In the Primary Years Programme we believe that if learning is relevant, meaningful and significant students will be inspired to act. Students could choose to investigate further, experiment, tell others about their learning, or take another action in their home, school, community or world. Teachers encourage student action by helping students reflect on their learning, planning for possible student actions, modelling, and facilitating student actions.
Examples of student actions from MJCS
1st graders studying the transdisciplinary theme Who We Are with the central idea “Our body systems work together to help us function and interact with the world” were inspired to bring in related books and materials from home, create their own drawings and diagrams of the human body, and do additional experiments about the digestive system at home.
3rd graders studying the transdisciplinary theme Sharing the Planet with the central idea “The gain and loss of power affects our everyday lives” were inspired to organize a class election at recess, share petitions about the Dakota Access pipeline, write to the president about the Supreme Court vacancy, and take ownership in their classrooms.
The Exhibition is the culmination of a student’s study in the Primary Years Programme and is the sixth transdisciplinary unit of 5th grade at Morris Jeff. Students and teachers collaborate to develop the unit and its central idea together. Within this unit, each student also selects an issue or problem in the world that is of significant interest to the student, able to be researched, and meaningful to the world or local community. Students develop questions to guide their investigation, write a paper, and develop a presentation to share with the school community at our annual Exhibition Fair. As students progress through the Exhibition, they also work with a school-based mentor, reflect regularly, and consider ways to take action on their identified issue.
In recent years students have focused on a wide variety of issues and problems including:
- Gun violence
- Fossil fuel alternatives
- Child abuse
- Invasive species
- Coastal land loss
- Inclusion in schools
- Freedom of speech