In actuality, different learning theories suggest different approaches to learning. However, there is no ideal, universal theory that could be applicable with equal success to all situations and all students. Instead, educators should elaborate the individual approach to each students and the choice of methods and tools used in the course of teaching should involve the accurate analysis of students’ needs, their level of academic development and peculiarities of their psychology and cognitive development. The right choice of teaching tools and approaches is particularly important in teaching math in the 5th grade, when students confront new challenges and they have to develop new models of thinking and, as a rule, they confront particularly serious problems at this stage of their academic development. In this regard, educators should be able to choose the right instruction methods and approaches to help their students to learn successfully.
In actuality, the diversity of learning theories opens wide opportunities for educator to choose the most efficient approaches that suits their students and their specific learning situation. For instance, one of the most popular learning theories is behaviorism. Behaviorism holds the premise that stimulus-response is the key factor of learning. Students are supposed to receive a stimulus and develop the required response. In such a way, they acquire new knowledge and develop new skills.
Constructivism implies the creation of individual constructs by students. In the learning situation, students may elaborate the approach of their own to the learning problem to solve and each approach is plausible if it is correct. In such a way, students learn to solve problems and learn to learn at large using their own constructs.
Cognitivism views a learner as a black box’, while educators should understand their learners and help them to uncover their full potential. In such a situation, the task of an educator is to open up this black box and to fill it with specific academic knowledge and skills, which students have to develop in the course of learning.
At this point, it is possible to refer to the specific lesson plan. The lesson plan focuses on the learning of adding fractions with different denominators in the 5th grade. The following plan may be used (Sweller & Cooper, 1985):
Students will be able to add fractions with different denominators.
Materials and resources:
- Students will need their math books, pencils and paper
- Teachers will need colored markers or chalk and fraction pie circles with pieces for 6/6 and 8/8
Students will need to know how to simplify fractions, add fractions with like denominators, write numbers asÂ Product of Primes, andÂ Multiply Fractions.