News Feature

Sharing the Planet with Grade 3 & Little Wildlife Explorers

A unit of inquiry allows students to engage with a thematic concept through the process model of inquiry: focus, explore, investigate, reflect, and share.
According to the International Baccalaureate, one benefit of the Inquiry Model curriculum approach is that it "allows teachers to create meaningful learning experiences, giving students the time and space to engage in greater critical and creative thinking." 3rd grade teacher, Elizabeth Sturm connected with Little Wildlife Explorers to do just that: create a meaningful learning experience to enhance their Unit of Inquiry on biodiversity, Sharing the Planet.
The central idea for this unit focuses on maintaining the balance of organisms within systems, including the interdependence within ecosystems, ways in which organisms are interconnected, and how human interaction with the environment can affect the balance of systems.
Fortunately, MIS students don't need to go far to explore an ecosystem as our campus is a part of an expansive federally-protected nature preserve. Sandra, from Little Wildlife Explorers, took Grade 3 students on a research expedition through the forest during the peak of tadpole season.
After their exploration and investigation, per the inquiry model, students reflected on the experience to synthesize and process what they had learned and observed. Nearly all students noted in their reflections that Sandra, the naturalist was Italian. After that, each student's reflection branched into very personal journies:
Isabella's reflection focused on sensory details such as the "mooshy moss under my feet. The bushes were really big and hard to go through. There was a lot of sticky sap on the trees." Franziska's reflection is full of awe as she recounts the events of the expedition: "We found out that leaves have hairs. We saw a little leaf frog. It looked kind of spiky. At the end, we went to the pond and studied tadpoles! This was a cool time in the ecosystem".
As the main goal of the unit is to "make use of knowledge and skills I have learned to help myself, others, and/or the environment", Theresa proved to be more than capable. Her highlight was when a tadpole they were observing "got lost in the grass. We searched and I found it. I ran to the pond and put it back."
MIS would like to thank teachers like Mrs. Sturm and the Science Inspiration Fund committee for connecting us to partners in education such as Little Wildlife Explorers. Their workshops "are filled with many discoveries in order to stimulate and surprise children, and encourage them to interact with the world and respect nature". MIS looks forward to many more opportunities to connect learning to our campus.
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