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Planning the inquiry

1. What is our purpose? Class/grade: Grade 5 Age group: 10 -11 years


To inquire into the following:
Transdisciplinary theme: Where We Are In Place and Time
An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and
migrations of humankind; the relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from
local and global perspectives.

Central idea: Throughout history explorers have searched and traveled to improve the
quality of their lives and the lives of others School: Concordian International School School code: 7167
Summative assessment task(s): Title: Explorers
What are the possible ways of assessing students’ understanding of the
central idea? What evidence, including student-initiated actions, will we look Teacher(s): Tom Johnson, Melinda & Yan-Ping, Jan, Dokmai, Jen
for?
Date: Semester One Part One
You are a famous explorer. You along with other explorers have been invited by Larry King to speak on
his show. As his guest you will be interviewed. You must be prepared to clearly explain your background Proposed duration: number of hours over number of weeks
information, your reasons for your journeys and the effects that the expedition had on your life and the
lives of the inhabitants of the explored lands. You may find information using Ebsco and other Databases
CIS belongs to, as well as www.biography.com. Google should be a last resort. In addition to the Larry 2. What do we want to learn?
King Show you must be prepared to present yourself in front of a live audience as an explorer. Justify your What are the key concepts (form, function, causation, change, connection, perspective, responsibility, and reflection) to be
importance in history and cite facts with resources. emphasized within this inquiry?
or
Change Causation
You are a journalist for World History Magazine. You have been asked by the editor to produce a double spread article The enduring understanding we want the students to grasp is one of causation and change. We want the children to understand why explorers explored
showing the life of a great explorer of your choice and their expeditions. Within your article you must clearly explain the (push and pull causation factors) the resulting change this exploration had on their own lives and the lives of others, and the reason this subsequent
push and pull factors driving the explorer (s) and the effects the exploration had on the explorer’s life (and his/her change came about (causation).
community). You will need to use Microsoft Word’s tools, incorporating new techniques you learn in ICT.
What lines of inquiry will define the scope of the inquiry into the central idea?
• Explorers and their journeys (Western and Asian explorers-case studies) form
Not Evident Emerging Proficient Mastery • Push and pull factors triggering exploration causation
Trainee Traveler Emerging Explorer Excellent Explorer Expert Explorer! • The positive and negative results of exploration change
What teacher questions/provocations will drive these inquiries? (English/Chinese)
Has explained the significant Has only explained the
Has not explained any life
Criteria to be determined as a life events. Has described the significant life events. Has • Where do explorers travel?
events or any expeditions of
the explorer,
class with the students major expeditions of the described the major • What motivates people to explore?
explorer, expeditions of the explorer, • How does exploration affect the lives of explorers, their community and communities they meet?
Has explained the reason for PROVICATIONS: We create an ‘Explorers Provocation Centre’ in the corner of the homerooms with books, DVDs, photographs and brief
the expedition and
descriptions about various explorers which the children could choose to investigate. We will provide browsing time during the ‘Tuning In’ period to engage the
Has not explained the reason Criteria to be determined as a Has explained the reason for understood the way the
children. We will also read snippets in shared reading time about various explorers to wet their appetites.
for the expedition class with the students the expedition expedition was intended to
improve the lives of the Other unit objectives:
traveler and/or his/her people
Profile Attitudes Skills
Has explained the impact of
the expedition on the Reflective - Open-minded Appreciation - Empathy Research
Has not explained the impact Has explained the impact of explorer’s life and the life of We want students to be able to reflect on the choices
made by these explorers and their actions that led to
of the expedition on the Criteria to be determined as a the expedition on the the ‘indigenous’ population. positive and negative consequences on others. We want
We want the students to appreciate both the hardship We will focus on the full range of research skills in order
explorer’s life or the life of the class with the students explorer’s life and the life of And has included and magnitude of these explorations to empathize with to prepare for successful completion of the assessment
to encourage students to open their minds and expand
‘indigenous’ population. the ‘indigenous’ population. commentary on the legacy both the explorers and the indigenous people of the task. The exception is observation, which is not
from the stereotype image of Europeans explorers. We
explored territory. applicable in this case.
remaining today of this also want to provoke the students into questioning the
journey apparent absence of female explorers.

