Last week, Grade 1 students completed their month-long Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) unit titled “How might we design a prototype that is inspired by observing nature and can solve a human problem?” Through their observations of nature and their research, students were able to find solutions to human problems and present their findings to an audience, further developing their communication and presentation skills.
Students began their journey by reading books such as Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beatty, Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating, and The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps by Jeanette Winter. These books helped the students to understand the importance of observing nature and how it can help to find solutions to human problems.
The students then went outside to explore, observing plants and animals in nature after brainstorming ways to record their observations, including writing words or drawing pictures, taking photos, or recording sounds on their iPads. After this, they explored the survival characteristics of specific animals and plants they saw outside and developed a list of human problems they would like to solve.
Groups began to show similar interests and were put into rooms in which they could collaborate with other students. Home improvements, environmental issues, life hacks, and various other groups worked side by side to complete their sketches and begin the prototyping stage.
Students then used recycled cardboard, paper, tape, aluminum foil, and markers to build prototypes of their inventions. On Friday, January 13, parents and teachers came to visit Grade 1 classrooms to listen and interact with each group about their prototypes giving the students an opportunity to sharpen their communication and presentation skills. Each group planned their presentations, including ensuring each member had a part to present in a specific order. allowing each parent to see every group’s prototype.