Year 6 Mini Expo

September 23, 2014 at 2:17 PM

For the first time last year, the boys in Year 6 were 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. Such was the success of last year’s venture that it was again undertaken by this year’s cohort.

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 learning – discovering that all learning across all disciplines is inter-related.

When presented with the idea that the Expo is exclusive to Year 6, the boys were fired into action and quickly took ownership of the idea. They 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 theme ‘Where we are in space and time,’ they worked in small groups of two or three to brainstorm which path their own inquiry would take. First they picked an overall line of inquiry and from that each planned their own personal exploration within their chosen theme – these ideas were many and varied.

The boys were required to explore multiple perspectives. In the process they further developed their collaborative skills through discussing and debating real issues with their peers; they went beyond the school gates to talk to experts in the wider community, conducting all the organisation and safety information (RAM: Risk Assessment Management) for this to take place; and they conducted surveys and used a wide variety of primary sources.

As the boys worked, they kept log books that recorded all their work including regular reflections of their thinking.  It soon became clear that they were beginning to really think about the issues and concepts, not just the facts; to understand why things are, how things connect to each other and to them.  In the final stages, the boys needed to bring their ideas together and work out how best to present their findings to engage an invited audience.

Over three sessions this week, parents are invited to visit the Expo to view the boys’ displays and seek a deeper understanding of the different topics from the boys themselves.  They proved themselves to have a good understanding of the work they had done and were articulate in their explanations.

In a frequently changing world, understanding how to inquire, how to sift through the ideas to make informed decisions and discover their truths is a valuable and exciting 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 first public Expo.

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