After a How We Organise Ourselves unit with the central idea “Economic Systems Impact…” students had to finish the central idea and justify their answers. We felt that though the workshops we were offering were great, there was little continuation on things. Because of this, students didn’t have as deep of an understanding of the unit as we would have liked. We decided to take our Sharing the Planet unit one step further.
After a provocation of a variety of broad topic areas that could finish the sentence, we surveyed the students to see what most of their answers were AND what areas they wanted to know more about. This was to create smaller groups to focus on their inquiries with.
We thought we would end up with 7 groups. In reality, after listening to the students, we realized they were only actually interested in three topics. So we made 3 large groups that could be split into 6 if needed, plus one small EAL support group.
These inquiry groups met for 2 periods every day. We had a math line of inquiry in our unit, which helped us to stay accountable for all subject areas within the inquiry groups. Using infographics was a fantastic way to improve mathematical abilities while continuing to deepen our knowledge of our interest area.
Having these inquiry groups helped students to have voice and choice about how they wanted to learn about the unit, and also what they wanted to learn. It worked well because students met every day, creating a continuous unit of work and inquiries for them to work on. It also left time throughout the rest of the day for a variety of other workshops for them to attend (or continue to work on their inquiry group projects). Simply, they had time to deepen their understanding while staying true to our Studio approach.
Overall, I feel that it was a great success. Their presentations were fantastic, and students enjoyed the process. Student’s wrote their own Evaluations of Learning at the end of the unit. Teachers were all impressed at how well they reflected on their learning, mistakes, and ideas for their future. When we put this responsibility on the students they have the opportunity to really show us how capable they area.
Moving forward, our next unit is How We Express Ourselves. With less math fitting authentically into this unit, we will be attempting to run inquiry groups as well as math courses, all with students having the ability to choose what course/group they want/need to attend. Stay tuned to see how it goes!
I have moved from a small-scale version of a studio to this larger, more collaborative version. Iterations are key! How have you changed the structures of a learning day in your school?
Originally posted on www.innovativeinquirers.weebly.com