Teacher Resources - Chapter 8 - Agenda Strategies


This chapter is correlated with Chapter 7, in which the ideas of five theorists (Dewey, Bruner, Piaget, von Glasersfeld, & Vygotsky was presented. This chapter presents models of teaching based on those theorists' ideas. The models presented here are the scaffolding that will be helpful to your students as they begin to plan lessons and create an environment in the classroom that fosters active student involvement. Underlying all of the models presented is the notion that students should be involved.You can start anywhere in the chapter. Each model has its own protocols, and can be implemented using the material in the chapter. This and the following chapter are very practical, and have been designed to help your students implement specific approaches to teaching.

Initial Case to Consider: Descent from Innocence

In this chapter, the focus is on practical applications by presenting a number of models of teaching. As science educators, we typically have emphasized an inquiry approach to teaching. But for the beginning teacher, this can be a nightmare. In this case, a teacher, with very good intensions, tries to implemnet a laboratory activity about the metric system. Are the teacher's expectations too high? How would your students suggest the lesson be modified to make it more successful?

Models of Teaching

There are many ways to teach. You and I know that. In this chapter several models of teaching are presented, and with these, we are only scratching the surface of the possible models that have been developed. I recommend that your look at Bruce Joyce's and Marsha Weil's Models of Teaching, which presents a vast array of teaching models. As you can see, I've organized the models along three lines of theory: constructivist, sociocultural, and behavioral.





Conceptual Change


Peer Collaboration & Cooperative Learning

Communities of Practice


Deductive Inquiry

Inductive Inquiry


Open-Ended Inquiry


Direct-Interactive Model

Figure 1: Models of Teaching as They Relate to Theories of Learning

Inquiry Activity 8.1: Designing Project Based Learning Activities

In this inquiry, students will design a project-based activity using the constructivst model presented in the chapter (outlined below). Activities should be based on the learning cycle model and be linked to state and/or national standards.

The Inquiry activity has been placed in the text just after the section on constructivist and sociocultural models of science teaching. It is a design inquiry in which you will be asking your students to inquire into how to develop constructist-based activities. We have provided ample examples in the text that the students can use as referents as they develop their activity.

Following are some comments on constructivist models.

Constructivist Models of Teaching

There are many different models of teaching that can be called constructivist. In our work with the prospective teachers in the program at Georgia State University, the Global Thinking Project, and in seminars for the Bureau of Education and Research, a four-stage model of learning was used as our constructivist template. The four stages were based on the Learning Cycle Model and included the following stages:

  • Invitation Phase
  • Exploration Phase
  • Concept Explanation Phase
  • Taking Action Phase

We've found that the best way to help others understand the constructivist model is to have them "construct" a lesson sequence based on the model.

Learning Cycle Lessons

We've included two learning cycle lessons on the Companion Websitde (Learning Cycle Lesson 8.1 and 8.2) that you can have your students read and discuss, or that you could carry out with them and use it for a discussion.

  • Learning Cycle Lesson 8:1: What can be learned from Skulls? In this activity students observe a variety of vertebrate skills to make inferences about what it eats.
  • Learning Cycle Lesson 8.2: What caused the water to rise? In this lesson sequence, students invert a cylinder over a burning candle placed in a pan of water. Students are asked to predict what they think will happen before they carry out the activity. This would be an excellent activity for you to do with your class to use to help them understand the four phases of the constructivist model, and prepare them for Inquiry Activity 8.1.
Title of Lesson

Invitation--finding out about student's prior knowledge

Exploration: describe one key activity or inquiry

Explanation: how will students hear alternative views and talk aloud about their ideas

Taking Action: describe how students will take action or apply new concepts

Evaluation: How will student leanring be assessed?

Authors: Names of the constructivist design

Figure 2. Presentation Postere for Inquiry 8.1

Inquiry 8.2: Science Teaching As Inquiry

Breaking into Inquiry

We have designed this activity to enable you to work with your students on the nature of, and implementation issues of inquiry teaching. Two key resources are available to you to use with your students:

1. A Science Teacher article entitled: Breaking into Inquiry by Eich, Meadows, and Balkcom. The article is introduced into the Gazette; the full article can be found on the Companion Website.

2. Links to Annenberg Media Website of videos of science inquiry teaching. There are many inquiry videos to observe at the site. We have focused in on one of the lessons in the Case Studies (case #21---a life science teacher) which you will find at:

We recommend that you have your students read the article first (Breaking into Inquiry). They should use the article to compare their own views of inquiry teaching with those that are presented in the article. You might also have the students read the section on inquiry in the Art of Teaching Science.

Use small group work for discussion of the readings.

We recommend that after you have discussed inquiry with your students, have them observe the life science teacher featured in the Annenberg Media video. In it, they will observe a teacher doing inquiry in a lab called the "apple lab." Have your students discuss how the teacher implemented inquiry with his students. Discuss their observations and opinions.

You might follow this inquiry activity up with an activity in which pairs of students design an inquiry activity, and present their product to the class.

Collaborative Learning Models: Sociocultural Theory into Practice (Cooperative Learning)

Cooperative learning is the content of this section, and we've organized the concepts this way:

Cooperative Structures. A cooperative structure is way of organizing the social activity of a group of learners, and as such each structure will result in a slightly different way that students cooperate to learn. You will find many cooperative learning structures described in the text.


Structures I. These structures can be used to organize a lesson that is oriented toward cooperative learning. Anyone of the structures can be used, and in fact, two or more structures can be combined to generate creative lesson plans.

Structures II. Used in the Direct/Interctive model as a way of accelerating interactivity among your students. Typically these structures follow a presentation (mini-lecture) by the teacher, and are used in a "wait-time" to help students process science concepts and ideas presented by the teacher.

  • Think-pair-share
  • Pairs check
  • Three-step interview
  • STAD
  • Jigsaw
  • Constructive controversy
  • Numbered heads together
  • Roundtable/circle of knowledge
  • Talking chips
  • Co-op cards
  • Send a problem
  • Think-aloud-pair-problem solving
  • Pair and compare
  • Pair, compare, and ask
  • Periodic free-recall, with pair-and-compare
  • Listen, recall, and ask; then pair, compare and answer
  • Solve a problem
  • Case study
  • Pair/group and discuss and open-ended questioin
  • Pair/group and review
  • Pair/group and experience an EEEP

Collaborative Models of Teaching. Two distinct approaches are used to organize the cooperative learning models we've chosen here.

  • Teacher centered---tutorial models in which students work together to rehearese and learn science information. Models include STAD (on the Companion Website) and Jigsaw (in the text).
  • Student centered--problem solving models that engage students in higher order thinking skills. You'll find a discussion of Group Investigation (in the text), and Science Experiences (on the Companion site).

Direct/Interactive Teaching Model

We've presented this an active model of learning, and one that many students will find powerful. It also can be used as an overarching structure for lesson plans. In this regard, the elements of constructivism and cooperative learning can be integrated into the model.

The model shown below lays out the sequence for the direct/interactive teaching model. An important aspect of the direct/interactive model is structuring content. I've outlined several ways that you might want to present to your students. You might assign one of these to each student and ask them to design a lesson which uses the structuring technique to organize the content they are going to teach.

  • Whole-to-Part Structuring
  • Sequential Structuring
  • Combinatorial Organzation
  • Comparative Relationships

Figure 3. Direct/Interactive Teaching Model.

From Structure to Interactivity. Once students have decided upon how to structure the content, the "cooperative learning structures" described in this section can be used to involve the students in learning teams in one or more interactive modes, e.g. pair and compare; pair, compare, and ask; periodic free-recall, with pair-and-compare. These simple cooperative learning structures infuse direct instruction lessons with a high degree of interactivity.

Inquiry Models of Teaching

What is inquiry? Ask students (in small groups) to identify what is inquiry, and what examples they can give.

Inquiry and the Standards. You might use the material on to outline the notion of inquiry as set forth by the National Science Education Standards. Are these reasonable goals for K-12 students?

Problems with Inquiry. You might read a paragraph or two of the material raising questions about inquiry, and in particular what the researchers quoted here think we should aim for to make inquiry a realistic goal for our students.

Models of Inquiry

Inquiry session. This is a model of the "inquiry session" developed years ago by Richard Suchman. It is described in detail on. One of the keys to an inquiry session is the selection of a discrepant event (or demonstration or EEEP) by the teacher. Note that in this model, the students are engaged by asking questions or proposing theories to explain the phenomenon in the discrepant event.

Figure 4. Sequence of an Inquiry Session

Inquiry Activities. I've included a few inquiry-based actiivities that you could assign to small groups of students, who must present them ot the class, and analyze how inquiry is achieved in the activity.

  • Inquiry box
  • The Wood Sinks and Floats Discrepent Event
  • The Coin Drop and Throw
  • The Double Pendulum
  • The Balloon in Water

Discovery Learning 

We've included a section on discovery learning according to the work of Jerome Bruner, and have included examples of how to implement a discovery approach to learning. You might use the Dinosaur footprint activity (see Figure below) with your students.

Figure 5. Dinosaur Footprint Puzzle Activity. In this activity students use their observation and inference abilities to interpret "fossil" footprints. These are actually footprints made by dinosaurs perhaps during the Cretaceous Period in central Connecticut.

Figure 8. Dinosaurs during the Mesozoic Era

Other Models of Teaching (on the Companion Website)

We've included four additional models that you might want to introduce to your students. These models come from other disciplines, and provide a broad spectrum to enhance teacher's modes of teaching. The models include:

  • Synectics Model. Using metaphors to make the strange familiar and familiar strange.
  • Person-Centered Model. The facilitation of learning model developed by Carl Rogers.
  • Integrative Learning Model. A model in which sythethis is paramont in learning.
  • Imagineering. Model in which imagination is fused with engineering to help students solve problems.


Science Education Literature: Breaking into Inquiry by Eich, Meadows and Balckom.

This article is integrated with Inquiry Activity 8.2, and is an important piece of literature to help your students on their way toward understanding science inquiry. The full article is accessible on the Companion Website.

Science Teacher Talk (on the Companion Website): What are some of the best ways tdo get your students thinking in your science class? Is the disovery or inquiry model of teaching important in your approach to teaching? Why?

These are important questions, and you might have your students answer the question prior to reading and discussing the question as a group.

Problems and Extensions

There are seven problems that involve students in using different modes of learning and presentation to demonstrate knowledge and understanding about models of science teaching. Anyone of these could be used as a basis for a project on this chapter.


You will find a collection of readings related to the chapter theme of models of teaching. In addition to the reading in the Research Matters section in the Science Teacher Gazette, these provide a firm basis for understanding the implementation of models of science teaching.

On the Web

You will find several links to sites that will expand your students knowledge of science teaching models.