Saturday, January 14, 2017

Planning Our Unit of Inquiry

December 2016: Planning Our Unit of Inquiry

As an IB PYP school, in the final year, students complete a unit of inquiry called Exhibition. The goal is for the unit to be student driven and allow students to research, document their learning, and then take action in some way based on what they have learned. With the help of Deb, we worked with my students to build our central idea and design our lines of inquiry. The steps of our process are recorded below:

  • Working in groups, students use their typed of questions from our brainstorming to rearrange their groups of questions into 3-4 categories. 
  • We posted each of our posters on the wall to discuss our big ideas.
  • As we look at our big ideas and a list of key concepts, the students worked to pull out big ideas that stood out on their posters. 
    • The key concepts students began to pull out were ones I never would have thought they understood. Works like change, interdependence, interaction, systems, problem solving, organization, and cooperation.
  • We then worked to build our central idea. What students decided upon was:

Collaboration in the ultimate classroom can change how kids problem solve, interact, and learn. 

  • From their, we build our lines of inquiry. We decided we would inquire about our central idea through the lens of how kids learn best, types of learning technology, and the organization of space

In the few days leading up to break, I wanted to get students' final ideas on what they wanted to learn about. I wanted to to my best to make sure that I was able to hook into each of my students' interests as I was planning and pulling resources. To do this, I created a quick Google Form in order to allow students to share each of their ideas individually. The original form is below can be found at:

In part of our discussion on creating meaningful presentations using the power of images earlier in the year, my students and I began watching TEDx videos to get an idea of the qualities of a presenter. To get our brains whirring again, I shared these two TEDx videos with my students on classroom design and learning spaces. I wanted my students to realize that there are currently people out there creating these "ultimate classrooms" of the future and that dreaming big could take us in new directions.