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

Taking Action in Inquiry

As we draw nearer to the end of term, we are about to embark on a project to demonstrate our learning about force and motion. So far we have learning about the forces that create movement (and slow down/stop movement) as well as a bit about simple machines.

Today all the Grade 3s got together and learned about Rube Goldberg, an artist and scientist who would draw elaborate illustrations of crazy machines and cool inventions that involved many simple machines. We watched a few clips of how Rub Goldberg inspired machines have influenced creativity amongst grown ups and children, and have informed our students that their action and next step in the inquiry cycle will be to create their own small scale Rube Goldberg inspired machine.

So far, students have formed groups and planned and designed their own mini contraptions, and in coming weeks will work together to begin constructing and trialing their designs.

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.



Movement and friction

Last week in inquiry students in 3G did some very hands on activities both inside the classroom and out in the playground the continue our exploration and investigation on forces and movement.

We took some small rubber balls out and applied different amounts of force (push, drop) onto it against different parts of the play equipment and observed what happened.

Here are some of the students’ findings:

1. The more force you push the ball with, the further it will go.

2. If you drop the ball down the slide it will roll down fast

3. If push the ball with more force down the slide it will go much further

4. The less friction, the fast the ball moves

5. The ball does not move very far on sand (friction)

6. Smooth surfaces have less friction than rough surfaces (ball travels faster on smooth surfaces)

7. The bumps on the ramp slowed down the ball. If there were no bumps, the ball would roll down quicker.

8. The ball went round and round the circle tunnel

…and many more.

Students drew diagrams in their inquiry scrapbooks to demonstrate their discoveries and learning from this investigation.

Afterwards, students were challenged to set up and use dominos to move the rubber ball. Students used fantastic communication, teamwork and collaboration skills to trial and error their different attempts.

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Launch of our Film-Making Inquiry

This week we have launched our film-making inquiry unit, which will be focused around the theme of friendship.

Students have been learning about movie scripts and comparing parts of the Inside Out script to clips from the film.

They have also started to participate in film-making workshops. Today 4T explored the different camera angles used in live action films and made their own mini-films. In 4J students explored sound in film, while in 3/4B they are looking at story-boarding and in 4A they are learning about stop-motion.

Each class will have a chance to participate in each of these workshops over the next couple of weeks.

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!



Alex Miles – Visiting Author

Today, the grade 3s were very lucky to have Olive’s aunt, Alex, come and visit us. She is an author and known for the Zac Power Spy Camp series and her own Olive Black series!

Her timing was perfect with the writer’s festival happening tomorrow. She helped explain that we all need to be curious, pursue ideas, persist persist persist and edit edit edit!

Our imagination muscles need flexing all the time so don’t give up if you’re facing writers’ block. Persist persist persist!!

Tomorrow we are beginning our script writing for our documentaries and this was a great springboard for Inquiry as well as Writing!

Thanks for visiting!

Wear It Purple Day

Ceeeeeeelebrate kindness, come on!

With a very wet first half of the day, our purple kidlets were playing well inside with each other and having great doscussinns about inclusion and respect.

One student remarked that “kindness can spread like a cold just as quickly and well as meanness.”

A positive day working with these fantastic humans!


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