In this week's episode, we had the pleasure of hosting Middle School science teachers, Marisabel Soliman and Thomas Howard, who were joined by two students, Anna and Jona. They engaged in a discussion about their recent learning experiences and the integration of students and teachers in mixed-age group science classes this school year.
Thomas provided an overview of Unit 1, which comprised six distinct lessons forming the foundation of the learning process. Marisabel highlighted the abundance of hands-on experiences offered to students, allowing them to truly engage with the subject matter. "They had the opportunity to get their hands dirty," she added.
The two teachers also shed light on the teaching model employed in mixed-age group classes, which aims to provide students with greater flexibility and motivation in their learning journey. “It's not a traditional model of teaching where” and "It's a very active zone", said Marisabel. Instead of only lecture-based, students are spread out in the learning areas with more learning options, "we're moving", added her.
Anna, a Grade 7 student, emphasized how her motivation to learn increased when she had the chance to attend classes with Grade 8 students, while also forming new friendships. "We got to focus, we got to get this done. So, then we're on the same page as them," said her.
In the mixed-age group class, Grade 8 student Jona had the opportunity to assist a student from a lower grade level, an experience that left him feeling fulfilled and more confident in his own learning. Meanwhile, he also emphasized how the two grade levels can facilitate each other’s learning, "Some topics we know better because we had that last year a bit. But some topics we weren't so familiar with because we didn't do that in depth. But the seventh graders did. So they can teach us."
If you want to find out more about how Middle School students are adapting to the mixed-age group class at WAB, be sure to listen to this episode.
New MS Science Spaces Ignite Collaboration and Inquiry-Based Learning
Over the 2023 summer, the Middle School (MS) science spaces underwent a transformative renovation. The new world-class science laboratories foster collaborative learning, enable teachers to better support students, and inspire students in their scientific pursuits.
Marisabel emphasized the importance of a collaborative environment, "By fostering frequent collaboration, students can work truly like a scientific community."
The enhanced science spaces also promote learning diversity and flexibility. Thomas said, "We could have three different experiments going on at different times, which is amazing."
In the MS science program, students explore four branches of science over a year—physics, biology, chemistry, and earth science(geology). The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) at WAB focuses on inquiry-based learning, guiding students to independently and collaboratively investigate issues through research, observation, and experimentation.
The MYP sciences curriculum also explores the intersection between science and everyday life. By examining real-world applications of science, students learn about the tensions and dependencies between science and morality, ethics, culture, economics, politics, and the environment.
Whether studying biology, physics, chemistry, or geology, students at WAB engage in inquiry-based study and hands-on experiences centered around issues relevant to their lives. The new science spaces further support our student scientists, facilitating their research, observation, and experimentation endeavors.
Watch the video below to see our science learning spaces. More information on how MS students learn science can be found in this information sheet.
- Agency in Learning
- Middle School