This article illustrates how grade 5 students took ownership of their own learning throughout the PYP exhibition organized under the transdisciplinary theme How the world works.
In April 2016, my grade 5 students presented their independent learning throughout the exhibition and under the transdisciplinary theme How the world works. The central idea developed by us was Our understanding of science and the application of technology affect lives.
It was very important to me that the students understood that there are both positive and negative consequences to human development and progress. The students were very engaged in their own learning making strong connections to the transdisciplinary theme and the central idea.
One group was very keen to look into sound and properties of natural laws, a second group explored how space explorations are based on our understanding of the natural laws, and a third group learned about human understanding of biochemistry and its impact on health and medicine.
The power and authority the exhibition provides for students inspired them to plan every part of the process in detail, use organizing documents, create timelines of their work, prepare their own learning trips, invite guest speakers – all very independent, student-driven learning and very powerful for me as an educator and their teacher.
See here the grade 5 exhibition planner 2015-16.
The exhibition day was very successful and was a celebration of students’ independent inquiry, their thirst for knowledge, and self-reliant drive to learn more.
Students know exactly what they want to learn, they think big and are confident that they will understand the facts and conquer the challenges. They feel empowered with the possibilities and options to own their choices and their learning. I truly believe that the option to take ownership of their learning is giving my students the enthusiasm they are displaying only a few weeks before this school year ends.
Regardless their age, young learners should always be part of planning of their learning. Our responsibility as educators is to keep the passion for learning live. We are to provide opportunities for questions and open inquiries which should enable them to go deeper into the content which interests the learners.
Marijana (Maya) Drezgic worked and lived in Gaborone, Botswana, Shanghai, China and now in Bandung, Indonesia during the 16 years of her international teaching experience. Maya is passionate about learning, collaboration, critical thinking and inquiry in 21st century classroom.