02 September, 2022

Presenting real life learning in Grade 3 at Northbridge

Presenting real life learning in Grade 3 at Northbridge-Presenting real life learning in Grade 3 at Northbridge-image005
Presenting real life learning in Grade 3 at Northbridge

By Jill Shadbolt

A dragon fruit is quite a spectacular fruit, but it is not common in all parts of the world, so if you had never seen one and tried to imagine what it would be like, what would you think? Would it be spicy and hot like a dragon’s breath? Would it be red or green like the dragons in pictures? Would it have spikes along the back? This question was recently posed to Grade 3 students at Northbridge International School Cambodia.

If you were to look at a picture of a dragon fruit, what would you learn from that picture? You might see what it looks like but have no idea how it feels, what it smells like or how it tastes.

So, when you are given the real thing, it’s a much more rewarding experience. You will see that the outside in quite amazing with its small flaps covering the skin, you can cut it open and discover that the inside has hundreds of small black seeds and that the flesh might be bright pink or white, that it is juicy and has the most wonderful, sweet, zingy flavour.

Learning opportunities are far greater when children have the chance to experience something first-hand. Not only does it allow children the opportunity to use all their senses when they are exploring a new object or experience, but it also increases motivation, can improve behaviour as the child is more engaged, helps to develop communication and language skills as experiences give children something to talk about, and consequently, further develops their understanding of the real world.

The PYP has a focus on providing the children with first-hand experiences that we hope will build the foundations of learning, understanding, experiencing and discovering. In Grade 3 this week we have been doing just that; using first-hand experiences to develop an understanding of how to write instructions. We have been making models and explaining each step to a partner who cannot see it, but has to make the same thing. We have made jam sandwiches to try and put the steps in the correct sequence, and we have planted new plants for our classroom to discover the best way for the plants to flourish. 

We have also been tasting many of the local food in Cambodia to compare it to other food eaten around the world as part of our unit of inquiry about making good choices for a healthy lifestyle. 

As a parent, there are plenty of opportunities that you can also provide your child with first-hand experiences, extending their learning outside of school and supporting them in developing key skills used for the rest of their lives. It may take a little bit more time and effort, but it is definitely worth it.