Learning Cycle Model of a Science Lesson

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<ul><li><p>Learning Cycle Model of a Science LessonJim and Jane Nelson </p><p> Citation: The Physics Teacher 44, 396 (2006); doi: 10.1119/1.2336154 View online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.2336154 View Table of Contents: http://scitation.aip.org/content/aapt/journal/tpt/44/6?ver=pdfcov Published by the American Association of Physics Teachers Articles you may be interested in Know it, Lead it, Revise it: The Keys to Success in Physics Education Phys. Teach. 47, 390 (2009); 10.1119/1.3204124 A Search for the Best Phys. Teach. 47, 68 (2009); 10.1119/1.3072449 Physics Lab Myths Phys. Teach. 46, 560 (2008); 10.1119/1.3023664 Engaging Student Learning in Science Through Writing Tasks Phys. Teach. 46, 123 (2008); 10.1119/1.2834540 Sand Diver Phys. Teach. 43, 48 (2005); 10.1119/1.1845991 </p><p> This article is copyrighted as indicated in the article. Reuse of AAPT content is subject to the terms at: http://scitation.aip.org/termsconditions. Downloaded to IP:</p><p>132.203.227.61 On: Mon, 06 Oct 2014 11:50:57</p><p>http://scitation.aip.org/content/aapt/journal/tpt?ver=pdfcovhttp://oasc12039.247realmedia.com/RealMedia/ads/click_lx.ads/test.int.aip.org/adtest/L23/964779917/x01/AIP/WebAssign_TPTCovAd_1640banner_10_01thru10_28_2014/Webassign-ad.jpg/4f6b43656e314e392f6534414369774f?xhttp://scitation.aip.org/search?value1=Jim+&amp;option1=authorhttp://scitation.aip.org/search?value1=Jane+Nelson&amp;option1=authorhttp://scitation.aip.org/content/aapt/journal/tpt?ver=pdfcovhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.2336154http://scitation.aip.org/content/aapt/journal/tpt/44/6?ver=pdfcovhttp://scitation.aip.org/content/aapt?ver=pdfcovhttp://scitation.aip.org/content/aapt/journal/tpt/47/6/10.1119/1.3204124?ver=pdfcovhttp://scitation.aip.org/content/aapt/journal/tpt/47/2/10.1119/1.3072449?ver=pdfcovhttp://scitation.aip.org/content/aapt/journal/tpt/46/9/10.1119/1.3023664?ver=pdfcovhttp://scitation.aip.org/content/aapt/journal/tpt/46/2/10.1119/1.2834540?ver=pdfcovhttp://scitation.aip.org/content/aapt/journal/tpt/43/1/10.1119/1.1845991?ver=pdfcov</p></li><li><p>For theNew Teacher Patricia Blanton, Column Editor Department of Physics and Astronomy, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608; blantonp@appstate.</p><p>Learning Cycle Model of a Science LessonJim and Jane Nelson, 4345 NW 36th Drive, Gainesville, FL 32605-6015; nelsonjh@ix.netcom.com</p><p>One model of science learning is called the The Learning Cycle or alternatively The Five Es model. Robert Karplus wrote the first reference to this as part of the Science Curriculum Improvement Study (SCIS) in the 1960s.</p><p>As scientists and science teachers, we often deal with models of physi-cal systems. We understand that each model has strengths and weaknesses, and may change over time. We would like you to think of the following model of a science lesson in the same open way you might think of the Ideal Gas Law. Thus, we present this model realizing that it is neither per-fect nor static.</p><p>1. ENGAGE is the component during which the teacher gets the attention and interest of the stu-dents. Often this can be done with a </p><p>demonstration of a discrepant event. For example, fill a few identical glass bottles with varying amounts of water and label them A, B, C, D, etc. with the amount of water in the bottles increasing.</p><p>If you blow across the mouth of the bottles from A to B and so on, the pitch gets higher. If you hit the bottles in the same order, the pitch gets lower. For many, this is counter-intuitive and thus a discrepant event. The goal of the demonstration is not to explain; rather it is to engage the students interest.</p><p>2. EXPLORE is the second compo-nent and is often a laboratory activ-ity performed by a team of students. For example, measure the depth of the water and the pitch electronically and look for a mathematical rela-tionship. The teacher acts as a guide </p><p>but permits students to explore and find answers to questions that have been raised. To accomplish this, the teacher often selects among three strategies:A. answering the students question,B. pointing the student in a particu-</p><p>lar direction, orC. asking the right question(s) to </p><p>help the student decide how to proceed.</p><p>As young teachers, we delighted in providing the answer. It was years be-fore we realized that this was great for our ego but often clipped the learn-ing wing of our students. Eventually we were able to support our ego just as well by realizing we were better teachers when we encouraged the stu-dents to seek their own answers.</p><p>Elsewhere we have listed character-istics of a laboratory activity.1</p><p>EXPLORE EXPLAIN EXTEND</p><p>EVALUATE</p><p>ENGAGEENGAGE</p><p>Components of the Learning Cycle Model of a Science Lesson</p><p>Component 1. ENGAGE -- WowComponent 2. EXPLORE -- Laboratory ActivityComponent 3. EXPLAIN -- Link to Other ConceptsComponent 4. EXTEND, ELABORATE -- Apply LearningComponent 5. EVALUATE -- Feedback</p><p>Fig. 1. Learning Cycle Model of a Science Lesson.</p><p>Editors note: One of the goals of AAPT is to provide support and encouragement to those new to teaching physics by sharing ideas that experienced physics teachers have found helpful. I hope you will look to this column throughout the year to find help with lesson planning, ideas for classroom manage-ment, and opportunities for professional growth. This months contributing authors, Jane and Jim Nelson, are award-winning physics teachers with years of experience in the classroom, conducting PTRA work-shops, and serving as leaders for local, state, and national AAPT organizations. Their contributions to physics teaching are much too numerous to list here, but their joy in sharing ideas with you is typical of the support you will find from AAPT.