Inquiry based learning at Ormiston
‘How come when I bend over, my eyes don’t fall out? A Foundation student
‘Why do governments spend a lot of money on themselves?’ A Year 6 student
‘Do we ever stop growing?’ A Year 3 student
The questions young people ask remind us that the search for meaning is fundamental to what it is to be human. The urge to inquire activates thinking on many levels and in many forms. When we seek to make sense of the world around us, we wonder, we plan, we analyse, we create, we reflect. At its very heart, inquiry based learning is all about thinking – thinking in order to make meaning.
From Early Learning to Year 6, all our students inquire into big questions and ideas. These inquiries are continually evolving in order to stay relevant to the lives of our girls.
In Year 6 this term, we have created completely fresh and dynamic inquiry that we believe reflects the skills and dispositions that are becoming increasingly important in our world; creativity, teamwork, an entrepreneurial spirit, etc. The inquiry is entitled, ‘How do you bring BIG ideas to life? which is looking at concepts related to financial literacy, economic reasoning and cultivating new ideas.
This inquiry also opened the opportunity to collaborate with Young Australian of the Year finalist, Kate Austin. Our Year 6 girls met Kate Austin whilst at Young Leaders Day in Term 1 and we were amazed by how inspired they felt by her story. During the holidays, we reached out to Miss Austin and she was delighted to work with our girls and share more about her business story and journey.
When discussing how we could thank Miss Austin for her generosity, she mentioned that some schools she has worked with have made a gold coin donation. This provided a perfect lead into an inquiry challenge.
Myself and Katrina Cheong made $20 initial investment and challenged the girls to see if they could turn that initial $20 into more, with the hope that all funds would be donated to Pinchapoo.
From that the girls had to work as a team to form a business concept, conduct market research, analyse the data, advertise and organize logistics. It was an incredible process to be a part of and the students were truly engaged by such an authentic purpose.
On Wednesday, Kate Austin, came to our School to talk with our girls about how her business story really reinforced how important it is to understand your ‘why’. We talked about the importance of setting our own benchmarks and challenging limits & stereotypes. The students certainly resonated with the concept of being a change maker and a female leader. The girls were extremely proud that they were able to turn an initial $20 into a $200 donation.
By Kate Giles Deputy
Head of Junior School (Teaching, Learning & Innovation)
Below is a reflection of the day written by Chloe Law.
Year 6 Boot Aerobics
It was Monday 9 May. The Year 6 students were about to begin running Boot-Aerobics sessions, with the addition of a Hydration Station and a Photo Booth. The aim was to raise money for Pinchapoo and to prepare for running individual businesses later on. It was an engaging learning experience, with many pros and cons. Significant lessons were learnt both before and during the event.
In the course of preparation, Nicole, Janice and I were very well-organised, being members of the administration group. We had a cash register, sign in sheets, checklists for paying, posters and 198 admission wristbands. Little did we know that due to extreme weather conditions, a lot more people came than expected. This meant there was no time to write everyone’s names and have only one person dealing out wristbands. Luckily, some other classmates came to help but if I ran this business again, I would definitely survey people to gauge attendance numbers, and according to the results, would gather up what was necessary and what we could leave out in our task. This on its own was a key learning moment.
Something that went well prior to the event was the team work and efficiency Janice, Nicole and I demonstrated. We had basically everything prepared after about two sessions, due to taking on the responsibilities we had and completing tasks at home. I think that we used our ability to work well together to our advantage by discussing things outside of school and planning uniforms and lanyards when we had finished everything else early. Due to this, we were well-prepared and not stressed on the day. I would be happy to do what we did as a group again.
I do not think that running Boot Aerobics particularly changed my thinking as I never expected running a business to be easy. The experience simply ‘reminded’ me that making money requires hard-work, organisation and most importantly, flexibility. This is a skill I would like to enhance so that I am not constrained by plans. I think I need to learn that sometimes, when things do not go to plan, it is still okay.
By Chloe Law Year 6G
Coding and the thinking skills required to code are essential skills for the creation of the jobs of the future.
