With the assistance of the school CAS Coordinator, the PYP Coordinator and Grade 5 teachers planned various field trips that tapped into the existing community projects. This connection with the CAS projects helped to broaden our community connections and assisted in the identification of local issues in which to further explore and plan sustainable action.
Early in the Exhibition process, Grade 5 students joined Grade 6 students in their regular visit to a local elderly drop-in center (Bread of Life). They also visited a local vocational school for students with disabilities, as a part of an ongoing CAS project. Students took a trip to a local animal shelter. In addition, they went to the Australian Embassy to learn about how they fund local charities and projects. Guest speakers came from local charitable organizations, UNICEF, embassies, and our Upper School.
Through these first hand experiences, the Grade 5 students were able to identify local and global issues, reflect on who was addressing these issues and explore the range of strategies and tasks that these groups were employing to support the cause or combat the issue.
The final research issues and research that our students conducted were about significant and important issues such as health, animal rights, human rights, refugees, pollution and endangered animals.
An important aspect of the PYP Exhibition is for students to share and communicate their research using a variety of expressive modes. With the assistance of the PYP Music and Art teachers, students wrote their own musical lyrics related to their issue which they performed at the Lower School Assembly. Additionally, students explored different artistic styles and mediums: Edvard Munch – drawing, pastel; Nandor Glid – sculpture, wire; Alexander Calder – mobiles, wire; Keith Haring – drawing, pastel. These inspired their own creative art works to educate, inform or persuade their audience.
The final PYP Exhibition event was highly attended with over 80 community members. Students proudly and confidently presented their research. They were able to answer a range of questions and engage their audience with various interactive elements such as news reports, games, quizzes, bookmarks, posters and their blogs.
The most rewarding part of the PYP Exhibition came from discussions with students as they could clearly show that they have understood the issue, could speak about it with compassion, and have developed opinions on how to take action as a result of their learning.
By Rachel McLeod, PYP Coordinator