own organizers. In a study at the elementary level. Research shows that under these conditions students generally give short. In addition to pausing after asking questions. In a study of increased wait time in a high school physics class. This might have occurred because this strategy did not match students' expectations of how a high school physics course should be conducted. some research studies have suggested that the benefits of increasing wait time may depend on factors such as student expectations and the cognitive level of the questions. and 6) the incidence of speculative responses. students became more apathetic in classes where the wait time was increased. 5) student-student interactions. and provide students with opportunities for guided practice. Research indicates that when teachers increase their wait time to more than three seconds in class discussions. teachers should describe its purpose. Wait Time Research Findings: In most classrooms. This finding is consistent at the elementary. students are typically given less than one second to respond to a question posed by a teacher. 3) the frequency of student questions. model its use. However. more independent applications are appropriate. 4) the number of responses from less capable children. recall responses or no answer at all rather than giving answers that involve higher-level thinking. and students' participation in inquiry. a decrease in achievement was attributed to waiting too long for responses to low-level questions. Increasing wait time also increases science achievement. Finally. 2) the number of unsolicited responses. and high school levels and across the science disciplines. students respond with more thoughtful answers and that science achievement is increased. research shows that many of these same benefits result when teachers pause after the student's response to a question.When introducing students to a new graphic organizer. . middle school. Studies beginning in the early 1970s and continuing through the 1980s show that if teachers pause between three and seven seconds after asking higher-level questions. achievement on higher-cognitive-level science test items increases significantly. Once students become comfortable with using the organizer. the process skills. This holds for test items involving content.

Still others candidly admit that recall-level questions are better suited to firm classroom management. what evidence can you present to support your answer? encourage students to "unpack" their thinking. and students' responses should be carefully monitored. Since much textbook narrative is factual. Other teachers feel that open-ended questions may be "too hard. and to consider opposing points of view. Observers have found that recall-level questions predominated even with teachers who were committed to fostering critical thinking. to show how they have reached particular conclusions. On the other hand. to apply what is known to what is unknown. observations of teachers have shown that most teachers ask questions that require nothing more than simple recall or for which only one answer is acceptable. They refused to admit this until they saw documentation of their classroom behaviors. and to elaborate on what is known to deepen their understanding of this knowledge. Probing questions ask students to extend their knowledge beyond factual recall and "parroting" of learned theories. it is likely to create a classroom atmosphere in which any divergent thinking seems inappropriate.However. can you elaborate?. The most recognized and accepted method used by teachers is asking questions. Teachers can use probing questions to press students to consider and weigh diverse evidence. Why do teachers allow this to happen? One reason is that many teachers consider student mastery of text material to be their primary professional responsibility. Besides doing nothing to encourage student thinking on the part of the student questioned." and discourage students of low ability. The optimal wait time for a given question should be adjusted to the cognitive level of the question. In order to foster and monitor this development. teachers need to establish and maintain communication with students. to examine the validity of their own deductions and inductions. such as why?. only a creative teacher can formulate higher-level questions from it. . Probing questions. care must be taken in applying wait time judiciously. Questioning One objective of science teaching is the development of higher-order thinking skills in students.

The alternative must seem plausible to the student.Probing questions contribute to a classroom climate of inquiry and thoughtful examination of essential. Teaching for Conceptual Change Teachers help their students build understanding of complex scientific concepts by disassembling the concept into component parts according to the level of intellectual development of their students. however. four conditions must be present to bring about conceptual change: 1. Listen to students' explanations of their conjectures when they are working collaboratively with their peers. we use the term "misconception" to mean a student's belief that is incorrect from the perspective of the scientific community. In the wellknown production. 4. Use questions to elicit students' prior knowledge in the lesson's engagement before an exploration takes place (see Learning Cycle as a best teaching practice). selected Harvard graduates. A Private Universe. despite their many years of schooling. The teacher must ascertain students' prior knowledge and naïve or inaccurate conceptual understanding must be addressed at the same time as new concepts are being taught in the science classroom. Interview students in formal and informal ways. 3. Steadfastly students hold on to their own ideas about the way the world works. The student must be dissatisfied with the current understanding. scientific concepts. The student must have an available intelligible alternative. Students who are regularly exposed to questions that force them to defend their responses with reasons and evidence may internalize this "critical thinking" habit of mind. may be very reluctant to change these ideas. . is only half of what needs to be done to facilitate students' correct understanding. and may be little influenced by instruction with a contrary perspective. such as how do you explain what you observed? when students are explaining the results of their investigations.both oral and written . The alternative must seem fruitful (useable) to the student. Students come to school with their own explanations of natural phenomena. Ask questions. these subjects still persisted in their own uninformed explanations. 2. Even after intensive reteaching of the accurate. For purposes of brevity and at the risk of oversimplification. This process. According to Smith (1991). How do teachers go about ascertaining their students' misconceptions? Communication . The process of replacing a misconception with a scientifically acceptable concept is called "conceptual change". provide inaccurate explanations of the cause of Earth's seasons.

