Upper Primary News

February 2017

At ISL we plan at least one field trip for each trans-disciplinary theme as part of the PYP.  This enables students to experience a more holistic picture of the information presented in a textual and abstract way.  Field trips are very important and act as powerful learning experiences that can have a great impact on student inquiry.  Read on to find out about the various, meaningful trips that some of the Upper Primary classes have been going on as well as the practical lessons taking place in class.

The Year 3 students have been working with the trans-disciplinary theme: ‘How the World Works.’ The central idea is that, changes in the Earth and its atmosphere have an impact on the way people live their lives.  In order to understand the central idea, the students investigated about the different components of the earth and how they are interrelated, why the earth has changed and is continuing to change and the human responses to the earth’s changes. One of the focuses of this unit of inquiry was weather. The students investigated about what weather is, the different elements that influence weather, the seasons, how and why they change. In order to do this the Year 3 students took a field trip to the Lusaka Meteorological Department where they listened and talked to meteorologists. They had the opportunity to see and ask questions about the different instruments the meteorologists use to forecast the weather. This enabled them to understand why forecasting was important not only for farmers but for the population in general.

As part of their inquiry into Simple Machines, Year 4 have been having a lot of fun in their classrooms, designing and building machines to crack an egg into a frying pan.  They used their knowledge of simple machines and included ramps, pulleys, levers, wedges, screws and wheels and axles in their designs.  There was so much learning going on and a very smelly classroom at the end of the day!

As part of their Unit on Sharing the Planet, Year 5 took part in a ‘Monkey Orange workshop’ right here on the ISL campus. Monkey Oranges are wild fruit which grow in Zambia; they are very hard and beautifully round. They are one of Zambia’s many natural resources. As the children have been learning about protecting our Environment, and about providing alternative means of income for people such as charcoal makers, who add to the environmental conflict of Deforestation, this workshop was completely relevant. The children got the chance to make a Christmas decoration and a money bank. In order to do these, they had to sand, scrape, carve, cut, drill, paint and decorate – it was hard-work but extremely rewarding! It also fits in with their current unit which focuses on Business and requires them to take a product all the way from conception, through manufacture, right up to Sale.

It is not often that you go to court unless you are in some sort of disagreement or trouble, but for our students a day in the National Assembly Chambers was a very exciting and memorable one.  As part of their inquiry into governance systems, the Year 6 students had an opportunity to deliberate issues of national interest through role play.  By the end of the visit, it was evident that their perspective and understanding of government systems had been addressed by the Public Relations personal.

Year 6 students have been exploring and investigating through the new Mathematics Scheme ‘Maths No Problem!’  This is a Singapore based methodology that has raised the level of attainment in Maths in many schools.  The students have been enjoying the concrete, pictorial abstract approach to enhance the learning process.  The new Maths scheme incorporates the use of concrete aids and problem solving in group work.

Please encourage your child/children to carry out actions related to their unit of inquiry and complete the Unit action letter which can be returned to the class teacher at the end of the Unit.

Tasneem Mohmed, Upper Primary coordinator