A day of inquiry-based learning with the Bloodhound SSC Team

Inquiry is at the heart of ICS and the IB PYP. We invited the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car (SSC) team, with the support of Aramco, to our primary school today. Our students inquired into how they are attempting to break the 1000 miles an hour land speed record.

The students learnt about the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) the team are applying to the challenge. The opening presentation discussed the areas the team are focused on in breaking the record. This included the design of the wheels and the shape of the car.

Three sessions gave our students an opportunity to learn more about the car by

  • driving the car in a simulation
  • building a Lego kinetics model car and testing to see how far it went
  • design a plan for the Bloodhound base camp in the Kalahari desert

Learn more about the Bloodhound SSC with the video below. Their attempt will be sometime next year, with a first test run in October 2017 at the Newquay Airport, Cornwall. So keep an eye, and an ear out for the 1000 mph attempt!

A Year 4 Unit of Inquiry

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The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme organises learning through Unit of Inquiries. This article looks a current Year 4 unit to explain how it works.

Year 4 looked at how technology is a tool for extending our creativity and imagination. This unit is part of the theme how we express ourselves. The theme brings in the academic subjects English and the Visual Arts.

The teacher started the unit with this video called the Spark of Life. She then conducted a Philosophy 4 Children (P4C) discussion on imagination. P4C is a great way to get students to start thinking about a topic. Students discussed what it means to be inspired, to represent experiences and what perspective is.

In one lesson, students looked at how artists express dreams in the art movement surrealism. The students saw postcards of Salvador Dali. They reflected on what was happening and how it made them feel. They then created an original story and filmed the trailer of the movie version.

In another lesson students selected a meaningful experience or time in their lives to reflect upon. This resulted in one student producing this powerful poem.

Pitch black
By Jack, Year 4
There once was a happy
house
full of joy
and peace.
Then, in the blink of an eye,
at the speed of light,
it happened. The house,
the joy,
the peace,
everything I ever loved
swallowed in pure darkness.
Pitch black.

All units of inquiry look at a topic through different lenses. Students explore the form and function of a topic. They look at how an object of inquiry changes over time and how it affects other things. Students are also encouraged to see things from different perspectives. Finally, students reflect on the whole process.