Terra Forma and the 5Es


A recent push in many school districts is the 5E model for science learning and it is our argument that this should not be only used in the science classroom and lab but should be used in all classrooms where personalized learning is apparent and a focus of instruction. The 5E’s of Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate flows well the TFC process to inquiry based learning no matter the subject matters.

Think of this question developed from our Humanities Edition as the students explored the importance of the people in self-governance and how the interaction of nations, and their differences, have effected the world today:


If I were NELSON MANDELA how would I have responded to TIANANMEN SQUARE?


Engage: To engage the student in these two historical lessons, and to find the connection, the teacher can lead with an engaging photograph, short video and/or documentary on either of the subjects or, even better, related subjects that explore the political nature of two differing countries, cultures and societies that can provide additional connections. The key here is to find a hook for the students and push them to want to explore further and deeper.

Explore: For the student, in relation to this question, they now develop understandings of the two immediate and obvious variables (Mandela and Tiananmen Square) and must now delve deeper to gain the knowledge and understanding of the cultural implications based on time period, national cultural practices and other variables – what we call fringe learning. The student cannot truly answer the question without knowing about the spheres of influence working in these situations and cannot connect the events unless they truly know the contexts of why Mandela and why Tiananmen Square.

Think of this question developed from our Humanities Edition for students interested in religious freedom and freedom of speech:


If MLK’s “I HAVE A DREAM” SPEECH existed in THE CRUSADES, how would that have changed society of the MIDDLE EAST?


Explain: Once the student has been engaged and explored they must now be able to explain what occurred during these two events and connect them in a meaningful and effective way. Connecting these two events to a specific geographical location and cultural reference develops a deep understanding of all the fringe factors and effective communication skills (oral, written, diagram etc.) are developed from the students’ perspective.

Elaborate: The student, once they have created the connections, is then encouraged to delve deeper and find further connections outside of the immediate questions asked. The teacher becomes the facilitator and pushes the student to ask themselves further questions around the fringes of the topics and communicate this through their final product(s).

Think of this question from our art deck which allows for the student to express themselves and allows for self evaluation as well as informal, formative and summative assessments from the classroom teacher:


How can I show the juxtaposition of MOTION and SCIENCE in my SCULPTURE?  


Evaluate: The student has the opportunity to pull in his or her knowledge from differing fields (science, engineering, math and personal experiences) into their art project and will be challenged trying to solve this question in finding a contrast in two subjects that define a static structure. A project such as this will be one that may be assessed over and over until both the student and teacher believe that the final product truly answers the questions they created. The concept of a growth mindset and having the ability to tweak and tinker while constantly evaluating the final product is one that will be developed through the constant assessment and evaluation.