Boys' School Year 6 Mini Expo

September 24, 2013 at 11:33 AM

The Big Idea: How we express ourselves

This year the boys in Year 6 were presented with a unique opportunity – to undertake a significant and lengthy inquiry over the course of the term and then exhibit their learning journey for the wider school community in the form of an Expo. Not only was their finished work on display but the boys were also on hand to answer questions from visitors about the process behind their inquiry.

When presented with the idea that the Expo would be exclusive to Year 6, the boys were fired into action and quickly took ownership! They were inspired to take up the challenging task of going beyond their previous learning to develop new skills while keeping the end result in mind – an exhibition intended for a wide audience. The theme of the Expo was ‘How we express ourselves’ with the ‘central idea’ being ‘People use different forms of expression to convey their uniqueness.’

The boys were divided into small groups of two or three and began to brainstorm which path their own inquiry would take. First they picked an overall line of inquiry and from that each planned their own personal exploration within their chosen theme – these ideas were many and varied.

For example:

How are expressions demonstrated?
Marcus: How and why do people express themselves through poetry?
Ben: How do cultures express themselves through symbols?
Henry: How do people express their creativity through sculpture?

How do outside forces affect people’s expressions?
Harrison: How do political systems affect people’s expressions?
Miller: How are people inspired to construct greatness?
Max: How does global technology influence a country’s expressions?

How and why are the less formal arts expressed?
William: What is the cultural significance of tattooing?
Corbet: Why has graffiti changed over the years?

The boys were required to explore multiple perspectives. In the process they further developed their collaborative skills through discussing and debating real issues with their peers; they went beyond the school gates to talk to experts in the wider community, conducting all the organisation and safety information (RAM: Risk Assessment Management) for this to take place; and they conducted surveys and used a wide variety of primary sources to find out how people express themselves in our world.

As the boys worked, they kept log books that recorded all their work including regular reflections of their thinking.  It soon became clear that they were beginning to really think about the issues and concepts, not just the facts; to understand why things are, how things connect to each other and to them.  In the final stages, the boys needed to bring their ideas together and work out how best to present their findings to engage an invited audience.

Over three sessions at the end of term, parents were invited to visit the Expo to view the boys’ displays and seek a deeper understanding of the different topics from the boys themselves.  They proved themselves to have a good understanding of the work they had done and were articulate in their explanations.

In a frequently changing world, understanding how to inquire, how to sift through the ideas to make informed decisions and discover their truths is a valuable and exciting journey that these boys are just beginning to discover. The Expo brought all this into focus and the boys were very proud to present their first public Expo.

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