In the PYP, it is believed that education must extend beyond the intellectual to include not only socially responsible attitudes, but also thoughtful and appropriate action (Making the PYP Happen, 2007).
During the last unit of inquiry, under the transdisciplinary theme ‘How We Organize Ourselves’, and the central idea of ‘Communities provide services designed to meet people’s needs’, the Year 3 students of Tunas Muda School Meruya were given the opportunity to engage in a purposeful and beneficial inquiry process. To begin with, they watched The Country Mouse and The Town Mouse, a short animated movie about life in the city and in the village. Through this activity, we triggered the students’ interest and had the chance to assess their prior knowledge. They read books and watched videos to find out more about the differences between urban, suburban and rural areas.
After that, they observed the area where they live to identify services provided around them, and what other services they would like to have. They also reflected on how they could help to make their neighbourhood a better place to live. As a result, most of the students would like to have a greener area and wanted to be involved in making it happen. They also interviewed their parents about why they chose to live in the area where they live now.
Furthermore, they went on an excursion to Kidzania to find out what it takes and how it feels to provide services for other people. Through the excursion, they gained a lot of knowledge and experienced what it was like to serve others. Students have shown greater appreciation to community helpers, such as police officers, doctors, nurses, shopkeepers, and online shop couriers since this experience. One of their ways to sort out their findings from the excursion was by making pop-up art about community helpers and what they do.
In order to develop a deeper understanding about the importance of community service, they were inspired to contribute in their own school community. They walked around the school to identify how they could help to make their school an even better place and came up with various interesting plans which they put into action during the last week of the unit. At the same time, the students were observed as part of their summative assessment to measure their understanding of the unit. They served our school community by supervising other students while playing in the soccer field and basketball court; supervising the students having lunch in our indoor playing area; helping the librarians to tidy up the books in the PYP library; assisting the Year 3 teachers in their classroom; and conducting a mini concert to raise funds to buy plants to be put in our school canteen and our indoor playing area.
We were very pleased to see that all Year 3 students enjoyed providing a service to their school community. Based on their reflections, we can see that they have tried their best to become IB learners, they have exhibited various learner profile attributes and developed their knowledge and skills. This, in turn allowed them to organize themselves and take action. Overall, it was a simple, meaningful and memorable unit of inquiry which has led them to act!
Astriyani Ginting, Year 3 Leading Class Teacher
Tunas Muda School Meruya, Jakarta