Launching Where We Are In Place And Time – Civilizations

Over the past week, my Grade 4’s have been digging into our unit under the transdiscinplinary theme “Where We Are In Place And Time” examining civilizations. The central idea of the unit is ‘Global societies change and evolve due to major events and influences of an era.’. Students will be researching a civilization, hosting a civilizations museum, and then examining a defining characteristics and comparing it over time.

Provocation for Sharing The Planet

For the past week we have been looking at how living things are interdependent on each other. Quickly, the students brought up family trees as a way to show how families are interconnected, and food chain/webs to examine how other animal and plant species are connected. I wanted to stretch their thinking about this topic as another line of inquiry in our unit examines what impact behaviors have on habitats.

Before the unit started, I ordered about 10 books online that I found recommended in various resources about habitats. One of the books that I have already used is “Wolf Island” by Celia Godkin (Canadian Author!). It is a wonderful story about an island ecosystem that is undermined when the wolves leave the island and the balanced food chain is upset.

It was amazing to watch the kids eyes light up as they saw the impact of this simple action. The discussion that stemmed from this book was wonderful and it lead to looking at other ways that food chains/webs can be impacted including over hunting, disease, natural disasters, and pollution. It was also a good opportunity to reinforce the vocabulary we have been developing with a straight forward examples. 

If you are looking for a great book to get kids thinking about how we share the planet with animal. I would highly recommend it.

Starting our First Unit of Inquiry – Who We Are

Today we started “Tuning In” to our first unit of inquiry central idea. Our school was recently named a PYP candidate school so we are all in the process of developing units and focused on teaching through inquiry.

The central idea is “Children’s access to human rights is connected to their ability to survive and develop to their potential”.

To start “Tuning In” I took the key words from our central idea and placed them on a blank piece of paper. Then the students rotated through all of the papers and recorded their ideas of what each word meant to them. I had each student use a different coloured pencil crayon to see each students ideas at the beginning of the unit.

I am interested to have our discussion tomorrow and decide on what each word means and perhaps look at definitions to assist us in making decisions.

If you have any other tuning-in strategies that would be useful or any suggestions, I would be very appreciative!