Concordian standards and benchmarks:


Math Language ICT Social Studies Art Science
S 1 Discussion a - e 4 Oral 1 Basic Operations, a -h 1 History a, b, c, f, g, h, 2.
Presentations a – f, R 7 2 Social Ethical and Geography a,
Comprehension Skills c, f i Human Issues a 3
Technology Productivity
Tools a 4 Technology as
Communication Tool a 5.
Technology as a research

© International Baccalaureate Organization 2008


Planning the inquiry
4. How best might we learn?
3. How might we know what we have learned? What are the learning experiences suggested by the teacher and/or students to encourage the students to engage with the
inquiries and address the driving questions?
This column should be used in conjunction with “How best might we learn?”
The following are suggested activities but we will remain flexible to account for teacher innovation and students’ responses:
What are the possible ways of assessing students’ prior knowledge and
Tuning In:
skills? What evidence will we look for? Students brainstorm names of people in history who have made great journeys in discovering or exploring new lands, Teachers choose 3 – 4 different
people: jigsaw activity for students to share and learn information from others, Using a world map, students draw and label the routes of chosen explorers
Brainstorming, concept maps, mini-quiz, anticipation guides, oral discussion after introductory activity and the colour the lands that were explored, Students brainstorm their ideas about why people set out to explore new land. Teachers introduce
information of different explorers so students can compare and contrast their motivations. Case studies – Jacques Cartier, Samuel de Champlain, Henry
We will look for whether students are aware of explorers from a many different parts of the world (rather Hudson (explorers to northern part of North America) Zhenghe explored the route from China to the west. Note these will be a structured inquiry using the
than being Eurocentric). We will assess what knowledge they might have on the impact that these Kath Murdoch inquiry cycle as a framework (tuning in, finding out, sorting out, going further, reflecting band action). We will familiarize the students with
explorers have made on the indigenous communities of the areas where they explored this cycle to prepare them for research during the Exhibition
The three questions will be addressed simultaneously: We will focus on research skills: Report organizer on Marco Polo and Zheng He, Model
What are the possible ways of assessing student learning in the context of the lines of inquiry? What evidence research skills sources: books, internet, videos, Eric program (Library Lessons) Ecohost (library), public speaking practice.
will we look for?
Where do explorers travel? (form) This will be addressed through case studies of various explorers. Children will select an explorer and or explorers
Where do explorers travel? of personal interest. Provocations of lives of various explorers will be made available to stimulate this inquiry.
. We will be looking for evidence that the children know the range of countries which the explorer explored. What motivates people to explore? (Causation)
Hot seat interview: Partner work to inform the audience about an explorer and their journey. “Amazing Race” explorers game style, (see game plan in
What motivates people to explore? activities folder)
This will assessed through the summative assessment How did exploration affect the lives of the explorers, their communities, and the communities they meet (change)
Small groups to produce a PMI (Positive, Minus, Interesting) to identify positive and negative changes that exploration brought about. Students work in
groups to produce a before/after collage design that highlights changes that have occurred to a culture due to the impact of other cultures or exploration.
Has explained the reason for
the expedition and What opportunities will occur for transdisciplinary skills development and for the development of the attributes of the learner
Has not explained the reason Criteria to be determined as a Has explained the reason for understood the way the
for the expedition class with the students the expedition expedition was intended to
profile?
improve the lives of the
traveler and/or his/her people Profile Attitudes Skills Technology:
Reflective - Open- Appreciation - Empathy Research Students will be re-introduced to the
computer environment through touch typing.
minded Limited links to the unit will be made until the
How does exploration affect the lives of explorers and their communities? We will expose children to explorers True life stories will bring to life the Collecting data Gathering 4th week when we will incorporate Microsoft
from a range of different regions plight of both explorers and natives. information from a variety of first- and Word and Sound Production Tools as
This will assessed through the summative assessment and cultures. We will challenge We will use literature and DVD to second-hand sources such Follows. As part of their summative
statements such as ‘Columbus bring to life appreciation of the feats as maps, books, films, people, and ICT.
discovered America’ by inquiring they managed to do and also the
assessment (Larry King) the script or
Recording data Describing and Double-Page spread they produce in the
Has explained the impact of into a range of other explorers affect and effects on themselves recording observations by note taking,
the expedition on the (Vikings, etc). We discuss how and others. Lots of discussion will homeroom will be typed out in Word. The
making charts, writing statements. students will then use Sound Booth to record
Has not explained the impact Has explained the impact of explorer’s life and the life of explorations were documented promote these attitudes. Organizing data Sorting and
(such as Edmund Hilary conquering and Edit their radio broadcast.
of the expedition on the Criteria to be determined as a the expedition on the the ‘indigenous’ population. categorizing information; arranging
Everest with comparatively little
explorer’s life or the life of the class with the students explorer’s life and the life of And has included into understandable forms such as
mention of Tenzing Norgay. We will
‘indigenous’ population. the ‘indigenous’ population. commentary on the legacy expose students to female explorers narrative descriptions, tables,
remaining today of this both past and present. timelines maps and diagrams .
journey Presenting research findings Library: Read books related to explorers
effectively communicating what has not covered in class, “Traveling Man, the
been learned; choosing appropriate journeys of Ibn Battuta and followed routes
media. Note the Kath Murdoch using maps and globes. Introduced Islam
Inquiry Cycle to be introduced to and Middle Eastern culture through the
students in preparation for The
non-fiction story.
Exhibition

