Who We Are – summative assessment task and reflections.

During the past 6 weeks year 4 have been inquiring into the transdisciplinary theme of Who We Arelearning about how our body systems work together to keep us healthy.

This week we finished our Who We Are unit by first unpacking our summative assessment task.  All expert research teams used a checklist to guide them in presenting their learning and understanding of a chosen body system. 

Expert teams collaborated to ensure their presentations:    

 1.) Identified the parts/organs of their chosen body system (what it looks like).                                                  

2.) Explained the function of the system (how it works).                                                                                        

3.) Described how the system is connected to other body systems (how it connects to other things).        

4.) Detailed the responsibilities we can take to keep the system healthy (what is our responsibilities).    

5.) Listed the sources used by the team to inform their learning and understanding e.g.  Bill Nye and Magic school bus video clips, non-fiction texts, guest-speakers and websites (BrainPop jr).

Teams were encouraged to work cooperatively and commit to having a balanced approach to sharing and completing their tasks.  Expectations were for teams to be caring and principled in their support of each other throughout their work processes, they also needed to be constructive in their feedback to each other and in their reflections of their own work.

Here are some student learning statements and reflections shared –

I learned that the skeletal system protects the organs and helps us to move around.

There are 3 kinds of muscles, voluntary, involuntary and cardiac muscles.

I found out that the heart beat is the sound of two valves opening and shutting in the heart.

In the small intestine the villi takes the nutrients out of the food and into the blood.

When you breathe in the big muscle diaphragm goes down when the lungs fill up.

I found out that all the systems in the body are connected and each system has an important job.

Muscles are controlled by the nervous system.

In bone marrow the blood cells are made.

The trachea is the pipe that we breathe air down to and then the air goes to the bronchi and into the lungs.

I learned about the circulatory system and how the heart pumps the blood around to all the systems in the body.

Bright red blood carries oxygen, dark red blood takes used oxygen.

I found it interesting that the left lung is smaller than the right lung.

Muscles are in twos, when one muscle is working its other muscle is resting.

Our small intestine is 7 meters long!

A baby has more than 300 bones.

There are 3 types of blood cells. Red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.


Body systems and how they work.

During the last few  weeks students have been developing their thinking and research skills.

 Thinking skills  (acquisition of knowledge and comprehension): 

Students viewed a few videos on the digestive system. 

In small groups they discussed the parts/organs of the digestive system and how they all work together to digest a meal.  Then they drew and labelled their thinking.

 In pairs students read an example of an explanatory text – How does the digestive system work?

 Next, they highlighted words that needed further explanation – we used library books and dictionaries to clarify the meaning of those words,

 Then as a whole class we analyzed the features and language of the text and together we came up with  a checklist for explanation writing (there will be more about writing to explain in a future post).



Who we are – Sorting and Finding out.

In the unit this week students began finding out about the questions (wonderings) from last week.  Students used library books and charts to do their research.   We unpacked the features of a non-fiction text:

Captions: Help you better understand a picture or photograph.

Glossary: Helps you define words that are in the book.

Graphics:  Are used to help you understand what the author is trying to tell you.

Illustrations/Photographs: Help you to know exactly what something looks like.

Index: This is an alphabetical list of ideas/keywords that are in the book. It tells you what page the idea is on.

Labels: These help you identify a picture or a photograph and its parts. Maps help you to understand where places are in the world.

Special Print: When a word is bold, in italics, or underlined, it is an important word for you to know.

Subtitles: These headings help you to know what the next section will be about.

Table of Contents: Helps you identify key topics in the book in the order they are presented.


Taking Action in year 4

A BIG shout out and thank you to classmates in 4.3, who presented themselves as candidates to represent our class on the Primary Student Council.  We appreciate the time, effort and care these children showed when they shared their reasons, ideas and special qualities in speeches to their classmates earlier in the week.   A special congratulations to Antonio who was voted by his peers to represent 4.3 on the student council.


There are FIVE essential elements to the Primary Years Programme curriculum:

 Attitudes, Knowledge, Key Concepts, Skills, and Action.

 This week we introduced our students to the essential element of Action.  We talked about how their learning and understandings will lead them to making connections and taking action.

Authentic and meaningful action needs nurturing and like all the essential elements, action is ongoing and takes time to develop and grow. Action captures the children’s interest and provides opportunities for ongoing learning.

Some thoughts shared by the students about what action means to them were:

….to do something

….to move

….to change something

….to be kind and caring

….to decide

….to share

….to speak

….to listen

….to help someone

….to think about something

Learning about taking responsible, thoughtful and meaningful action is all about who we are.  We look forward to the children developing their understanding of what responsible action looks like for them and how they will transfer their understanding to taking action in school, at home and in the wider community.

Tuning-in to ‘Who we are’.

Year 4 started the week as special guests in the Primary library! 

Our school librarian, Ms Anton, hosted all year 4 classes and gave us a much needed orientation session of the layout of the different sections and new locations of texts (fiction and non-fiction) in the library.

We reviewed the guiding number system chart and were introduced to the new picture symbols and colour codes used to help us find the books we would like to read.

We were reminded of some of the procedures and practices used when choosing and taking books from the library.  The children were then invited to take action and select a fiction and non-fiction text to check out for their own use.

The year 4 teachers checked out a collection of non-fiction texts, which focus on human body systems.  These books will be used to support the children’s inquiries and learning throughout our Who We Are unit.

We look forward to seeing the children become experts at using the library as a primary resource for their own learning, curiosities, adventures and enjoyment throughout the year.


The students began inquiring into our first unit, Who We Are.  So far, the students have engaged with a multitude of resources in all 3 classrooms, practicing the Visible Thinking routine –                        

 I see, I think, I wonder.  

Some of their wonderings are..

  • I wonder how the brain works?
  • How many bones does a skeleton have?
  • How does the heart work?
  • I wonder how the brain gets messages?
  • What does saliva do?
  • How many organs are in the body?
  • What are kidneys?


The children also shared their prior knowledge of body systems as you can see in the photos below as they responded to the questions –

What body parts do you know?

What body systems do you know?

How are they connected?




Our first unit of inquiry – WHO WE ARE.

This week students began inquiring into our first unit for the year.  You will find the learning outcomes for this unit here –  WHO WE ARE.

Here are some of our introduction and tuning-in engagements for this unit –


We hope the students will build upon their knowledge and understandings from the unit in Year 3, which looked at different types of health. We look forward to collaborating with Dr Nazneen to ensure the students develop an understanding of human biology.

Our language links will include writing explanatory reports about a chosen body system and learning how to present information in a variety of ways. Ms Anton in the library will be supporting the students’ research skills and helping them find the features of different explanatory texts.

Some of our mathematics will be taught through the unit, using Data Handling to collect and record information including heart rates, height, PE records of distances they can run and throw and timing themselves carrying out various physical activities. The PE department will be working closely with us on this unit.

If you have, or know of anyone who has some expertise in this area, please let us know! We would love to have more guest speakers to share ideas and information with the students.

We look forward to hearing about the action your children may take as a result of the learning in this unit.