Learning by doing, or experiential education, was the goal for Action Week at EtonHouse International School from October 19-23. Students from Year 2 all the way to Year 13 participated in different activities both on and off campus designed to engage them in learning about their world in a creative, hands-on way.
Students in MYP and DP selected one of four areas of Action for the week – those were: Transportation, Tourism, Healthy Systems, and Photography. Each group spent the week diving into those topics and themes both in and out of the classroom. Monday was spent posing questions, doing research, and preparing for going out into the field. Tuesday and Wednesday were spent out in the community having experiences, collecting data, and applying knowledge gained on Monday. Thursday was a day for processing and consolidating learning by creating a product or products to share with the whole school. Friday was sharing day, with presentations from each group.
The Transportation group explored the different ways people can move around a city, how decisions are made about those transportation systems, and conducted a comparison of the different kinds of transportation available. They did this by going out into the community and traveling by foot, tram, subway, public bus, and chartered bus. In the end they presented their findings in the form of a series of posters and a documentary film that were all found on a website the students created.
The Tourism group set out to learn about the famous landmarks around Suzhou and how to present them to the public so they could understand what they were and how to get to them and around them. They played the part of tourists by visiting Pingjiang Lu and the Humble Administrator’s Garden in the historic part of Suzhou and the Suzhou Center and Rainbow walk in the modern SIP section of town. They took all of their learning and processed it and presented it in the form of a Tourism Guide that could be used, for example, by new families or teachers coming to our school who want to know more about the city we live in.
The Healthy Systems group were investigating what a healthy system was and discovered that it can take on many forms, such as our body, the air we breathe, and the water all around us. Students rode bicycles to exercise their healthy systems and move their bodies to discover the systems all around the, like waterways, forests, and even road systems. They did scientific water sampling and conducted experiments to show how to measure the health of a system.
The Photography group all came into the week with an interest in photography. This week gave them an opportunity to learn specific techniques and apply them directly. Students went traveling to a traditional village where people practice the art of embroidery. They also traveled to more modern places like shopping malls and business districts. The students captured many images, using the techniques they had learned on Monday. They then had to apply their learning and create an exhibition of their edited photographic artwork. This can be seen in a wonderful display of their photographs in the lobby.
In addition to all of these activities, on Monday, every MYP/DP student took part in a 7 kilometer hike around the SSTT, through the neighborhood around our school, through lovely parks, and even to the top of a mountain. This brought the students closer to nature and to the community where they go to school every day.
Overall, the MYP/DP Action Week was a smashing success with students being able to choose an area of personal interest and learn about it through inquiry, experience, reflection, and presentation. It was the embodiment of our EtonHouse motto – Inquire – Think- Learn – with Action being at the center of that cycle of learning.
In the Primary Years Program, teachers led students on an inquiry-based dive into a range of topics. Students worked across grade levels to investigate, explore, inquire, and learn. They took trips off campus to a range of places, they invented new games, and shared their learning with the whole school. The goal for the week was to launch caring, confident, and curious students.
Years 2 and 4 worked together to explore the concept of fitness and fun. They spent four days carefully planning and create their own, original games. They planned each detail and executed the games with their PYP schoolmates. Their great success was evident in the beaming smiles and enthusiasm of the players. They showcased the strong leadership and collaboration skills they developed over the week of inquiry-based learning.
Year 3 went on a week-long journey to explore Suzhou Culture. They immersed themselves in all things Suzhou. They experienced trips to the Embroidery Museum, Shigongshan and Tongli. They practiced traditional calligraphy. They returned from their immersive adventures with interesting stories to share through singing, dancing, and performance at their very own “Suzhou Culture Fair.” Thanks to their 5-day journey into learning about the culture of Suzhou, we are all more aware of the rich culture and beauty of the city we live in.
Year 5 and 6 combined to inquire and learn about animals. After a visit to the Suzhou Zoo and a visit from guest speaker Ms. Noriko, the students were inspired called to action. They used their caring hearts to define actions to take. They created toys for animals in shelters, which they hope to send out to shelters across the city. They made posters on Animal Cruelty and the need to Care for Animals. These posters are now placed in their apartment complexes. This was an example of a group of students applying their learning in a caring way and acting based on knowledge.
These three groups and the outcomes of their inquiry and learning show that the Action week truly met the goal of launching caring, confident, and curious students.
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