5. What resources need to be gathered? Language Eng Language Chi Language Thai
What people, places, audio-visual materials, related literature, music, art, computer software, etc, will be available? Reading Street Links – The Incredible Vocabulary: 探险家, 航海家, 皇帝, 丝绸之路,宝藏,极地, There are no links with the Thai Department.
Sea Journey (set of six group readers 奴隶, 陆地, 发现, 佛教, 交流, 文化, 技术.
www.biography.com ÆMarco Polo, Christopher Columbus video, “The Journeys of Marco Polo” DVD (Thai), Marco Polo: Journey stored in Grade 4) good for discussion
To the East (Thai). Silk Rd DVD. EBSCO and vocabulary, A Shifting Society (set of
910.9 MAT Explorer six group readers stored in Grade 4) Reading
972.90 MUR Wild West about the migration of to and across Biographies, chronological reports, real life stories : 郑和下
623.8 CHR Christopher Columbus : explorer of the New World America. In Grade 3 we have The First
西洋, 张骞出使, 哥伦布发现新大陆, 马克波罗
910.9 HUD Five brave explorers Year (Americas first immigrants) The
910.9 CHA Explorers Colonial Adventure (USA’s Pioneers)
Writing
986 GAT Terror on the Amazon : the quest for El Dorado A report about an explorer.
919.89 HOO Antarctic adventure : exploring the frozen South Reading: Biographies, chronological
920 COL Christopher Columbus : famous explorer / reports, real life stories, reading
Speaking
921 HEN Matthew Henson : Arctic adventurer / independently,
Interviews, Presentation (explanatory)
CS 523.01 LAN Oxford first book of Children of the Space [Class Set]
F VIC The Coldest place on earth Writing: research paper, exploring a
Listening
900 OWE 歷史探索 Discovering history [Chinese] variety of forms of writing.
A video clip about Zheng He Introduction
REF 900 OWE 歷史探索 Discovering history [Reference Chinese] http://www.tudou.com/playlist/playindex.do?lid=240834&iid=2059200
Speaking:
910.9 GRE 大航海時代 The great sailing era [Chinese] Listening:
920 SCO 羅伯史考特 Robert Scott [Chinese]

