When Inquiry is the Real ‘Force’

**Originally posted @wholeboxndice’s blog Feeding My ED-diction

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

 You can almost hear John Williams’ classic score in your head upon reading those famous words. It was the same fantastic music, from the 1977 Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope that served as a provocation for our latest Unit of Inquiry.

Working in the IBPYP Transdisciplinary Theme of Where We Are in Place and Time, Year 5 is looking to explore the great unknown of space to look at the solar system, space exploration and the impact that the sun and moon have on our behaviour on Earth.

Entering a dark classroom, students were asked to sit quietly, close their eyes and relax. The play button pressed and on came that memorable tune (linked here if you are an auditory learner).

 “Raise your hand if you recognise this music.” (not one hand was down).

“It’s Star Wars!” Shouted a couple of boys, whose own passion for George Lucas’ famous series (albeit marred by their over-appreciation for the later Episodes 1-3) bubbled upon the musical stimulation.

 Knowing (as anticipated) that the class was captivated, it was time to start the conversation.

 “How is it, that a movie series, which began back in 1977 (even before I was born) is so popular with you as ten year olds? Why is it that I can share this same interest as you despite being 20 years older? What makes Star Wars so special, so appealing?”

 The discussion bounced almost entirely without my interaction. Whilst initially starting with a host of filmic and narrative elements (characters, interesting story, action etc.) students began to find their way to where I was leaning. To see them reach that as a result of great substantive discussion and brainstorming, without my ‘intervention’ or direction was especially pleasing.

 The powerful ideas:

Space is so mysterious

There is so much we don’t know so we have to imagine and Star Wars helps us do that.

Not just Star Wars but all sci-fi and fantasy stuff

We can just pretend it could be real because we don’t know for sure it isn’t.

The deep, dark unknown (how poetic)

 From there it was straight to the ‘Wonderwall’ and I have never seen such an active and frantic wondering session. As one of the students put it – “The best thing about some of these questions is that we may never know the answers, but just thinking about them is so cool”.

This is just day 1 of an engaging 7 weeks ahead.

Did I mention that this unit also hits at National Curriculum Science and English statements as well? Can’t wait to see the inquiry unfold.

About wholeboxndice

Head of Primary, teacher, #pypchat Co-founder, Soon to be MEd Grad. Lover of inquiry. Advocate for Boys Education.
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