Grade 1 units of inquiry: 'Energy: Light & Sound', 'Communication', 'Communities'

Grade 1 units of inquiry: 'Energy: Light & Sound', 'Communication', 'Communities'
Serrin Smyth

How The World Works - Energy: Light & Sound

Throughout the How The World Works unit of inquiry 'Energy: Light & Sound', students inquired into how people use light & sound to perceive and interact with the world.

Students investigated the sources and properties of light and sound through a range of experiments. Before engaging in experiments they considered what are the skills scientists use when they hypothesize, observe, test and learn. "Scientists wonder, predict, show what happened and record what they learn to draw conclusions." 

After experimenting, students then connected ideas by comparing and explaining how properties of light and sound are alike or different.

In the third line of inquiry "How light and sound can be used", students investigated how light and sound can be used to enhance a performance. The were provoked by watching some light and sound performances and used their observational skills to notice the use of light and sound manipulation.

Students then worked collaborative in small groups to recreate the story of Little Red Riding Hood in a Puppet Show.

Students used this planning tool to consider how sound and lighting effects would create mood within the performances. Rehearsals were underway where students explored how they would manipulate light and select sounds to effectively tell their story.

In Music class, students explored the different sounds of musical instruments and selected these instruments to represent different parts of the story. 

As students moved up the learning mountain on their journey through the unit, teachers document their inquiries through the use of displays. 

In a transdisciplinary connection with Art, Grade 1 students explored how they could manipulate light to create stained glass imitations, They were inspired by the colours from famous windows and created their own patterns and combinations.

Students learnt the techniques for creating a range of instruments, such as castanets and stringed instruments using a box, elastic bands and split pins.

How We Express Ourselves: Communication

Students have been exploring the central idea: 'People use the arts to express their uniqueness.'

They have been inquiring into:

  • Ways people communicate

  • How communication works

  • Giving & responding to feedback

In our aim to further develop globally minded citizens, this unit focuses on exploring being open minded about the common humanity of all people and learning about and respecting others perspectives, cultures and beliefs. Students have been exploring this through local, national and global perspectives by investigating ways we can communicate my ideas, feelings and emotions (local), ways ideas, feelings and emotions are communicated in Japan (national) and ways ideas, feelings and emotions are communicated around the world (global). 

As a provocation, students watched performances by different teachers and reflected on the questions: 

  • How do they express themselves?

  • What are they communicating?

  • Why did they do it that way? 

  • Answers included:
    • because she liked it

    • wanted to explain

    • she wanted to show cool things

    • show her identity

    • she wants everyone to learn

In the homeroom, the focus of the inquiry has been on presentation and oral language skills through the development of speeches. In Grade 1, students use the analogy of a 'mountain' for the SOLO taxonomy. As they learn knowledge in the unit and therefore deepen their understandings, their learning moves up the mountain. They reflect on their responses to the guiding inquiry questions and at the conclusion of the unit students self assess their growth as a learner using the 'mountain' format.

Students watched a range of speeches to establish the effective verbal and non-verbal skills that people use when presenting. 

Students concluded that people share speeches for a specific purpose:

1. To teach something so the audience can learn

2. To share a passion or love of something

3. To motivate the audience to action and do something

As they draft and create their speeches, they have been learning how to give and receive feedback and how feedback can help us grow as learners. 

On Thursday and Friday this week, students will present their speeches to Grade 4 & Grade 5 students at the event: "T.I.M. Talks - Teach, Inspire, Motivate". We look forward to sharing these digitally after they are recorded! 

In ICT, students investigated how emojis are another form of communication and can change the message of text depending on the emoji used. They practiced what emojis might match the text and how to use these productively when commenting on work through Seesaw. 


How We Organise Ourselves: Communities

In the next unit of inquiry, students will be inquiring into the central idea: 'Members of a community work together to meet common goals.'

They will be investigating: 

  • Features of a community 

  • Ways services support communities

  • Our responsibility within a community

In our aim to further develop globally minded citizens, this unit focuses on being open minded about the common humanity of all people and the ability to see oneself as a responsible member of the community and a global citizen.

Students will be exploring this through local, national and global perspectives by identifying different communities they belong to and our responsibilities within our communities (local), communities within Japan and the ways services support them (national) and comparing different communities around the world (global).

Students will explore the question: What needs do people within communities have? 

Then further investigate: What services, systems, people, places and things help support the community to meet these needs for people?

Below you will find the SOLO taxonomy for this units including guiding questions to support parent/child discussions at home and word vocabulary lists.

SOLO Taxonomy:

This parent version of the SOLO taxonomy may support you to have discussions with your child by asking some of the guiding questions. The questions develop across the SOLO from a shallow understanding where factual knowledge is developed to a more deeper understanding where conceptual understandings are formulate.

Vocabulary Lists:

The Vocabulary Lists are a guide for the possible vocabulary that may be explored throughout the unit of inquiry. You may wish to explore the words within this list with your child in their mother tongue. Perhaps you may talk about the concept of some of the words in English and also in your home language in order to deepen their understanding of them. 



Finally, if you see your child taking action as a result of their learning at school, we would LOVE to hear about it! As action is often taken outside of the learning environment, we often don't know about these opportunities that you as parents are witness to, even a short email telling us about something your child did or said at home as a result of their learning helps us know how the PYP is supporting the development of life long learners that take action! (Please email Ms Smyth, or your child's teacher to share these moments.)

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