</p><p>396 DOI: 10.1119/1.2336154 THE PHYSICS TEACHER Vol. 44, September 2006 This article is copyrighted as indicated in the article. Reuse of AAPT content is subject to the terms at: http://scitation.aip.org/termsconditions. Downloaded to IP:</p><p>132.203.227.61 On: Mon, 06 Oct 2014 11:50:57</p></li><li><p>3. EXPLAIN is the component during which the teacher leads the students toward connecting the results of the activity and/or topic to other topics already understood (i.e., making sense of the activity). Here the lecture/discussion format plays a role in order to take advantage of the teachers knowledge and experience. This is the time when teachers share their insights with the students by asking probing questions that allow students to move toward personal understanding and scientifically accepted explanations. In the quest for hands-on science, it is a tempta-tion to omit this component, but sci-ence lessons must also be minds-on.</p><p>Here is a delightful 128-year-old quote from DeGraff s School-Room Guide:2</p><p>Definitions should be very spar-ingly introduced, and never in the first stages of a subject. If given at all, they should sum up knowledge already attained. . . . In every stage of the lessons, with the exception of a few indispensable definitions, the language used by the pupil should be entirely his own, and all set forms of words should be carefully avoided.</p><p>The emphasis here is to let the definitions and other concepts arise out of the experience rather than from textbook or lecture. Although everything cannot be learned in this manner, a science lesson is an excellent vehicle for students to gain experience at constructing their own understanding. Such efforts also help students evaluate what they learn from indirect experiences such as reading.</p><p>Our interpretation of set forms of words is standard or book defini-tions as opposed to definitions fabri-cated by the students.</p><p>4. EXTEND is the component during which students find appli-cations of the knowledge gained. During this component students </p><p>could invent a musical instrument, devise a method of predicting the amount of water in a glass container by measuring the pitch, or derive a mathematical relationship between variables. We developed the concept of the Extra for many of the labo-ratory activities we do (see Ref. 1). The expectation is that the students develop the question, the experimen-tal procedure, and find the answer. To be sure, we often have to make suggestions to some students. When students visit us after graduation, this was an aspect of the course that seems to be important and memo-rable for them.</p><p>5. EVALUATE is not only an ongoing component of the lesson but also an important component during which the student reflects upon the topic at the end of a cycle. As young teachers, we thought of evaluation only as an end-of-unit pencil-and-paper test. It was a long time before we realized that assessment should be ongoing and involves many aspects (e.g., home-work assignments, in-class assign-ments, in class discussions, model development, oral laboratory reports, pencil &amp; paper, poster presentations, projects, public presentations, writ-ten laboratory reports, etc.). We now understand that evaluation involves continuous feedback loops.</p><p>In the best scenario, the evaluation component of one cycle will lead to a new topic and a new ENGAGE, thus the phrase Learning Cycle (see Fig. 1).</p><p>Clearly, this model is not appro-priate for every science lesson, and every lesson does not have all five components. Often one or more of the components is missing; never-theless, this model does give reason-able, realistic, and usually reachable characteristics of a science lesson, and it is a useful model for teachers to </p><p>consider.Regardless of the age of the stu-</p><p>dents, the ENGAGE component provides motivation. An interesting and engaging start for the lesson helps to keep the students moving forward through the remaining com-ponents. In a sense, the ENGAGE component provides the inertia to keep going.</p><p>For students in grades K-5 (and perhaps grades 6-8) it may be ap-propriate to simplify the EXPLAIN component. This component re-quires connecting the present lessons concepts to previous lessons and/or concepts held by the student. How-ever, younger students many not have the experiences or maturity to deal with a thorough EXPLAIN compo-nent in an abstract way. Simple, con-crete, but not incorrect, explanations of empirical rules may be enough at an early age.</p><p>On the other hand, for graduate students, the ENGAGE component may be self-imposed as they set themselves on a path of study based on interest and a future goal. For these students the EXPLAIN and EXTEND components become paramount. They have learned a great deal and connecting and extending concepts together is of primary im-portance.</p><p>Although EVALUATION is listed as the final component, it should be blended into all the other compo-nents. Thus, it is shown as underlying the entire model in Fig. 1. EVALU-ATION should be thought of as an all-pervasive and constant process.</p><p>1. J&amp;J Nelson, Role of the Laboratory in Introductory Physics (American Asso-ciation of Physics Teachers, 1995).</p><p>2. Esmond DeGraff, School-Room Guide (Davis, Bardeen &amp; Co., Syracuse, NY, 1878), p. 324.</p><p>Teacher</p><p>THE PHYSICS TEACHER Vol. 44, September 2006 397 This article is copyrighted as indicated in the article. Reuse of AAPT content is subject to the terms at: http://scitation.aip.org/termsconditions. Downloaded to IP:</p><p>132.203.227.61 On: Mon, 06 Oct 2014 11:50:57</p></li></ul>

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