" In the Classroom To achieve scientific literacy for all. According to the Project 2061 panel. That is. and give students deeper understandings than what they might get in a comprehensive array of topics . In other words. Make connections between the concepts learned in the classroom with everyday life. mathematics. and technology and to acquire scientific habits of mind. Have students make concept maps as both a teaching/learning strategy and also an assessment tool. Important facets of Project 2061 for consideration in planning curriculum and delivering instruction include:    Science. and applications of science to everyday life. Without a science-literate population. de-emphasize cookbook-like activities in favor of open-ended investigations that engage students in discussions of scientific ideas in cooperative group work. "The life-enhancing potential of science and technology cannot be realized unless the public in general comes to understand science. AAAS's Project 2061 defined the term to include significant science facts and principles. which must be possessed by responsible citizens in today's world. Knowledge of science concepts along with problem-solving and criticalthinking skills will assist students to analyze all sides of an issue and weigh the benefits/risks of possible plans of action. The goal of science education should be to prepare scientifically literate students who can use science to improve their own lives. and make science-related decisions as responsible citizens. Provide opportunities for students to confront their own beliefs with ways to resolve any conflicts between their ideas and what they are now experiencing in a laboratory activity and/or discussion. Scientific Literacy This topic gained spotlight with the American Association for the Advancement of Science's publication of Science for All Americans in 1989. must concentrate on fewer topics taught in a variety of contexts. but should teach more effectively what is essential to science literacy. interactions of science and society. teachers do not have to teach more content. schools must select what to teach wisely. The core concepts and habits are described in detail in Project 2061 publications. cope with an increasingly complex technological world. thereby helping them accommodate this new concept with what they already know. curriculum should focus on a common core of learning and the habits of mind essential for science literacy. the outlook for a better world is not promising. mathematics.How do teachers go about teaching for conceptual change? Use teaching methods that emphasize constructivist philosophies. characteristics of science. and technology are interdependent human enterprises with strengths and limitations The natural world is diverse and united Scientific knowledge and ways of thinking are used to serve personal and societal purposes Because there is too much knowledge for anyone to acquire in a lifetime.

is too dangerous (volcanic eruptions). even college age students are unaware of how they can approach texts. even in the face of persistent failure. or work through problems that have stumped them. Students' ability to reflect on their thinking "as thinking" and to analyze their own strategies are their metacognitive skills. or problem-solving generally. Surprisingly." namely a participant who agrees to pay attention to how the interaction progresses and to report to the group an analysis of its process. is too expensive or inaccessible (forces experienced on a roller coaster). and reflect. metacognitive awareness is not uniformly developed in students. has safetyrelated issues (manufacturing processes) or may happen too quickly to study (chemical change). Metacognition is the awareness and understanding of one's self as a thinker. However. inexpert writers may follow one procedure again and again without flexibility. When they hit blind alleys. Activities like these. As students share their entries. flexible. reading. Teachers. Simulations are particularly useful when a real-life process takes too long (formation of fossils). they are in charge. they stop. help all students to understand that as thinkers. . and creative problem solving is the result. Metacognition Problem solving is a complex behavior. Group work or discussion time can also regularly include a "process observer. They plan strategies for attacking thinking problems. Students can keep and share a "process log" where they write about the processes they employ in writing. Science literacy is required of ALL students. simulations gained popularity in training pilots and firefighters. Expert problem-solvers. requiring creative application of strategies for posing. each new problem situation is in some ways unique. and effective thinkers of all kinds are usually self-aware thinkers. Simulations / Role Play As a teaching tool. not just those who display particular talents or interests in the subject. that require students to make the sometimes-invisible work of thinking visible and explicit. Regardless of how much experience or knowledge a problemsolver has. analyze. they gain an awareness of alternatives to their own processes. as expert readers and writers. Computer simulations allow students to try things that would be impossible or very difficult to do in real life. plan their studying. teachers can promote awareness of strategies for thinking by engaging their students in activities that require reflection. In reading. The technique can be a powerful motivator to promote students' learning of the concept. and resolving the problem at hand. can also make their thinking strategies explicit by "thinking-aloud" with students as they read and write together. solving. and the teacher can direct them to consider specific strategies. In writing. Effective thinkers pose alternatives for themselves and choose among them. More purposeful.

