Planning a 5E STEM lesson

“Tell me and I’ll forget, teach me and I’ll remember, involve me and I will learn”

Benjamin Franklin

In pedagogy, constructivism appeared thanks to the psychologist Jean Piaget. He said, that “knowledge is not transmitted, It is created.”
If briefly, explain constructivism approach, then we get that learning is an active process of knowledge formation, which is formed from individual experience in realistic conditions. Thus, the test of knowledge occurs in the course of acquiring experience. The human brain keeps in its memory a discrete value selected from different points of view, the fidelity of which is supported by additional connections of experienced events. Therefore, the lessons based on the 5E model or the principles of constructivism are often referred to as alive training.

In order to simplify the process of designing educational materials according to the theory of constructivism, the educational model 5E (The 5E Instructional Model) was proposed. According to this model, the lesson is divided into 5 phases, each of which has its own purpose, which in English can be represented by a word beginning with the letter E:


First, it is necessary to create links between past and present experiences. The purpose of this phase is to explain to students the meaning of acquiring knowledge. When preparing the material, answer the question: “What for it is?”. Discuss how to apply the acquired knowledge!?


Please ask questions before students start to explore: What is measurable? How to made measurements to get valid results? You should not help them find an answer. But it is the best point to tell them, that it is an engineering way of thinking should be applied.

Conclusions can be considered correct if they are confirmed by experiment. A properly planned experiment should always give the same measurable result. To do this, it is necessary to find the factors that affect the result, and establish whether it is possible to measure these forces. In other words, fix the conditions. But it should be noted that it is often not effective. Hence, to achieve reliable results they need to have a plan of the experiment.


It is a time for story, definitions and interpretation of accepted definitions. It is much easier to explain that the spiral of an incandescent lamp emits photons and phonons that transfer heat to someone who knows that the bulb shines and warms. Not a little important at this stage is the instruction on the order of execution and safety. The more powerful the incandescent lamp, the more heat it emits. What do you need to do not to get burned?


After explain comes elaborate. So, let students try. In fact, this is gaining experience through practice and cooperation with other students. The concept of phonons is easier to remember by presenting the palm to a warm bulb.

If a group work, the roles of each member should be defined. It opens the students meaning of the responsibility area.


It is self-assessment of learning material. What did I understand? Will I be able to explain clearly to another? In the final phase, students evaluate, reflecting on and providing evidence of their new understanding of the material.

Improvement is a continuous process. What could be improved in the work of the group / in the approach / in the lab equipment/ materials?

The main idea of constructivism is that students build knowledge for themselves, and we, as teachers, help them. Therefore, when developing educational material, the focus of attention is transferred from the subject of study to the student, since the level of learning on the knowledge created by the student or the group of students.

That approach use PASCO SCIENTIFIC in material preparation. For example:

  1. Essential Chemistry. It is complete Chemistry Solution with Equipment, e-Book, and Textbook.
  2. Essential Physics. The same as Essential chemistry it is complete set for 45 labs with interactive simulations in the e-book and editable documents in a Teacher e-Resources.
  3. STEM Modules: Biosphere, Air Bag, Egg Drop, Collisions

Now you know how to organize 5E model lessons. To get know more read the article “Selecting educational tools for a STEM lesson”.

Challenges in STEM

That presentation especially prepared by for Hong Kong delegation, aim of visiting was to get know about STEM Education & Digital Society development of Estonia. Association of I.T organized the visit . Leaders in Education (AiTLE) from Hong Kong and EDB. Presentation describes the modern educational approach and today’s challenges.

DIFI.NET presents National Instruments portfolio

National Instruments product for STEM education

National Instruments (NI) offers the engineering approach, platform and software LabVIEW, through which engineers and scientists around the world design, prototype, run testing, data collection and management systems. It perfectly fits STEM curriculum.

