Wrapping up – Where we are in place and time!

Over the past 6 weeks year 4 have been inquiring into the transdiciplinary theme of Where We Are In Place and Time, inquiring into how the Earth’s physical geography has an impact on human interactions and settlements.

Some of the learning engagements that have particularly supported our inquiry include;

  • We researched various landforms and how they were formed.
  • We viewed and listened to a presentation by geologist Joy Roth.
  • We listened to story ‘A River Ran Wild’ by Lynne Cherry and discussed cause and effect.
  • We worked on persuasive writing by trying to convince someone to do something or think differently about something.
  • We wrote a fictional persuasive letter to try and convince the paper mill owner not to pollute the river.
  • We developed our research skills by formulating questions and collecting data to answer our questions.

Students have been working on their Summative Assessments for this unit – Where We Are In Place and Time.

Students were asked to create a map showing their settlement.

They had to answer the following questions:

  • Why did you put your settlement where you did?
    (Key concept – connection) (Related concept – settlement)
  • Explain the landforms you have included on your map. 
    (Key concept – form) (Related concept – geography)
  • How have you changed the environment of your settlement to make it sustainable? 
    (Key concept – change) (Related concept – sustainable development)

Please discuss this unit with your child and ask them about any action they have taken. Please share and comment below if your child has talked about or done anything differently over the last few weeks as a result of their learning in this unit.


Visual Arts: Google Earth Printmaking

This week in visual arts class, year 4 students are reflecting on their map printmaking project. Students are looking at their maps to determine if their maps changed over time, why they might have changed, and if they will continue to change. They are understanding the impact of human population on the area they selected.

They are also reflecting on styrofoam printmaking: what they learned through using these tools and techniques.

Check out the display of their maps currently in the PYP library!

Further thinking and making connections.


In maths the students have been constructing their understanding of division and testing out new strategies to solve problems.

We started by looking at the connections between multiplication and division using arrays and then we moved onto looking at some different strategies we could use to solve division problems.

The students have been exploring how we can use multiplication facts to solve division problems, this is called the inverseWe also found out that we can use repeated subtraction and sharing in groups to solve problems too.


Guest-speaker – Joy Roth

We were very fortunate and would like to thank our special guest speaker, geologist Joy Roth, who came in to share her geological knowledge and further provoke our thinking about how humans impact the environment.

Below are the points that were covered in her presentation:


  • Sinkholes and how they are formed.
  • Deforestation and how it can contribute to landslides.
  • Farming
  • Mining.
  • Overgrazing by animals can be detrimental to the environment and cause desertification (in severe cases).
  • Sea:
  • Walls and jetties can change the sand deposits.
  • Pollution in the sea affects sea creatures when they try to eat it.
  • Litter also washes up onto our beaches.
  • Water:                                                                                                            
  • Dams store water and some are equipped to produce electricity (hydro-electricity)
  • Air:  
  • Pollution can be severe from factories, cars, buses and burning of plantations.

Exciting news:
                                                                                                                                       Angola gains a recycling plant – Newspaper article dated 31 January 2017. 
                                                                                                                                                                                        Recycle!    Reuse!      Reduce!



Walk about Stations: (Change)

Students completed (in a round robin fashion) four different stations of inquiry to further their understanding of how things change (physical geographical forms and settlements or cities).

Eco-watch website exploration on iPads showed the students how land and settlements change over time. These videos were time lapses of various areas that focused on the impacts of deforestation.

Gallery is where the students looked at before and now images of cities. They reflected and recorded what they noticed as obvious changes over time.

Picture books focused on the view the changing environment through. Students were reflecting on what they noticed through the various stories being told using pictures only.

Forest Man was a short video of how one man in India changed the eco-system on Majuli island northeast of India. Ask your children to share the story with you!


Persuasive writing in 4.4

This week, 4.4 inquired further into developing their knowledge of persuasive writing and their use of the writing process.

We reviewed our understanding of what persuasion meant. We shared our thinking and ideas –

  • To convince someone
  • To agree or disagree about something
  • To get someone to do something
  • To inspire someone to change their mind
  • To make someone aware of what is going on
  • To plead or appeal to someone to have something
  • To share an idea or an opinion.

We also came up with a list of different types of persuasive texts or mediums used in everyday life.

  • Advertisements
  • Letters
  • Speeches
  • Brochures
  • Movie trailers

The students thought of ideas where they might need to use persuasion in real life, some examples included – persuading parents to let you stay up late, have a sleep-over, have a pet dog, persuading Ms Wilson to give more free choice and extra time on the I-pads and persuading friends to share their games with them!

Next, we reviewed an example of persuasive writing and the features we thought were important. Together we created a checklist of what is important when writing a persuasive text. Things we noticed included- a title, a main idea, an introduction and conclusion, use of paragraphs, use of firstly, secondly, thirdly, in conclusion and reasons for the opinion and evidence to support it.

As a whole class we looked at the topic – All children should play a sport and using what we learned we made a plan and then wrote a persuasive text to support this idea.

We found out that we need to really care about the topics we choose to write for a persuasive text. Also, the audience matters and deciding whom we are writing for, is equally as important as the topic itself.

We brainstormed our own topics and we have been referring to our class text and checklist, writing our plans and using these plans to draft, edit and publish our own personal persuasive pieces of writing.

