WISS Today Article

As part of their Units of Inquiry, kindergartners at WISS explored the wonderful world of Sound and Light Their journey of discovery took them across the “bridge” to Mr. Al McDowall, the Middle Years Programme Media, and IB Diploma Programme Film teacher in the WISS Film Studio.  

Teachers as Facilitators of Learning

In our Primary Year Programme Units of Inquiry, the teacher takes on the role of facilitator. As Facilitator, they do not hold and impart knowledge, but instead,  guide students to explore their own knowledge and gain a greater understanding about a bigger idea, and encourage students to ask more questions as they explore.   These questions drive the learning which is skillfully enabled through careful planning of resources in the environment, scaffolded through learning experiences and provocations which challenge thinking.  

In the Kindergarten Light and Sound unit, students explored the properties and sources of light and sound, how they use light and sound in daily life and how they can manipulate light and sound through experimentation. 

Learning Through Exploration

Our learning is hands-on and inquiry-based which sees students manipulating various light and sound resources as they explore. Torches, mirrors, water, colored film, shadow walls, tuning forks, sound bowls, and much more is available for students to choose from as they learn how to apply new words like transparent, opaque, refraction, and vibration. 

Another way we enrich the WISS student learning experience, is by identifying experts within our community that can further our understanding of a topic. When considering how light can be changed to produce a different effect, we think about how it helps us to see clearer. This type of reflection on learning offer a perfect opportunity to visit Mr.McDowall in his media room as we discovered how light can be used in photography. 

Mr. McDowall showed students how lights are set up and controlled in order to take portrait photographs. There was a discussion about light and lighting and then, having been shown how and why lights and reflectors are positioned for a portrait, each of the students had the chance to have their photo taken, while the rest of the students were shown the “camera-eye view” through the projector. 

Speaking after the sessions, Mr. McDowall said “Apart from the fact that they were very well behaved and asked intelligent and interesting questions, the thing that really impressed me was the large amount of knowledge about light they already possessed. They knew that light can be colored, that it can help plants and animals to grow. They knew that the light we see from the moon actually comes from the sun and they understood about reflection. Many knew that the stars in the sky are actually suns and some even understood that light bounces from objects into our eyes. These are quite complex concepts to grasp and retain. As always, I am in awe of the quality of teaching that happens in Early Years at WISS. The students were an absolute credit to their teachers, evidenced by the information they had at their fingertips and the focused, inquiring nature of their questions. I genuinely had a wonderful time talking with them and taking photos.” 

Check out this video showing how WISS students learn about light and sounds in the Early Years. Students painted with fluorescent paints and examined how the colors change and glow under LED blacklights.