Many people do not think that in the graphical programming environment of robots LEGO MINDSTORMS – this is a simplified LabVIEW. LabVIEW is short for Laboratory Virtual Instrument Engineering Workbench. It was originally released in 1986 for the Apple Macintosh for data acquisition and instrument control. Now there are not only several versions for different operating systems MacOS, MS Windows, Linux, but also two types of classic LabVIEW and LabVIEW NXG. It should be noted that in the development of the first Estonian satellite ESTCube-1, which successfully entered orbit in 2013, NI technologies were also used.

Striving for flexibility NI proposed the concept of modularity of measuring equipment. When various expansion cards can be inserted into the system unit changing the functionality of the main device and getting the synchronization of modules on a single bus. In 1997, NI was one of the founders of the PXI standard, meaning PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation. PXI solution is somewhat similar to a personal computer, where its main parts are a controller and a chassis with a bus connecting all modules, as well as expansion cards. A similar concept is incorporated into the CompactRIO platform, which is often used for data collection. Even for very fast speeds, such as signal processing At the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

For project education in higher education institutions NI offers:

NI MyRio
Analog Discovery


USRP (Eng. Universal software Radio Peripheral) – software reconfigurable radio input / output device. These are devices of reception and transmission of radio waves in which you can change the type of modulation, do tuning of operating frequencies, and quickly make changes to the system as new requirements and standards of communication by updating the software.

National Instruments

NI ELVIS (Eng. NI Engineering Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Suite) is a combination between the platform, which can be expanded by add-on modules and SOFTWARE allowing to design printed circuit boards , as well as to make measurements from the connected platform. ELVIS combines such devices as:

  • function generator
  • arbitrary waveform generator
  • Bode analyzer and impedance analyzer
  • oscilloscope
  • digital multimeter (DMM)
  • dynamic signal analyzer (DSA)
  • digital reader and programmer

Due to the modules, the ELVIS platform can be used for laboratory workshops on analog and digital electronics, power electronics, mechatronics, linear and nonlinear control systems, communication systems.


For controlling robots we often use myRio controller. More than 10,000 educational institutions around the world use MyRIO for training and preparation for robotic competitions, such as (WRO, FIRST), as well as in the subsection “Mobile robotics” WorldSkills. The controller is popular because it has a sufficient number of digital and analog inputs / outputs, built-in accelerometer, FPGA Xilinx and dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, support Wi-Fi, USB port. It can be programmed with the help of LabVIEW or C. It is also the “brain” of TETRIX PRIME plus MyRIO.


Analog Discovery 2 turns any PC into an electrical workstation. This USB-powered device allows students to create and test analog and digital circuits. In addition to the dual-channel oscilloscope with a speed of 100 MS / s. Analog Discovery 2 provides dual-channel signal generator, 16-channel logic analyzer, 16-channel digital pattern generator, spectrum analyzer, network analyzer, voltmeter and adjustable DC power supplies ± 5 volts.


The acronym STEM came from US National Science Foundation. It is acronym from words Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). STEM is educational approach, which helps to show interdisciplinary links between sciences, technology and engineering. 




In using variations of it:

STEMLE (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Law and Economics); identifies subjects focused on fields such as applied social sciences and anthropology, regulation, cybernetics, machine learning, social systems, computational economics and computational social sciences.

Variations of STEM

STREM (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, and Mathematics); adds robotics as a field.
STREAM (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics); add robotics and arts as fields.
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics)
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Applied Mathematics); more focus on applied mathematics
GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science); used for programs to encourage women to enter these fields.
STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine)
AMSEE (Applied Math, Science, Engineering, and Entrepreneurship)
THAMES (Technology, Hands-On, Art, Mathematics, Engineering, Science)

We use shorter abbreviation STE, because Mathematics is an integral part of Science, Technology, Engineering.

In the STE BLOG we will collect and publish articles which could help educators do learning memorable. It will include articles about education products, use cases and introduction ideas.

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