An integral part of PYP learning is a commitment to a purposeful inquiry as a vehicle for learning. International Children’s Day has always been a calling card for our school to show off our units of inquiry to our local community. We weren’t sure how many people would attend since this was our first completely open event at our new school location (besides having Open Houses which required reservations). We sent out some invitations to other schools with only a handful of replies.
This year, we focused on Sharing the Planet. Parents, community members and students perused our hallways, gym and classrooms to learn about our topics. Here is a very small sampling of our activities and actions.
In 5th and 6th Grade, guests could almost miss the complexity of the posters filled with animal classification systems, symbiosis, food chains, diversity and animal interconnectedness because of the fun game activities. People, here, guessed the animals in the cloud shapes as related to the species in biomes set up around the room. Probability activities such as a pull the vine game yielded a treat or a sprinkle of water from the Amazon river. Other stuff included a cloud piñata, throwing a ball in the kangaroo’s pouch, finding Nemo behind seaweed, removing blades of grass to get a hiding rabbit and counting the spots on a cheetah estimation activity.
Then, there was 4th Grade with their Journeys of Discovery! A sign posted in their room said it all- “Since life is short and the world is wide, the sooner you start exploring the better!” Themed like a video game, people stepped into a semi-realistic world of exploration. Guests could sort of feel like a gold and tool gathering Mario. Visitors started out in a tent to get their orientation for finding a new species of animal. After that, they journeyed through dense rainforest, dark caves where flashlights were mandatory and huge mountain tops. They solved puzzles and played games. By going in this room, a person could almost forget that they were at SIS and think that they were in Nepal.
In Grade 3, botany, audiology and zoology seemed to be on their agenda. At this age (and being into books like Captain Underpants), a profound question was asked, “Do plants “expel gas” (my emphasis)?” And the answer is- no! They use a process called respiration which is like breathing! If a plant smells bad then it may be due to a fungus trying to kill it. Fact gathers learned about meat eating plants, contamination from pollutants and they matched animals into the sound wave categories in a fun way.
Grade 2 was into deserts, Savannas, marine and tundra ecosystems. They focused on water cycles and animal homes. They had a fun animal family photo board where 3 people could put their faces in the cutout.
Grade 1’s bottle cap recycling art sent a strong message to people looking into their room. They focused on reducing, reusing, recycling and refusing rubbish. Their activities centered-around showing people how to take action to help the environment in a practical way.
Kindergarten’s exhibition showcased living and nonliving things. By-passers also enjoyed Preschool’s habitats in a tray of marine life, farm animals, arctic regions and zoos.
The children wore stamp cards. They had an incentive to see every classroom event because a fully stamped card meant getting a prize.
Downstairs in our gym, we had a clown entertain us with balloon animals and tricks. Highlighting this were Taiko drums and lots of ethnic dancing. Outside, we had a petting zoo to teach children how to handle animals gently.
Our turnout was great as witnessed through the organized long lines and massive crowds of people mulling around. The event was very successful monetary with the selling of international baked goods by the PTA and ice cream during the performances. These profits will be used toward our school resources, PTA and technological items.
I wanted to thank all the people involved (including some Japanese school students) and those who came from the bottom of my heart! We are looking forward to next year’s International Children’s Day