1. Beyond New Zealand

    June 12, 2024 by Rianon T.

    Driving Question:

    How can I promote global awareness in New Zealand youth through teaching primary school students about different countries and cultures around the world?

    Product output from this module:

    A collection of classes I have taught and lesson plans inspired by the classes I teach and the different countries. 

    Module Summary:

    Rianon, from New Zealand, undertook a service learning project called “Beyond NZ” to address the lack of global awareness among New Zealand primary school students. Geographic isolation has made New Zealand a peaceful country but has also limited its interaction with the rest of the world. Rianon observed that New Zealand’s education, especially at the primary level, is heavily focused on local content, leading to cultural insensitivity, limited problem-solving skills, and ineffective communication.

    To tackle this issue, Rianon reconnected with her old primary school, where her former teacher became her external mentor. She observed his teaching methods and then taught classes herself. Her goal was to inspire interest in global awareness through engaging and fun lessons about different countries. Rianon taught six classes with three different teachers, totaling eight hours of teaching time. The students, aged 8 to 9, were taught about Botswana, South Korea, and India.

    For Botswana, Rianon shared personal stories from her travels and had the students create informational posters. The South Korea lesson included fun facts and cultural traditions, and the students planned their own trips. The India lesson focused on cultural diversity and celebrations, ending with a competitive quiz.

    Rianon used visual communication and collaborative activities to keep the students engaged. Although she acknowledges that the project didn’t change the primary school education system, it successfully made the world seem a little closer for these children in Devonport, New Zealand.

  2. Over/Under: Air, Water & Physics 

    December 4, 2023 by Rianon T.

    Driving Question:

    How might we understand the relationship between physics and human performance in aerial and aquatic environments?

    Module Summary:

    The module Over/Under: Air, Water & Physics explored the relationship between physics and human performance in aerial and aquatic environments. Their project involved taking trapeze classes for five weeks, where they learned and practiced various tricks, reflecting on the physics involved in their movements. They focused on understanding forces, pendulums, and the transformation of kinetic and potential energy.

    Midway through the term, they participated in a workshop in Cairns, where they learned additional aerial arts and tight roping, and completed a water safety diving course. This course included pool training in breath-holding techniques, streamlining, and basic swimming skills, which they later applied in a lake, encountering real-world aquatic conditions, such as swimming with a crocodile. They also visited the Great Barrier Reef, where they swam with turtles and saw sharks.

    The educational components of their module emphasized the physics of trapeze, such as gravitational, centripetal, and air resistance forces, as well as pendulum motion and energy transformation. In diving, they focused on swimming strength, equalizing pressure, rescue techniques, and efficient breathing.

    Rianon T.’s final product is a physical scrapbook titled “A Physicist’s Guide to Trapezing and Free Diving!”. This scrapbook serves as an educational and informative overview of the physics involved in trapezing and free diving. Throughout the module, she focused on developing the 21st-century skill of adaptability and managing complexity. This was exemplified through various activities, including trapezing, creating physics experiments, building a car, launching a baking soda rocket, experimenting with pendulums, learning to free dive, and adapting to new challenges constantly.

    She found this module particularly engaging and enjoyable, especially the trapezing aspect. The open-ended nature of the summative assessment allowed her to creatively interpret your learning, resulting in a fulfilling and engaging final product.

  3. Oral Storytelling

    June 13, 2023 by Rianon T.

    Driving Question:

    In what ways can the art of storytelling be adapted to communicate across disciplines and for different purposes?

    Project Summary:

    Rianon T., a grade 11 student from New Zealand, embarked on a journey of storytelling and cultural immersion during her time in Botswana. Inspired by the diverse voices and experiences of the local storytellers she met—ranging from published authors to musicians and safari rangers—Rianon was tasked with creating her own story based on her encounters and observations. This experience profoundly shaped her understanding of the importance of listening to elders, the beauty of nature and wildlife, and the timeless lessons imparted through children’s stories.

    The core of Rianon’s story focused on a young girl named Impo, who learns the vital lesson of listening to her elders as she navigates the Okavango Delta. Through encounters with various animals, including a hippo and a crocodile, Impo learns not only about the unique characteristics of each creature but also gains wisdom about the consequences of not heeding advice. Each encounter in her story serves as a metaphor for the deeper cultural and moral lessons imparted by the elders in Botswana.

    During her presentation, Rianon shared a snippet from her story, where Impo encounters a hippo while crossing a river. This scene beautifully illustrates the importance of paying attention and listening, as Impo attempts to identify a zebra based on her limited knowledge, only to learn from the hippo that listening to one’s elders is crucial for survival and understanding. The encounter with the hippo also emphasizes the gentle and wise nature of the elder animals, who impart their wisdom to the younger generations.

    Rianon’s story resonates not only with the audience but also with her own personal growth and understanding of the world around her. It showcases how stories can transcend cultural boundaries and impart timeless lessons that resonate with people of all ages. Through her storytelling, Rianon not only honors the traditions and wisdom of the people she met in Botswana but also carries forward their teachings to inspire others to listen, learn, and grow.

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