Why the Seven E's
philosophy about learning, that proposes learners need to build
their own understanding of new ideas, has been labeled constructivism.
Much has been researched and written by many eminent leaders
in the fields of learning theory and cognition. Scholars such
as Jean Piaget, Eleanor Duckworth, George Hein, and Howard Gardener
have explored these ideas in-depth. The Biological Science Curriculum
Study (BSCS), a team whose Principal Investigator is Roger Bybee
developed an instructional model for constructivism, called the
Briefly, this learning approach as it relates
to science can be summarized as follows: Learning something new,
or attempting to understand something familiar in greater depth,
is not a linear process. In trying to make sense of things we
use both our prior experience and the first-hand knowledge gained
from new explorations. Initially, our curiosity about a science
topic is stirred, as we are stimulated by some intriguing phenomena,
such as a rainbow we've noticed. We poke, probe, inquire about
and explore this phenomena until it becomes less mysterious.
As we begin to investigate new ideas we can put together bits
and pieces of prior explorations that seem to fit our understanding
of the phenomena under present investigation. In the case of
the rainbow, for example, we may realize that there is an association
between sunlight and water vapor. Piece by piece we build knowledge.
Sometimes when the pieces don't fit together, we must break down
old ideas and reconstruct them. (Following a rainbow to find
a pot of gold doesn't work easily!) We extend our conceptual
understanding through discussions and creative efforts. We validate
our theories as we solve problems. In our rainbow example, we
may realize that if we position ourselves properly, we can create
a rainbow by spraying a water hose in sunlight. The clarity we've
gained in understanding a concept gives us the ability to apply
this understanding to new situations and new mysteries. It is
a continuous and a very individual process. We bring to each
learning experience our developmental level, our personal story
and our personal style.
It is up to the teacher to facilitate the
constructivistic learning process. The structure of the learning
environment should promote opportunities and events that encourage
and support the building of understanding.
We have used an adaptation of BSCS's model
to introduce the pH factor. Our instructional model is called
the "Seven Es". Investigations and activities are included
under the headings of each E. They are presented to be taught
either in sequence or independently, at the teacher's discretion.
Each investigation is designed to stand on its own and be introduced
when deemed appropriate.
[ Classroom Use | Why the
Seven E's ]
CLICK on one of the
Seven E's below to learn more about the rationale behind it.