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Discussing fire good and bad; and discovering living things big and small

This week we had 3 firefighters from the local Fire Station in Matsumoto visit our ISN Shimauchi campus. All students learned many important points about dealing with fire and also about the fire truck and how it works. Discussing fire with the firefighters, students were able to remember and learn more about the good and the bad side to fire. Certainly one of the most important point students will not forget is that we should never play with fire.
Students are certainly enjoying our last unit of inquiry for this year: Transdisciplinary theme – Sharing the planet; Central idea – Living things share their environment with other living things. Students have found this study very exciting and have already defined 4 groups of living things: animals, plants, fungi, and micro-organisms. Students have used charts, mind maps, and tables to record their ideas as well as their researched information. Today it was time to take their new-found knowledge to the field.
Our excursion to the Narai River which is just across the road from our Shimauchi campus encouraged all students to be inquirers in the field and take their curiosity and their questions outside to observe first-hand some of the things they had been studying about living and nonliving things. With clipboards, paper, pencils and small plastic bags for samples, students walked the 10 minutes it took to get to the river. Students recorded their observations, discussed possible answers to their questions, and collected samples.
Once back at school students were quick to read a page in Ryu’s wonderful book on microscopes which he bought on his recent trip to Australia. Students made microscope slides from their samples and looked at them under our microscope. From our water samples we were all amazed to see our first microscopic organism, a nematode. Other specimens showed incredible shapes and colours of various things from feathers to sand. It was a great day for discovery!