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Science Inquiry Using the 5E Model (K-6)

Do you find that, even after having students perform a variety of hands-on experiments and activities, they still struggle to truly understand the scientific phenomena being presented? The advent of the 21st century science standards has virtually changed how science is taught and subsequently learned, and the 5E model of science instruction has been proven to stimulate students' curiosity through an inquiry-based approach to learning. This online course is designed for K-6 teachers who wish to explore how to develop their students' deep critical-thinking skills through an inquiry approach to teaching called the 5Es. After being introduced to the 5E model of scientific inquiry, teachers will take a deep dive through each of the five phases — engagement, exploration, explanation, elaboration, and evaluation. Teachers will learn a variety of engaging instructional techniques and activities that are designed to encourage student exploration and stimulate students' metacognitive skills. Teachers will learn a variety of strategies to elicit and develop students' explanations of natural phenomena, including how to weave specific technology components into each phase of their 5E lessons so that students are further engaged in scientific inquiry. At the end of this course, teachers will be able to use the 5E instructional model to design and differentiate their science lessons and units so that the inquiry process becomes student-led, collaborative, and metacognitive. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"Wow-I really learned a lot about science instruction. There are many strategies I can take straight to my classroom. I teach science, but do not have a science background, so this class was great!" - Pamela Pond


Enrollment Options

Register] Course Registration Only $120 with the discount

Register]Course Plus Credit from UC San Diego Extension Only $304


Required Resource Book: This course has a modestly-priced required resource book (available in both new and used versions) that can be purchased through Amazon using the following link. Note that you can begin and participate in your course before the book arrives.

"Ambitious Science Teaching” by Mark Windschitl, Jessica Thompson, and Melissa Braaten

If you are registering for multiple courses, use the following link to access the book list for all PDI courses with direct purchase links through Amazon. PDI Course Resource Book List


Topical Outline / Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

PDI Course Number: 117T02

UCSD Course Number: EDUC40271

Unit One

  • The Push for Next Generation Science Standards
  • Inquiry-Based Instruction
  • Introduction to the 5E Model
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1

Unit Two

  • Phase One: Engage
  • Eliciting Students' Ideas
  • Engaging Instructional Techniques
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection
  • Test #2

Unit Three

  • Phase Two: Explore
  • Exploring and Investigating Scientific Phenomena
  • Activities to Encourage Student Exploration
  • Assignment #3: Respond to a classmate
  • Test #3

Unit Four

  • Phase Three: Explain
  • Helping Students Synthesize New Knowledge
  • Techniques and Strategies to Elicit and Develop Student Explanations
  • Test #4

Unit Five

  • Phase Four: Elaborate
  • Phase Five: Evaluate
  • Assessing Progression Toward Learning Outcomes
  • Test #5

Unit Six

  • Planning a Lesson Using the 5E Model
  • Application and Differentiation of the 5E Model
  • Technology and the 5Es
  • Assignment #4: Create science lessons using the 5E model
  • Assignment #5: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)