As sixth graders at an International Baccalaureate School, students select a topic that they would like to further research. They select an issue in the world that they’d like to help find a peaceful “solution” for. Through research, they develop a better understanding about their topic and complete their “Exhibition” project, a culminating project that includes all elements of their time in the Primary Years Programme.
Two sixth grade students selected “Children in Foster Care” as their topic for this study. They developed three lines of inquiry that they’d use to drive their research. The following questions served as their focus:
1. Why are there so many children in the foster care system and what issues does the foster care system face?
2. What kind of care do foster children receive and who is responsible for monitoring it?
3. How can the foster care system affect children’s lives long term and is there counseling for children who have never connected to their parent?
Once their research portion of the project was completed, students had to develop an “action plan” and come up with some way that they could make a difference to those affected by this issue. These two students conducted interviews with fellow students that have been through the foster care system and determined that they wanted to do something to “make the day” of a foster care child. They decided to share their idea with classmates and create “Happy Grams” for students in the Child Crisis Center. They included quotes, pictures, smiley faces and positive messages of hope in their cards.
Because these two sixth graders were so passionate about making a difference in the lives of foster care children, they also expanded this project into another unit of our’s; creating a business that sells books that tells the lives of these children. As future “entrepreneurs,” these girls developed a business plan that included their idea to visit foster care homes, learn about the lives of children in them, write stories and give a percentage of their profit back to foster care group homes in the form of books. These girls are certainly changemakers and eager to help brighten the day of others.
6th Grade Teacher