By Emily MacLeod and Amelie Delesalle
Arrow Heights Elementary Student Reporters
On May 25, Mrs. Thompson’s Grade 3/4 class at Arrow Heights shared their curiosity projects with the whole school in the gym. They asked a question that they were curious about and they spent some time researching the answer. They worked really hard and it turned out great.
We asked Mrs. Thompson a few questions about her classroom project:
- How did the students decide what project to do?
The students had spring break to go home and think about what topics really sparked their curiosity. I encouraged them to think about anything they have always wanted to find out about, but not a topic they were already experts on. The students had discussions at home about suitable project ideas, and then returned to school with 3 options. I then sat with each student to talk about which topic would be most suitable to research, and to ensure they were truly excited to learn about that subject area.
- What are the benefits to doing a project like this?
I believe there are many benefits to a Curiosity Project. The kids are given the opportunity to decide what they want to learn about. I am not directing them on what to choose, their parents are not choosing for them, it truly is catered to their personal interests. This hopefully means they are keen to learn, and passionate about presenting their knowledge. The presentations are designed by the students themselves. They can create posters, informational leaflets, Power Point presentations, dioramas, sculptures, iMovies… it is totally up to them! The main criteria is that they have to answer three ‘deep thinking’ inquiry questions by gathering facts and information, and that they have to present it to others. They have seven weeks to work on their project, with lots of time and support at school when needed. If the students wish to work on it at home, they can, and most students do, because they are enjoying what they are learning about!
The kids learn many skills, such as time management, keeping their information organized, how to research and take notes effectively, and presentational skills. The projects are differentiated by outcome, each child can take their project as far as they like!
- What did the students like most and what was the most challenging?
The students in my class loved presenting their projects to the school, parents and other teachers. They were extremely proud of the work they had done, and they loved the fact that they are now ‘experts’ on a topic. They enjoyed seeing their classmates presentations, the projects were all so varied, and they especially enjoyed feeling ‘in the drivers seat’ of their own learning. Choice is key. The most challenging aspects of the project were definitely staying organized. It was not easy for some students to manage their time effectively. For others, they lost interest in their topics halfway through, but in most cases, that interest was regained when working on their final presentations.
Overall, the Curiosity Project is very rewarding, not just for the students, but also for myself as their teacher. I feel connected to each student as we explore their topic of choice. A true testament to the value of the Curiosity Project is when the kids beg to do another one. My response? Sorry, the year is nearly over! A summer project maybe!
Here are some pictures from the event: