This week, we welcomed our Onyx and Opal students to the start of a new semester. After the usual circle time, where students shared all their fantastic Christmas adventures, teachers quickly settled them down to begin new Units of Inquiry.
The first stage in every inquiry is the Tuning-in phase. Here, students are introduced to the Central Ideas and Lines of Inquiry. In the process of making learning concrete for students, IB adopts the constructivist approach, which allows students to construct their own understanding of concepts by drawing links between what they already know and new knowledge.
Below, the Onyx and Opal Classes are discussing and modelling what they already know about their Central Ideas.
From there, they proceeded to document what they would like to know by the end of the six-week period.
Through the tuning-in process, teachers identify the loopholes in students’ knowledge, and adjust their teaching plans to give learners a relevant, meaning and challenging learning experience.
For the first six weeks, the Onyx class is focusing on the transdisciplinary theme, How We Express Ourselves. They will be inquiring into images, how they are used in communication, and the factors which determine effective communication. These lines of inquiry will be explored in Science, Social Studies, Arts and Math. For example, in Science, they will examine the function of the eye and brain in forming and decoding of images. Then in Math, they will be introduced to 2D and 3D images/shapes. In Social Studies and Art, they will examine static and moving images, the ideas they communicate, and how to use them effectively to relay information.
The Opal Class on the other hand will be focusing on the transdisciplinary theme; How the World Works. Here, they will inquire into the concept of force and motion, the solar system, changes in the earth and its atmosphere, and the evolution of scientific knowledge with respect to simple machines, innovations and technology. Although this is a science-based theme, it will have transdisciplinary applications. For instance, in Social Studies, students will explore the impact of these scientific phenomena on human life. In Math, the movement of the earth (ie. rotation and revolution) can be related to Perimeter, Area, Units of Measurement and Time. Then in Performing Arts, they will employ elements of dance to construct and depict their own understanding of force, motion and the solar system.
The beauty of transdisciplinary learning is that students are able to integrate knowledge, concepts and skills from different subjects and draw meaningful links among disciplines, in order to gain thorough understanding of concepts. Once these connections are made, lifelong
recall and application are guaranteed.
This is the essence of Transformational Education: learning that provokes responsible action to address the challenges of society.