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Why Your 5-Part Lesson Structure is the Key to Developing Your Pacing Guide

April 5, 2023

By: By: Kendall Hunt RPD with contributions from the editorial team

When reviewing a new curriculum, it is important that there is a well-structured lesson plan to map out daily and weekly lessons year-round, also known as a pacing guide. By clearly identifying a lesson structure and preparing a well-organized curriculum you will have the upper hand in the management of your classroom.

Let’s talk pacing...

Pacing is an important part of a well-managed classroom. When pacing is clearly identified, educators and students can work with little to no lesson direction.

Many educators using ByDesign Science are experiencing this as they focus on inquiry-based learning in their classrooms. Each lesson uses a customized 5-step instructional model that divides the learning process into five steps:  engagediscoverexplainextend, and assess/reflect.

So, how does a customized curriculum with a well-structured lesson plan become essential to the success of any classroom?

The customized instructional model provides a clear structure for inquiry-based learning, helping students track their tasks every step of the way. Teachers can assess their progress and offer feedback more accurately, both to the students and their coworkers, during professional development. It also helps teachers and students organize materials in a way that makes learning fun again!  This can be seen in the By Design Science teaching model, used to promote inquiry-based learning to stimulate a natural desire to learn and better understand God's Creation.


The first stage of the process, engage, captures students’ attention with questions related to main concepts introduced in the lesson. In the ByDesign program, each unit opens with a series of questions, such as “What makes things work?” and “What things did God create that produce energy?”. These open-ended questions draw students into the topic and set them up for their investigations.


In the discover stage, students participate in one or more inquiry-based activities to explore the lesson concept, deepening student understanding. Students learn by performing investigations using hands-on activities and scientific methods. Their discoveries provide students with a common set of experiences.


The third step is explain, which asks students to describe ideas in their own words. In the ByDesign curriculum, structured Inquiries require learners to make predictions, record observations, and develop theories. All of which they must write in their own words using their Student Science Journals. Each Structured Inquiry ends with a “Create Explanations” section, where students can analyze their results.


The extend stage moves students beyond the textbook, guiding them in applying ideas to the broader context. ByDesign is rich with activities that help students extend, such as Math in Science exercises, where students apply mathematical concepts to chapter topics. Scripture Spotlights helps students draw on connections between their faith and education. Lifestyle Challenges, another ByDesign activity, encourages them to apply what they learn to take care of their mind and body. Finally, sections on Careers in Science and People in Science allow students to see how textbook information is used in the real world, guiding them to think about their futures.


The ByDesign Science lesson model concludes with the assess/reflect stage. In this stage, students demonstrate and build on their understanding by completing activities focused on teacher and student reflection for concept knowledge presented in the chapters. Chapters also include frequent “Think About It” questions that are used to informally evaluate students’ knowledge. The best part? Comprehension and understanding are checked throughout the entire learning experience.

How can this 5-Part Lesson Structure become the Key to developing your pacing guide?

NOTE: ByDesign Science offers a robust, faith-based, and standards-based curriculum for grades 1–8 that engages students, helps them discover and explain their knowledge, encourages them to extend, and provides frequent opportunities for assessment and reflection.

Inquiry-based science is at the core of Kendall Hunt Religious Publishing’s ByDesign Science curriculum. In fact, when we look at the ByDesign curriculum, we can see that every lesson helps students achieve mastery of the material. It offers you greater control over your students’ success and provides teachers with a well-structured lesson plan to create the perfect pacing guide.

So, if you like the idea of using the 5-step instructional model in your science classroom, choose ByDesign Science for the perfect match!