Experiential Learning in Year 4

Experiential Learning:

When it’s real, it means something.

When it means something, it sticks!

At the beginning of this year, for our very first unit of inquiry (which has now stretched across the year), the students in Year 4 decided that they’d like to start a business. Two terms later, it is off the ground. Seeds for Needs, a charity to support the animals at Edgar’s Mission, turned a profit this week and is a wonderful example of how our experiential learning program supports rich learning opportunities across the curriculum.

Each student had the opportunity to explore a role of interest to them, and each of them has taken on the responsibility for a different part of the business. We have students:

  • Growing and ordering the seeds
  • Managing the finances including keeping track of expenses and profits
  • Deciding on pricing and managing stock
  • Designing logos and slogans
  • Developing advertising campaigns
  • Managing and organising the teams
  • Writing emails and developing cookbooks
  • Designing and building display shelving

Each of these is an opportunity for deep learning, learning that sticks because it means something. Through our language and mathematics programs we are able to explicitly teach the skills which support the creation of the business. Check out the amazing advertisements created after our language unit, ‘Visual texts influence thinking and behaviour’.

In each of our units of inquiry, our experiential learning program provides a different lens through which to look at the concepts we are learning about. In the unit we have just finished, we inquired into the central idea that people’s choice of role models influences their actions and behaviours. Take the concept of influence, for example. We looked at the influence role models can have, and then, through our language unit, looked at how advertisements can influence our behaviour. Well, what about in the garden? The garden provided an amazing opportunity to think differently about this – how do the greenhouse and other growing conditions influence the way plants grow? By looking at concepts from a broad range of lenses, we deepen students conceptual understanding and provide them with a large array of experiences from which to hang their growing understanding on. By the way… check out how the produce growing in the greenhouse, in hand-made wicking beds built by our students, is going below!

Before we finish, I would love to congratulate the students on what I hear was a magnificent assembly. Unfortunately, illness struck me down and I couldn’t attend, but the students’ resilience and care for each other ensured that it was a roaring success. Their singing and dancing is progressing magnificently for our whole school production of The Little Mermaid and we can’t wait to see you there on Wednesday 31 August or Thursday 1 September.

Year 4 Teacher