This supports the idea that knowing a concept is being able to apply it. indeed. In choosing a simulation program.Simulations can facilitate students' thinking as they make and explore predictions and to identify patterns and relationships. Do they have any substance?" The answer is yes. Children engaged in authentic problem-based learning apply their science knowledge to questions they have about why things happen in their longer that of a presenter of information. and they discuss the social ramifications that are often associated with scientific concepts. communication skills. Simulations as a teaching tool require that teachers see their students as active constructors of their learning and no longer just as sponges for facts. the majority of the activities that kids perform should be physical explorations. scientific information and its applications do become more meaningful when children can tie them to their real life experiences. they are more apt to be mentally engaged. If children are physically involved. Physical explorations not only make the concepts more tangible but also appeal to children's diverse learning styles and take advantage of their multi-sensory strengths. "Gee. Because simulation problem solving can impact the amount and quality of students' writing. If children are generating their own ideas in a student-centered classroom. those sound like buzzwords to me. Authentic Problem Based or Issue-Based Learning Neither student-centered learning nor hands-on learning is as effective when children confront concepts that are not applicable to their own lives. and interpersonal interactions. How can children begin to understand the nature of the world in which they live if they experience it vicariously? For this reason. Hands-On/Minds-On Learning Many people might say. they need the freedom to be physically active in their search for scientific knowledge. not just listeners or observers? Does the simulation have realistic technology-related requirements? How will the use of the simulation enhance the learning (not just the fun) of the students? How will you assess this learning? The use of simulations puts the teacher into a new role -. . Students have fun while participating in worthwhile educational the simulation realistic? Is the simulation targeted to the developmental level of the student? Is there a good fit between the simulation and the reality it is representing? Is there more than one solution to the problem/challenge posed? Are the activities designed to encourage students to enhance the activity through their own ideas? Does the simulation provide any "hands-on" so that students become participants. they are useful for ELL and students whose educational plan includes modifications. one should consider several questions .

and make predictions. This unconventional vision allows them to see patterns that might not otherwise be obvious. analyze their data. The most abstract component of inquiry is imagination. Reading. Depending on their age. distorts what science is all about. Teacher can facilitate inquiry in the classroom by: . discussion. Inquiry is a method of approaching problems that is used by professional scientists but is helpful to anyone who scientifically addresses matters encountered in everyday life. or employ sophisticated software to analyze data or create charts and graphs. In fact. kids can use computer programs. Data based predictions can be the foundation for further investigation. "focus and support inquiries". doing hands-on science with step-by-step procedures can stifle students' own inquiry. Each group can choose a hypothesis to investigate. by allowing small groups of students to explore a particular natural phenomenon that might exhibit certain trends or patterns. Teachers can incorporate inquiry approaches to learning.Sometimes logistics prevent teachers from placing children in real-life situations to study. children can answer their questions about real-world phenomena by using the Internet to collect data. and compile a list of several different hypotheses from this discussion. real-life problems. or videodisks to study authentic problems. videotapes. and research can allow students to inquire into scientific questions. and "encourage and model the skills of scientific inquiry. children learn that authorities can be wrong and that any question is reasonable. Both students and professional scientists have to be able to look at scientific information and data in a creative way. children might design their own experimental apparatus. In these instances. The children can then reconvene as a class. Inquiry is based on the formation of hypotheses and theories and on the collection of relevant evidence. for example." Inquiry is an approach to teaching that involves a process of exploring the natural world. Inquiry-based learning need not always be a hands-on experience. There is no set order to the steps involved in inquiry. In addition. discuss their observations. but children need to use logic to devise their research questions. use probes attached to computers. Several groups might choose to replicate the same study to reduce the bias effects of any one group's techniques. that leads to asking questions and making discoveries in the search of new understandings. the activities should be nested in authentic. and may impede students' learning. When using the inquiry methods of investigation. Inquiry Approaches The National Science Education Standards mandate that science teachers "plan an inquiry-based program". However the teacher facilitates the children's investigations.

