Watch: Introduction to the Primary Connections 5E model

Primary Connections resources and professional learning is based on the 5E teaching and learning model. This evidenced-based approach is effective in guiding teaching and learning of science because it supports active, constructivist learning; students draw on their prior knowledge, pose questions, participate in hands-on experiences, and conduct exploratory and formal investigations, to develop their own explanations about scientific phenomena. Students are given opportunities to represent and re-represent their developing understanding using literacy skills. They are actively engaged in the learning process. Students develop science inquiry skills and an understanding of the nature of science.

Teaching and learning progresses through five phases: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate. The phases of the Primary Connections 5E teaching and learning model are based on the 5Es instructional model (Bybee, 1997).

The 5Es

Engage

The purpose of the Engage phase is to elicit students' prior knowledge, stimulate interest and gather diagnostic data to inform teaching and learning. Each unit begins with a lesson that mentally engages students with an activity or question. It captures student interest, provides an opportunity for them to express what they know about the concept or skill being developed, and helps them to begin to make connections between what they know and new ideas.

Explore

Students carry out hands-on investigations in which they can explore the concept or skill. They grapple with the problem or phenomenon and describe it in their own words. This phase allows students to acquire a shared set of experiences that they can refer to to help each other make sense of the new concept or skill. The Explore phase is characterised by multiple opportunities for students to experience hands-on learning and represent their thinking.

Explain

The purpose of the Explain phase is to support students to develop scientific explanations, drawing from experiences and observations, using representations. Students continue to develop knowledge of concepts and demonstrate their developing understanding.

Elaborate

This phase provides opportunities for students to apply what they have learned to new situations and develop a deeper understanding of the concept or greater use of their science inquiry skills. It is important for students to discuss and compare their ideas with each other during this phase. Investigations in the Elaborate phase build student capability for science inquiry skills in a meaningful context.

Evaluate

The final phase provides an opportunity for students to review and reflect on their own learning, and on their new understanding and skills. Students represent changes to their understanding, beliefs and skills.

Learn more about the 5E model (PDF, 72.4KB)

Resources

Posters

Posters to display in your classroom or staffroom

Units of work

Download units of work planned using the 5E model

Design your own units

Plan a unit using the Primary Connections approach

Videos

The Primary Connections 5E model: Engage

The Engage phase in action - sparking students' interest, stimulating their curiosity, raising questions for inquiry and eliciting existing student beliefs about the topic.

The Primary Connections 5E model: Explore

The Explore phase in action – students exploring ideas of the science phenomena, collecting evidence, discussion observations and keeping records.

The Primary Connections 5E model: Explain

The Explain phase in action – students discussing and identifying patterns and relationships within observations, developing their own scientific explanations, and considering the current views of scientists.

The Primary Connections 5E model: Elaborate

The Elaborate phase in action - planning and conducting an open investigation to apply and extend new conceptual understanding in a new context

The Primary Connections 5E model: Evaluate

The Evaluate phase in action – students reflecting on their learning journey and creating a representation of their conceptual understanding by building on literacy skills.