© International Baccalaureate Organization 2008


Reflecting on the inquiry
6. To what extent did we achieve our purpose? 7. To what extent did we include the elements of the PYP?
Assess the outcome of the inquiry by providing evidence of students’ What were the learning experiences that enabled students to:
understanding of the central idea. The reflections of all teachers involved in
• develop an understanding of the concepts identified in “What do we want to learn?”
the planning and teaching of the inquiry should be included.
The main concepts were change and connection. These activities were successful in addressing them:
Ken K’s understanding was a typical student His rubric is pasted below (note we modified the planned rubric) Evidence was obtained
during the summative assessment. For example he could explain David Livingstone and general explorers explored (for financial
The information was obtained through reading and internet research (modelled by the teacher with respect to
gains) but he was unable to expand and go into detail. He did not know the details of his explorers but was able to explain where he Chrisopher Colombus and Zheng He Interviews were very successful at consolidating their knowledge. The children
explored, how he dies, The summative assessment was videotaped and was obvious in the children’s Larry King interview. About five were forced to explain their reasoning.
or six were above this as marked in dark gray. Small groups to produce a PMI to identify positive and negative changes that exploration brought about. Students work
in groups to produce a before/after collage design that highlights changes that have occurred to a culture due to the
impact of other cultures or exploration.
没有解释任何关于探险家的生平和他的 简单地介绍了探险家的生平和他的旅 仅解释了探险家重大的生平事迹描
. 述了 清楚地有
, 条理地解释和描述了探险家重
旅程。 程。 探险家的探险经历。 大生平事迹。
Has not explained any life Has explained briefly life events
events or any expeditions of and described the expeditions of
Has only explained the significant
life events. Has described the
Has explained the significant life
events and has described the
demonstrate the learning and application of particular transdisciplinary skills?
the explorer, the explorer. major expeditions of the explorer, major expeditions of the explorer,
Research skills: Students were reading books, using internet to find their explorer’s for the presentation. There was a lot
of research during this unit and thus this transdisciplinary skill was addressed with some success. Though we didn’t feel
that we addressed any major research skills as using the internet, printing and reading comprehension were already
清楚地解释探险的原因和理解探险是为
skills they possessed. We were working on reading comprehension much more than the other research skills we had
了提高人们的生活。
没有解释探险家旅程的原因。 简单地介绍了探险家旅程的原因。 有解释探险家为什么去探险。 anticipated.
Has explained the reason for the
Has not explained the reason Has briefly explained the reason Has explained the reason for expedition and understood the
for the expedition, for the expedition. the expedition way the expedition was intended develop particular attributes of the learner profile and/or attitudes?
to improve the lives of the
traveler and/or his/her people A few students showed empathy for example Cheri was emotive about the use of black people as slaves. Ken K was
discussing the ‘discovery’ of the Americas and made many comments about how unfair it was to the indigenous people.
Generally empathy was successfully addressed and was evident however the affect on the students was not exactly
解释了探险的影响和包括今天人们对他 profound. We don’t feel they will these feelings away with them past this unit or dwell upon them. It would be interesting
没有解释探险家对当地人和他自己国家 简单地解释了探险家对当地人和他自 的评价。 to assess them on this at a later date to see if they retain any empathy.
有解释旅程的影响力。
的影响。 己国家的影响。
Has explained the impact of the
Has not explained the impact of Has briefly explained the impact of
Has explained the impact of the
expedition on the explorer’s life expedition on the explorer’s life In each case, explain your selection.
the expedition on the explorer’s the expedition on the explorer’s life
and the life of the ‘indigenous’ and the life of the ‘indigenous’
life or the life of the ‘indigenous’ or the life of the
population. population. And has included
population. “indigenous”population. commentary on the legacy
remaining today of this journey

How you could improve on the assessment task(s) so that you would have a
more accurate picture of each student’s understanding of the central idea.
Next year, we would display the assessment criteria with the task at the beginning of the unit so that students will be very clear before
the preparation. Column two and three were a little bit ambiguous and we should look at clarifying the rubric descriptors. We modified
the assessment tasks into three parts – One: to write a paper about one chosen explorer, 2 to present orally the explorer and the third
was the Larry King interview. The practicing for the final interview and presentation was a great way for the children to digest their
learning and to reflect and act upon their performance. It was very successful driving them to continue researching and making them
delve deeper. It was a good opportunity for the students to reflect and to peer assess.

