Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Constructionist/ivist theories and Instructional Strategies

Constructionist and constructivist theories are ones that affect us in our everyday classrooms.  The constructivist approach is one that is a theory of knowledge stating that each individual actively constructs his/her own meaning (Laureate Education Inc. 2011).  The constructionist approach is a theory of learning that states people learn best when they build external artifacts or something they can share with others (Laureate Education Inc. 2011).  With either theory, implementing them in the classroom will be affected by the instructional strategy that is chosen.  Ultimately the instructional strategy will be dependent on the students you have in class.  So my theory is that the students you have will have the control over what instructional strategy you chose which will affect whether you chose to go with the constructionist or constructivist theory.

Reviewing the resources for this week, I have gained some great knowledge.  In the chapter on generating and testing hypotheses, they give us six tasks we could use in our classrooms to help students generate and test hypotheses (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski, 2007). After looking through them I feel the most suited to fit in my classroom would be problem solving.  I have many problem solving activities in my classroom in which I challenge my students to get them thinking about real world issues.  The more I can relate the problem solving activities to real world problems the better off the students will be when they begin there life after graduation. 

The constructionist theory talks about how students need to create artifacts to learn best (Laureate Education Inc. 2011).  I feel that using a problem solving approach is best suited to meet the expectations of a constructionist.  I have my students solve many challenges in my classroom.  Some involve individuals and some are collaborative efforts. 

Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski (2007) relay to us that we should make sure students can explain their hypotheses and conclusions.  I find this to be very pertinent because some of the students I have will rush to find an answer and then be ok with what happens afterward.  In the problem solving challenges I give my students, they must design certain contraptions and make sure they are going to work before putting all the effort in to constructing them.  Once they have tested there hypotheses and figured out if it will possibly succeed, then they can begin creating there artifact.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program seven: Constructionist and constructivist learning theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.


  1. Ben,

    I agree with you that students need a lot of hands on activities. You are at an advantage because of the subject you teach. It is also great for the students to complete real world applications. I believe that this is a theory that a lot of teachers should strive to include inside their classrooms.

  2. I would agree that problem solving would be a good fit for my classroom as well. I do find it challenging to find “real world” problems that they have the mathematical skills to accomplish. Do you have a resource for problems that are realistic for high school students to be able to complete? I woulds really like to do more of this but find the problem that I find interesting either to difficult or not interesting to my students.

  3. Leann,
    Yes i teach a construction class and i teach them about the building of a house. We work with concrete and i show them how to frame walls. They complete a framing wall activity and build wall sections, install electrical boxes then sheetrock and tape it. After that i show them how to install trim. We then go over roofing and other aspects of the construction field. I try to give them as many of the skills they will need to take care of there own home someday.