Encyclopedia of Science Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Richard Gunstone

Explaining as a Teaching Strategy

  • Garry HobanEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6165-0_405-2


Argument; Claim; Proposition; Slowmation

An explanation is a statement or set of statements that clarifies the reasons, causes, context, or principles that underpin a particular phenomenon. The word derives from the Latin term explicatus, which means to provide reasoning for. Explanations are central to the discipline of science as one of the goals of the discipline is to provide explanations that lead to a deeper understanding of various phenomena. In plain English, explanations elucidate why things work, what something is, or how things happen. They often provide cause and effect relations, include a time sequence, and use action verbs. An explanation usually has five parts: (i) naming or specifying the concept, (ii) describing elements or components of the concept in an appropriate order, (iii) explaining how the elements relate or connect to each other, (iv) providing an example, and (v) summarizing with a concluding statement.

It is a fundamental expectation in most...

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Copyright information

© © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Australia 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Social ScienceUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia