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Phase One: Engage the Learner
These activities mentally engage students with an event or question. Engagement activities capture students' interest and help them to make connections with what they know and can do. The teacher provides an orientation to the unit and assesses students╝ prior understanding of the concepts addressed in the unit.
Phase Two: Explore the Concept
Next, students encounter hands-on experiences in which they explore the concept further. They receive little explanation and few terms at this point, because they are to define the problem or phenomenon in their own words. The purpose at this stage of the model is for students to acquire a common set of experiences from which they can help one another make sense of the concept. Students must spend significant time during this stage of the model talking about their experiences, both to articulate their own understanding and to understand another's viewpoint.
Phase Three: Explain the Concept and Define the Terms
Only after students have explored the concept does the curriculum and/or teacher provide the scientific explanation and terms for what they are studying. The teacher may present the concepts via lecture, demonstration, reading, or multimedia (video, computer-based). Students then use the terms to describe what they have experienced, and they begin to examine mentally how this explanation fits with what they already know.
Phase Four: Elaborate on the Concept
The next stage of the model serves to help students elaborate on their understanding of the concept. They are given opportunities to apply the concept in unique situations, or they are given related ideas to explore and explain using the information and experiences they have accumulated so far. Interaction between the students is essential during the elaboration stage. By discussing their ideas with others, students can construct a deeper understanding of the concepts.
Phase Five: Evaluate students' Understanding of the Concept
The final stage of the model has a dual purpose. It is designed for the students to continue to elaborate on their understanding and to evaluate what they know now and what they have yet to figure out. Although the key word of the stage is evaluate, the word does not indicate finality in the learning process. Indeed, students will continue to construct their understanding of these broad concepts throughout their lives. Evaluation of student understanding should take place throughout all phases of the instructional model. The evaluate stage, however, is when the teacher determines the extent to which students have developed a meaningful understanding of the concept.
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