Students have got it: their big ideas and some driving inquiries. After some weeks of thinking and filtering, students have a bigger idea or issue to dig into. They also have some guiding concept questions or lines of inquiry.
Students chose one of the ideas from their brainstorm with their parents and the community (see previous posts). They thought about it, and through discussions, they ran it through some filters:
- Were they interested in the idea?
- Could they could get information about that idea?
- Was it something people were talking about out there today?
- Could they attach it to something local and global?
The latter two questions are challenging for grade 5 students and took some adult input. They’re still thinking about their local connections with their Japanese teachers.
Their big ideas are fascinating. There’s everything from space junk and the problems it causes, video game addiction, underwater repair to mosquitoes and disease.
Next we worked on concept-driven questions. They brainstormed a list of at least 16+ questions about their big issue and then tried to work those questions into the concepts. If they saw blanks, they then tried to think of a question using some concept-driven questions. Students were really good about coming up with causation or “why” questions, which shows some good training during their PYP years. I was surprised it wasn’t all form questions. We have been reviewing concepts with the students. The wording, honestly, seems new to them. Here’s the concept sheet we used. Thanks to @tersonya for this.
The EAL teacher and I both reviewed these concepts with them, modeling how we might go about coming up with good concept questions. This PDF with pictures, questions and some concept translations helped as well. They then chose their most interesting questions to be their guiding inquiry questions (or lines of inquiry). Those questions had to go through a filter as well. Could we answer it in a one-word answer? Does it really address our big issue? Do we care about that question?
So, we ended up with a document, shared with the school community and on our class blog. Our librarian is also working to help students get resources, which she’s sharing on Libguides, a very cool library research site.
Researching and blogging are their next biggest tasks. They’ve begun some reflections on their group PYP Exhibition blog.
Researching is so overwhelming for all of us. More on some helpful researching tips in the next post.