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Best Practices: Model of Science Inquiry. Ann Cavallo and Greg Hale MATH, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY TEACHER PREPARATION ACADEMY. The Learning Cycle. Exploration Application Concept Invention. New. disequilibrium. Theoretical Foundation .

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best practices model of science inquiry
Best Practices: Model of Science Inquiry

Ann Cavallo and Greg Hale



the learning cycle
The Learning Cycle



Concept Invention



theoretical foundation
Theoretical Foundation

The Learning Cycle is based on three major theoretical foundations:

  • What is science?
  • What is the purpose of education?
  • How do children (and all individuals) learn?

- Marek & Cavallo (1997)

theory base 1 the nature of science
Theory Base 1: The Nature of Science
  • Observing
  • Measuring
  • Interpreting
  • Explaining
  • Discovering
  • Synthesizing
  • Generalizing
  • Asking questions

Science is an



theory base 2 the purpose of education
Theory Base 2: The Purpose of Education
  • To develop the powers of the mind
  • To be able to solve problems autonomously
  • To be able to make sound decisions
  • To be independent, critical thinkers

“The single most important purpose of education is to foster among students the ability…

…TO THINK.”- EPC (1961)

theory base 3 psychology of learning
Theory Base 3: Psychology of Learning

Mental Functioning Learning Theory




- Piaget (1964)


mental functioning the learning cycle


Mental Functioning & The Learning Cycle




Concept Invention

Facilitates Assimilation

Facilitates Organization

Facilitates Accommodation


Theory Base 3: Psychology of Learning

Intellectual Development:

  • Sensorimotor
  • Preoperational
  • Concrete operational
  • Formal operational

- Piaget (1964)


Theory Base 3: Psychology of Learning

  • Moving children through the stages of intellectual development:
    • Experience
      • Physical
      • Logical-Mathematical
    • Disequilibrium  Equilibrium
    • Social Transmission
    • Maturation
  • Content
  • Structure

- Piaget (1964)


Theory Base 3: Psychology of Learning

  • Meaningful learning theory
    • Forming interrelationships among concepts
    • Connecting new concepts to everyday life
    • Concept mapping

- Ausubel (1963)

  • Social constructivist theory
    • Scaffolding
    • ZPD
    • Culture and language of science

- Vygotsky (1973)

the learning cycle 5 e model
The Learning Cycle/5-E Model
  • Exemplifies the nature of science

(as an active, inquiryprocess)

  • Fulfills the purpose of education

(to develop thinking abilities)

  • Matches how children learn


These 3 foundations are in practice while promoting meaningful, socially constructed understanding of science concepts

featured assignment
Featured Assignment
  • MSTTPA Teachers:
    • Developan original learning cycle including teacher guide and student guide
    • Field test the learning cycle in class and receive feedback from instructor and peers
    • Modifytheir learning cycles based on feedback
    • Field test the learning cycle again with their own students
    • Modifytheir learning cycles a second time based on their experience, and feedback from students and course instructor
    • Prepare a final version of their learning cycle (see rubric)
    • Writetheir LC in manuscript form for publication in NSTA journals: The Science Teacher, Science Scope, Science and Children
  • Currently have several teacher manuscripts in review and one already published by a teacher in Cohort I:

Wyant, M. (2011). Fun with a flume: Ideas for inquiry. Science Scope, 34, 52-55.

learning cycle rubric
Learning Cycle Rubric

- Cavallo (2009)

inquiry model streamed throughout the program in practice
Inquiry Model Streamed Throughout the Program in Practice
  • Second (follow up) course on Advanced Strategies in Science Education
  • History, Philosophy and Diversity in Science Education
  • Science Content Courses
    • Master Teacher Model
  • Research Courses in Science Education
  • Capstone Research

Our MSTTPA promotes learning that looks like this:

Not this:

Math, Science & Technology Teacher Preparation Academy