Sharing the Planet
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
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
In line with our UOI Sharing the Planet, Grade Two students learned about endangered animals and animal conservation. It all began with posters from World Wildlife Fund, followed by one question: What do YOU think about this? This was the starting point into our inquiry about this pressing global issue.
With “Extinction impacts our world” as the Central Idea, our curious students gained more knowledge about endangered animals by going through The Inquiry Cycle. The deeper they got into their research, the more it got each of them to reflect: What choices can I make? What actions can I do to help?
One group embarked on a campaign to raise awareness about the illegal poaching of African rhinos for their body parts. They created pamphlets and distributed it to their family, friends and cousins so that they can learn more about it. Another group created a visual campaign by making posters about endangered seals and posting them around the school. One group wrote to the Forest Minister of the Madagascar Government. They requested that a law be made that protects the Aye-Aye Lemur from being hunted and killed. Another group has turned to the power of social media to spread their message about saving pink dolphins from extinction.
Their passion to make a difference, coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit, also led other students to come up with the idea of raising funds for WWF and its many conservation programs. Without any help from their teachers, these caring and principled learners took charge of planning, organizing and holding a one-day mini-bazaar at school during their snack and lunch breaks to earn money. They coordinated with their parents to help bring the items to school, but our students sold the cold drinks, delicious snacks, unique artwork, and old and new things on their own.
As a result of their unwavering enthusiasm, cooperating and commitment, these students from Grade Two raised money that allowed them to make symbolic adoptions for endangered animals they researched about. They were able to adopt a Cross River Gorilla, Giant Anteater, Giant Panda, Sumatran Tiger, Blue Whale, Humpback Whale, Pink River Dolphin, Green Sea Turtle, Hawksbill Sea Turtle and Loggerhead Sea Turtle!
This donation to World Wildlife fund will help their conservation efforts to protect the world’s most amazing places, benefiting animals, people and the diversity of life on Earth. It helps protect these endangered species and their habitats, to fight global threats like climate change, overfishing, deforestation and wildlife trade that determine the fate of nature.
They also donated to “Send a Turtle Back to Rehab” Program. In this program, one of thousands of sick or injured turtles are regularly brought to the Bali turtle center for recuperation. They will be nursed back to health and re-released back into the wild. The center educates local people and visitors on the importance of conserving and reviving turtle populations. WWF can train and work with locals on turtle-based eco-tourism, providing other livelihood options for turtle traders. They also work with government and businesses to help lessen habitat destruction.
These actions are being done by our Grade Two students on behalf of MSJ. We are very proud of our Grade Two students who proved that when individuals (no matter how young) work together, they can make a difference and bring hope to our planet.
John M. Decena
Homeroom Teacher Grade 2
Mentari School, Jakarta
The children of Grade 4 watched in horror as the sight of thick smoke and smog filled the screen. They were watching YouTube clips of the rainforests in Sumatra that were being destroyed by forest fires. One of our animals lovers had wanted to share these clips with the rest of class, to initiate a discussion on how to help the animals whose habitats were being destroyed.
The class was studying a unit on economic activity, production, exchange and the consumption of goods and services. As their teacher, I wondered how to make this unit more trans-disciplinary, authentic and engaging for the children – to do something with them that was stimulating, would push them just beyond their comfort zone and to create new understanding while having loads of fun. So, I challenged them to plan, organize and run their own businesses of selling products and services so that they could get first hand experience of how things are organized in the real world.
During the brainstorming session that followed, some of the children came up with the idea of organizing a fun fair in which they would run businesses and invite the whole school and their parents. This way, they felt that they could raise funds to help save the animals and forests of Indonesia that had suffered from the fires. The students voted to donate the money earned to two organizations – WWF and Greenpeace Indonesia, both of whom were involved in protecting the forests and wildlife in Indonesia.
The children formed different ‘companies ‘and came up with many creative business ideas for selling products or services. After designing a survey they went around every class using a show of hands to collect data, to see which businesses would be the most popular.
A question then arose, “Where are we going to get the money to buy the raw materials and other things needed to start the businesses?”
After much thought, they approached the primary principal to ask for loans for their various businesses. He asked them to come up with business plans that included budgets. They also had to convince him that their plans were sound, could make enough money to repay the school AND that they would have to agree to pay the school back a ‘charge’ of 10 percent interest (this was mainly an exercise to integrate lessons on percentages).
The groups worked on their ideas and budgets and nervously presented their business plans to the principal. Luckily for them, he eventually ‘approved’ the loans and the children were at last in business!
Every child contributed to manufacturing, packaging and pricing the goods. Costs were calculated (10 percent added on to repay the loan) and profit margins added. It was decided that all the items that did not get sold were going to be sold at discounted prices in order to recuperate costs.
The businesses included a food court, with restaurants selling sushi, baked goods popcorn and juices, games, a gift shop and an auction – all organized and produced by the children themselves with marketing strategies to make the businesses more attractive and competitive.
And now the question arose – how were they to advertise the fun fair? The students made posters that they put up around the school and put in a blurb in the school weekly news bulletin to let the school community know about the upcoming event.
At the end of the fair the children calculated the gross profit and the net profits and were delighted when the primary principal did not charge the 10 % interest they ‘owed’ the school but allowed them to add it to the profit margin!
The students’ hard work paid off and they raised the amazing sum of IDR 11,400,000 (about USD 870) for WWF Indonesia and Green Peace Indonesia. They received certificates from both organizations and were proud to have made a small but important contribution to help save the rainforests of Indonesia.
What else did the students gain from this project besides a feeling of self-satisfaction?
By being motivated, challenged and actively engaged in tasks that were authentic, relevant and significant to them, the students developed amongst other qualities, the profiles, attitudes and skills of having empathy and integrity, being principled and reflective inquirers, creative problem solvers, being responsible, communicating and cooperating with one another, group decision making and adapting to different roles. In short all the attributes that promote compassionate action as well as the confidence and belief that they can make a difference in the world.
Grade 4, Classroom Teacher
Bali Island School
(Formally Bali International School)