That's our topic in second grade for this term.
Doesn't sound like something second graders can handle, but believe me, they can and they do.
We have six "Units of Inquiry" throughout the year: "Who We Are, How We Organize Ourselves, How the World Works, Where We Are in Time and Place, How We Express Ourselves, and Sharing the Planet."
The whole school is on the same units at the same times, but within each grade the unit is approached differently.
So, for example, while we are doing "Nature vs. Nurture" in second grade (in relation to "Who We Are"), the 4th graders are doing "Peace at Home, Peace in the World" (in relation to "Who We Are") and studying how global behaviors affect peace and conflict.
The students are prompted at the beginning of the units to ask questions about the topic. Their questions are noted on paper and placed on the Program of Inquiry wall, and those questions, along with the teacher questions are what drive our next six weeks of study.
The study is only related to science, social studies and sometimes math. Language is taught separately.
How does one find a textbook to go with this curriculum?
The answer, you don't.
We search the internet and the library and outside experts and take field trips and basically come up with all the materials we need.
It's so much more exciting when as a teacher you are learning right along with the students.
It's challenging, it's engaging, it's called the PYP Curriculum, and I can't imagine teaching at a school that is not a PYP school.
I can't imagine sending my own kids to a school that isn't PYP.
This week we studied how DNA makes us each different. We used "dog DNA" to create some pretty funny looking dogs.
I'm pretty sure the teachers dog was the funniest though.
It's Friday so I won't beat you to death with educational jargon. Just wanted to communicate that Chris and I both are learning a lot here, and finding many good ideas to bring home someday.
We too are students!