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This week in the classroom - Experimenting with curiosity

04 December 2017

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Primary News

Lower Primary

Grade One – Experimenting with curiosity
Recently, Grade One have been nurturing their curiosity and developing skills for inquiry as they continue to investigate pushes and pulls in different toys. The students created their own experiment, choosing one variable that they would change while exploring how this effected the distance of a car down a ramp. Some students chose to change the height of the ramp and others chose to change the material of the ramp, maintaining a fair test by keeping all other variables the same. The students presented their investigation in a table, showing the aims, method, prediction and results, while applying their knowledge of verbs in the past, present and future tense. The students are now looking forward to creating their own toy designs in their thematic project.

In Chinese classes, students have turned to the weather for inspiration. Texts and videos which they have engaged in make reference to both autumn and winter, including the cold chilly wind and the golden crisp leaves that cover the floor. It may be getting colder outside, but the students in Grade One are warmed by their love and excitement for reading. 

Upper Primary

Budding astronomers of Grade 4
Today, we share how Grade 4 have been completing a ‘Constellation Challenge’ throughout the week.  Every year, astronomers and scientists are developing improved and more efficient technology for studying the stars and planets. Grade 4 have been following in their footsteps.  Students have been researching and finding out lots of information about stars using information books from the LRC. Grade 4 have been studying and investigating the lifecycle of stars and using the iPads to support their learning. In STEAM, students have been learning how light reflects and refracts. Following this, to complement their learning, during thematic lessons students have been exploring the various constellations present in our solar system. Students will end the week by consolidating all their learning by creating a new piece of technology to investigate stars and the concepts of light and energy that they produce.

In Chinese learning, students have continued to use a variety of resources including those online and offline to extend their learning and understanding of Confucian texts. In this way, students have been introduced to classical texts and are able to build an appreciation for this ancient art form. Students have also been encouraged to think about the meaning behind the words and how the meaning that was expressed all those years ago remains just as relevant in today’s society. In doing so, students are able to connect with ancient texts but add a modern day outlook and perspective to their meaning all while building on their creative thinking and analytical skills.

Secondary News

Grade 8 Academic Overview
Grade 8 students have been learning about a wide variety of topics in all subject areas. Often, managing to touch on prior knowledge and apply their learning to their day-to-day life experiences and link to other subject areas.

In French, Grade 8 are focusing on grammar and on how to distinguish between the present and past perfect tense. Students have learned to memorise the verb ‘to have’ (avoir) and the verb ‘to be’ (être), and to form the perfect tense (le passé composé). Students understand that accuracy is important and can change the meaning of a word.

Similarly in English, Grade 8 students are working hard to perfect accuracy in their written work. Students are continuing to study the book ‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar, and through that, they are analyzing the relationships between the characters in the novel. They are focusing on descriptive writing and developing their vocabulary and grammar. They are very excited to discover what will happen next in the novel!

On another linguistic and cultural note, Grade 8 students have been learning poetry of Western China in Chinese class. As well as discussing Chinese modern poetry, the students have learned about Stray Birds (Chinese versions). Students then created posters and poems about the West of China and expanded their understanding of Western customs. In studying this theme, students have also gained a deeper understanding of their Chinese Literature taste.

After weeks of preparation, the Grade 8 STEAM interdisciplinary project on Mars Colonization is coming to a conclusion. Students completed their STEAM presentations in House time on Friday, pitching to teachers and Grade 10 and 11 students. The students gathered knowledge from different subject areas and collaborated to complete their final products. Hard work, dedication and professionalism were evident as they made their presentations. The students will submit their completed posters, a summary of their findings, this week. All groups have developed many of their IB skills during this project. As the students say goodbye to the Mars Colonization project, they will be turning their sights to the Global Goal: Sustainable cities.

In art, students have recently finalized and submitted their Dada inspired posters, a strand of their cross-curricular STEAM project. The posters will be judged and the winners will receive house points. Now, they are exploring sketches of Edgar Degas’ impressionist paintings of ballerinas, to capture movement and femininity.

In History class in recent weeks, Grade 8 students have been learning the history of the Renaissance (history of medieval Europe). Students are mainly working in groups to enhance their personal and interpersonal development. Each group is studying a Renaissance representative or a typical event and analyzing the connotation of the Renaissance through the main works of the character and events of this period in history.

In maths, Grade 8 are learning the functions of directly proportion and reciprocal proportion. Students have investigated several properties about function graphs, something that they will find very useful in many different subject areas.

After understanding the mysterious relationship between force and motion, Grade 8 students have moved on to learn the effect of the force on the deformation of the object in Physics class. Students worked together in groups to investigate and complete an experiment to determine this. They collected data from the experiment and sketched graphs to present the relationship between extension and load. Finally, they reached a conclusion, so as to understand Hooke's Law. In Biology, students have been learning about genes, chromosomes, DNA, genetic and environmental effects on variation, hormones of the body and the nervous system. Grade 8 students are developing their ability and understanding in scientific exploration.

Pre-IB Skills for Success
A student’s ability to develop and master Approaches to Learning (ATL) – skills in communication, social, thinking, research and self-management – is key to their success in IB.

This week we look at how ATLs help students in the Group 6 Visual Arts course.

In Visual Arts, critical thinking and reflection are a constant part of practice. Students keep a Visual Journal from the start of the course and are encouraged to add daily entries. This is the student's personal record of their artistic journey and they should feel free and uninhibited to choose what form it takes and what content it contains.

The Visual Journal serves as the main record for the students’ drawing, research, media experiments, notes, brainstorming, and development of ideas. Portions of the journal can be selected, adapted and presented in other assessment components of the course. For example, notes in the journal help with analysis and comparison of artworks for the Comparative Study, as well as provide pages for the Process Portfolio, and planning and writing for the Exhibition.

Students are challenged to develop the habit of writing reflectively about art. By regularly investigating the meaning of art and related issues they will develop writing skills, critical thinking skills and learn to use Art vocabulary. This will help students meet the assessed criteria in the course. 

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