If children are generating their own ideas in a student-centered classroom. the majority of the activities that students perform should be physical explorations. but do not guarantee that they are learning as intended. The authors of the National Science Education Standards maintain that hands-on activities can increase the probability that students will be engaged in rich inquiry. teachers should decrease the "cookbook" nature of whatever labs they conduct and sequence the hand-s on . no knowledge at all. "hands on" approach to science instruction stimulates the natural curiosity and theory-building inclination of students while providing a solid conceptual framework for supporting the development of accurate concepts. they are more apt to be mentally engaged. experiential examples leads to "shallow" knowledge (or. How can children begin to understand the nature of the world in which they live if they experience it vicariously? For this reason. Physical explorations not only make the concepts more tangible but also appeal to children's diverse learning styles and take advantage of their multi-sensory strengths. Nor can in-depth understanding be gained without knowledge of concrete examples to fill out the skeleton of an abstract concept. Similarly. such development requires instruction. An inquiry-oriented. Such experiences provide the raw material from which mature scientific theories are constructed. teaching children abstract concepts without engaging their interest and facilitating their understanding via concrete. those sound like buzzwords to me. open-ended questions and helping students do the same Encouraging dialogue among students and with the teacher Keeping children's natural curiosity alive and as a teacher. in many cases. To increase a "minds-on" factor to a "hands-on" approach. however. Do they have any substance?" The answer is yes. it does not lead to a mature understanding of scientific concepts. Scientific concept building is thus a two-way street. life-long learner Hands-On Many people might say. and feeding their curiosity with the raw materials of potential scientific discoveries promotes this natural theory building. "Gee. remaining a curious. Highly abstract concepts are rarely developed spontaneously. By itself. If children are physically involved. as such lessons are quickly forgotten). they need the freedom to be physically active in their search for scientific knowledge. Children spontaneously try to explain things that they experience.      Acting as facilitators rather than directors of students' learning Providing a variety of materials and resources to facilitate students' investigations Modeling inquiry behaviors and skills Posing thoughtful.

Exercise caution to be sure that students remember the content.) Using Analogies Research Findings: Although some research studies prior to the 1980s have been conducted on the use of analogies. not just the analogy. even though students are familiar with the physical phenomena or event that might be used as the analogy. In the Classroom: Textbooks and teachers sometimes use analogies to help familiarize students with concepts that are abstract and outside their previous experience. Analogies may also motivate students to learn by provoking their interest. This is particularly true when students have alternative conceptions about a particular concept. (See Learning Cycle for additional information. The discussion that occurs when using analogies not only helps students construct their own knowledge but also assists teachers in basing instruction on students' prior knowledge and existing alternative conceptions. Use of multiple analogies in a bridging sequence has been successful in helping students make sense of initially counter-intuitive ideas. and their features/functions must be congruent with those of the target. Finally. The use of functional analogies appears to be more appropriate at the secondary level. develop a more scientific understanding of particular science concepts than do students who concentrate on one acceptable analogy. Once a suitable analogy is found. they are not always familiar with those features that provide the similarity to the target. it is not surprising that. To be effective. who are exposed to and who become skilled in the use of multiple analogies. Sometimes multiple analogies must be used to teach the same concept. and the conceptual change that occurs may not result in higher scores on multiple choice science tests of facts and concepts. Studies of chemistry and biology instruction show that some students.activities before any readings or lectures so that students can explore topics before learning the terms. analogies must be familiar to students. Since adult perspectives are not identical with those of adolescents. It is also important for students to understand how the analogy and target differ to avoid confusion or misconceptions. Research in this area tends to be qualitative in nature. where students have developed appropriate reasoning strategies. Analogies occurring in texts may be simple-based on surface similarities--or more complex (particularly in chemistry and physics)-based on similarities of function. having . considerable time must be spent by students in discussion of similarities between the analogy and the target. a new interest in this area has produced several in-depth studies that indicate that using analogies assists in concept development.

