The 5 E's

The 5 E's

Background: Developed in 1987 by the BSCS Science Learning Group, the 5 E’s of science instruction are grounded in historical models of learning by Johann Herbart and John Dewey. They involve five instructional “moves”: engage (accessing learners’ prior knowledge and interesting them in a scientific event or phenomenon); explore (activities in which common concepts are established and refined); explain (learners explain their understanding of the concept); elaborate (teachers challenge and extend students’ concepts); and finally, evaluate (students and teachers assess student understanding for mastery and progress). The lesson below uses LevelUp books and resources in these phases.

Sample Lesson

Grade: 2
Content: Science
  1. Water and Ice
  2. From Water to Ice
  3. Why Do Ice Cubes Float?
  4. KWL Chart
Additional Resources:


Have students brainstorm their prior knowledge about ice onto an anchor chart, in whatever form it may take, onto a KWL chart .

To reinforce this knowledge read From Water to Ice together, which describes the process of making ice using simple text and pictures.


Have students drop ice cubes into a glass of water and discuss in a group what happens.

Use this experience to springboard into the investigative question of the book Why Do Ice Cubes Float? Read this book aloud with students, adding new knowledge to their KWL chart as you go.


Have students read Water and Ice independently. Ask them to use the melting/freezing cycle on page 7 to explain where water will be more dense and less dense.


Have students create models of two or more water molecules using colored marshmallows and toothpicks. Connect them with longer, differently colored toothpicks to demonstrate the bonds between molecules. Have students physically manipulate the models to show how water becomes less dense when frozen (by making the molecule bonds longer, and therefore pushing the molecules farther apart).


Have students take the LevelUp Why Do Ice Cubes Float? quiz to determine their mastery of the book concepts.

Click the attachment below to download a blank 5E's template.

Considerations for Distance or Hybrid Environments:
The two simple experiments (floating ice cubes and marshmallow molecule models) can be conducted at home easily with dropped-off materials, and/or conducted live via Zoom with the teacher acting as a proxy for students. Alternatively, is a website that allows for simple molecule modeling online, which teachers can use in real time. Read-alouds can be conducted together by sharing the teacher’s screen, having students follow along in their own LevelUp electronic copies of the text, or both. KWL charts are digitally available via the LevelUp Teacher Resources and can be filled in electronically in real time via Zoom or platforms such as Seesaw and shared with students.
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