Provoking through play
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Provoking through play

To prepare the children in grade 1 for their new Unit of Inquiry, classroom teacher Carren Ward sent them on a journey of discovery through play.

By Carren Ward, classroom teacher 1 Blue and PYP teaching coach

The children in 1 Blue had no idea what the new unit would be about. Thus, when seeing the transportation toys, play food and animals, toy people and buildings just lying on the carpet, the excitement and curiosity came flying out. Naturally the children immediately ran to the toys to investigate what there was and started playing with them. While playing, they had no idea that they were actually learning at the same time and getting closer to uncovering what the next unit would be about.

Making connections

The children were creating various scenarios and using their imaginations with the toy people and animals. The children then started asking various questions. These in their turn then provoked deeper questions that allowed the children to start making connections between the toys they were playing with, and what they would be learning about in the next unit.

Finally, the children were able to show the journey that goods go through from farm to home. They could identify that there is a process and people involved at every stage goods go through. The learning was magical!

Toy money

We then added a new element to this process of goods: money. This is our new math unit that integrates in perfectly as the children will be learning about the cost of goods and services. In the same fashion that the unit of inquiry was introduced, a bunch of toy money was laid out on the carpet to see what the children would do with it.

Fair price

Some children started sorting the money or counting the amounts while others were already making the connection of how they could use the money to make a shop for the goods. When asking if anyone would like to buy a pencil for 500 euro, much discussion came up about if that was a fair price or not.

The children will be learning more about the value of goods and services and what they cost. However, it was lovely to see some children really stop and think of the price of things before “buying” them.

Diamond earrings

When the question came up if money was always necessary to buy something, the children realized that trading was also an option that is often done. Therefore, when asking the children if trading a paperback book for a pair of diamond earrings, was a fair trade one child responded by saying, “No it isn’t because he doesn’t wear earrings.”

All the children, very seriously, agreed while I as a teacher was laughing. Unlike the children, I was only focusing on the value of the items instead what I’d be using them for. This example clearly demonstrates the mindset of the children which is that the value of something firstly depends on if it is needed before even considering the monetary value of it. This is key information that we will be building upon and inquire into further.

The journey of goods

We look forward to seeing how the learning will develop as the weeks progress. The children will be investigating further into the journey goods go through before they are consumed along with how money plays an integral role in this process.