What was the evidence that connections were made between the central
idea and the transdisciplinary theme?
The theme was Where we are in place and time: We have highlighted the descriptor sections which relate to this central idea

An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of
humankind; the relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.

It was a historical unit with a large chunk of geography. The discoveries and explorations were the core of the unit with the third line of inquiry
addressing the relationships and interconnectedness. It was definitely under the right theme.

Our three inquiries are based on the personal history, journeys discoveries, exploration and the influence
after discover.

© International Baccalaureate Organization 2008


Reflecting on the inquiry
8. What student-initiated inquiries arose from the learning? 9. Teacher notes
Record a range of student-initiated inquiries and student questions and highlight Many of the students said they were nervous before the presentation and were proud of themselves. We both feel
that we could have given more positive feedback to the children about what they achieved. We could have
any that were incorporated into the teaching and learning. recognized their successes more. Though Yan Ping went to the Exhibition workshop straight after the unit
Their initiated questions can be viewed in the portfolio sheet. Examples included “Who were the first people to discover celebration so had little time. We must build this time into the unit next year.
Thailand” they also wanted to do more discovery on space exploration. Though great, Space was a unit they had already
inquired into in Grade 4 so we didn’t take the inquiry that way. We did feed back this interest to the Grade 4 teachers though,
so maybe exploration could form part of their unit (if it’s not already). We were very pressed for time during this unit. The We must order more media resources at their level for this unit. It’s not well resourced.
students showed a lot of interest but we were quite rigid with our teaching plans due to the pressure of ensuring they
understood the Central Idea and objectives on the planner. We recognize that this is not idea. Next year, we would like to A classroom map is also necessary
liaise with the Thai department (which we could have done more so this year) to try to allow Thai history to be incorporated
into the unit (and thus the students’ interests). We were both new teachers to Grade 5 and were finding our feet so we can The books we have in the library are not currently at a suitable reading level. We really must spend time finding
make improvements next year. books
We really feel we didn’t have enough time for this unit.
At this point teachers should go back to box 2 “What do we want to learn?” and
highlight the teacher questions/provocations that were most effective in driving
the inquiries. The Thai curriculum is designed to build on vocabulary and skills sequentially so we could not
The readings were a great stimulus for inquiry. For example we used readings (see the resource list) and the address these units.
children had to work out the route the explorers took on the world map by interpreting the story and charting it on
a map. “Why Explorers Explored The Word” was a great book as it looked at many explorers and commonalities. ICT meant to work closely with the teachers for this unit. However, we diverged in task and
“Voyages to the New World” was another great provocation. There was a great book on Vikings which spurred final project due to not working close enough. We met a couple times, but we need to meet
inquiry and “Search for the East”. We must ask Jen to add these titles to the planner resource list. We watched a
more. It would be useful to be a teacher working only in the PYP, as I find it hard to meet due
documentary about Zheng He. This gave them a really vivid insight into the journey and it definitely caused great
interest. to my schedule and work load. Tom

Library Links: We read books related to explorers not studied or chosen by students for their
Record student-initiated actions taken by individuals or groups showing their final assessments. In particular, we focused on Ibn Battuta and the Middle East in order to talk
ability to reflect, to choose and to act. about Islam and the geographical region. We mapped out his travels on a large world map at
the front. Jen and Suzie
Because this was a historical unit “Throughout history explorers have searched and traveled to improve the
quality of their lives and the lives of others” action wasn’t really expected in terms of the central idea. How could
a child act to prove they understand this central idea? However, the attitudes and profile were an area we did
expect to see action. We hoped that the children would become more reflective, more open-minded, more
appreciative and show further empathy. We feel that they have achieved a greater understanding about how
these values relate to exploration, but actual changes in their behavior (actions) have not been seen yet. It’s
difficult to measure whether or not the students have actually become more ‘empathetic’ or ‘open minded’ due to
this unit. If so those actions have been subtle. We hope we have contributed to this change.

© International Baccalaureate Organization 2008