Provocation: Grade 5 Sharing The Planet - Biodiversity!

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Provocation: Grade 5 Sharing The Planet - Biodiversity!
Serrin Smyth


Students in Grade 5 engaged with an active provocation in order to explore, question and provoke their thinking in relation to their new unit of inquiry: Sharing the Planet - Biodiversity!

This unit of inquiry involves investigating and exploring the:

  • Ways in which living organisms are interdependent within an ecosystem

  • The consequences of imbalance within ecosystems

  • Actions that can conserve/protect/restore the balance of ecosystems

in order to develop an understanding of the central idea: "Biodiversity relies on maintaining the interdependent balance of organisms within systems."

Through the use of manipulative materials, research, plants and books, students were challenged to think like scientists! "We will inquire by making observations and asking questions so that we can make connections between the learning tasks and the big idea (concepts) of our new unit of inquiry."

In this slideshow are the examples of experiences the students engaged with, including: 

- Build a habitat

- Hunting for key vocabulary words in books

- Sorting and organising cards of different living things

- Visually representing what things need to survive as they move through a life cycle

- Note taking main ideas form the video - Why is biodiversity so important? 

- Looking at a collection of items and doing the visible thinking routine 'See, Think, Wonder'

Link to Provocation Slideshow. 

How might you sort these living things into groups?

"We have sorted into dangerous and non dangerous animals and we are deciding based on what they look like and also whether we think they hurt people."

How would you label the groups you have made? Why did you choose these labels? What do you already know about these groups? 

"We have sorted these by habitats because we thought it would be an interesting way to sort them. We have decided on sea, ocean, river, water, savannah, farm, woods, forest, snow, jungle, city."

Record your thinking about the video: Why is biodiversity so important? Can you explain your ideas to another person? What do you think was the most important information and why? What are you now wondering about?

 What do you see, what are you thinking, what are you wondering about when you look at these items?

"I notice the roots are growing in a certain direction, why do you think this is happening?"

"I think it is happening because the roots are trying to find the nutrients within the soil to get to them."

"These roots are all swirled around. I think this has happened because of the shape of the container and the roots have had to fit within the container so they grew in this way." 

What does this living thing need to grow and develop through a life cycle? 

What key words can I find in these picture books? How might these key words connect with our new unit of inquiry? What do I already know about these words?  

Can you build a habitat for a living thing? What needs to be in this habitat? Why did you place these things there? How are they connected or depend on each other?

What questions do we have? 

As teachers (and students) consider: 

- What do we already know? 

- What are our misconceptions?

- What questions do we have? 

- What prior knowledge do we already have in relation to the big ideas of this unit?

Teachers observations and documentation of students current thinking and questions will support and guide the next stages of the inquiry cycle for this unit. 

Below you will find links to the updated SOLO Taxonomy and Vocabulary Lists for this unit of inquiry that include the science outcomes for this unit and how students may move from a surface level of understanding (facts) to a deeper level of understanding (conceptual knowledge). 

It is important to note that in alignment with the Enhanced PYP, students may develop the SOLO taxonomy by co-constructing this with their teachers. This is to provide students with agency - choice, voice and ownership throughout the process of their learning. Therefore the SOLO co-constructed by students may look slightly different this one. This learning progression and vocabulary list is developed so you can support your daughter's learning at home.

Grade 5: Sharing The Planet SOLO & Word Vocabulary

How can I use the SOLO at home?

On the SOLO you will see two sections, one with inquiry questions to guide students learning through the different stages as they move from a shallow understanding of the lines of inquiry to a more deeper understanding. The possible assessment criteria are learning outcomes - learning outcomes are statements that describe the knowledge or skills we aim for students to acquire as a result of their engagement with the unit of inquiry. Inquiry is the leading pedagogy within the Primary Years Programme. Students are at different developmental stages and therefore may reach different levels of proficiency with knowledge and skills. Additionally you will see "possible questions to discuss". These are teacher guided questions that help to direct the unit of inquiry. You may wish to use these questions to begin a conversation with your chid about their unit of inquiry at home. 

How can I use the Vocabulary Lists at home? (These are on Page 2 after the SOLO)

The Vocabulary Lists are a guide for the possible vocabulary that may be explored throughout the unit of inquiry. It is encouraged that you explain and 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. There are blank spaces on the Word Vocabulary Lists where you and your child might generate more words that connect to the unit of inquiry. Please feel free to add them to the list, either in English or your mother tongue language. Ask your daughter to share these new words that have come up in conversations at home with their teacher, to build the connection between discussions at home and school. 

If you have any experience or expertise with the content of this units of inquiry, we would love to hear from you! We are extremely excited to have our community connect with the unit of inquiry through sharing their knowledge, experiences or passions in these areas with us. 

Additionally, 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 contact our PYP Coordinator ( or your daughter's homeroom teacher.

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