The Hive has had a brilliant start to Term Three, with most children quickly settling back into the routine and engaging in the program with enthusiasm. We were so thankful to provide the children with a sense of "normality" and stability throughout Lockdown #5. We loved observing their joy and excitement, connecting with their friends, and spending time outdoors!
This term, we are introducing our new Unit of Inquiry –
How The World Works
"We construct theories about how the world works through playful exploration."
This unit is an inquiry into:
- How we can manipulate materials for a purpose
- How forces can cause change
- How we can use our understandings to design and create
As we encounter new materials, we will explore their form, observe what they are like, and discover how they can change and be manipulated and used differently. We aim to develop children'scuriosity and image of themselves as inquirers, thinkers, and communicators.
Our learning experiences will be playful and hands-on as we experiment and develop our understandings of cause and effect. We will be using the following skills as we play, design, and create:
- Thinking skills – critical thinking, problem-solving, forming decisions, and creative thinking
- Research skills – observation, questioning, gathering data, evaluating & communicating
- Communication skills – sharing our thinking, developing thinking, recording predictions and results
We will continue to revisit our other Units of Inquiry, "Who We Are" and "Sharing the Planet," in response to the children's needs and interests throughout this term.
Term 3 has seen us get off to a great start with the children showing excitement and joy in their play as they inquire into our unit How the World Works. Provocations have helped the students understand that we can manipulate objects to experiment with cause and effect, trial and error, and motion. In the first four weeks of this term, we have developed a deep understanding that forces can cause change.
At the beginning of the unit, we introduced the provocation of magnets during our morning meeting to discuss the magnetic fields. The children quickly discovered that magnets could attract or repel.
"It just sticks quickly." Austin
"You can't make it push together." Ezra
"The other end works, though." Pearl
"It feels different." Gemma
"I can push the spoon to mix it up." Daisy
"The tongs push together to pick it up too." Isaac
"Yeah, I use the tongs to pinch the block." Daisy
Loose parts play and tinkering
Our light table has offered a fantastic opportunity for the children to explore and play with loose parts; educators carefully selected various magnetic parts as fun invitations to play.
The open-ended resources provided endless opportunities for play, including researching with books, design, mathematics, engineering, and science.
"This is going to be so big." Henni
"Mine is not going to fall now as I have more straight bits." Huxley
With the support of intentional teaching, the children could identify that the magnetic tiles and loose parts were solid pieces that meant they could build and not have it collapse.
"These bits a strong, see it doesn't move." Ezra
"Yeah, it's metal." Isaac
STEM was evident throughout this play. STEM is the integration of four key subjects, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Our goal with this provocation was to encourage children to be curious, question, think creatively and solve problems. Just as we expected, the loose magnetic parts allowed the children to move through different stages of play. Children practiced making simple ball runs, constructing and exploring scientific concepts of gravity.
"Can we try the plastic tub?" Austin
"It's too light. We need a heavier car". Austin
"It has to be speed," Lewis
"It worked!" Austin
"It needs to be bigger" (the ramp) Willow Shirl
"Yeah, so much bigger," Remi
"Not too much on top it might crack," Rose
"Or fall over," Daisy
"This is bending a bit," Remi
"Yeah, it's plastic and just soft," Willow
"We can use the blocks. They are stronger" Rose
"If you push it more, it goes faster," Griffin
"When you add more water, it goes quicker." Zoe
"Yeah, the more water, the faster it goes down." Ezra
"The little water is slow," Lewis
"I like fast." Jake
Our explorations quickly spread beyond the loose parts on the light table, and we noticed children creating ramps with blocks or using loose parts outdoors to construct a water run followed by a large ball run structure. Engineering skills naturally emerged through play as the children made their constructions longer, higher, or faster. When the ball or object would get stuck, fall off or not make it the whole way down the structure, they would revise why and use their problem-solving and critical thinking skills to work out how to fix it and try again. Collaboration deepened their learning as they shared knowledge and inquired into their theories drawing on prior experiences.
"Can we try the plastic tub?" Austin
"It's too light; we need a heavier car." Austin
"When you move it closer, it goes the whole way down the track," Lewis
"Ok, let's try," Austin
"It worked. There are no bumps now," Lewis
Questioning built their curiosity and provided opportunities for developing knowledge, using imagination, and developing creativity.
"Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, commitment, enthusiasm,persistence, imagination, and reflexivity."
It is evident when children:
- Express wonder and interest in their environments
- They are curious and enthusiastic participants in their learning.
- Use play to investigate, imagine and explore ideas.
Follow and extend their interests with enthusiasm, energy, and concentration.
Playdough & forces that cause change
We have been thinking about changing playdough, using our hands to squash and stretch, and using tools to roll flat or cut into it. We are finding lots of words that describe how we use pushing and pulling forces every day. We also connect these ideas with real-life experiences, such as pizza dough, play slime, and chewing gum!
Pearl: "It's sticky today."
Daisy: "It's warm."
Zoe: "It's like sticky chewing gum."
Indiana: "I need to wash my hands."
Dominic: "It's still a little bit sticky!
The children find the freshly made batch is clinging to their fingers and difficult to use. We sprinkle more flour on the wooden boards and use our hands to squish and squash and mix it with the dough.
After a while, Flynn notices the play dough is drying out.
Flynn: "When you press it, it doesn't stick in your hands." Flynn is then offered the playdough from yesterday to try and compare with the fresh batch.
Flynn: "Look, this one is soft. Let's see what happens."
Flynn proceeds to mix the two batches; he chooses a rolling pin to press them together, then tests the result with his fingers and a hammer.
Flynn: "It's like slime when you push the hammer in."
Ezra: "I'm going to try that." Ezra tries using his hands to squeeze the two doughs together into a ball: "It's hard work!"
PYP LEARNER PROFILE: INQUIRER, KNOWLEDGEABLE, COMMUNICATION
The children enjoyed the opportunity to work with Emily from Body Safety Australia. The sessions were designed to intentionally teach children how to understand and communicate their right to bodily autonomy.
"When I'm scared, I run away," Stevie
"We all have a body," Harry
"You can say stop. It's my body," Gemma
"Stop, I don't like that," Dominic
"I hold mummy's hand to cross a road," Gemma
"Ask for a hug," Maisy
"Your hands are a personal body part," Isaac
The body safety Learning objectives:
Children explored ten learning objectives using age-appropriate songs, activities, stories, games, and group conversations. Emily delivered a fun and interactive program that captivated the children's interest in fun ways while also learning to:
- Identify and communicate emotions in themselves and others
- Know and identify their body's 'early warning signs" that tell them something doesn't feel safe. "My tummy goes funny," Rose. "You feel sick," Remi.
- Understand that all humans have different fear responses: fight, flight, and freeze
- Assertively communicate their right to bodily autonomy- "It's my body, and I don't like it" Bond.
- Identify Safe Adults. "I have my grandparents," Austin. "My Mummy" Stevie. "My Aunty" Pearl.
- Understand that their body belongs to them, and nobody has the right to touch it without permission.
- Identify and name genitals using words that health care professionals would use. "It's a penis," Isaac. "They are nipples," Stevie. "Everybody has a bottom," Lewis.
- Understand that sometimes adults make decisions about a child's body for health, hygiene, and safety reasons. "I hold my Dad's hand to get to, kinder," Griffin.
- Know the difference between a surprise and a secret. "Surprises are when you have a birthday," Maisy. "You can tell your mum the secret," Lewis.
PYP Learner Profile: Balanced, Communicator.