The PYP Exhibition
ISB’s Fifth Graders Take On Gender Stereotypes
All three International Baccalaureate (IB) programs aim to inspire, engage, and educate students and teachers by providing a comfortable environment where academic life connects with the real world beyond school. This connection makes it possible for international-mindedness to coexist alongside academic rigor and provides the freedom needed for inquiry-based learning to thrive.
Taking Responsibility for the Learning Process
As the school year draws to a close and they embark on their final PYP milestone, ISB’s 5th graders are taking their ingenuity one step further (they’ve already formed a student council and written their own constitution) by participating in the exhibition, the PYP’s culminating learning experience.
Taken on by students aged 10-12 during the last year of the PYP, the exhibition brings together students, teachers, and parents while integrating all elements of their journey through the PYP. It also gives students an opportunity to celebrate their transition from primary to secondary education, ensuring their successful preparation for the MYP’s emphasis on interdisciplinary learning.
The exhibition is a collaborative inquiry project based on a central idea that requires identification, investigation, and problem-solving for a real-life issue or problem. The central idea of ISB’s first exhibition is “how society’s messages about gender influence our behavior and identity.” The students have organized themselves into three groups in order to explore gender stereotypes, how they are conveyed in the media, and in what ways they exist in the workplace.
As the fifth graders finish their research, begin the process of sharing and reflection, and plan their presentations, new understandings are taking shape, such as “gender stereotypes sell” and “people get influenced by stereotypes without realizing it.” The next step will be to rearrange themselves in new groups in order to express their varied, newly-formed opinions.
Connecting Knowledge, Understanding, and the World Beyond the Classroom
In addition to their meticulous exploration of the central idea, the fifth grade class had the opportunity to see how their exhibition inquiry plays out in real time. In Spanish class, they connected via Skype with two young women from Spain who will be participating in this summer’s Mongol Rally, an adventure travel experience that requires participants to drive cars from starting points in the United Kingdom or the Czech Republic to Mongolia in order to donate the cars and part of the rally entrance fees to charity.
When the fifth graders spoke to these young women, who will be driving ambulances equipped with desperately needed emergency care equipment, they learned that the participants will need to divert their route to Mongolia due to cultural customs and safety concerns regarding women traveling alone through Middle Eastern countries.
This exchange has provided ISB’s 5th graders with yet another perspective on gender that illustrates what they’ve been studying in a real world context and deepens their knowledge and understanding about the central idea.
As students navigate the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and the Middle Years Programme (MYP), teachers regularly guide, support, and encourage students to reflect on their own learning, on any challenges encountered, and on how topics of study are presented. Understanding their own learning processes helps students tackle problems and develop solutions while preparing them to be active participants in their school, community, and our increasingly interconnected world.
I am always happy (and available!) to answer any questions you may have about the Middle School’s academic program and the MYP. Please feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com.