Given the popularity of the 5E Instructional Model, we wanted to provide this resource to help you understand the ways Tyto Online can fit within your broader classroom instruction practices.


Introduce the phenomenon or driving question, engaging students' curiosity; give them an opportunity to express what they know and connect to their prior knowledge.

Using Tyto Online during Engage:

  • You can introduce a phenomenon with the game, or borrow from the phenomenon to engage offline and then bring them to Tyto Online in later phases to explore the phenomena with the game.

  • We can't access prior knowledge or frame within a local context for the students (yet! tools to enable teachers to do this better are in mind for the future).

  • Shared experiences within the game can provide an opportunity for common experiences to promote in-class discussion and connections.


Students begin to investigate a phenomenon, ask questions, and apply their skills as they engage in hands-on sense making. Students gain a common set of experiences they can use together as they continue to make sense of the new concept.

Using Tyto Online during Explore:

  • Use the Quests and Sandboxes to provide hands-on engagement with phenomenon, models, and problems.

  • The Quests will guide students through an entire piece of sense-making, but especially within the Sequences will continue to build on each other, so you may want to stop students after a couple Quests in order to engage in off-computer discussion and argumentation that is more open. You can read our article on using Storylines in your instruction for more suggestions about that topic.

  • Again, you can use in-game content for shared experiences for classroom discussion. For example, having your students try to keep an ecosystem alive within the Ecology Sandbox can be a shared experience to provoke passionate debate about strategies that are linked directly to developing understanding of ecology concepts.


Students generate explanations of the phenomenon. Teachers provide vocabulary and concepts after the students have a need for it -- i.e. after they have already explored and begun making their own sense of the concepts, to help drive them towards a deeper understanding.

Using Tyto Online during Explain:

  • It's important that teachers engage in "debriefing" of game concepts to ensure that students have generalized their game learning to the real-life concepts.

  • We have integrated an initial debrief and introduction of terms within dialogue of the Quests, but teachers will need to engage students for deeper explanations of what they explored within the game. For example, teachers can have students keep developing and adding onto models as they progress in their understanding through Tyto Online and offline classroom activities.


Students develop a deeper understanding by applying the new concepts in varied situations, challenging and extending the understanding they've established in the previous phases.

Using Tyto Online during Elaborate:

  • Your students can apply their learning within new contexts in the game.

  • Add experiences to their understanding of concepts and models with new Quests and Sandbox experiences, updating their explanations as they progress.

  • If you haven't done Explore within the game, you could then use it for this stage - perhaps doing Explore with a hands-on phenomenon within your classroom, and then moving to Tyto Online for new contexts and phenomenon presented by the Sequences and Quests.

  • If you used the game to do Explore, you could use Practice and Enrichment quests to further elaborate, or move away to an off-game hands-on extension of learning in your classroom.


Encourage students to assess their own understanding and skills and provide evidence of their new understanding and skills.

Using Tyto Online during Evaluate:

  • Use the Track Progress functionality on the Learning Dashboard in order to see how students have progressed.

  • The game mechanics are designed so that students must demonstrate learning in order to progress -- for example, making an argument or building a flowchart correctly before finishing a Quest.

  • Soon, we'll be adding additional Track Progress features that will enable teachers to see more detailed work product information, such as the exact arguments that students built, so that teachers can have differentiated information about how the students demonstrated their learning.

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