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Project Based Learning in the IB PYP Inquiry

I've shared a lot about project based learning with our Instagram IB PYP community and how it fits into our student-led inquiry framework. Many have asked me if it offers fidelity to the inquiry process, to student agency and to transdisciplinary learning.  With this post, my intention is to share my perspective based on my experience and hopefully bring some clarity as to how project based learning fits seemlessly within the unit of inquiry.

There is a common misconception that PBL is not as rigorous or as organic a form of inquiry-based learning. I say, that depends on: *Our understanding of an inquiry-based project *How we implement the process *How we differentiate inquiry *How we support student's voice within the project *How flexible we are with plans *How open we are to multiple strategies *How we view structure in the learning environment

 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Susan Powers...

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Supporting A Collaborative Classroom in the IB PYP

The very nature of the student led, inquiry based classroom is to amplify the children's voice and bring their thinking to light. As part of 21st century skills, we know that collaboration is a key player in this development of learning.  There is no doubt that the process of learning through collaboration is the evolution of expanding understanding. It breaks away from that traditional " I" and "me" method of learning and brings forth the community mindset. We want to build up this sense of collective agency through our culture of community learning.

Why Collaborative Learning?

This form of learning enables a multitude of sub-skills and ALL of the IB PYP Approaches to Learning Skills. It brings meaningful experiences to learning and allows our students to work towards a higher level of thinking as they build upon each others' thoughts and ideas.

  • Social skills: Becoming active participants of a social setting presents opportunities for the children to become more effective...
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Integrating Inquiry Based Math in the IB PYP

The Inquiry-Based Math Project in the IB PYP

Integrated maths inquiry, concept based maths, project based learning….it doesn’t matter what you call it, well designed projects support learning through a guided inquiry that has enough scope to ensure that maths concepts are approached authentically and with a student-led perspective. These projects naturally lend themselves to support all types and levels of learners. They are transdisciplinary in nature, allowing concepts and skills to be transferred and applied towards an end product that has largely been created with the children's voice as an obvious part of the process. They're open-ended enough to allow your students room to expand and direct the project yet structured enough to support those learners who aren’t quite ready to take that leap into independent inquiry.  As you watch the following video, where I share my strategies together with Parvana Guliyeva (an IB PYP grade 4 teacher, currently in...

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Teaching Time with An Inquiry Approach

If I’m to be honest, teaching elapsed time is not my favourite thing to do. It’s pretty close to pulling my own teeth, but of course, ultimately, far more rewarding. 🙂  With interactive timelines things get far more interesting.

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With 3rd grade, it is such a tricky concept to grasp, particularly with hours and minutes. And then when you throw in years and A.D and B.C ( now also known as Before the Common Era /B.C.E and the Common Era/ C.E) , we can really end up quite tied in knots. But once they’ve got it, by golly, the wee angels are soaring! And their teacher is on cloud nine with them!

The review, by the time we get to 4th and 5th grades, isn’t quite as painful, thank goodness, and fine tuning those time lines and introducing more complex variations can even become a fun experience for all involved with great digital variations that the kids love exploring. I’ll get to more of those in a bit.

There are numerous ways to teach elapsed...

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Brilliant Picture Books for Integrating Maths in the IB PYP

I’m an avid believer in making maths an adventure of discovery and creation rather than simply an expected chore. By integrating maths into our units of inquiry and making it an authentic experience, we are dispelling the myth that maths is boring and we turn our learners into investigators, truth seekers and explorers! Far more exciting already, don’t you think?

I’m well aware of how tricky it can be to integrate maths into all of our units of inquiry and so there are several alternative routes that I turn to when the going gets tough, which I’ll be sharing soon in a future post. But for today, I want to share how picture books are one of the easiest ways to bring the adventure back to your maths lessons.

Here are some of my favourites that I’ve found provoke inquiry and are simple to slot into multiple units of inquiry, whilst covering many maths standards. Many of them are flexible enough to adapt for all ages. You can link directly to each book for...

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Developing Student Led Inquiry in the IB PYP

The biggest question, when I’m planning an IB PYP unit of inquiry is, at what level is my class in terms of experience and initiative when it comes to inquiry? In other words, which level of student inquiry will I be planning around – structured inquiry, guided inquiry or open inquiry?

 

The biggest catastrophe that can happen to a teacher embarking on inquiry for the first time is to implement an open inquiry without fully understanding the level of her students’ independent inquiry skills. There aren’t many children who are new to the IB PYP that have been formally guided through the skills necessary for independent inquiry. This can result in confusion at best and frustration at the worst. Not to mention that moment when you just have to abandon the lesson and re-group. I know this, cos I’ve been there many a time! Haha!

We want to ensure that our inquiries are structured in such a way that will introduce strategies and guide and...

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