This is part of a series of of IB PYP units of inquiry provocations. For more, click here.
The PYP unit, How the World Works is designed as:
“An exploration of the physical and material world; of natural and human-made phenomena; of the world of science and technology.”
I believe one of the biggest overarching concepts — stretching across the “physical and material world” –is the concept of perfection. We search for it. We strive for it. We pay billions for it. And yet, it remains elusive.
Moreover, imperfection possesses its own beauty — the persistence, the originality, the innovation.
Below are three resources that could take your class in many different directions as they explore the idea of perfection/imperfection in the world around them:
Resource #1: Unsatisfying, by Parallel Studio
Resource #2: Forms in Nature
Resource #3: Audri’s Rube Goldberg Monster Trap
Why is imperfection so much more common than perfection in the world?
How do people respond to imperfection? Why?
What is the purpose of imperfection in nature?
What is the purpose of imperfection in human’s creations?
What does the growth mindset have to do with perfection/imperfection?
The content for this week’s provocation began with me investigating all this viral talk on #FakeNews. The more I researched, the more I came to two conclusions:
1. The need for educators to help students discern accurate sources is not new, though the stakes are getting higher if we don’t succeed.
2. Rather than focusing on the current FakeNews frenzy, it’s more valuable for us to step back and examine the big concepts surrounding the issue.
So yes, this provocation is useful if you’re wanting to talk to your students about Fake News. But more importantly, it’s more useful for helping your students recognize all that online research entails: the good, the bad, the ugly, and why all that matters for them.
This week brings another Where We Are in Place and Time provocation–I promise, these resources are too fantastic to wait (for more PYP units of inquiry provocations, see the archive here).
The first is Dear Photograph, a website to which individuals submit photos of photos held up in the same location after time has passed. Quite apart from being a remarkable way to make change, time, and history more tangible, it is also a beautiful example of reflection. Below are a few favorites; see the site for more!
An inquiry provocation is meant to help us stretch our thinking beyond what we normally consider. It’s designed to plant the kind of seed that, as it grows, inspires us to continue reconsidering and rethinking the world around us. We learn to ask more thoughtful questions, make connections to existing understandings, and develop consideration and empathy for others.
Thus, this week’s provocation on how people get their food isn’t just about food. It’s about getting us to consider broader concepts (including, but not limited to, PYP units of inquiry such as How the World Works, How We Organize Ourselves, and Who We Are). I would love to hear if/how you use these resources with your class!
#1 of 3: Atlas of Beauty image
Mihaela Noroc is a Romanian photographer who travels the world with the goal to capture beauty in all countries. Below is a recent photo of a woman doing her grocery shopping in Myanmar.
#2 of 3: What I Eat, Around the World in 80 Diets
Photojournalist Peter Menzel documented what individuals around the world eat each day. See here for several of his photos along with the fascinating stories of each person.
#3 of 3: Amazon Go Concept
Amazon has developed a smart store that allows shoppers to grab their groceries and go without standing in line for payment. According to Futurism, “The store is powered by sensors, deep learning artificial intelligence (AI), and computer vision, which allows it to detect which items a customer has selected and even when products are returned to shelves.”
How do people eat differently?
Why do people eat differently?
What do people’s eating habits tell us about their lives?
How is the way people get their food changing over time? Why?
Why is it important for us to consider how people eat differently around the world?
A while back, I shared a provocation to support one of the IB Primary Years Programme Units known as Who We Are. This week, I want to share one that can be used with How We Organize Ourselves. Take a look at this fascinating video to find out how the US went about the problem of an exponentially growing volume of mail.
How are problem-solving and organization connected?
How did the zip-code solution change over time?
How might future zip code solutions impact people?
Why do we keep changing the way we organize systems?
What is our responsibility to keep changing the way we organize systems?
So embedded are our own culture’s idiosyncrasies that we generally take them for granted. This is particularly true when it comes to our idioms. That’s why, when I came across this list of 40 idioms that don’t translate on TED-Ed, I just knew it would make an intriguing provocation.
Other resources for students inquiring into language might include this animated map of “how Indo-European languages may have evolved:”
Or this video, also from TED-Ed on how our languages evolve (might be a little complex for younger students, but you never know…):
Why do humans use figurative language?
How do you think idioms from certain countries are related to the way of life in that country?
How does language diversity affect our world?
How are human beings connected through language even when we speak different words?
How does becoming more fluent (readers and writers) in our own language help us? How does studying other languages help us?