Austalian History Expo!

Wow! Another amazing inquiry student expo held this term. This time it was centred on Australian History. After the inspiring excursion to the Melbourne Museum, the students worked hard on developing their inquiry questions. Using the Webb Depth Of Knowledge Question Map the students thought hard to ‘thicken’ their questions from surface-level questions to deeper questions. The students really engaged with their ‘We are thinkers’ learning asset during this process. Next, the students then began their research. Focussing on the learning asset ‘we are researchers’ investigating and recording the information they gathered in efficient ways. Some students were using Google Keep to curate their information whilst others used Google docs and Slides.

The students then had to demonstrate their knowledge creatively through poetry and a piece of art. We were totally blown away by the level of sophistication shown in the poems and artworks. Lots of parents and carers mentioned how impressive the poetry was and wished that Australian History was taught this way when they were at school.

There were many poems inspired by the story of Bunjil, the stolen generation and the impact of the first contact with the Europeans. There was also a range of poems inspired by the history of Luna Park, the Gold Rush and Smelbourne!

For the rest of the term, the students will be engaged in iTime. What is iTime? iTime is a student-driven inquiry where the students have the opportunity to investigate, learn, make something that they are truely passionate about. Last week we had our Silent Gallery Of Interests where the students brought in an artefact that symbolised a personal passion and interest. Now most students have finished their iTime proposals where they had to justify with solid reasons how learning about this was going to stretch their learning and learning assets. Its now full steam ahead with only a few weeks left of the year until our next showcase of student learning. A date hasn’t been set yet but we will let you know ASAP.

There are some more details regarding iTime in this post I wrote last year.


Grade 4 Inquiry Expo Term 3

Wow! The grade 4 student inquiry expo was an amazing finish to term 3’s inquiry unit. The students applied an enormous amount of thinking during the course of designing their Rube Goldberg machines. The main objective was to build a Rube Goldberg inspired machine that included the scientific forces learnt. This could include; incline plane, decline plane, push and pull, friction, pullies and levers. Iteration upon iteration of design changes was made over the days leading up to the expo. The students were amazed at how their thinking had changed from their initial designs made only a week or so ago.

During the building process, our core school values were on display as students demonstrated true grit and resilence when testing, failing and improving their machines. It was ‘hard fun’! There were tears and frustration at times but also joy as well when it worked.

The design and building process was also provided a platform for students to explore and improve on their learning assets. A key focus for many students was communication and collaboration. We commend the students for making wise choices when formulating their groups. We had numerous conversations where the students were able to articulate how they were able to make compromises by adopting and adapting the ideas of others into their designs.

See Below some videos of successful and not so successful runs of their fabulous machines.

Click here

and Here

Exploring Angles With Digital Technologies

This morning grades 4J and 4T pushed their understanding of angles to another level. The students explored different ways of using angles to manipulate and control various robots and software applications. One learning station the students controlled Sphero robots using the drawing tool inside the Sphero EDU app. The students had to draw various shapes that included an example of either an obtuse, acute, reflex, straight or right angles. At another learning station, the students experimented with Dash robot. Using ‘Blocky’ code similar to Scratch student were able to program the Dash to do various tasks. The students needed to apply their knowledge of angles to so that Dash would make accurate turns. See an example here

Honing in on their directional skills the students were also charged with programming Beebots so that they would arrive at their designated destination. This required the students to think computationally and procedurally. The Ozobots were also popular and these allowed the students to explore various types of angles through drawing.

Finally, the students explored a powerful shape design tool where they were charged with creating various polygons that included examples of various types of angles mentioned above.

It was an amazing hands-on session that allowed the students to explore their learning of angles through digital technologies.


Inquiry Script & Storyboarding

This week the amazing grade 4 (and 3/4B) students have started the process of creating their films. Last week they had a taste of what it’s like to create different camera angles, scripts & storyboards. This week they have formed their collaborative production companies (groups) and have begun writing their scripts and creating their storyboards. Underpinning all this wonderful exploration are the student learning assets. Click this link to see what the film making inquiry learning asset foci are. 

As you can see in the images below that the students have been open-minded and flexible in their thinking, making systematic plans through their script writing & storyboarding, being resilient and supporting each other as they manage their learning, and doing their fair share of the work as they collaborate in their groups.



Unpacking Our Learning Assets.

Over the past 7 weeks, grade 4 students have been unpacking our learning assets in preparation for further inquiry. The purpose of learning assets is to provide an opportunity for our students to focus on and inquire into how they learn. It enables both teachers and students to develop a common language around the necessary skills and dispositions that act as important assets for learning at school and beyond. The learning assets are described in 5 broad skill sets that are commonly required of the Inquirer: thinking, collaboration, self – managing, researching and communicating. Each of these broad assets includes multiple, specific skills. You will notice that our classroom will have the learning assets posters displayed somewhere in the classroom. Alongside a continuum of skills. Here are examples of the posters and skills that the students have been unpacking. Click here to view the set of learning asset posters 

Unpacking the learning assets has been an ongoing process of defining what each learning asset means as well as deciphering some of the complex words that accompany them.

