Grade 5 leaves its mark on WISS students. Firstly, it is the last year of Primary, and it represents the leap towards the Middle Years Programme. It marks a before and an after in the Primary stage as students face the Primary Years Program Exhibition (PYPX), the first major public exhibition of their long and extensive inquiry learning process.
PYPX is not another short-term project, a presentation on a topic, or just a usual event. This is one of the biggest challenges for Primary students. It is an extensive research project that builds the foundational skills they will need as they enter the MYP and beyond.
PYPX is the last step of hundreds of little steps leading them to this culminating milestone event, marking the end of their time as a PYP student. It is the peak of a whole year of research, analysis, meetings, designs, and implementation of an innovative project which can be used today to solve real, existing problems.
Primary students worked on the exhibition for eight weeks, from February to April. The process involves hours of discussions, debates, questions, and reflection on a transdisciplinary theme. It is an opportunity for students to use research, analysis, and critical thinking to solve real-life problems through their innovative projects.
Step by Step Through the PYP Exhibition
Every year, the visible part of the PYP Exhibition is the display of all the projects where students present their research, their process of inquiry, and their creative projects to the WISS Community. It is the part that we get to see, but let’s not forget that there is a lot of effort behind it, months of work, research, analysis, and preparation. Applying learning to a cause is the best way to assimilate concepts, establish connections, and impact the world.
The exhibition is organized under a theme that brings together different projects focused on society, the environment, or human rights, among others. This year’s theme was “The global issues that define our lifetime require creative thinking to inspire solutions.” Under this transdisciplinary theme, students identified the problems that roused their interest and motivated them to take action. Students lead their learning throughout this project.
The projects highlight the unique capabilities of each student. Although there are projects related to the same issue, each project is focused on a different problem.
The Role of Mentors
Mentors are an essential part of the entire process. They guide the students through their inquiry process. By working together and meeting weekly, the students find support and advice.
This year the Grade 5 students had a most original way to call for mentors. Don’t miss this creative video! (Needless to say, there were many volunteers after this!)
Ms. Kira Botton, Pre-Kindergarten teacher at WISS, was a mentor teacher for the G5 students: “Being a mentor this year was very exciting since I had some of these students when I taught Grade 2. We met once a week and to go over what they had been working on, where they were heading, and what they needed help or assistance with. Their Grade 5 teachers did most of the work organizing them, with the mentors there to help by checking in and helping to keep them moving forward. The group I had the pleasure of working with did very well with self-management, so I got to enjoy challenging them with questions about their learning and what their intentions were on the next step.
Seeing all the growth and progress everyone made, academically and as the people they are growing into, was amazing,” shared Kira.