Year 6 Expo – How the World Works

September 26, 2018 at 3:25 PM

An amazing collaborative journey with deep and meaningful learning

Each year, theboys in Year 6 are presented with a unique opportunity - to undertake a significant and lengthy inquiry over the course of a term and then exhibit their learning journey for the wider school community in the form of an Expo. Not only is their finished work put on display but the boys are also on hand over three sessions to answer questions from visitors about the process behind their inquiry and what they learnt as a consequence. 

When presented with the idea that the Expo is exclusive to Year 6, the boys are always fired into action and quickly take ownership of their journey! Like the boys in each year before them, this year’s cohort were inspired to take up the challenging task of going beyond their previous learning to develop new skills, while keeping the end result in mind – an exhibition intended for a wide audience. 

With the broad theme ‘How the World Works,’ the boys were encouraged to consider the following:

  • The natural world and its laws ​ 
  • The interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies​ 
  • ​ How humans use their understanding of scientific principles
  • ​ The impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment  

The boys worked in small groups of up to four to brainstorm which path their own inquiry would take. Firstly, they picked an overall line of inquiry and from that each planned their own personal exploration within their chosen subject – these ideas were many and varied.

The boys were required to explore multiple perspectives, including going beyond the school gates to talk to experts in the wider community, conducting all the organisation and safety information for this to take place. Some boys arranged fantastic opportunities to talk to key people including scientists and business leaders to gain a deeper understanding of their chosen line of enquiry. As the projects got underway, they kept log books that recorded all their work and in the final stages, worked out how best to present their findings to engage an invited audience. 

Prior to the arrival of their visitors, Principal, Mr Peter Cassie visited the Expo and took the opportunity to grill the boys on their efforts. He said it soon became clear that deep and meaningful learning had taken place, developing skills for life. When Mr Cassie asked how many had spoken to or interviewed someone beyond the school gates, every hand went up. Some had made a phone or Skype call, some had visited in person with one group travelling to Christchurch to talk to an earthquake specialist at the University of Canterbury! Mr Cassie reiterated that there is only so much to be learnt from Google. The boys had taken their enquiry one step further to give authenticity to their findings. 

The boys were adept at articulating their learning and were also keen to comment on the step by step processes they had learned from the organisations they had spoken to, and the relevance of applying the same thinking to their own learning. 

At the heart of inquiry learning is a commitment to structured, purposeful questioning as the leading vehicle for teaching and learning. Inquiry gives ownership of learning to the students themselves, developing their research and critical thinking skills. It allows them to pursue their own interests and make meaningful connections with what they are doing – discovering that all learning across all disciplines is inter-related. 

The parents were invited to visit the Expo to view the boys’ displays and seek a deeper understanding of the different topics from the boys themselves.  In a frequently changing world, understanding how to inquire, how to sift through ideas to make informed decisions and developing the ability to collaborate with others to present joint findings are all part of a valuable journey that these boys are just beginning to discover. The Expo brought all this into focus and the boys were very proud to present their learning to a wider audience.


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