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Planning the inquiry

1. What is our purpose? Class/grade: 4 Age group: 8.5 to 9.5 years


To inquire into the following:
School: Indus International School School code:7319
• Tran disciplinary theme
Title: Freaky fractions
How the world works
PYP planner
• central idea Teacher(s): Archana, Grace, Lakshmi
We use fractions to make our lives easier
Date: April 2009
Summative assessment task(s):
Proposed duration: 3.5 hours per week over 4 weeks
The children chose any one basic concept in the unit and design a
lesson for that. They were each given 7-8 minutes to ‘teach’ that
concept to the class. They were free to choose any resources
available. They could also make them on their own. A project
sheet was given to them and the rubric was shared. They were 2. What do we want to learn?
assessed based on their understanding of the central ides and the What are the key concepts (form, function, causation, change, connection,
concepts. perspective, and responsibility, reflection) to be emphasized within this inquiry?

Function, change

The children came out with some very interesting teaching What lines of inquiry will define the scope of the inquiry into the central idea?
modules. Most of the children made worksheets for their peers and
enjoyed assessing them. The project was shared with the children Inquiry into:
in the initial days of the unit. They hence observed the daily • The meaning of fractions
lessons given by the teacher. They were able to imply the lesson
has to be divided into parts – tuning in, engagement and • Operations with fractions
assessment. These guidelines made it easy for the children to plan • Application of fractions (including
execute their ‘lessons’ effectively.
decimals)
What teacher questions/provocations will drive these inquiries?
• How best can we interpret a fraction?
• Where can we use fractions?
• Why do we need fractions?
• How can we ‘change’ a fraction?
• How are fractions and decimals connected?
• How can we ‘change’ decimals?

© International Baccalaureate Organization 2007


3. How might we know what we have learned? 4. How best might we learn?
This column should be used in conjunction with “How best might we learn?” What are the learning experiences suggested by the teacher and/or students to encourage the
Planning the inquiry
What are the possible ways of assessing students’ prior knowledge and students to engage with the inquiries and address the driving questions?
skills? What evidence will we look for? Constructing meaning of multiplication:
Pre assessment: Using Rocket writing, the children were asked to
• Children watched many videos from Digitally and the internet (visual, picture smart))
write whatever they know about fractions. Some review sheets from the
• They did activities (games, puzzles, quizzes, etc.) available on the internet
previous year were solved by the children. At the beginning of every
• They listened to songs related to the topic and sang along (music smart)
lesson, the children reflected on their learning.
• They understood better with the help of hands on- cubes, fractions rods, cards, decimals rods
and cards (kinesthetic)
What are the possible ways of assessing student learning in the context of • Through out the unit, a Fractions and decimal kit was used depending on the needs of the
the lines of inquiry? What evidence will we look for? children. This kit had fraction rods flash cards with instructions and assessments. The kids used
Formative assessments: it as tool whenever they had trouble in understanding a particular concept.
• Many lessons from Digitally (resources library) were shown to the kids as a tuning in activity for
many lessons.
• Written review on the basic elements of fractions- After the initial • The children also used attachable cubes to understand many concepts
lessons on the basic elements of fractions and the concept of
equivalent fractions, a review was given to the children. Transferring meaning:
• Quiz on all the operations on fractions- Based on the concept of
common denominators, a quiz was arranged by the teacher. The • The children solved many interesting worksheets printed from the internet and other sources
children were divided in groups of four (mixed) and the rules of the • They used the flash cards from the fractions kit to solve fraction problems
quiz were such that each child got a turn to answer questions. • The children solved problems from their math workbooks
• Peer assessment- the children were divided into pairs and were • On the math board, the children wrote their inquiries on a daily basis. They also wrote their
asked to given problems to each other in their note books. The discoveries corresponding to their inquiries.
topic chosen was ‘addition and subtractions of unlike fractions’
Applying meaning:
• The assessment cards from the fractions kits were used for
multiplications of fractions. • They used fractions in their daily procedures (feedback from parents and observations during
• Multiple choice questions on applications on fractions(decimals) break times)
were solved by the children • They made fractions story problems on their own
• Some children formed questions for quizzes
• For assessments, refer section 7

5. What resources need to be gathered?


What people, places, audio-visual materials, related literature, music, art, computer software, etc, will be available?
Interactive white board (active studio, images), Digitally, Internet- Activities, videos, audios, articles, games, Worksheets, PowerPoint presentations, Joy of math,
Note books, cubes, fractions rods and cards, decimal cards

How will the classroom environment, local environment, and/or the community be used to facilitate the inquiry?
The basic elements of the unit- the title, the theme, the central idea, inquiry points, concepts, attitudes, leaner profile and skills were put up on the math board.
The children also put up their inquiry questions and discoveries on the board. Some charts, worksheets, booklets made by the children were also put up. The
teaching resources that were being used were also kept in the vicinity.

