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The Art of Synthesizing: Grade 5 Style!

The Art of Synthesizing: Grade 5 Style!Grade 5 students have recently finished their Social Studies unit on Ancient Civilizations.  The unit began with student engaged in a group brainstorm, answering the question: “What do we already know about Ancient Civilizations?”  Student came up with a myriad of ideas, ranging from the creation of Stonehenge to the use of the abacus.  Not only did students realize that they had a wealth of knowledge to share, but they also had many questions.

From this introduction, student moved forward to examine and discuss several questions, such as:

“What is a civilization?”

“What is the sequence of events that took place after nomads established a permanent location?”

“What geographical features are important when creating a permanent settlement?”

In order to direct student research and help students understand where they are going, teachers introduced the final project: Creative Consultancy Agency.  Students needed to pretend that they were part of a consultancy agency that had been approached by a group of nomads.  These nomads were interested in settling and establishing themselves in a permanent location.  Students needed to design a presentation or a research paper that made recommendations to the audience (the nomads) for the perfect geographical location, the steps needed for settling, and the elements needed for their successful civilization.  In order to support their recommendations, students would need to provide concrete examples from history.

Let the information gathering begin!  As students read through their resources, teachers modeled effective note-taking and non-fiction reading strategies.  Together they examined the Sumerian and the Mayan cultures.  Students had to discern what information is relevant for them in order to complete their project.

After working through several different resources, with the support of their teacher, students went off in partner groups to gather more information on China, Egypt, Greece, Inca, Aztecs, and Rome.  Not only were a variety of non-fiction texts used, but students also accessed information from the Internet and short informational videos.  Students used a graphic organizer to focus their research into specific aspects of a civilization.  Some of these included job specialization, technological advancements, government, belief systems, education, and economy.

Using the wealth of information they gathered, students began the challenging task of interpreting. They compared and contrasted the different settlements.  They used graphic organizers, such as Venn Diagrams, to draw out and highlight key elements of ancient civilizations.

Once students had finished interpreting their information, they used these elements as a basis for their recommendations and they began to organize their presentation or research paper.

The day of presentations came quickly and students were eager to share their learning successes with one another. Overall, it was an engaging learning experience for students.

To read more stories about Shekou International School visit their website: www.sis.org.cn/why-choose-sis



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The Contributor

Shekou International School was established in 1988. It is dedicated to meeting the diverse educational needs of the expatriate community. SIS is an international school with an American- based curriculum. The school is governed by International Schools Services (ISS) of Princeton, New Jersey.

We offer a rigorous academic program to meet parents' high expectations. We have state-of-the-art facilities and cater to learners from nursery through high school. A rich mix of academics, athletics, and activities delivered by a world-class faculty ensure maximum learning for students.

The Elementary School and Nursery campuses are located in our Mountainside and Parkside buildings, in the beautiful Jing Shan residential area. Middle and high school classes are housed in our Bayside campus, which is adjacent to the Coastal Rose Garden residential complex.

Our high school offers a rigorous college preparatory program. SIS is an International Baccalaureate World School currently offering the IB diploma program to grade 11 students. The program will begin for grade 12 students in August 2011.

The language of instruction is English for all classes, with the exception of proficiency- leveled Mandarin classes. Additionally, SIS offers the French National Curriculum in grades K-5 in which the language of instruction in academic subjects is French.

    Connect with Shekou International School:
  1. - Email: Click here

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