As this inquiry was one of the first that we planned with teachers in school, it is one we have been attempting to resource for the longest. An important part of the INVESTIGATE stage when designing an inquiry is being able to provide pupils with material in different formats from a variety of media which is age-appropriate. This is actually a much harder task than it first appears, especially for a subject like Computer Science where the majority of print resources published have either a slightly younger audience in mind – who need little more than the basics of what things are – or are aimed at a more advanced, much more detailed readership. Online material also tends to be targeted at this audience. In order to try to address this gap in resources, we have been trying, with varying degrees of success, to identify relevant pages from a whole range of Computing books to direct pupils to. Scanning pages would have the advantage of allowing a number of pupils to access the same material at a time but copyright implications have to be factored in and this is what we are currently investigating. It would also be very dependent on scan quality. If anyone has any advice to offer on resourcing topics such as this for this age group, I would be very grateful for it.
I’m Lucy and have worked in the library at Oakham School since 2001. I came here on a one year contract and eighteen years, and several different job titles later, I am still here but doing a job far removed from the one I started out doing. After several years of concentrating on the recreational reading/reader development side of working here, while maintaining my interests in the Lower School curriculum and MFL throughout the school, the rising profile of FOSIL within school led me to taking on the role of Curriculum Librarian for Lower and Middle School, i.e years 6 to 11.
Developing and resourcing FOSIL inquiries across the whole range of subjects taught in school is challenging. It means I am constantly making new acquaintances among teaching colleagues; learning about completely new areas of the curriculum; and FOSIL-ising topics that subject teachers would like their pupils to explore. The more recent introduction of the MYP at Oakham has certainly increased interest in inquiry learning and that is something I am currently trying to learn as much about as possible.
Unit introduced to those who would be teaching it – many of whom had already contributed to the planning stage, but not all – which led to modifications in the overall plan for the shape of the unit, although the inquiry was not greatly debated at this stage.
It was not until November 2018 when we were updated on how the unit was progressing that plans for the inquiry and the development of resources began in earnest. Delivery began on 19 and 20 Nov 2018 but at the outset only resources for the initial stages of the FOSIL cycle had been created/updated. Many other were created/adapted as the inquiry progressed to meet emerging needs – both in terms of helping students through the process and to meet the assessment criteria of the MYP which was a new consideration. For example, about half way through the inquiry, we realised that different working documents would be needed in order to show the development and redrafting stages of the writing. Therefore a contents page was developed to allow pupils to gather together and present the necessary documents for assessment.
(27 March) End of the Cold War inquiry today. Factsheets produced and pupils’ consideration of why their event was significant in the Cold War, and in World History. Although there were a few facts they had not grasped entirely correctly, the overall understanding on display was pleasing; almost all work produced, and presented to the class, covered the basic requirements they were asked for – and more in many cases; and they were able to assess the work of others, consider their own strengths throughout the inquiry process and identify a few goals for when they do it all again next term! Didn’t manage to include as much as I would have liked to include, but a good learning process for me and a thorough introduction to the FOSIL cycle for them.
(20 March) As I have led the inquiry, new resources have been produced and the plans for the inquiry adapted, and reduced significantly due to missed lessons and things taking that little bit longer than anticipated. I decided it was better that they did the basic inquiry well – all stages covered and the opportunity to work in their groups to produce work they were proud of – rather than trying to cover every topic I had hoped for. I just hope we get to see how the Cold War ended before we run out of term! Thank goodness for a BBC Bitesize History video to help with that explanation!
Through assisting with many of the lessons that made up this inquiry, I was able to adapt or create resources as the need arose, as well as being able to explain to the teachers and pupils how best to move the inquiry on. The feedback received was overwhelmingly positive as pupils were thoroughly engaged in their work and I believe managed to learn as much about France as they would have done previously, while also gaining an understanding of the reasons for language learning. The main lesson learned, as with many first time inquiries for teachers, is that things do take that bit longer to achieve and that timings many need rethinking next time around. This is especially so when dealing with a class of 10/11 year olds!
A Chemistry teacher emailed on 20 March to ask for help generating enthusiasm for CRAAP testing with her very tired Year 9s, with the end of term approaching. She said “I was wondering if there was any chance that you might be able to come in to meet them and give them a few more pointers about the process and why is it valuable to research information from many sources and to scrutinise where the information comes from.” Visit was scheduled for 27 Mar 2019.
A conversation with Head of Chemistry (14 March) revealed that the teaching of the unit was about to begin. Teachers were impressed with the material created and provided and were booking computer facilities to allow delivery of the topic. They said they would let us know when/if they were happy for us to pop in to see how the materials were working and how the inquiry was progressing. May well spill into next term as time might be too short this side of the holidays.
Further discussion as the teaching of this unit approached (06 February), revealed that the above articles may not have been along quite the right lines, as they were focussed on the reporting of what might happen as a result of climate change rather than how humans are having an effect on the climate, but the sources had provided articles of an appropriate level of complexity, and could therefore be explored again.
A face to face meeting with the Head of Chemistry (11 February) led to the plan to provide a limited range of articles (must read, should read, could read) for pupils to work through – both those which were reliable sources of information and those which were perhaps more questionable. An example site was chosen on which to demonstrate the CRAAP test to make sure pupils were aware of factors to consider and of the importance of peer review. It was also necessary to ensure pupils were provided with material in which a range of audiences was targeted.
All material was sent (26 February) for consideration at a Chemistry department meeting ahead of delivery – we waited to see what the reaction was…