CSS is not available in your browser. Though all content is accessible, the page will not appear as intended.

Skip Navigation


Professional Development

Making Science Meaningful

Understanding and applying the learning cycle model
Grade Levels:
Middle school
30 minutes
Taping Rights:
Teaching Materials:
See Below
Program Schedule:
See Below

Middle school science teachers explain and illustrate how the use of the learning cycle, an inquiry-based approach to instruction rooted in constructivism, can weave together engaging hands-on activities, the science Core Content, and deeper student understanding. The learning cycle model provides an environment and structure in which students can develop conceptual understanding and process skills. These KET seminars lead participants through each of the three phases of the cycle—exploration, conceptual development, and application—and provide a real-life example of how to apply it in the classroom.

Length: 4 programs; 30 minutes each
Audience: middle school science teachers


  1. Exploration—By working directly with materials and investigating phenomena in the exploration phase of the learning cycle, students participate in a common set of hands-on experiences that sets the stage for the development of conceptual understandings. The presenters show how to plan and implement activities that directly involve students in purposeful inquiry and discovery through the development of process skills.

  2. Conceptual Development—In Phase 2, the teacher acts as a facilitator to help students connect their observations, ideas, questions, and hypotheses to standard terminology and develop conceptual understandings. For example, when students observe that magnets “stick” to metallic objects, the teacher introduces terminology referring to an “attracting force,” allowing the students to connect vocabulary and concepts to hands-on experiences. The program also explores the role of formative assessment during this phase.

  3. Application—The students expand on the concepts they have learned, making connections to related concepts, and apply their understanding to the real world around them. For instance, once a learner understands the path light travels through space, he or she may be asked to determine where to plant flowers so that they receive sunlight most of the day. Connections often lead to further inquiry and new understandings.

  4. Making a Shift—explores how to turn a science lesson based on the model of inform, verify, and practice into one based on the learning cycle.

Teaching Materials

http://www.ket.org/education/guides/pd/makingsciencemeaningful. pdf
PDF format
KET Online
KET Professional Development
(800) 432-0951
600 Cooper Drive
Lexington, KY 40502-2296

Kentucky schools may tape and retain programs according to the rights listed above. For further information, contact the KET Education Division.

The Lay of the Land: Effects of Kentucky Geology on Culture
Kentucky-Based Natural Resources

Browse by Selecting a and/or Area

KET Educational Links
Education | P-12 On-Air | ITV Videos Home

Curriculum Areas
Arts & Humanities | Field Trips | Foreign Language | Mathematics | Practical Living/Vocational Studies
Reading/Writing | Secondary GED | Science | Social Studies | Technology/Media
Professional Development

MARC Records | KY Academic Expectations | Search/Browse | Printable Catalog

600 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40502 (859) 258-7000 (800) 432-0951

Last Updated: Tuesday, 27-Aug-2013 09:58:45 Eastern Daylight Time