Instructional Model: The Learning Cycle
Effective teaching ensures active student engagement, interaction with the environment, and reflection upon the learning activity. It is the teacher's role to guide, focus, challenge and encourage student learning at all levels of inquiry.
Inquiry is a multifaceted activity that involves making observations; posing questions; examining books and other sources of information to see what is already known; planning investigations; using tools to gather, analyze, and interpret data; proposing answers, explorations, and predictions; and communicating results. Scientific inquiry refers to the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on the evidence derived from their work.
Considering this fact, the learning cycle is the most effective way to implement inquiry-centered instruction.
The five components of the learning cycle instructional model are:
1. Engage - Provide students with activities such as brainstorming, KWL/Know/ Want to Know, Learned, and simple observations to stimulate interest; to evaluate and make connections between past and present learning; and to identify any prior misconceptions.
2. Explore - Allow students to build upon prior knowledge through new experiences that incorporate active participation in a range of activities including analysis, reflection, and data collection.
3. Explain - Provide students with opportunities to construct meaning by verbalizing understanding of activities, making explanations, addressing questions, correcting misunderstandings, and introducing new science vocabulary.
4. Extend - Offer students challenging opportunities to practice skills and extend understanding through research, projects, and presentations.
5. Evaluate - Have students reflect on their own learning in conjunction with the teacher and self-assessment of understanding.