i5Es Overview – How To Use The i5Es In Your Classroom

Developed in 1987, the 5E instructional model guides students through the natural learning process. The i5Es is our own updated version of this model, and it is based on our current understandings of how we learn using Interactive Spatial Learning (ISL) theory. This blog is an overview of the 5Es and how they work.

The 5Es Align How We Learn With How We Teach

The 5Es were developed to incorporate how students naturally learn into teachers’ lesson planning and teaching strategies.

Research shows that we learn in three general stages:

  1. We perceive a new situation or problem.
  2. We develop solutions to the problem or explore the situation.
  3. We evaluate how effect our solutions or explorations are.

Instructional models deliberately scaffold students through these stages by guiding them through problem exploration and solution development. A model can look something like this:

  1. The teacher introduces a problem or situation to students.
  2. The teacher gives the students the supplies and room they need to explore the situation and create solutions to the problem.
  3. The teacher provides guidance as the students evaluate the effectiveness of their exploration and the solutions they have created.

It is important to remember that when students are exploring and formulating solutions, we, as teachers, are guiding learning, but we are not providing corrections if their solutions don’t work, or are not perfect. Students need to be given time, space, and opportunities to test their solutions and actively improve upon and figure out which ones might work better.

Aligning Student Learning Process with the Phases of 5E

The 5E model is one of many instructional models that build upon the learning process — is the most common instructional model used in science education. While these explanations are brief, we will explore each of the 5Es in more depth very soon.

  • Engage – The teacher provides a learning cue to their students.  This can be in the form of a problem they must solve or a situation they need to explore.
  • Explore – Students explore the problem or situation and leverage their resources while the teacher nurtures and encourages conversations during these exploratory investigations.
  • Explain – Students make hypotheses, generate models, and draw conclusions about the problem or situation. They then report their findings to their peers.
  • Elaborate – Students relate what they have learned to new concepts and outside ideas.  
  • Evaluate – Students reflect on what they have learned, suggest improvements, and take stock of what that learning means.

As you can see, the 5E model easily incorporates how students naturally learn. All teachers need to do to use this model effectively is look at how they can scaffold that learning throughout their science lessons.

Please check out our other blog posts for a more in depth look at each of the 5Es:

Engage – How To Use Engage In Your Classroom

Explore – How To Use Explore In Your Classroom

Explain – How To Use Explain In Your Classroom

Evaluate – How to Use Evaluate In Your Classroom

Elaborate – How To Use Elaborate In Your Classroom 

How To Engage Your Students With “I think, I wonder”


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