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A resounding call to join the United Nations in making our world a better place was issued by Grade 5 students at their much anticipated annual Primary Years Programme (PYP) Exhibition this year.
The highlight event, which allows our eldest Elementary students to demonstrate the culmination of their learning, was entirely driven by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role we all play in realising them.
It was a stunning showcase of 23 distinct PYP Exhibition projects, the results of the students collaborating in groups of two to five over a period of two months. A milestone in the learning journey of Grade 5 students, the in-depth inquiries they were tasked to undertake offered them a unique opportunity to fully explore topics they were personally interested in. And the SDG theme was both chosen and embraced by the entire grade .
The move to integrate SDGs into the International Baccalaureate’s culminating PYP event, is yet another example of the School’s continued efforts to embed the work of the UN and its principles into the curriculum.
And it was warmly embraced by the children themselves, confirmed PYP Coordinator Angela Meikle. She said, “Using the UN Sustainable Development Goals as our platform, students were immediately drawn and inspired to take action from the outset of the event. The Grade 5 teaching team intentionally wanted to provide students with the opportunity to think about a topic and take action right away. We used the 'hook' passion + issue = action and had the students consider what they were passionate about in combination with an SDG issue.”
Demonstrating the attributes of the IB learner profile, students explored topics on poverty eradication, gender inequality, quality education, life below water, sustainable cities and communities, climate action and peace and justice. Presenting their learning to fellow students, teachers, parents and visitors from the International School of Vietnam and the Hanoi International School, the Grade 5 students stood united in their message: ‘Together We Can Change the World’.
True to their words, their multiple calls to take action on big issues were clearly evident. From appeals for sports items to a nifty student-to-student tutorial website that aims to improve the learning of underprivileged children, the Grade 5 cohort excelled themselves.
But speak with the young minds behind the projects and you’ll soon discover that it’s not just world issues and the actions needed that they learned about; they picked up a few life lessons of their own along the way too!
“I enjoyed the independency” revealed Luna Manso de Zuniga, an eleven year old from Spain whose project explored gender inequality around the globe. Further revealing why she loved the assignment so much she said, “I’m in EAL and English is not my first language so it’s difficult for me to understand everything that happens in class. But I like design and I was able to use my design skills on this project and get to work with my group members, all of whom I like.”
Fellow group member, Kael Hendry from Australia disclosed how his perspective of the world changed because of all that he learned through the process. He shared, “I’ve come to realise that not everything is cupcakes and rainbows and that things can be really horrible. I want to stop some of those things now that I’m aware of it.”
Segdae Lucardie from Ireland partnered with his friends to investigate the topic: People in Poverty Deserve the Benefits of Sports. As part of their study, they decided to encourage the UNIS Hanoi community to donate sports equipment with the intention of giving the items to the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. With about 30 items collected, Segdae was pleased with his group’s efforts, but confessed that working with his best friends wasn’t as easy as he expected. He said, “I learned that even if you’re with your best friends, you can get frustrated.”
Yet like Kael wisely concludes, “I hope my grade found out that the Exhibition is fun and difficult at times and that members of a group will disagree with each other on things, but in the end, things end up fine.”
Judging by the quality of work on display, things ended up better than fine.
A United Effort!
A t-shirt competition was launched as part of this year’s PYP exhibition. Students were asked to formulate a design that captured the SDG theme and the essence of the event. After intense judging, teachers and students voted for eleven year-old Socorro Escalante’s design, aptly entitled, ‘We Are United’.
She said, “Since our PYP exhibition is about the SDGs and we are a UN School, I thought saying ‘We Are United’ worked. On my design you can see an icon for every SDG and the UN logo is in the centre of the globe. I’m pleased that my design was chosen.”