25 February 2010

The Primary Years Programme World

Dear Parents and Students,

Just a quick update. I really wanted to share with you some of my holiday adventures! In my role as an I.B. P.Y.P workshop leader I set off during the holiday to the United Arab Emirates to visit a school relatively new to the P.Y.P. program. I spent three days at the school, one day as a visitor and the other two training the teachers. Teachers usually want to know what the P.Y.P. looks like in action, so I was delighted to share some of the things we do here. I had a real glow of pride talking about my class too. It is always fascinating to leave Switzerland and see other schools in action. It is also fantastic professional development as it always gives me an opportunity to really delve into what it means to be a P.Y.P. practitioner. I did fit in a little sight seeing ... and I admit it, shopping! (Shopping does seems to be a serious leisure activity in the city!) I showed the students pictures of my visit to the mosque in Abu Dhabi as I don't think I have ever seen a building quite so beautiful.

Our school is just about to set off on the authorisation process too, although I am so pleased we have the considerable advantage of all coming from P.Y.P. backgrounds. We have been busily reviewing how we are doing against the I.B. standards and practices and writing an action plan that will lead to our official authorisation as a P.Y.P. school. It's a journey we are fully commited to and we will be very happy to share this process with you all at the next coffee morning.


11 February 2010

Measurement Wonderings

Dear All,

We had a fascinating time delving into capacity with the water tray and lots of different sized bottles. It all started when we were discussing things we had noticed about measurements. One student got up and started fetching different bottles. Someone wondered why there was 7.5 dl on one bottle, 750 ml on another and 75 cl on the other. What did this all mean? So we got pouring, predicting, comparing quantities and were amazed to find out that it was actually the same amount! I scribed the things we discovered:

  • 75 cl, 750 ml and 7.5 dl are the same capacity
  • 1000 ml are the same as 1 litre
  • 400 ml are ¾ of a litre (this we need to look into further!)
  • There are different measurements on the bottles.
  • There is a measurement called centilitres.
  • Capacity is a new word.
  • In the wine bottle there was much water as in the Buxton water bottle. This surprised a student.
  • The water was different sizes. Not all bottles have the same size capacity. If you buy two the same the capacity was the same.
  • The height of a bottle doesn’t mean the bottle holds the most and visa versa.
This leads us to new questions:
  • How much is 1 cl?
  • How many ways can we measure water?
  • How much is cl?
  • How many decilitres are in a centilitre and a litre?
  • Why do they sell big and small bottles in shops?
  • Why do they give wine in big bottles and water in small bottles?
  • I want to know how many of any capacity measurement is in another e.g. how many millilitres in a litre? 
  • Can I double check some of the measurements?
  • I wonder why the corks make so much space. Why can’t we fill it to the top and have a cork that takes up a small space?
  • Students noticed the word 'centi' in centilitres and centimetres. Is there a connection?

09 February 2010

Energy makes things happen!

Dear All,

We are busily bringing our latest science workshop to a close.  Each student has performed a series of experiments to demonstrate the ideas behind our central idea:

Energy may be converted from one form to another and stored in various ways.

Connected to this we have been discussing the skills and dispositions a good scientist needs to have. We've been discussing how you carry around a suitcase of 'Skills for Life'. You pull out a variety of skills depending on the situation. I have also been excited to see the students grappling with ideas like potential and kinetic energy and talking about these scientific principles so confidently. Our writing focus about instructions has connected perfectly with the students exploring different instructional formats and then using this knowledge to record their experiments.

Our visit to the Abfallverwertung in Horgen was fascinating. It certainly reminded us how we really should be recycling, but also how amazing it is that electrical energy can be generated from rubbish. We loved seeing the claw lifting the rubbish and then seeing the furnaces in action!

The unit still has a little way to go, after the break we'll look at different sources and examine how we can generate all that electrical energy we consume. This will inevitably lead to the question of sustainability and our options here in Switzerland. I like this quote:

`Virtually every major issue facing global society today has science and technology at its core.'
Educational Leadership Dec. 06/ Jan 07

The scientists of the future are already here at ISOCS!

Ms. Judy