ISD primary: Inquiry via online learning

Contribution by ms Lucy Doyle – PYP 4 teacher

This unit certainly hasn’t gone how we expected! At the beginning of the unit, whilst at school, we found out what the children were interested in learning. They asked questions such as: how do buildings stay up? What are buildings made of? Is there a boss on a building site? How do you make concrete? So, I thought we could perhaps visit builders’ merchants, look at sites, try making different structures together and experimenting with different materials that we have at school, etc. But it soon became clear that we wouldn’t be able to do those things!

It has certainly been a challenge, adapting the Unit, Language and Maths Inquiry to online learning. Probably the hardest thing for me is condensing a week’s worth of learning into 2 activities per week per subject. Some things I just had to leave out of the planning. For example, in maths we did measurement. Part of this was measuring in meters. But I can’t expect mobile, international families to be lugging tape measures all over the world! We’ll leave that until we’re back at school. Instead, I asked the children to measure objects around the house, then add the amounts to find the height of a tower of the objects. In the next lesson they had to use subtraction to find the difference in the heights of their family members. 

Among the Unit Inquiry lessons I’ve posted, I’ve asked the children to design buildings for specific places in the world, build bridges from straws and towers from spaghetti (I think plenty of engineers will recognise those activities…). And in Language Inquiry the children have been learning about advertising, firstly making a video advert from the text we read in class, and then working on adapting it. In that sense, we did pretty much what we would have in class. When I look at the library of videos I’ve made, I see myself holding up scissors, paper straws, a penguin whistle and an advert for liquorice. I think that sums up the online teaching experience!