There exists in the profession much discussion about “what” should be taught in classrooms. Some would argue that as long as students are using their hands, it does not matter. Many would point to the Standards for Technological Literacy and say this is the content for technology and engineering (technological literacy). The evolution from skills-based to an emphasis on technological literacy creates many opportunities when channeled to content.
When looking at the conceptual base for technology and engineering,...
When looking at the conceptual base for technology and engineering, the STEM CTL is using the following Contexts and Concepts (Rousouw, 2005) as the basis for developing classroom materials and professional development.
Modeling plays a significant role in the conceptual base. Often we think of models as real objects that look or act like the real artifact. A model is a system that is used to describe (or interpret) another system of interest in a purposeful way. Understanding models usually involves a variety of diagrams, concrete models, experience-based metaphors, and other expressive media. (Lesh, 2010 p7).
For purposes of developing an instructional model that blends design and inquiry, the BSCS 5E Instructional Model (Bybee, 1997), the conceptual base (concepts and contexts) as described in the Delphi study by Rousouw, Hacker, and de Vries (Rousouw, 2005) and the Informed Design Teaching and Learning Matrix (Crismond, 2012) was used. Additionally, mathematical modeling concepts (Lesh, 2010) were incorporated.
The basic premise of the 6E Learning byDeSIGN™ Model was to develop a student-centered model that would blend design (context and concepts) and inquiry. Having used the BSCS 5E model for many years, there was always the struggle that design was not fully represented. To that end, this new model adds an “e” called eNGINEER. It is in this phase or cycle where students truly design and model as engineers would.
What follows are descriptions of each of the six Es. Figure 1 provides a summary of what a student will experience in each phase, as well as teacher expectations to facilitate the student learning. Much of the BSCS model has been incorporated and enhanced by integrating throughout the concepts of eNGINEERING (design, systems, modeling, human values, and resources).
The purpose for the EXPLORE phase is to provide students with the opportunity to construct their own understanding of the topic.
In the EXPLORE phase the students have the opportunity to get directly involved with phenomena and materials. As they work together in teams, students build a set of common experiences that prompts sharing and communicating. The teacher acts as a facilitator, providing materials and guiding the students' focus. The students' inquiry process drives the instruction during an exploration. Students are actively learning through inquiry-based science instruction and engineering challenges. Through Socratic Questioning, emphasis is placed on: questioning, data analysis and critical thinking. Through self-designed or guided exploration students make hypotheses, test their own predictions, and draw their own conclusions. (Bybee, 1997)
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