How to Create a 5-E Model Lessson

One of the best parts of teaching math for me has always been creating 5-E model lessons for my students. What I love about this lesson planning model is that it allows my students the opportunity to explore and discover new content on their own before I provide additional details and strategies. The 5-E model also allows me the opportunity to facilitate my lesson through questioning and assess the students’ understanding throughout the lesson through my observations as students build knowledge.

Over the years, I’ve had many teachers ask me about how I plan 5-E model lessons. In today’s post, I’m sharing the way I plan my math lessons using the 5-E model lesson planning format.

  • Engage: This part of the process is by far my favorite. It’s when I have the best opportunity to hook my students into the lesson. During this time, I may use a game, read a picture book, share a video clip, introduce a real-world problem, or initiate a notice and wonder math talk to engage my students. The most important thing to note here is that I do not give anything away during this time, it’s just a teaser for the lesson. Read more about engagement strategies to “hook” your students here!
  • Explore: After I gain the students’ attention with the engage activity, I provide an experience where students get to make sense of a concept on their own. My favorite way to do this is to give students a cooperative learning task that allows me a chance to facilitate the experience by asking questions and guiding learning. This part of the lesson is also a time where I may provide a hands-on lesson and recording sheet for students to work through to help them make sense of the concept or skill.
  • Explain: I’ve blogged before about a misconception I had with this component of the process. I always thought that this was my time to take over the lesson and be the center of attention. I used to use this as my chance to tell the students everything that they needed to know, and what I knew, about the concept on which we were working. I have since learned that this component is an opportunity for the students to explain what they’ve learned about the concept. (Read more here.) My job then is to guide their thinking and help them continue to refine their understanding of the skill. This is typically where we complete some sort of interactive notebook activity so that the students have a record of their learning. When I am really crafty, I can use the interactive notebook activity as an explore activity and then use the recording sheet as the official record that we analyze and discuss further.
  • Elaborate: This part of the plan is fun and it often includes a cooperative learning experience, game, problem-solving or real-world application task, concept-focused station rotation, or non-paper-and-pencil independent practice. This activity is designed to extend student thinking and provide another opportunity for students to make sense of the concept or skill and refine their understanding.
  • Evaluate: This last component is my opportunity to formatively assess the students. My favorite way to do this is through a journal task because it provides me with the greatest depth of student understanding. However, an exit task may come in handy here as well. (Read more about exit tasks here.) This is also the part of the lesson when I may use a quiz or a worksheet to assess student understanding. The most important thing here is to use the task to gain the best picture of where students are in the learning process so that I know how to move forward with my instruction.

The 5-E model lesson has become my favorite lesson format for my students because it provides lots of opportunity for math talk and allows students the opportunity to construct their own understanding of a concept. It also takes the focus off of me and makes student learning front and center.

Full Disclosure: Occasionally, I have found it necessary to take more than one day to complete a lesson cycle. I know this creates panic for some, but I am confident that the use of the additional time is well spent as I sometimes need to complete several Explore and Explain cycles before getting to the Elaboration stage.

Want to know more? Grab a free copy of my 5-E model lesson plan template here.

Sound Off! What’s your favorite part of the 5-E planning process? Respond in the comments below.


Shametria Routt Banks

Shametria Routt Banks

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4 thoughts on “How to Create a 5-E Model Lessson”

  1. I was looking for something to guide me and this is what I needed. I continue to fall in love with this site. Thank you

  2. I’m so glad I found your website. I was looking for The 5 E model examples in the images and I saw yours. Will continue to explore your site.


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