5E Inquiry-based Lesson Sample

Here is a sample of a 5E inquiry-based lesson. The lesson here is on friction, and this is an example of how inquiry-based learning can be accessible for anyone, even beginning teachers. While it is inquiry based, it is also linear and requires few resources. This lesson is designed for an 80-minute class, but a scaled down 5E lesson can also be done in 40 minutes.

The 5E lesson is founded on giving students more opportunities to make sense of concepts and minimize the role of the teacher. The 5Es are “Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate.”

–Engage: Hook the students
–Explore: Students make sense of a concept through observations; may be hands-on
–Explain: Teacher introduces formal vocabulary and language to student observations during explore phase
–Elaborate: Students apply what they’ve learned
–Evaluate: Student, peer, and teacher assessment

Generally, the “Elaborate” piece should be the longest “E” and the “Explain” should be the shortest.

Friction Lesson Plan Sample:


Dean Bryson is in his fifth year of teaching ninth grade physical science at New Tech Collinwood High School. He is a proud graduate of Bowling Green State University and Howard University. For the past two summers, Dean has served as a corps member advisor for Teach For America’s Houston Institute, supporting and coaching brand new teachers. He implements project-based learning (PBL) and teaches standards through authentic-learning tasks. While there is often tension between PBL and standards-based instruction, Dean has learned to effectively embed standards within his projects without sacrificing data-driven instruction. Outside of his classroom, Dean advises the social justice club and the “BG Bros,” a male mentoring group at Collinwood.