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The Foundations of constructivist teaching and learning and the 5E Lesson PLan. Engineering the Future Workshop - SDSU. by Judy Vondruska. Lesson Plan Development. What works in helping students learn?. Foundation of Constructivism. Has been around for over 100 years

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The foundations of constructivist teaching and learning and the 5e lesson plan

The Foundations of constructivist teaching and learningandthe 5E Lesson PLan

Engineering the Future Workshop - SDSU

byJudy Vondruska

Lesson plan development

Lesson Plan Development

What works in helping students learn?

Foundation of constructivism

Foundation of Constructivism

  • Has been around for over 100 years

  • Based on research/ideas of

    • John Dewey

      • knowledge emerges only from situations in which learners have to draw them out of meaningful experiences (see Democracy and Education, 1916 and Experience and Education, 1938)

    • Jean Piaget

      • ‘To understand is to discover, or reconstruct by rediscovery, and such conditions must be complied with if in the future individuals are to be formed who are capable of production and creativity and not simply repetition’ (To Understand is to Invent, J. Piaget, 1973)

    • Jerome Bruner

      • learning is a social process, whereby students construct new concepts based on current knowledge.

    • Lev. S Vygotsky

      • Learning and development is a social, collaborative activity

Five characteristics of constructivist teaching

Five Characteristics of Constructivist Teaching

  • Posing problems of emerging relevance to learners

  • Seeking and valuing students' points of view

  • Structuring learning around primary concepts

  • Adapting curriculum to address students' suppositions

  • Assessing student learning in the context of teaching

In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms by Martin and Jacqueline Brooks' 1993

An ASCD publication (ISBN: 0871202115)

5e s of constructivism

5E’s of Constructivism

  • Engage

  • Explore

  • Explain

  • Elaborate

  • Evaluate

Adapted from

5e s of constructivism1

5E’s of Constructivism

  • Engage

    • make connections between past and present learning experiences

    • students becomes mentally engaged in the concept, process, or skill to be learned.

  • Teacher Action (Conservation of Energy lesson plan)

    • Example: How many of you have every been on a roller coaster? When and where? What was it like? Show videoclip of being on a rollercoaster.

Top thrill dragster

Top Thrill Dragster

420 ft tall0-120 mph in 4 sdrop speed = 120 mph

5e s of constructivism2

5E’s of Constructivism

  • Explore

    • students actively explore their environment or manipulate materials.

    • provides students with common base of experiences

    • students identify and develop concepts, processes, and skills

  • Teacher Action (Conservation of Energy lesson plan)

    • exploratory lab activities to develop a feel for relationships (limited data collection, if any); web searches, tours, etc.

      • PRISMS and CRYSTALS curriculums had a lot of exploratory labs

  • Example: PhET Skate Park activity or Funderstanding Coaster

Looped rollercoasters

Looped Rollercoasters


5e s of constructivism3

5E’s of Constructivism

  • Explain

    • learner begins to verbalize their conceptual understanding or to demonstrate new skills or behaviors

    • teacher introduces formal terms, definitions, and explanations for concepts, processes, skills, or behaviors.

      • help students make connnections

  • Teacher Action (Conservation of Energy lesson plan)

    • Using exploration activity to define and expand use of terminology – ask students to relate what they saw and connections betweens types of energy

    • Have student groups provide another example of each type of energy

    • Introduce equations

The foundations of constructivist teaching and learning and the 5e lesson plan

Point 1= highest point

Etop= PEtop + KEtop

Work done by motor to raise you up the lift hill. Provides all the energy at the top of the hill.

Point 2= bottom of hill

Ebottom = PEbottom + KEbottom

Why doesn’t mass matter?

  • Steel Dragon 2000 in Mie, Japan

  • 306 ft drop (convert to meters)

  • Calculate speed at bottom of drop

    • Total Energy at Top = Total Energy at Bottom

    • PEtop + KEtop = PEbottom + KEbottom

    • PEtop = KEbottom

    • mgh = 1/2 mv2

    • v = 42.6 m/s = 95.4 mph!!!!!