At Junior School we have been exploring coding in a number of different ways with our students. This semester we have been lucky to set up two industry partnerships with volunteer coders from Telstra and Xero. Both programs are currently exploring coding using a block program called Scratch as it is the most sophisticated block programming program available. MIT undergraduates use the program to commence their computer programming studies!
Sam and Michelle from Xero, an innovative accounting software development firm, come in weekly to work with our Year 4 students. They are currently supporting the Year 4 students to use Scratch to support their class inquiry into sustainability. Students are being challenged to design video games that teaches specific audiences about sustainable practices. Once they’ve created their games, students will learn how to code a simple website to showcase their games for use by the community.
Our Telstra partners, Bob and Lalita, have been instrumental in setting up and running our weekly co-curricular code clubs with our Year 4 and 5 students. The Year 4 club is focussing on creating basic animations, while the Year 5 club are in the process of extending their skills and designing their own computer games to enter in the STEM Video Game Challenge.
We were also excited to introduce Junior School Students to our new Dash and Sphero robots! The robots will be used across the classes to develop programming and coding skills using block programming software similar to Scratch. Keep an eye on your Twitter feed as we have some exciting robotics opportunities planned for Ormiston Science Week next week!
Expect to see a lot more of our resident robots as students from Foundation to Year 6 will have experiences using them to develop their coding and programming skills within their classroom curriculum in the terms ahead.
By Emma Hinchliffe
Digital Learning Leader
Early Learning 4 – Butterflies
With a growing interest in butterflies and moths, we planned for all of the EL 4 children to have an in-school event from Adventure Butterflies on Friday April 22, where we could scaffold and foster the children’s interest. The children learnt many things from both listening, asking questions and handling and observing both live and dead butterflies. With the children curious and enthusiastic to learn more, the following Tuesday we got a butterfly kit containing six caterpillars to follow the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. Over the next two weeks, we checked on them and gave them fresh leaves from the milk weed plant, and we waited for the caterpillars to crawl to the top of the enclosure and form a J shape. On both Tuesday and Thursday, we visited the caterpillar enclosure in the foyer to find the caterpillars that were forming a J shape had made a chrysalis or pupa while we were in class. On Friday we moved the enclosure into our classroom where we could hopefully watch the last two caterpillars skin spilt and form a chrysalis. Despite the fact we were watching, nothing happened. We moved the enclosure back to the foyer to set the tables for our Mother’s Day afternoon tea at lunchtime. Following lunch, before our mums arrived, we went back to the foyer for one more look. We could no longer see the caterpillars but five chrysalis hanging from the top. One was on the ground so we knew that one would not survive. We are looking forward to hopefully seeing five butterflies emerge over the next week which we will release on a dry day.
By Debbie Lowden
Early Learning 4 part-Time Teacher
Foundation Excursion to Werribee Zoo
On Wednesday the Foundation classes visited Werribee Open Range Zoo to investigate what animals need to survive. We got to travel on the Safari Bus to see animals roaming in their habitats. We also visited the Habitat Garden to explore how animals find food and shelter. We discovered what special things about the animals’ bodies helped them to live in the wild.
I learnt that birds have feathers for their body covering. Rudra
We touched all kinds of feathers and thought about what birds they would come from. We wondered if they would be used to keep the bird warm or cool. Foundation Reedman
I enjoyed the Habitat Garden. I learnt that the bandicoot was a relative of the bilby. MoLin
I thought the gorillas and the gorilla statue were interesting. I wondered if the gorilla was cold. Anja
I liked playing with the feathers and the water. I thought the bandicoot was very cute. Felicity
I laughed when the camel followed the Safari Bus. Tiffany
I wondered if the camel would eat the Safari Bus. I know camels have tiny little brains. Nicole.
