Creating Teachable Moments in a 5E Science Curriculum

Science Bits provides classroom teachers with effective teaching tools that create teachable moments using high quality, curated digital content that adheres to the 5E Model.

5E pioneer Dr. Roger Bybee sums it up well.  “Teachable moments begin with curiosity. They occur when students experience something they recognize and that has meaning, but they cannot formulate an explanation for the phenomenon or experience. The experience is within their cognitive grasp but beyond their full understanding…. At a slightly deeper level, the student is expressing cognitive disequilibrium with phenomena in the classroom, school, or environment. In short, the student’s current knowledge and understanding do not provide an explanation for something he or she has experienced.”

How are Science Bits’ 5E lesson plans organized?

5E lesson plans begin by allowing students to experience an interesting scientific phenomenon that is beyond their understanding. Students then have opportunities to sort out their ideas and understanding of the experience as they learn underlying concepts.  Additional concepts are introduced and build on each other until the students have a deep understanding of the scientific phenomenon that they experienced initially. This is 5E education.  Students learn concepts within the framework of their experience instead of learning facts by rote without understanding the larger context. This is one of the key reasons why 5E lesson plans like Science Bits are delivering dramatic improvements in student understanding and retention.

The Science Bits team is led by Hector Martin, PhD. He says, “At Science Bits, we never limit our team during the planning process so that we can incorporate the best active teaching and learning practices as well as didactic science experiences. This team collaborates on a creative process that always keeps the end in mind as they map out learning concepts, organize activities, and collaborate on multimedia approaches that will bring the science to life.”

Click the image to see a List of Units

Science Bits is an ever-growing collection of secondary science curriculum. To date, Science Bits has over 50 complete 5E Units, all including multiple lesson plans and exercises, and they are releasing additional lesson plan units approximately once per month (click this link or the image to the right to see a recent list of Science Bits Units and lesson plans). Each 5E lesson plan is made up of 4-6 weeks of classroom instruction and activities, and it includes ALL of the materials, videos, media, and virtual experiments that you will need. Science Bits develops new units by assembling a multidisciplinary team of science teachers, educators, video editors, and multimedia professionals from all around the world who work within the framework of the International Science Teaching Foundation (ISTF).

5E Lesson Plans and the Science Bits Model

Science Bits units adhere to the 5E educational model, with lessons that follow a research based sequence.

  • Engage – Each unit begins with a short video focused on a natural phenomenon. Instead of beginning the process by teaching facts, each video is designed to capture student interest, activate prior knowledge, and initiate the cognitive conflict that leads to teachable moments.
  • Explore  – The Explore section provides opportunities for students to learn science by doing science. In this section, students explore concepts using virtual experiments, simulators, animations, and high quality videos that build on existing knowledge.
  • Explain -The Explain section is most like a typical textbook, but it takes learning farther by providing a visual scaffolding through content vocabulary, self-correctable exercises, video, and animations that bring the standards to life. This section is designed to lead students into a formal knowledge and understanding of the experience.
  • Elaborate – The Elaborate phase provides a new project based learning activity where students apply their new knowledge to new phenomena. Students work together to inquire, experiment, collect data, and apply the newly learned content.
  • Evaluate – The Evaluate phase begins with a short, focused summary video that ties the unit together by showing all of the information within the context of a concept map illustrating related ideas. And finally provides a test based on the principles of skills assessment.

Science Bits 5E Lesson Plans

Science Bits takes an exciting new approach incorporating educational psychology through carefully curated science content to build “teachable moments.” Science Bits provides teachers with an innovative platform that provides focused content that promotes an active learning environment. Multi-media resources help teachers provide opportunities that engage students in deep learning experiences that promote real understanding.

Science Bits provides a complete and comprehensive curriculum for Secondary School Sciences and provides curriculum alignment services for schools. Its content can be arranged following NGSS, or it can be customized to meet your state’s science standards. Teachers can customize their own learning sequences and even provide different content to different groups of students to suit diverse levels and backgrounds.


A Word from Science Bits Co-Founder

“We think the best way to bring about this change is to empower teachers with research-based, user-friendly resources that support best instructional practices and promote student engagement.”

– Hector Martin, Science Bits Co-Founder


About the Author

April Anderson, Ed.D, is a lifelong educator and has spent the past 25 years supporting engaging curriculum and instruction to support student achievement for all learners. She has served as a teacher, counselor, administrator and assistant superintendent in charge of curriculum and instruction.

April is Technical Training Aids’ resident Science Bits expert and travels showing and presenting the features and benefits of the Science Bits program.  If you have further questions about Science Bits or how the program can be customized to your school’s needs – or if you would like to schedule a one-on-one demonstration with April – please complete this form with your contact information and tell us a little about your specific request, and she will personally reach out to you to discuss what Science Bits can do for your classroom.


Would you like to find out more about how Science Bits can transform your classroom?

Contact April Anderson, Ed.D. by email or fill out the form below. You can also reach April at (770) 550-7614.

April Anderson, Ed.D, is a lifelong educator and has spent the past 25 years supporting engaging curriculum and instruction to promote student achievement for all learners. April is Technical Training Aids’ resident Science Bits expert and travels showing and presenting the features and benefits of the Science Bits program. Please complete this form to contact her for more information.