Learning Cycle Instructional Model
One formulation of the 5 E's (engage,
explore, explain, extend, evaluate) learning cycle gives possible
activites matched to each phase of the cycle. Modeling
activities may be integrated into a learning cycle paradigm, so that
students become engaged by a demonstration and discussion, conduct
preliminary explorations with the model, seek to explain the model's
behavior, extend it to include related behavior, and evaluate their own
In Becoming a Secondary School Science Teacher, Trowbridge & Bybee (1990) assess the learning cycle or 5 E's instructional model as an effective paradigm. Their description of the method emphasizes that students should explore diverse representations of a common underlying reality. The extension phase should provide an opportunity for transfer of the skill or understanding to a new situation. Others, however, use the extension phase as an enrichment activity.
Tinker explains that such methods are in the constructivist tradition in that they schedule the presentation of a general rule after student experiential activity. The idea is for students to be ready to generalize after they have investigated several instantations of a theory. The cycle should also help the student to connect new concepts to her existing schemata.
More examples/information on the Learning Cycle and Constructivism