A Changing World: Engaging Students in Thinking About Social Studies
Last Tuesday, May 1, all of fourth grade gathered in Mr. Little’s classroom. When Mr. Overlie announced Jing Shan Management would pave over the sport field, the reaction in the students’ faces showed us they were hooked onto social studies.
It was an engaging and authentic experience. The students made personal connections to the key concepts. They were curious. They were thoughtful. They wanted to talk about the issue.
We wanted the students to understand that humans affect each other when they make a change to the planet. We wanted them to understand that change influences human events. We wanted them to understand the relationship between actions and events within the context of one specific change.
The event was a collaborative effort between the teachers, some parents and our vice-principal. Together we presented the question to the students as if it was really going to happen, but we led them to believe it was also a surprise to us.
The parents led the students in discussions to answer these questions: Who would be affected? How would they be affected? What is the greatest impact of this change? We identified different groups, within the SIS community, affected by this change. Students also predicted likely positive and negative impacts affecting each group.
Finally, the choices for greatest impact varied; from students losing valuable recess space to SIS losing money—because parents would not want to send their children to a school with very little space to play—to Jing Shan earning lots of money from the cost of rent for the proposed villas.
At the end of the simulation, we revealed the truth. Most students were relieved to know their beloved sport field would not be demolished, while others were shocked at the deception. Everyone understood the value in this thinking exercise.
To read more stories about Shekou International School visit their website: www.sis.org.cn/why-choose-sis