5e s of constructivism4

5E’s of Constructivism

  • Elaborate

    • students expand on the concepts they have learned, make connections to other related concepts, and apply their understandings to the world around them

    • these connections often lead to further inquiry and new understandings

  • Teacher Action (Conservation of Energy lesson plan)

    • Hot wheels car lab with loop. Calculate theoretical height needed for car to make the loop. Determine the actual height and account for the difference. From the actual height, calculate the speed of the car at the bottom of the ramp.

5e s of constructivism5

5E’s of Constructivism

  • Evaluate

    • encourage learners to assess their understanding and abilities

    • allows the teacher to determine if the learner has attained understanding of concepts and skills

    • evidences of learning serves to guide the teacher in further lesson planning and may signal the need for modification and change of direction

  • Teacher Action (Conservation of Energy lesson plan)

    • Student’s calculate initial speed needed for successful pole-vault attempt

Women s pole vault record

Women’s Pole Vault Record

  • Yelena Isinbayeva - Russia - 4.89 meters

    • Summer 2004

  • World Record in Feet?

    • 16.14 feet (4.89 m)

  • How fast did she have to run to achieve this record assuming she had a velocity of

    1.0 m/s over the bar? (Assume W = 130 lbs)

  • What was her KE as she began her vault?

Pole vault


Max. KE

Pole vault

Another viewpoint

Another viewpoint…

Considerations from brain research

The brain is

a pattern-making machine.

The brain is...



  • The brain is always trying to make sense of its surroundings

  • The brain is always looking for patterns,

    • trying to fit new learning in with previous learning

    • trying to connect concepts with each other

    • trying to resolve conflicts between inputs

  • The brain is working to build upon existing neural networks, connecting with new information and ideas

Memorize the following

Memorize the following….

You have 6 seconds!!!

A =

B =

C =

D =

E =

F =

G =

H =

I =

Got it okay

Spell the word BEACH in symbols.

Got it? Okay…..

Did you get it

Does this help?

A =

B =

C =

D =

E =

F =

G =

H =

I =










Did you get it????

In addition to searching for patterns

In addition to searching for patterns…

  • the brain has a limit to the amount of information it can process at one time

  • helping to group (pattern) or connect information together allows for larger amounts of information to be taken in

Memorize these

2598713 5184632948

Did you get them right?


Would it help to reorganize the letters like this?

Memorize these…







M space chunking

Short-term memory has limits and students need time to process information

M-Space & Chunking

  • Remember chunking as a means of helping students learn material

    • group material into smaller coherent patterns

  • Research has shown the use of chunking and using patterns in our working memory has a significant impact on our memory and our learning potential.

Example: a phone number

Area code is one chunk, second three digits are another, and the last four numbers are each a chunk resulting in six total chunks.

Use mind mapping for patterning

Use mind-mapping for patterning

  • Assists in organization by connecting new learning to the learner's personal experience.

  • Use of mind maps allow learners to tap intotheir unique neural organization.

  • Have students use mindmaps to introduce themselves, as a means of review at the beginning of class or prior to an exam

    • Include words, color, pictures

    • Establishes multiple pathways in the brain for later retrieval

The foundations of constructivist teaching and learning and the 5e lesson plan

The 5e s and lesson plan development

The 5e’s and Lesson Plan Development

The 5e s and lesson plan development daily group work

The 5e’s and Lesson Plan Development – Daily Group Work

  • After each day of the workshop (Tuesday-Friday) your group will be asked to design a 5e lesson plan incorporating an activity from the day

    • The group should discuss the overall plan and each person should take on 1-2 aspects of the lesson plan

    • Post lesson plan components on designated wiki page

    • Should groups change throughout the week?

    • Each day, you should take on different aspect of the 5e’s

The 5e s and lesson plan development individual

The 5e’s and Lesson Plan Development – Individual

  • Develop two 5e lesson plan you plan to implement during the school year.

    • Download MS Word document from Wiki

    • Want to see incorporation of activities from the week but also free to include others

    • Submit to Wiki by 10 pm, July 31

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