This week the students presented their thinking via a slideshow where each slide displayed an image that depicted ‘what the learning asset was’ and the next slide the opposite ‘what it wasn’t’. The students presented their slideshows as a silent gallery walk. Whilst walking around and view their peer’s slideshows each student set a thinking task of making a mental note of what they connected with, what extended their thinking, and what did they find challenging. Once that silent gallery walk had finished a vibrant discussion ensued.

Over the next few weeks, the students have been set the task of choosing a learning asset they would like to focus on as well as two accompanying skills from the continuum. They will also need to explain why they have chosen their learning asset and how they might go about improving it.

We encourage you to have a conversation with your child around the learning assets. I’m sure they would love to hear what your possible focus could be!



Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man…

Leonardo Da Vinci was considered the true renaissance man who’s curiosity crossed over into many domains of knowledge. From art to science to mathematics to literature he developed many theories about how the way the world worked that are still relevant 5 hundred years later. One such theory was centred around Vitruvius man. The image was sometimes referred to as the Proportions of Man because Vitruvius was superimposed within a square that suggests that our arm span must, therefore, be equal to our height. The students we set a rich challenge to prove or disprove Da Vinci’s conjecture.

This challenge was a great way for the students to measure each other’s height and arm span. Many discussions were had on what units of measurement were appropriate for this ask. That is do we use metres or centimetres or both? Once the students had completed their measurements they then used a Google Form to plug in their data. This went straight into a spreadsheet. The next task was then to take a look at the data and form some questions like. Who is the tallest in the class? Who is ‘not so’ tallest? What is the average height of the class?. What is the combined height of the class? Was Da Vinci correct?





Well, what do you think? Was he? Let us know in the comment box below. The students love knowing that people are reading our class blog posts.

The 1 Metre Challenge!

For the past couple of weeks, 4T students have been honing their measuring skills. Last week the students were set a challenge to measure exactly 1 metre, (not a millimetre over or under 1 metre but precisely one metre) on a page of their maths book. The challenge is a collaborative effort. Here’s how it works.

Materials: Pencil, ruler, measuring tape, paper clip (or match), sticky tape, blank page.

Step 1.

Tape down a measuring tape that measures 1 metre on their tables. (In our case it was 100cm, a great discussion was had around how many millimetres that was equal to).

Step 2.

Place a paper clip at zero.

Step 3.

Place a starting point and finishing point on a blank page in their maths book.

Step 4. 

Draw a compass in the top right-hand corner of your page.

Step 5.

Using your ruler, make your first measurement from the starting point in any direction. It can be any length. eg 10cm or 4.5cm or whatever. Then draw the length and the direction along the line you’ve just drawn.

Step 6.

Move your paper clip along the measuring tape to 10cm.

Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you’ve reached the finishing point and measured exactly on a metre.  The paper clip on the measuring tape will help keep track of your total length.

The metre challenge provides a great opportunity for the students to hone their measuring skills ensuring that they can accurately measure various lengths using centimetres and millimetres. It also broadens their understanding of converting units of measurement from metres to centimetres to millimetres. Furthermore, the students must work strategically and collaboratively to successfully complete the challenge.

This challenge is easy to do at home we challenge you to have a go! Let us know how you went in the comment box below.



Dramas in Grade 4!

What an awesome start to the year! However, grades 4T and 4J have been having some dramas 😉

As part of our startup program this term grade 4 students have been getting to know each other and we’ve been getting to know the students through drama. Drama is a fun way for students to express themselves creatively as well as providing opportunities for them to experiment with and practice their communication skills. In fact we have discovered that through drama the students have been able to engage and experience our five school values of Collaboration, Creativity, Curiosity and Resilience.

Grade 4’s have loved some of the drama activities such as:

Captains Orders (a classic) where the captain calls out directions and the students have to follow them. eg Run to starboard, stern, bow and port. As well as ‘scrub the deck’ and man overboard! Walking the plank was a favourite!

Mind Body: Students paired up one was the body and the other was the brain controlling the body. The body had to do exactly what the mind told it to do!

Our favourite was the Group Yell. The group huddled together in a crouching position low to the ground. A designated leader starts making soft humming sounds. The group joins in as the leader begins to rise. the rest of the group gets louder until they are yelling and verticle.


What were some of the drama games/activities that you engaged with when at school? We would love to know and add them to our repertoire. Let us know in the comment box below.


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