Back in November 2019, we were asked about developing an inquiry for our Year 6 pupils in Computer Science which would step them through the FOSIL cycle and give them a good grounding in skills they will need throughout their time in school. We were in the lucky position of being able to write an inquiry on any topic within Computer Science so were keen to use the print resources we have in the library as the starting point – especially as computing books for 10 year olds are not the easiest thing to find. As we were building this inquiry from scratch, it was the ideal opportunity to look in detail at the skills that lie beneath the stages of the cycle and to equip our Year 6 pupils with as many of these as possible.
After an initial attempt at forming an inquiry around the question, How do we find things on the Internet?, we decided to switch the whole thing round and ask them to consider, Does Google know everything? Given that the majority of pupils of this age seem to believe that it does, we believed there was a real need for them to understand search engines , the world wide web, the internet and how everything works.
The questions this inquiry will try to allow pupils to discover answers to are: What is Google? What is a search engine? Is Google the only search engine? How do search engines work? Do they all work in the same way? What do they find? Where do they find it? What is the WWW? What is the internet?
The underlying FOSIL skills we hope they will develop – from the ESIFC skills for Grade 5/Year 6 – include:
Uses appropriate print, video, or electronic source to answer questions;
Begins to analyze multiple points of view from multiple sources to determine similarities and differences;
Uses various note-taking strategies dependent on purpose;
Uses navigation tools of pre-selected websites and databases to locate relevant information.
With help, organizes notes and ideas and develops an outline, mind map, or graphic organizer;
Forms own opinion or claim and uses evidence from texts and clear reasoning to back it up.
Presents information clearly so that main points and supporting evidence are readily understood by audience;
Uses a variety of technology tools chosen by teacher or selected on own to create products [for this inquiry, producing the final outcome electronically will be an option].
The inquiry has just begun, so we will see how our Year 6s get on.
It is only now, a year on from my last post, as this inquiry is about to start again with a new batch of Year 6 pupils, that I realise how remiss I have been in my reflections.
As the inquiry drew to a close last year, schools were shut, final pieces of work were completed at home, photos submitted to the teacher, who then retired, and we therefore have very little evidence of the wonderful thinking and discussion that had gone on in class.
However, I can say that in terms of the INVESTIGATE and CONSTRUCT skills above that we hoped to help pupils develop, the inquiry was a great success and many of them now possess a range of note-taking skills that a much older pupil would be proud of.
We are now beginning this inquiry with pupils once again at home, but all set for an imminent return to school and I look forward to seeing what they produce.
Having just had the pleasure of looking through some of the work produced by our Year 6 pupils over the last few weeks, I can confidently say that this inquiry does allow pupils to develop the desired skills outlined above. I believe pupils were all asked to Express their response as a written paragraph on this occasion as this was the easiest option in the blended learning environment of the past three weeks with a tight end of term deadline.
It will be good to follow this inquiry again next year, but, as with many of those undertaken in Computer Science at Oakham, after some carefully considered planning, pupils can learn the desired content while they progress through the FOSIL cycle with excellent guidance and therefore very little difficulty.
I will try to add some work examples at a later date, when my technology allows.
This sounds like a wonderful inquiry to carry out with year 6. Is there an inquiry journal to go with this Lucy? I think it is something that many would be interested in if we could share it more fully.
Thanks Elizabeth. There isn’t a workbook as such for this inquiry as the teacher with whom I developed it was very keen that his pupils should have one worksheet at a time to work on, and these would all then be gathered together in their exercise books to chart the progress of the inquiry and so that they could make extra notes, such as reflecting on the different note-taking methods, along the way. For the final note-taking session, pupils were asked to choose which of the three methods they wanted to use, based on how they felt each one had worked for them in the earlier lessons. I have, however, gathered together blank versions of the different documents used at different stages to make them available here as one.
For this inquiry, several of the stage were done orally in class, hence nowhere to record the Connect and Wonder that occurred before pupils began their note-taking, nor the Express – for which they initially had the freedom to choose their own way of visually answering the question, and which this year resulted in a written paragraph – and Reflect which was again an oral reflection of the posters produced and the inquiry process.
I hope that will be of some help, and I will add some examples as soon as I am able.
This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by Lucy Breag. Reason: Link to resources added
This is really interesting. I think there is some potential here to develop this into a multidisciplinary transition project for our Year 7 students as they join us in September, I’m sure there is fiction we could ask them to read – a short story possibly that could link into English. We might think about the role of Google in developing countries, the power to share the arts with users – looking at things like Google Museum Views and asking questions about the real vs the virtual experience. And on and on…