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Using the 5E Model of Instruction: Questions to Ask in the Explanation Phase

written by: Bright Hub Education Writer • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 8/2/2012

Do you use the 5E model of instruction in your classroom? Here are some great questions that can be used in the explanation phase.

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    5E Model of Instruction- Questions in the Explanation Phase

    The 5E Model of Instruction is based on constructivism, a philosophy that students need to build their own understanding of new ideas. This model of instruction is based on the research of Jean Piaget and Howard Gardner. There are five phases: engage, explore, explain, extend, and evaluate. There are some questions used in the explanation phase of the 5E model of instruction that will be very useful if you use this model. First, let’s briefly take a look at all five phases.

    The first phase, engage, is when you try to get your students interested in what you are teaching. This is when you try to access their prior knowledge as well. The second phase, explore, is when students get to research and explore the topic. In this phase, students can do group work and generate their own questions. Explain is the third phase of the model. In this phase the students figure out what they have learner and generate questions from that. The fourth phase, extend, is when students use their new knowledge and apply it to situations and the real world. The last phase, evaluate, is when teachers and students determine how much learning has taken place. Now that you know what the 5E model of instruction is about, let’s delve more deeply into the explanation phase.

    As was mentioned before, in the explanation phase, students try to figure out what they have learned so far and determine what it means. Think of this phase as a question and answer session. Students can be placed in small groups for this phase, or this can be done as a whole class as well. There are many questions that the students can ask the teacher or each other in the explanation phase. Here are some examples:

    • Why do you think that happened?
    • Where do you think that came from?
    • When did that happen?
    • Why do you think that is so important?
    • What will happen if you do this?
    • Why do you think that is the answer?
    • What is the definition in your own words?
    • Would you please justify your answer?
    • Why do you think that is not the answer?
    • What do you think may happen next?

    As you can see from some of the questions given, the questions that students ask are designed so that the other students can justify their reasoning. Students are encouraged in the explanation phase to question each other. By doing so, they are to connect their prior knowledge to what they have just learned. This phase is not designed to take lots of time, but the students really need to validate their reasoning and answers.

    The questions used in the explanation phase of the 5E model of instruction are very important to the entire model. Students really need to get their minds working and they need to question others reasoning and opinions. This helps the students to become critical thinkers and encourages them to explain their own observations and findings in their own words.