In order to maximize its effectiveness. Just because students view or experience something that is discrepant does not guarantee that they will learn from the situation. Discrepant events can be built into hands-on activities that students actually perform and can be included in computer simulations and on video-products. and 7) repeat the previous steps with another discrepant event illustrating the same theory or concept. Students may ignore or reject it. 3) construct one or more theoretical explanations. Because most students think that the heavier ball will hit first.students create their own analogies also appears to be an effective instructional strategy. students may confront anomalous data. 6) evaluate competing explanations. Discrepant Events Research Findings: There is little direct research evidence that using discrepant events promotes conceptual understanding. or such data may be included in instruction based on real-world situations. 2) predict the outcome. the anomalous data must be credible and unambiguous. Discrepant events are one form of anomalous data that help students focus on their prior conceptions. Steps one through five may be carried out in various ways. two of the practices included in this chapter (Learning Cycle Approach and Real-Life Situations) are thought to be effective because they frequently include discrepant events. However. however. all demonstrations do not necessarily include discrepant events. Research on the effective use of discrepant events suggests that teachers should neither confirm nor deny students' tentative explanations of the event but provide guidance and cues so that they can make explanations on their own. teachers should analyze their students' analogies carefully to determine what sense of the world they are making. 5) modify the theoretical explanation. 4) observe the outcome. In the Classroom: Many science teachers use discrepant events frequently in their teaching. During the exploration phase of the learning cycle. and this practice has been advocated by authors of methods texts over the years. the event is discrepant. The social . a step that is thought to be necessary if students are to alter their conceptions so that they become closer to the accepted scientific view. Although discrepant events frequently take the form of demonstrations. An example of a discrepant event from physics instruction would be to drop a Styrofoam and a steel ball of equal volumes from the same height at the same time and note that both hit the floor at the same time. A recommended strategy for effective instruction includes the following steps: 1) consider a physical scenario of unknown outcome.

and physics problems (many of which require the application of algebraic or other mathematical concepts) indicates that students do not understand the concepts. yet when shown samples of identical mass but different volumes. they are unable to do so. For example. and physics problems that require the use of mathematics. This is confirmed by many research studies on problem solving in which students solve problems aloud. Conceptual Understanding of Problem Solving Research Findings: Research at the secondary and even post-secondary level on understanding of basic concepts that are involved in solving biology. In The Classroom: Many secondary students use algorithms to solve biology. or a Punnett Square). and from letting children interact with the materials. and to the conclusion that addressing these misconceptions in instruction may help to improve students' problem-solving ability. They substitute data given in a problem into a formula (use the factor-label method. it appears that this would be the case. they are unable to answer conceptual questions on which the problems are based. Although there is a limited amount of research to indicate that understanding basic concepts qualitatively improves mathematical problem solving. Then the use of mathematical problem solving should help provide students with deeper insight into the concepts. are unable to serial order the samples by density. a more reasonable approach would be to first emphasize a qualitative understanding of the underlying concepts. chemistry. many students can calculate the density of a solid. appears to facilitate conceptual understanding. It is unlikely that having . perform appropriate mathematical operations. especially for solving higher-level problems. Problem. However. and arrive at a correct solution. when asked about the meaning of what they have done or requested to describe the variables and the relationship among the variables involved. Research shows that even though students frequently solve mathematical problems correctly.solving research has led to the identification of commonly held scientific misconceptions. There is some evidence that having students perform numerous problems in this manner does not necessarily lead to conceptual understanding.interaction from small-group and whole-group discussions. including clarification of related student misconceptions. chemistry. If conceptual understanding is an expected outcome of science instruction.