I enjoyed making a nest for a bird. Zara
I liked finding bugs in the water in the Habitat garden. Amy
I liked watering the plants because they need water to survive. Jessica
I liked digging to find what birds eat in the dirt. Nini
I went into a dark room and I saw a real live crocodile. I touched the glass and it moved. Deanna
The most interesting thing was the lions. There was a baby lion. Rita
By Selena Reedman
Foundation Class Teacher
Year 1-6 Co-Curricular Activity – Green Team
It has been a busy few weeks for the Green Team at Ormiston. They returned to school this term to a fiercely-growing vegetable patch and have learnt that regular weeding is required! Last week, the team planted a few items perfect for the upcoming winter season including strawberries, silverbeet, onions and dill. Whilst planting, Nathan from Pinwheel and Co. came by and collected some of our mint and chives which was later used for the Green Gecko Social Justice Dinner in the Senior School on Friday night. On Wednesday of this week, we made a special delivery to Dan and his team at The Figtree Café – a bag of sage leaves, ready for Friday’s dinner box. Thank you to Dan and his team for embracing our veggie patch produce and to Deanna D’Rozario for your enthusiasm and help with our planting and for supporting us as we continue to learn how to look after our plants and garden.
By Miranda Jackson
Year 1J Class Teacher
Year 1 Chickens
We have had a very egg-citing couple of weeks in Year 1! As part of our Inquiry investigation, Where does it come from and where does it go?, the girls have been involved in a two-week chicken hatching experience based in the classroom. This fun, interactive and experiential learning program has prompted interesting discussions and wonderings, and provided a fantastic opportunity for the girls to explore life cycles and how humans and animals rely on each other.
I learnt how many days it takes for a chicken to hatch. It takes 21 days. Jasmine
I’m surprised how the chickens get out of the egg because it takes so many pecks for them to hatch. It uses its egg tooth to peck out. Natasha C & Emily
When all the four chicks hatched, I thought that the last egg would not hatch because the last chick, which is called Caesar, was very weak. Mrs Jackson had to help him by pealing off the egg. – Chloe L
I was surprised that Fluffy hatched so early because it was supposed to take 21 days but it took a couple of days less. Natasha O
I’ve learnt that they need quiet and a warm environment. I liked getting to hold them and letting them out of the brooder box. Allegra
I like it when they walk around. They are very cute. Chloe M
I’ve learnt that they need to be in the incubator until they are fully dry then they go into the brooder box. Scarlett
By Michelle Kalus
Year 1K Class Teacher
Year 5 and 6 Co-Curricular Activity – Vocal Express
Vocal Express is an auditioned choir for girls with a keen interest in music and singing in Years 5 and 6. We rehearse on Wednesday lunchtimes and without fail the girls are there every week, lunch finished and ready to sing! We have been working on a variety of pieces including When You Believe (from The Prince of Egypt) and Shoshone Love Song (a Native American poem set to a lyrical melody). The girls are also extending their musicianship skills including score reading, sight singing and aural skills. I thoroughly enjoy walking into the Chapel every Wednesday lunchtime to a full choir, often already singing and rehearsing!
By Jessica Huggett
Junior School Music Teacher
Year 2 Under the Sea
On Wednesday the 4th of May, Year 2 were involved in a wonderful exploration of the sea, an Under the Sea drama event. Throughout the session, we were involved in storytelling and acting out the roles of various sea creatures and humans such as divers, fish, sharks, seaweed, sea jellies (jellyfish) and dolphins. Acting out these stories about the ocean and its wildlife was a fun and interesting way to learn new and important information about sea life and ways in which humans can help to protect our oceans.
By Melissa Thomassen
Year 2T Class Teacher
Year 3 Co-Curricular Activity – Art Club
Year 3 have been working on a range of Growth Mindset vocabulary. They brainstormed words that have a 3 and 4 letters, such as: goal, mind, team, help, hope, try and aim. Then the students painted the word in bubble writing on a grid, outlining the word in black to stand out. Another activity was looking at landscapes and one point perspective. The students created a patchwork landscape using acrylic paints. The way the lines have been drawn, draws the eye to the centre.
By Fiona Gibson
Food Allergy Awareness Week 2016 Theme: “Food Allergies: React with Respect”
This week at our Junior School Assembly, our School Nurse Kathy Rigopoulos spoke to the girls about anaphylaxis and how to look after each other at school. Kathy gave the girls a number of questions about anaphylaxis, and their knowledge and understanding of this topic was excellent. Please keep an eye out for a Library display outlining this special week and the girls were encouraged to speak to their class teachers about this very important topic. If as parents you need any further information in regards to anaphylaxis, please contact Kathy Rigopoulos here at the Junior School through Susannah Jepson firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would like to wish everyone a lovely weekend.
Head of Junior School