Preshil’s Arlington Primary School uses Inquiry Units to guide children through the curriculum. This Inquiry-based format teaches for understanding of a conceptual idea rather than just knowledge, and each unit runs for six weeks. Early this year, the 10s and 11s (Grades 5 and 6) at Arlington undertook a unit of inquiry exploring the theme: “We overcome adversity through courage and persistence”.
As part of this, the children explored the balance between physical and psychological adversity – what it looks like and where we have it in our days. Various media were studied to illustrate adversity, courage and persistence, and Thinking Routines exploring the children’s perceptions of the unit were performed. Once they had teased out the Inquiry, students were asked to choose a person they thought had overcome adversity with courage and persistence, and use their interest as a lense in creating a picture storybook.
Jamie van Wensveen (11s 2016) chose to do his project on soccer player, Tim Cahill, after reading his autobiography, ‘Legacy’, and learning about how Tim overcame challenges in his life and on his path to becoming a professional sportsperson. Jamie created a storybook as which was written following the structure of the unit.
Guided by the Preshil mantra, ‘The Courage to Question’, Jamie then went on to ask the editor of ‘HistoriCool’ if she thought other children might be interested in reading a story about Tim Cahill’s personal history and learning about how he has overcome adversity in his life. When the editor said ‘yes’ she would be interested in publishing the story, Jamie asked the Melbourne City Football Club if he would be able to interview Tim Cahill. The club was very supportive of the idea and Jamie was given the chance to go behind-the-scenes at the club and at an A-League game. Jamie also attended a Melbourne City press conference as a junior reporter, and afterwards got the chance to meet his sporting idol, one-on-one and ask him some questions.
For the HistoriCool article, Jamie collaborated with 16 year old Dion Fountas, and the end result is the feature story that appears in the August/September 2017 edition of ‘HistoriCool’. The editor loved what the two boys came up with, and she has run the feature as the cover story and dedicated four pages to it.
A model below highlights how the Inquiry Unit guided Jamie through his project.The Inquiry unit equipped Jamie with the tools to study someone he admired, learn about adversity, courage and persistence, and provided the framework to create wonderful work.