Monday, November 18, 2013

"Taking Action"- Sharing Our Knowledge through a Living Museum

How do you "end" a unit? Do you ever have celebrations or some sort of culminating activity? My team and I helped our students to host a "living museum" through which they were able to share their unit learning with others. Here's how it went...


My school follows the PYP curriculum framework which is rooted in learning through inquiry. We (generally) follow this inquiry cycle as we guide students through learning experiences that are based on universal concept (this is a picture from a previous post that you can read HERE):


As the unit was drawing to a close, we wanted the students to "take action." This can be done in a variety of ways- "big" actions, like a community service project, or "small" actions like making different choices in your daily life. 

Kath Murdoch writes that the purposes of "taking action" include helping students:
  • make links between their understandings and the real world
  • to make choices and develop a belief that they can be effective participants in society
  • understand and reinforce the link between school, home and the wider community
  • pursue further opportunities for ongoing learning related to the topic.
Murdoch, Kath. "Strategies for Taking Action." Classroom Connections: Strategies for Integrated Learning. Armadale, Vic.: Eleanor Curtain Pub., 1998. 122. Print.

My teammates and I felt that sharing their knowledge of cycles would be a logical next step for our students because they had been really engaged in the topic (referring to that last bullet). We decided to let them pick one cycle that they were interested in, do some (first grade level) research and create a project that would showcase their learning. 

We gave students the option to write a book, make a model, create a poster, even write a song or choreograph a dance (I was SO disappointed that no one chose that!) They also got to choose if they would work alone, with a partner, or as a trio (with the personalities in my class, I made the executive decision to veto any groups with more than 3!) 

They LOVED making their projects! Here are some pics of them in the process....

A poster of the water cycle

These students made a model of the water cycle.

After they finished their projects, we held our "living museum" in the library and invited parents and other students to attend. My students were there to explain the cycle they had researched and answer any questions.

One student explains the frog's life cycle
This mom learns about how an apple tree grows.
These students share the owl life cycle.
Our museum was a success. The students were enthusiastic and able to share a lot of knowledge from our unit. Most of all, I think that they gained confidence in their abilities and realized that learning can extend beyond the four walls of the classroom- that they can be a part of a community of learners, hopefully lifelong learners!

Thanks for stopping by!

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