From the Junior and Middle Schools

Experimenting with Chemistry in Year 6

Throughout Term 1, Year 6 students have been working through a Chemistry unit focused on reversible and irreversible changes and conducting fair tests. Students have discovered that when working as a scientist and conducting experiments that only one variable at a time is changed to ensure the accuracy of data collected. In small groups, our Year 6s were required to design and implement an experiment using their knowledge of a fair test, measuring three possible outcomes.

Students developed experiments that included eggs, icy poles, balloons, and chocolate. The classroom, verandah and surrounds were a buzz of activity as observations were made and results discussed, even if experiments didn’t quite go to plan.

 

Flexible Learning Spaces | What do our students think?

Flexible learning spaces is a student-focused approach to teaching. The learning space is divided into smaller task focused spaces that relate directly to the learning behaviours of students. Our Year 5 classrooms received an injection of new, flexible seating and furniture towards the beginning of Term 1 and students and teachers have embraced the opportunities these new editions present.  Here’s what some of our students have to say:

I think the furniture is the best because they are comfy and you don’t have to keep pulling a desk out from under the table. We use the furniture when we’re reading and when we are revising things, we draw on the whiteboard tables. It makes the classroom more colourful and it helps us be more spread out so we have more room to learn.

– Naomi Ratcliffe | 5A

I think the new furniture is amazing. I like the setup in our classroom. The whiteboard tables you can draw and learn on. Having our drawers in a tower is good for putting leftover work away.

– Connor Hoffman | 5A

Year 5 students have embraced and are thoroughly enjoying the fresh new flexible furniture in both classrooms. In particular, the students love writing and brainstorming their ideas on the whiteboard tables that come in different shapes and sizes. Students love having more space and room at their personal desk area but are still able to collaborate and work independently when needed. They also love not having tidy trays and chair bags to weigh them down.

– 5B students

 Feedback from our teachers…

For the teachers, our new furniture enhances our pedagogy by having a classroom environment that mirrors what students will encounter in their future careers, and collaboration, problem-solving, and meaning-making are important for most job descriptions. Flexible furniture provides students with the opportunity to openly communicate and collaborate. Students feel valued and personalized having options in how they want to navigate and journey through their educational lessons.  We are admiring the ways that students now take a more active role in their educational journey when provided with a choice as small as where they preferred to complete an assignment or working with a group or individually.

The new flexible seating allows the students to select the seating option that they know helps them to work best in the activity they are completing. Mobile benches, cupboards and tables are easily reconfigured to form whole class, group and individual working spaces. This has supported a pedagogical shift towards greater interactive instruction, group facilitation and feedback, as well as allowing for traditional direct teaching.

Our students, who have a developmental need for movement, spend less time sitting still during class time. They have a choice of sitting or standing to suit the various activities, learning styles and needs. With greater choices comes the responsibility of choosing a smart seat. They are learning to select the seating option that they know helps them to work best and solve problems to optimise their learning space. From an organisational perspective, belongings are better organised as they are allocated their own storage spaces. Students spend less time digging through tidy trays and chair bags to find their equipment.

– Mrs Charmaine Butler and Mrs Julie Gander | Year 5 Teachers