Inquiring into Natural Resources: A Third-Grade Exploration

Third graders are currently inquiring into natural resources, their uses and our sustainable practices. The central idea of the unit of inquiry is “Our consumption of Earth’s natural resources requires consideration of sustainable practices”, under the transdisciplinary theme “Sharing the Planet”.

The students researched and found out various challenges faced by the world due to the overuse and abuse of natural resources. They were reflective of human actions while discussing the pollution of water bodies and issues related to plastic waste management in different countries. The unequal distribution around the world provoked them to further inquire into sustainable practices and conservation. The field trip to Green Village, Jampangan in Surabaya provided the young learners, with opportunities to find out and reflect on the sustainable practices the villagers adopted to conserve nature.

Design Challenges for STEAM: Third Graders Crafting Sustainable Solutions

The transdisciplinary nature of the curriculum framework allowed the students to uncover facts and data that quantified estimated amounts of certain natural resources, the estimated rate they are being depleted, and possible time periods for their ‘extinction’ through the PYP math strands of Measurement and Data handling.

The design challenges by third graders for the school’s “Festival of STEAM ” is well underway. The learners were very enthusiastic to grab the opportunity and are ready to demonstrate their enduring understanding of the 3R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) by presenting an alternative to the use of some of the natural resources. It is evident that the unit of inquiry enabled the students to be caring and empathetic to the environment, grow a sense of responsibility towards its conservation and being reflective of sustainable practices.

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