Please see the slideshow below for some pictures of our learning engagements. 

Visual Arts: Google Earth Printmaking

Students in Y4 are currently working on the WWAPIT unit with the central idea: the earth’s physical geography has an impact on human interactions and settlements. In visual arts class, students are working with the same central idea and creating a project based on the line of inquiry: impact of human population on settlements. Students are being assessed on the visual arts outcome: creating (phase 3.2) make connections between the ideas they are exploring in their artwork and those explored by other artists through time, place, and cultures.

Students have been working with Google Earth on their iPads in their homeroom classes and in visual arts class. They will soon start using the desktop version of Google Earth that includes the Historical Imagery feature where students can see what how maps have changed over the course of several years.

Students will be choosing an area and printing out three maps of this area from three different years. They will place the maps over a piece of styrofoam. Using a dull pencil, they will trace the map which will indent the styrofoam. They will cover the styrofoam with ink using a brayer and create two prints. Then, they will place the second map on top of the styrofoam, draw all of the changes, and then print using a new ink color on top of one of the first prints. They will repeat this process using the third map. In the end, students will have one map containing all three prints that shows the impact of human population on settlements. They will also have three separate prints to be able to compare/contrast the maps more easily.

Last art class, students experimented in their process portfolio using small pieces of styrofoam, dull pencils, printmaking ink, and brayers.

The week in review!


We have looked at multiplication as repeated addition and are working on strategies such as arrays, split strategy and doubling. The emphasis in this unit is for students to develop their number sense and learn mental math strategies for solving multiplication problems. Students will not be memorizing multiplication facts, as current research shows that this does not improve their mathematical performance. Please read this blog post for more information.  We will investigate what happens when we multiply by 10. We DO NOT add a ZERO, instead the number becomes 10 times bigger and moves one place value to the left. Similarly, if we were to multiply by 100 the place value of the number moves by two place values to the left.


Mathematics integrated into our unit of inquiry – we are working with coordinates and direction. We have reviewed and recorded our previous knowledge. We have located items on a map using coordinates as well as use compass directions and coordinates to move around a map.  Next we will work on writing down directions for someone to follow using a game on a grid map.  We will then work to formulate a set of  directions and map a route  from outside the class door to the canteen area door.



We worked on extending our vocabulary, choosing appropriate words from year level lists for students to learn and use in context. We have been reading about different landforms, using books and brain-pop junior to gain information, recording notes, illustrating findings and writing definitions and descriptions in their own words.



Unit of Inquiry (Where We Are In Place and Time)

Students have been finding places in an Atlas using the index, page numbers and grid references. We have also read the book titled A River Ran Wild, by Lynne Cherry. We have discussed the events within the story and looked at the relationship between location and settlements – cause and effect. In small groups students have researched various landforms and illustrated, labeled, explained and shared their findings. Students have been developing their research skills where they have read a range of library books connected to the unit and completed a 3-2-1 visible thinking strategy…. 3 things I found interesting, 2 things I learnt and 1 question I have. This tool makes direct connections to the students developing their research skills (approaches to learning) – formulating questions and collecting and interpreting data.


 Some of the learning we have done this past week

Where We Are In Place And Time!

Welcome and Happy New Year!

This week year 4 students began tuning-in to our fourth unit, Where We Are In Place and Time The Earth’s physical geography has an impact on human interactions and settlements an inquiry into the orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationship between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.

Key concepts: Form (What is it like?), Change (How is it changing?) and Connection (How is it connected to other things?)

Related concepts: geography, settlement, sustainable development

Lines of inquiry:

  • Variability of physical geography around the world (form)
    •The relationship between location and settlement (connection)
    •Impact of human population on the physical environment (change)

The approaches to learning/skills the students will develop during this unit are:

Research skills: formulating questions, collecting data, interpreting data

Learner profile attributes:

  • Inquirer
  • Thinker
  • Knowledgeable


  • Appreciation
  • Empathy
  • Independence

Transdisciplinary Connections

Human and natural environments

Social Studies skills:
formulate and ask questions about the past, the future, places and society
use and analyze evidence from a variety of historical, geographical and societal sources
orientate in relation to place and time

Learning outcomes (Students will be able to):
Describe how geographical features influence settlements
Identify a variety of ways human populations change settlements

Earth and space

Science skills:

Identify or generate a question or problem to be explored (for example, students will ask
questions or show curiosity about the natural and physical environment; ask questions or identify
problems that may lead to investigations; pose questions and define problems that will facilitate
effective investigations or inquiries.


Our language links will include persuasive writing, reading and understanding the atlas, watching and reflecting on a variety of video clips about land forms and human settlements.

In Mathematics we will work on the following strands during this unit:

Data Handling
-collect, display and interpret data for the purpose of answering questions.

– use a variety of graphs to explore relationships between data.

Shape and space

-interpret and use simple directions describing paths, regions, positions and boundaries of the immediate environment.

-understand that directions for location can be represented by coordinates on a grid.

-locate features on a grid using coordinates.


-use standard units of measurement to solve problems in real life situations involving length and temperature.

-understand the use of standard units to measure perimeter and area.

ICT links 

Students will be using Minecraft as a tool to create their own settlements. They will work as a community within the game and explain how the geography of a given world has impacted their decisions about where to settle and why.