Grade 2 units of inquiry: 'Celebrations & Traditions' & 'Materials & Matter'

Grade 2 units of inquiry: 'Celebrations & Traditions' & 'Materials & Matter'
Serrin Smyth

Where We Are in Place & Time: Celebrations & Traditions

Throughout the Where We Are in Place & Time unit of inquiry 'Celebrations & Traditions', students inquired into how 'Traditions within celebrations can connect people locally and globally'.

Students began by unpacking the key concepts of the unit: Culture, Traditions & Celebrations.

Students engaged in a range of learning experiences to learn about the different celebrations and traditions in our community, the features of these celebrations and the origin, story and history of these celebrations. 

Culture Day Learning Experiences!

Connecting Japanese foods with the seasons:

Music - Learning the Japanese hand clapping game about making rice cakes (mochi).

Community Input

A HUGE thank you to the parent community for further enriching learning with personal experiences of traditions and celebrations within their families.

A student preparing with her family on how she will present her celebration with Grade 2:

Connecting traditions from the past to present day.

As a culminating activity for students towards the end of the unit, Ms Rogers & Mr Brittain came in to present on the preparations for Seisen's 60th anniversary in 2022. Students were given the task of developing ideas for this celebration by connecting past traditions of Seisen with their proposal of how the day might be celebrated. 

Students developed questions to find out more about the history of Seisen and how they could make connections between the traditions of the past and apply them when planning for the 60th anniversary of Seisen. 

The group investigating the history of Seisen asked Ms Mariko to share photos of key celebrations and traditions throughout Seisen's past.

Students selected three photos that they thought represented the core values of the school.

We were delighted to see Ms Rogers whilst learning more at the front office and she explained the history of the Sisters and Principals at the school.

Proposals were then created for how Seisen might celebrate this milestone

Thought was placed into the design elements of each component of the celebration and how these would represent the school's values. 

A student choreographed dance for the School Song, including the design of costumes. 


Students were continually reflecting on how their choices connected to Seisen's values, traditions, past and people. 

 2A's reflection on the values that Seisen has as a school.

Transdisciplinary connections with PE

Thank you to Ms Sarah (KG Music Teacher) visiting the PE class as a guest to teach the traditional Bon Odori Dance.

In PE, students explored the importance of harvest being celebrated and giving thanks for the crops. Ms. Brittany shared about her life growing up on a farm and what harvest looked like for her.

Through movement composition in dance, students inquired into the questions: 

What are some movements that you can brainstorm when you think of the word Harvest? 

What are some ways you can add to your harvest movements? 

Can you think of an emotion or feeling and create a dance move or shape to go along with it?

Demonstrating choice, voice and ownership over their learning, students brainstormed their own dance choreography with a partner that was themed around elements of harvest.


At the conclusion of the unit, students reflected on key concepts and how these concepts are connected, as a way of sharing their developed conceptual understandings. 

"The words I highlighted are connected because they all talk about respecting people's cultural costumes for a celebration."

How The World Works: Materials & Matter

In the next unit of inquiry, students will be inquiring into the central idea: 'Materials have properties which can be manipulated for different purposes'.

They will be investigating: 

  • Properties and uses of materials

  • How materials can be changed

  • Manipulating materials for a purpose

In our aim to further develop globally minded citizens, this unit focuses on 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 considering how I use materials & matter in my own life (local), how Japan changes and uses materials (national) and how places around the world change and use different materials (global).

To ignite excitement and tune in to learning, students visited the Science Lab, did a gallery walk looking at different images of scientists and considered what scientists look like and do.

This unit of inquiry requires students to develop the vocabulary to be able to describe the properties of materials, there students have been working on the development of core vocabulary through a range of learning experiences:

Personal Dictionaries:

In a transdisciplinary connection with Art Class, students manipulated materials to create their own paint. 

When asked the question: why do we use eggs? Their responses included:

"Because the properties of eggs are runny, liquid, not solid, like paint, mushy."

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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