developed to improve students' mathematics and science problem-solving skills. the activities should be nested in authentic. which did have a positive effect on students' problem-solving skills. children can answer their questions about real-world phenomena by using the Internet to collect data. particularly at the secondary and college levels. Students frequently compartmentalize learning. this finding was considered to be positive because time normally spent on conventional instruction was reduced to allow for the use of the problem-solving videodiscs. The use of interactive video is also proving to be an important instructional strategy. show that student achievement and attitudes improve with their use. In addition. Even within the science course itself. DVDs using simulations of real-world problem-solving situations. have been used successfully by middle school students at several different sites.students solve numerous density problems by substituting values into the density formula will help them distinguish between density and volume. Many fail to associate the variable "x" used extensively in algebra problems to letters standing for variable names in physics problems. For example. many students fail to recognize that the topics they are studying apply to real-life situations. The use of videotapes. real-life problems. and this appears to be an important factor in the use of technology in the classroom. Guidance in using videodiscs and CD-ROMs is programmed and controlled by a computer that directs students' attention and frequently requires students to make decisions about their own learning. . and that in some cases interactive videodiscs are an effective substitute for conventional laboratory experiences such as dissections in biology. However the teacher facilitates the children's investigations. Classroom teachers very carefully structured the instruction surrounding the use of the videodiscs. Real-life Situations and Problem Solving Research findings: Research support for the use of real-life situations (or simulations of these) in classroom instruction continues to increase as the technologies for bringing real-life situations into the classroom become more available to teachers. Effective programs. many students who have studied mathematics are unable to apply it in solving problems in chemistry and physics. Although results indicate no difference in standardized test achievement. The leading research group in the United States using anchored instruction to increase students' problem solving skills is located at Vanderbilt University. DVDs and CDROMs depicting real-life situations or simulations of these (either alone or in tandem with computers) makes it much more feasible to teach using real-world situations. One reason proposed for this lack of transfer is that problem solving and learning have not taken place in real-world contexts.

helps students make connections. 1997. . Explanation. Remind students of what they already know that they will need to apply to learning the topic at hand. pre-assesses the students. Pre-assess what students' prior knowledge. 1996). Engagement: Engagement is a time when the teacher is on center stage. As in any cycle. Evaluation occurs in all four parts of the learning cycle. 1962). "Constructivism is a dynamic and interactive model of how humans learn" (Bybee. The learning cycle rests on constructivism as its theoretical foundation. Evaluation of Engagement: Evaluation's role in engagement revolves around the pre-assessment. Robert Karplus and his colleagues proposed and used an instructional model based on the work of Piaget. Evaluation is not the last step. the engagement of the next learning cycle begins. After elaboration ends. The teacher could ask questions and have the students respond orally and/or in writing. Pose a problem for the students to explore in the next phase of the learning cycle. p. the learning cycle provides the active learning experiences recommended by the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council. A constructivist perspective assumes students must be actively involved in their learning and concepts are not transmitted from teacher to student but constructed by the student. The teacher poses the problem. and informs students about where they are heading. A.Learning Cycle The lesson plans on the AGPA website use the Learning Cycle as the instructional model for its lesson plans. Numerous studies have shown that the learning cycle as a model of instruction is far superior to transmission models in which students are passive receivers of knowledge from their teacher (Bybee. Inform the students about the lesson's objective(s). This model would eventually be called the Learning Cycle. As an instructional model. 176). and Evaluation. The purpose of engagement is to:      Focus students' attention on the topic. 1997). Elaboration. The description of each part of the learning cycle draws extensively from Smith's work. (Atkin & Karplus. Find out what the students already know about the topic at hand. there's really no end to the process. The learning cycle used in these lesson plans follows Bybee's (1997) five steps of Engagement. Exploration. In the early 1960's.

. students use the data they have collected to solve the problem and report what they did and try to figure out the answer to the problem that was presented. phrases or sentences to label what the students have already figured out.e. the teacher can assess the students' comprehension of the new vocabulary and new concepts. Exploration: Now the students are at the center of the action as they collect data to solve the well can students use the information they've collected." When . i. Teachers ask themselves questions such as the following:     How well are the students collecting data? Are they carrying out the procedures correctly? How do they record the data? Is it in a logical form or is it haphazard? C. The students need to be active. Elaboration: The teacher gives students new information that extends what they have been learning in the earlier parts of the learning cycle. Explanation: In this phase of the process. The teacher makes sure the students collect and organize their data in order to solve the problem. Evaluation of Explanation: Evaluation here focuses on the process the students are using -. Sometimes teachers equate evaluation with "the test at the end of the chapter. Evaluation of Exploration: In this portion of the learning cycle the evaluation should primarily focus on process. D. rather than the product of the students' data collection. The teacher also introduces new vocabulary. The purpose of exploration is to have students collect data that they can use to solve the problem that was posed. on the students' data collection. Evaluation of Elaboration: The evaluation that occurs during elaboration is what teachers usually think of as evaluation.B. At this stage the teacher also poses problems that students solve by applying what they have learned. plus what they already knew to come up with new ideas? Using questions. The problems include both examples and non-examples.

these application problems are "the test.teachers have the students do the application problems as part of elaboration." .