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IB PYP: Connecting Learning Beyond the Classroom

Here at GIS connected learning takes place beyond the classroom and into the specialized subjects we offer such as Art, Music, Extended Programs (after school care) and, new this year, Nature Observation Class.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) PYP (Primary Years Programme) focuses learning through the program or unit of inquiry’s central idea, such as “How the World Works.” To maximize students’ exposure and understanding, classroom teachers and specials’ teachers work closely together to carry the inquiry theme into the students’ entire education. In a class like Nature Observation or Music, the teacher can enhance and build on what the student’s core subject of inquiry is.

During our newest special class, Nature Observation with teacher Ms. Parsons, students are learning all about how animals and humans interact with the natural world around them. Throughout the year this class features seasonal fun like raising butterflies and ladybugs in the spring to help our garden grow. This ties into class work students are doing with units focused on, for example, “Who We Are,” “How the World Works,” “Sharing the Planet,” and “Where We are in Place and Time.” 

This helps build on the connections students are making between classes and the world around them.   

This year Kindergarten students have a year long unit of inquiry called, “All living things go through a process of change”. Ms. Parsons will highlight real-life examples of the changes the natural world experiences. So far they have looked at the life cycles of trees and birds, learning how each of these change as they go through each life stage.  

In the birds curriculum students examined how birds change in response to their environment. We learned that birds migrate to find better weather and food, but also how they may need to find a new tree to build a nest due to predators or humans. They had hands-on experiences to analyze how birds eat, and what they eat! This included an experiment examining how different bird’s beaks are very specific to the type of food that they eat. 

The Bird Beak Buffet (see video below) involved students trying their hands at using different tools representing different beaks to get a feel for what eating like a bird is like! 

By working to connect students’ learning across their educational journey, GIS is not only embodying the spirit of the PYP program, but creating a special, in-depth experience for students as they process and communicate their understanding of new concepts.

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