Guided Discovery

  • Guided Discovery is a teaching strategy used to introduce materials in the classroom. The primary goal of Guided Discovery is to generate interest and excitement about classroom resources and help children explore their possible uses. Guided Discovery also provides opportunities to introduce vocabulary, assess children’s prior knowledge, and teach responsible use and care of materials.

    A Guided Discovery can take as little as fifteen or twenty minutes. But the interest and excitement that are generated and the skills that children practice support academic learning throughout the day.

    Steps in Guided Discovery:

    1.  Introduction and Naming

    What material are you introducing? If introducing a familiar material, how will you get children to look at it in a new way and notice new things? What open-ended questions can you ask? What vocabulary do you want to emphasize or introduce?

    2.  Generation and Modeling of Students’ Ideas for Use and Care of Material

    How will you help children generate ideas and model behaviors needed for careful, learning-focused use of the material during the exploration step coming up?

    3.  Exploration

    How will you facilitate children’s exploration of the material? Where will the exploration happen? What behaviors do you want to reinforce?

    4.  Sharing Exploratory Work

    How will you facilitate children’s sharing of their work and ideas? What focus will you provide?

    5.  Cleanup and Care of Material

    How will you help children think through and practice cleanup and care of material? What do children need to know? What behaviors will you model?