P1’s current and final Unit of Inquiry has the transdisciplinary theme of ‘Sharing the Planet’, with the central idea, ‘People can make choices that support the sustainability of the Earth’s resources.’
Throughout this unit, P1 have been working their way through three lines of inquiry towards their target, which comes in the form of a GRASPS assessment. The goal of this assessment is to raise awareness in the XLIS community and beyond about how we can take responsibility to support the sustainability of the Earth’s resources.
(please check here for more information about GRASPS)
Earth’s Finite & Infinite Resources
To start the unit, students engaged in a provocation to get them thinking about the unit. We took a walk around the school to see what kind of waste we could find. We found a lot, including electricity, water, paper and food.
We then took a closer look at the different resources we have on this planet and how we use them. Students investigated through the key concept of form in relation to resources and found that some are finite, such as coal, oil and water, whereas others can be renewed within a relatively short period of time, such as food, plants and animals.
Students realized that they needed to be open-minded about the availability of resources such as water in different parts of the world. Although we may be able to just turn on the tap at school or home, other people need to walk for the whole day just to get enough water to survive.
The Impact of Peoples’ Choices on the Environment
Next, we inquired into the idea of choice and how people can make good or bad choices about the way in which they use the Earth’s resources. This prompted students to think about the key concept of ‘responsibility’, and the choices that they make.
Students were particularly concerned with the rubbish creation and food waste at lunch time. We arranged a meeting with Mr. Parker, the school’s Head of Logistics to talk about food choices in the cafeteria. Cafeteria staff also arranged for us to go and see the waste that our school produces. Did you know that XLIS throws away about 150kg of food waste every day? That’s the same as 2 Mr. Bens!
Students also learnt about how embedded electricity is in our daily lives, including completing and then sharing some homework about the different items in their home that use electricity. Through research, students also found that electricity can be created using renewable or non-renewable resources, with renewable methods being much better for the environment.
To show their understanding, students chose three different resources and drew and wrote about how we can make bad and good choices in how we use them.
Students also began to become more aware of their own impact on the environment. They are now more conscious of waste in the classroom, asking the teacher to turn off the lights when nobody was in the classroom and being proud of clean plates at lunch time.
Sustaining the Earth’s Resources
The third of this unit’s lines of inquiry relates to the things that we can do to ensure that our resources are used sustainably. We approached this by focussing on the ‘3Rs’, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, which can be defined as follows:
Reduce: Using less of a particular resource, for example, turning off the tap whilst brushing your teeth, or using less products that produce rubbish.
Reuse: Reusing the same resource again and again, such as cloth bags instead of plastic bags, or putting old resource to new uses, such as handing down clothes, or making crafts out of waste.
Recycle: Processing waste products in a way that means they can be used again or used to create new products.
All of these are fantastic ways to support resource sustainability and P1 participated in different activities related to each of the 3Rs.
Students then chose the ‘R’ that most interested them, then created a short story using words and pictures to show what that method of saving resources meant to them.
Sending a Message
Initially, students wanted to send a message to the community about being sustainable through the creation of posters, models, holding an exhibition or other methods, but writing an article about the learning journey that students went through seemed to be a more powerful and far-reaching approach.
We all hope that this article will inspire everyone who reads it to follow in the footsteps of P1 and make good choices to support the sustainability of the Earth’s resources and to ensure a healthy planet for generations to come.
Click here to check more details.
Author: Benjamin Wright (P1B Homeroom Teacher)