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Milky Way, 21 July; Living Things

In the last fortnight, Milky Way class has started a new transdisciplinary theme of how the world works, with the central idea that living things have specific requirements to grow and be healthy. The scope of the central idea will be defined by lines of enquiry including:

  • The stages of life and life-cycles
  • The requirements for life and health
  • How we help plants grow
  • The diversity of life

So far, the class has been recognising an extensive new vocabulary relating to life and living things, as well as recognising the names of many animals in classes including mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects, and fish.
At the outset of this unit, the students posited many questions of their own initiative and using these musings, have created a class ‘wonder wall’. The students will be encouraged during the course of the unit, and given time and guidance wherever possible, to assume some responsibility for their own inquiry in researching their own questions to try and find some answers. Additionally, any students wishing to pursue their inquiry at home or in their own time should be praised, encouraged and guided wherever practicable.

This week, Milky Way has set up a science experiment to be conducted over the course of this unit, and to monitor and determine the requirements for plant growth, testing combinations of variables including water, media, light, and systems open to, and sequestered from atmospheric air. On a table showing all combinations of variables, each learner has marked their predictions regarding the requirements for the plant’s growth. Finally in relation to plants, the class will tomorrow enjoy a plant-related craft activity of their own choosing.

In coming weeks, the students will spend a week looking at each of the above animal classes which will include an inquiry into one specific Milky Way-chosen animal from each class, in addition to routine animal-class-related craft project time.
In language, the class is continuing to review the multiple phonograms in novel situations and they are also practicing handwriting daily. The range of abilities in Milky Way is quite large and many of the students (in addition to their daily writing) benefit from practicing correct letter formation.
In mathematics, the class is continuing to learn how to read analogue clocks – additional to counting to 60, counting in 5s, understanding the minutes/ minute-hand and the hours/ hour hand, the class is now competent with x o’clock (as well as x:00), half past y (as well as y:30), and both quarters (past and to) z (as well as z:15 and z:45). Last week the class focused more specifically on all times ‘past’ the hour and this week they have begun reading and expressing all times ‘to’ the hour. Studying this each day is certainly paying off in the class’s ability to both read analogue time and express those times digitally.

As of last week, Milky Way has been enjoying some free time in the pool in the afternoons and will continue this throughout the month of August. Also, the class has begun practicing daily for their performance at this year’s ISN sports festival.