Space for student led inquiry in action!

Seisen News

Space for student led inquiry in action!
Serrin Smyth

Students in Grade 5A have been exploring a student led inquiry in action!

In addition to inquiry skills being developed throughout the Program of Inquiry in the PYP, there is also the opportunity for following the natural interests of the students and exploring personal inquiries in action.

Personal inquiries can provide an opportunity for students to focus on their own interests and be motivated to drive their own learning. Personal inquiries seek to actively ignite passion, inspire relevance and develop agency in students. Personal inquiries engage students in a deep, authentic learning experience that builds academic skills, fosters reflection, and can inspire action. A teacher can deepen the inquiry experience for the students in a variety of ways: asking questions; listening to their thinking; redirecting when necessary; giving feedback.

(My IB - Personal inquiries in the PYP)

Students are often responsible for and developing skills by

• planning and organizing learning 

• driving the inquiry process through their questions 

• documenting learning 

• learning reflections 

• self and peer assessments 

• action.

A personal inquiry in action in 5A:

Students found some lizards in the playground and in the music room. They brought them to the classroom because they wanted a pet to take care of so if anybody in the class gets a pet they would know how to take care of it. Students decided it was important to research and find more out about lizards so they knew how to take care of them. At home, many students researched, read articles, watched videos and emailed experts to find out more. They wanted to know what kind of species the lizards were, so they emailed the science teacher in high school, Ms Jules. Although they were unable to determine the species of the animal, they determined what the lizards liked to eat. Students believe perhaps they are long tailed grass lizards. They emailed the music teacher to ask about her experiences with lizards. “We researched so we could expand our knowledge about the lizards.” We went to get more resources for the lizards so they could have a nice habitat. 

Students then used their observation skills to further understand the lizards:

They noted:

  • They get scared easily
  • They hide around and stay still when they are scared so nobody will hurt them
  • They are skinny and long but we think one of them is pregnant 
  • They like to climb the sticks
  • Once we found them playing hide and seek in the dirt
  • They like to dig holes
  • They like the plants and soil
  • They like these toilet paper rolls and climbing through them
  • They like to suntan on the rocks
  • When we fed them spiders they absolutely loved them

When the students were interviewed as to how this all connects within the PYP they shared:

“We have become more Principled . This is because we learnt what choices are good for the lizards and whether the lizards should even stay in our classroom. We ended up having a debate by placing ourselves in a line as to who thought the lizards should remain in the room and who thought we should set them free. Lots of people were in the middle because they wanted them in the classroom but they didn’t want them to be stressed, so we ended up keeping them to see what would happen. We noticed the lizards started to love the habitat. We actually had to release one of them because the other lizards were bullying him and she was becoming weak so we noticed maybe it would be better for the lizard to live her life. That was a hard decision to make because we really wanted to keep it but we would rather it be happy than stressed and die as we did lose one of the other lizards because it drowned in the water.”

“We have become more responsible because it’s our responsibility if they die and we want to take care of them, if they die it is our responsibility. We would get the blame. So we did the research in order to help them live - and what will keep them safe. After that we read books and searched the web, we got meal worms, we got things they liked. We kept three of them alive and had to get rid of one. And right now I think they are really enjoying their habitat and they have grown since we got them - we think maybe their habitat is actually helping them.”

Thoughts from Ms Swindells (extending the girls thinking with her own observations):

“In the last couple of days we have noticed that the lizards have been digging into the soil and have shed their skin. Perhaps digging in the soil is connected to them shedding their skin?”





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