© International Baccalaureate Organization 2007


Reflecting on the inquiry

6. To what extent did we achieve our purpose? 7. To what extent did we include the elements of the PYP?
Assess the outcome of the inquiry by providing evidence of students’ What were the learning experiences that enabled students to:
understanding of the central idea. The reflections of all teachers involved in Develop an understanding of the concepts identified in “What do we want to
the planning and teaching of the inquiry should be included. learn?”
The intensive inquiry into the fractions unit helped the children to gain a Function: the children understood how to perform operations with fractions.
deep understanding of the concepts of fractions. They learnt to form They realized that there were various methods to solve fractions problems. The
questions in math and find answers to the same. They realized that inquiry is different processes with regards to the unit were thoroughly practiced for
not only in the Units of inquiry (UOI), but also in math. They were enduring understanding.
enthusiastic to follow these ways in other disciplines as well.
Change: The children were familiar with various conversions in fractions. For
example: finding equivalent fractions, reducing fractions, changing
How you could improve on the assessment task(s) so that you would have a
denominators, etc. They understood that they could change fractions by adding,
more accurate picture of each student’s understanding of the central idea.
subtractions and multiplying them. Interconnecting mixed and improper fractions
If possible, the time given to each child (7 to 8 minutes) could be increased. was also grasped by them.
Many children were eager to take lessons for an entire period, like their • Demonstrate the learning and application of particular transdisciplinary
teacher. This could have been made possible if planned accordingly. skills?
What was the evidence that connections were made between the central Thinking skills: Through out the unit, the children used their thinking skills to
idea and the transdisciplinary theme? sort information, analyze and synthesis it. They also used these skills to apply
The children understood that fractions were used to make the works work. their understanding to various situations.
They could apply the meaning of fractions in their daily lives and realize the Self-management skills: As the children had to plan a lesson for their class,
importance of the same. they used their self-management skills to organize the lesson using resources.
They also were given a time limit; hence they also planned to complete their
lesson in the given period of time. As many resources were used in the unit, the
children also had to record the evidence for learning in their note books.
• Develop particular attributes of the learner profile and/or attitudes?
Thinker: Through this unit, the children developed as thinkers evidently. Their
thoughts were more profound. Each child was given an opportunity to enhance
their thinking skills by challenging them according to their level of knowledge
and interest.
Knowledgeable: Through this unit, the children gained knowledge about the
meaning of fractions, their types, conversions and the various operations that
they could perform with fractions. The children were exited to learn about the
applications of fractions- Decimals.
Curiosity: The children were curious to learn about the different ways of solving
fraction problems. They enjoyed being challenged and showed readiness
towards learning new concepts in the unit.
Confidence: As the children were aware that they were learning fractions in an
inquiry fashion, they were confident that this understanding would stay with them
forever and it would be easier for them to apply this knowledge in the higher
© International Baccalaureate Organization 2007
grades. Many children for whom math was not the favorite subject, performed
brilliantly in this unit.
Reflecting on the inquiry

8. What student-initiated inquiries arose from the learning? 9. Teacher notes


Record a range of student-initiated inquiries and student questions and highlight any
that were incorporated into the teaching and learning.
This was a great experience for us as it was the first time we planned a math
Students questions: unit using the backward model. Our excitement was contagious and it spread to
• What are the types of fractions? the entire class.

• Can we interconvert them? How? On the whole, the children enjoyed this unit the most. It was reportedly the
favorite month in terms of math for most of the children.
• How can we add/subtract fractions if the denominators are different?
We could further improve the learning outcomes by increasing the time limit for
• Why don’t we need common denominators while multiplying fractions? the unit. We could then include many more engagements.
• Can we also divide fractions? How? A foreign guest speaker who can talk about how fractions are solved in his/her
country would be a good ides to support international mindedness.
• What does the point signify in decimals?
We integrated fractions with English through word problems. We could have
• How can we multiply decimals? more such integration with other disciplines.

At this point teachers should go back to box 2 “What do we want to learn?” and
highlight the teacher questions/provocations that were most effective in driving the
inquiries.

What student-initiated actions arose from the learning?


Record student-initiated actions taken by individuals or groups showing their ability to
reflect, to choose and to act.
• They used fractions in their daily lives (feedback from parents and
observations)
• They sometimes suggested ideas for lessons to the teacher
• Their confidence in the unit showed when they planned and executed
effective lessons for the summative
• In the year end reflections, they spoke highly about the unit

© International Baccalaureate Organization 2007