Sekolah Pilar Indonesia
The 4th graders of Sekolah Pilar Indonesia have been exploring their first unit of inquiry under the theme, ‘Sharing the Planet’. The students have been examining the following central idea; the need for finite resources is a factor in relationships between humans and the natural environment, through the key concepts of perspective, causation, and responsibility. They have also worked hard to develop their learner profile attributes.
During their exploration on this unit, the teacher provided students with a variety of learning opportunities, including watching ‘Deep Water Horizon”, reading articles by using the jigsaw strategy, and inviting a parent, who is a geologist of a geothermal company, as a guest speaker. During the sharing session, the students showed their curiosity by formulating questions. Below are some of the questions the students came up with.
- Are there any differences between planning mining sites on land and in the ocean?
- Do power plants built near the mining site produce pollution for the surrounding environment?
- Is geothermal energy dangerous for humans?
From these experiences students were able to describe the process of mining oil in the ocean and the impact of big explosions on a mining site when the proper procedures are implemented. They also were able to identify what tools were used to mine oil in the ocean from watching the movie. The jigsaw strategy was used in the finding out and sorting out phases to explore the second and third lines of inquiry. The teacher provided four different articles about conflicts that have arisen between humans and wildlife or nature over finite resources. The students were asked to read the articles and share the information in groups. After they discussed the article in their group, the students were re-grouped randomly. In their new group the students shared the information from the article they had read. Through this activity, the students were able to understand that conflicts will always arise between humans and other living things, in this case with the wildlife and nature, to fulfill human’s daily needs. As a result of this exploration students were also able to explain how wildlife obtain their needs from nature, for example nature provides animals with a home and place to find food. From the articles, the students learned how to preserve nature and endangered animals not only in Indonesia, but also in different parts of the world.
Grade 4 Teacher Sekolah Pilar Indonesia
What is Play-based Pedagogy?
Play-based pedagogy describes an approach where the teacher recognizes that children learn through an active, hands-on, playful environment. In a play-based classroom, the teacher makes decisions about, and adjusts, the daily schedule, environment, materials, interactions and activities based upon the strengths, needs, interests, and input of the students to enhance learning opportunities. (Common Understandings – Play-based Pedagogy, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, page 35).
As active children, Grade 1 students enthusiastically explore the world around them through play-based learning. For the young students playing is an effective provocation, one which stimulates their thinking skills in connection to their unit of inquiry.
Under the theme ‘How the World Works’, Grade 1 students had the opportunity to play several games to engage their knowledge about the impact of forces on everyday life. We joined two classes to play frisbee, bowling, javelin, soccer and tug of war. During the games, the students observed important information. We found out that the games had different rules and procedures. We also observed how the objects that we used moved, and identified differences between the weight and size of the objects. Through the games we found out that the more power we use, the faster things move. We also practised our social skills and communication skills by showing our respect for each other.
After we played the games, we held a discussion and some of the students recognized the similarities between the games. The games required us to perform certain actions (throw, push and pull) to make the objects move from one place to another. To engage our knowledge, we read a variety of books, including ‘The Enormous Turnip’, ‘I Can’t Open It’ and ‘Motion’. We also had the opportunity to role play ‘The Enormous Turnip’ book in front of our friends. This story helped us to understand that we need forces to make things speed up or slow down.
One of our formative assessments required students to differentiate between pictures using a Venn Diagram. Students categorized which pictures showed pushing activities, pulling activities or both. After finishing, the students did a bus stop activity to observe other groups’ ideas. From the observation, students found out that other groups had different ideas so we held a discussion to enrich our understanding.
Here are some examples of the students’ comments.
Group A: “Bu, we observed that other groups put the fishing picture as an example of a pulling activity. We think it’s supposed to be a pushing and pulling activity because we have to cast the fishing line out first and after we get the fish, we have to pull it.”
Group B: “We put the fishing picture as an example of pulling activity because we saw the girl in the picture already got her fish, so she only needed to pull the fishing line in.”
When discussing the other pictures, the students sometimes had the same opinions and sometimes their opinions were different. We learnt that it is important to listen to others’ opinions, because every point of view has its own angle and every angle has merit.
We also conducted some experiments about how forces affect movement. Students explored the three stations provided, each representing different types of force. After doing the activities at the three stations, students explained their experiences in one particular station through drawing and writing.
We believe that through play students are able to explore things more enthusiastically and also learn how to negotiate with one another and solve problems, be more of a risk-taker, and develop self-confidence.
Grade 1 Teachers
Sekolah Pilar Indonesia
The Early Childhood Centre (ECC) of Sekolah Pilar Indonesia celebrated the learning journey under the transdisciplinary theme, Sharing the Planet. Kindergarten and Reception classes had different central ideas. In Kindergarten we had ‘Living things need the sea to survive’, while in Reception, ‘When interacting with natural habitats, humans make choices that have an impact on other living things’. We collaborated on these central ideas by considering the lines of inquiries through the form of a simple drama. The drama persuaded everyone to work hand in hand to take care of the sea and maintain the habitat. We also involved our mums in the performance. We were very confident and were risk-takers to share what we have learned. Everybody shared positive responses on our learning.
Furthermore, to deepen our understanding of sea animals and habitats, ECC students and teachers went on an excursion to Ancol Beach and Seaworld. During the tour we showed our curiosity by asking many questions to our tour guide. We also watched a short movie about the life cycle of sea turtles. From that movie we discovered how living things respond to changing environments. After that, we headed to Ancol Beach to clean up the beach. We collected the rubbish and put it in the trash bin.
Through these activities we learnt many things. We understand that the sea habitat is very important to sustain life on Earth. Every little thing that we do to the sea has an impact to our life and other living things.
Sekolah Pilar Indonesia