Our junior science workbooks have been designed around an inquiry-based approach to learning where students gain insights into the nature of science through research and hands-on practical inquiries. As a suggested teaching and learning approach we have loosely based our approach on the 5Es teaching and learning model.
This approach has been used very effectively in the Primary Connections (Linking science with literacy) programme in Australia and it relates well to the vision, principles and values of the New Zealand Curriculum. Within our Science Learning Area, the 5Es model provides ample opportunity for the use and further development of the key competencies of students, that is, the capabilities for living and lifelong learning – thinking; using language, symbols and texts; managing self; relating to others; participating and contributing. We believe the model, with its links to literacy, translates easily into our junior science programmes. View a full description of the 5Es Approach.
The 5Es teaching and learning model is based on the premise that students learn best when they are allowed to work out explanations for themselves over time through a variety of learning experiences structured by the teacher. Students use their prior knowledge to make sense of these experiences and then make links between new information and their prior understanding. The 5Es represent phases in the learning that help students to make these links and develop enduring understandings. The phases are:
ENGAGE – students mentally engage with an activity, problem or question.
EXPLORE – students carry out hands-on or research activities where they can explore the concept(s) or skill(s).
EXPLAIN – students explain their experience and builds on their emerging scientific understandings.
ELABORATE – students apply their learning to new situations and discuss and compare ideas with each other.
EVALUATE – students review and reflect on their own learning, new understanding and skills.