May 14 was a day of excitement and celebration for Year 5s as they presented the Primary Years Programme (PYP) Exhibition online to fellow students, teachers, staff and parents.
The morning opened with a student-led assembly featuring a piano performance of O Canada
by Ryan, Year 4 and the land acknowledgement by Lucas, Year 5. There was also a "best wishes" video for participants from the Upper School’s incoming Board of Stewards, with the stewards reminiscing about their own PYP Exhibition experiences.
Says Dianne Jojic, the Year 5 PYP coordinator, "This exhibition is the culmination of a process that begins in October. The students undertake a direct inquiry project that is action-oriented. These final PYP projects incorporate all of the International Baccalaureate approaches to learning skills: thinking, social, communication, self-management and research. They’re a rite of passage as students prepare to leave the PYP for the Middle Years Programme."
After the assembly, it was on to live presentations by the research teams from each of the four Year 5 classes – 66 students overall. Students chose topics they were passionate about and that related to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including combatting racism, climate change, cyber crime and security, invasive species, and potential species extinction.
Students discussed their research focus, key information about the topic, the "artivism" (art activism) pieces they’d created to represent their issue, and suggestions for how others could make a positive impact. Each team also created a website, as well as a book of solutions to their problem that was written in French.
"Ocean Avengers" Alex and Zach focused on the plastics that are dumped into the ocean and the need for recycling.
"Only 8.7 per cent of plastics are ever recycled," related Alex, "but we use 300 million tons of plastic each year, and 100,000 marine animals die each year due to plastic pollution."
Added Zach, "It takes between 500 to 1,000 years for plastics to decompose, so researchers are trying to come up with an alternative using bamboo or another substance."
The boys were amazed to discover that the first formal curbside recycling program in the world was established in Kitchener, Ont., in 1981, inspiring 150 other countries to do the same.
Following the presentations, students thanked everyone who had lent a hand in getting them to this point in their academic journeys, especially their parents.
Jojic and the Year 5 teachers were delighted by the success of the exhibition. Even though the pandemic prevented students from volunteering for the causes they were championing, they were able to teach others and provoke thought.
"In perfect alignment with the IB mission statement, the Year 5 students showed they are inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who are helping to create a better and more peaceful world," Jojic says.