Experiences, Patterns, Explanations (EPE)
Learning A few Using
from explanations Knowledge
Dozens of patterns in experience
Millions of experiences in the material world
Extensive explanations, models, theories
Fewer patterns (laws, generalizations,
A few specific
From: Anderson, C. W. (2003). Teaching Science for Motivation and Understanding:
Michigan State University.
The MSU Inquiry & Application Instructional Model
This instructional model is useful as an outline for constructing a sequence of lessons.
The model specifies how each activity in a sequence should function to help students
achieve the learning goals (big ideas and scientific practices).
EPE Model Activity Types of Student Types of Teacher Actions/
Elements Functions Actions/Responsibilities Responsibilities
pique students curiosity by
consider a problem, pattern, or creating new experiences or
explanation related to a draw on prior experiences to
phenomena by calling upon pose a problem.
Establish a previous experiences or
Problem/ Ask providing experiences with provide a problem/question
a Question phenomena that is comprehensible,
relevant, and motivating to
develop questions students.
Engage share prior experiences with
phenomena (including ways of engage students in
using language and hypothesizing about patterns
understanding the phenomena) in their experiences
Elicit Student express/ construct and probe students’
Experiences, Patterns, Explanations
Ideas consider multiple ideas understanding
(hypotheses) and understand
that different people have invite students to raise
different ideas. questions & think about own
mess around with materials & create opportunities for
ideas (experiences) students to mess around
with materials & ideas
try out & test ideas (experiences)
create opportunities for
Explore possibly design investigations students to try out & test
Phenomena ideas (hypotheses)
record observations (collect
data/evidence) create opportunities for
students to collect and
look for patterns in analyze data/evidence (look
data/evidence for patterns)
share ideas about
look for opportunities to
Explore build congruence between
patterns in the data/evidence
Student Ideas student ideas and science
Explain (Divide into ideas
explore and develop reasonable
conclusions from data/evidence
explain) build on student ideas
represent scientific ideas
Introduce learn scientific explanations for comprehensibly
Inquiry & Application (Overlap)
Ideas continue to build
congruence between student
thinking and science ideas
share & compare student provide opportunities for
Explain explanations with each other students to share & compare
ideas with each other
compare student ideas to
scientific ideas use formative assessments
to make adjustments to
draw reasonable conclusions teaching
from data/evidence &
experiences compare student ideas to
make conceptual connections
between new and former
model, coach, fade
ask new questions
Model, Coach, use what has been learned to
Fade explore and explain new
ask new questions
Curriculum Materials Evaluation & Planning Cycle
The questions below provide the basis for evaluating the curriculum materials provided
for your unit and thinking about the modifications you will need to make as you plan
your instructional approach. You will use the Curriculum Materials Analysis Table to
document your analysis. A set of questions for summarizing and discussing your analysis
are provided after the table.
Model Piece CM Evaluation Questions Knowing My Students Planning Questions
Engage Establish a Is there a relevant, What problems are relevant What relevant, interesting,
Problem interesting, motivating, and interesting to my motivating, understandable
understandable problem that students? problem will I use?
addresses the learning goal?
How can I connect to my How is this problem related to
students’ lived experiences? my students’ lived experiences?
Elicit Student Does the material elicit How do my students make How will I elicit student ideas?
Ideas student ideas and help the sense of their world?
teacher understand student How will I have students share
ideas about the learning their ideas with other students?
Explore & Explore Do the students collect data, What are the types of What problems or phenomena
Investigate Phenomena record observations, look for everyday experiences that my will students explore?
patterns related to the students engage in?
learning goal? How will the students collect
How can I engage my students data, record observations, look
in scientific practices? for patterns?
Explore Do the students explore & What resources do my How will the students explore &
Student Ideas share their ideas? students bring to learning share their ideas?
Does the material build on How will I build on student ideas,
student ideas, challenge What ways of knowledge- challenge student ideas, and give
student ideas when sharing are my students students opportunities to revise
necessary, and give students familiar/comfortable with? their ideas?
opportunities to revise their
Explain Introduce Does the material present What representations are How will I present scientific
Scientific scientific ideas related to the understandable to my students ideas?
Ideas learning goal? (familiar, accessible, etc.)?
How will I effectively represent
Are the ideas represented scientific ideas?
Compare Does the material provide What ways of knowledge- How will I build on student ideas,
Student Ideas opportunities for students to sharing are my students challenge student ideas, and give
compare new science ideas familiar/comfortable with? students opportunities to revise
to their own previous ideas their ideas?
and note similarities and
differences? How will I allow students to
share their ideas with each other
Does the material include and begin building group
effective assessments consensus?
related to the learning goal
throughout and give the How will I assess student
teacher opportunity to progress and modify my
modify instruction based on instruction to meet my students’
Apply Model, Does the material allow What applications are relevant How will I allow students to
Coach, Fade students to apply their new to my students’ lived apply their new ideas to new
ideas to new situations experiences? situations?
related to the learning goal?
What situations will I use?
Is support for student
performance provided (with What support will my students
modeling & coaching) and need?
gradually reduced (fading)?
How will I allow students to
share their ideas with each other
and begin building group
How will I assess student
progress and modify my
instruction to meet my students’