Inquiry Into Symbiosis

Today’s inquiry post is by Melissa Sosa. Melissa is a mother of 2 young boys and a firm believer that life is a constant learning process. She currently lives in Humacao, Puerto Rico with her children and cat Quenepa.

I’ve always considered symbiosis to be a pretty interesting concept. Different species of animals and plants not only coexisting but collaborating together? I thought only humans did that! Well it turns out animals and plants are experts at maintaining symbiotic relationships that are crucial to the survival of our ecosystem.

When I created this provocation post I wanted to find fun resources that illustrated a fresh perspective to symbiosis, encouraging kids’ curiosity and understanding.  These resources have some examples of symbiotic relationships that may not be so common or well-known.

Resource #1: Symbiosis: A surprising tale of species cooperation by Ted Ed via The Kid Should See This

Resource #2: The Wood Wide Web by BBC News via The Kid Should See This

Resource #3: Butterflies drinking turtle tears!? via The Kid Should See This

Resource #4: Vanishing of the Bees trailer by Bee The Change

Resource #5: Carl & the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman

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Provocation Questions:

  • Why is the connection between humans, bees and flowers so important to our ecosystem?
  • How does symbiosis work like a partnership?
  • Can you think of an example of a symbiotic relationship in nature?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

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Miscellaneous Thought-Provoking Goodness for Students

My curation doesn’t always fit neatly into broader themes and concepts. Sometimes I squirrel away videos and resources that are just plain fascinating. I hope you can find uses for these to inspire thinking & wonder with your students this year!

Resource #1: The Icebreaker. Short flim by Timlab.pro

Which makes me wonder…

…How quickly does the ice form over the water?

…How does the crew deal with all the snow?

…What kinds of jobs take people out to these dangerous waters, and why?

Resource #2: Changemaker Quiz by Obama Foundation

Which makes me wonder…

…How can our personalities impact our communities for change?

…What kinds of change do we need and how can communities find out what they are?

Resource #3:

Which makes me wonder…

…How do our environments impact the way we move? The way we live?

What makes a place interesting to visit?

…How is movement and travel part of the human experience?

Resource #4: What Have You Changed Your Mind About? by SoulPancake

Which makes me wonder…

…What makes it hard for people to change their minds about things?

What makes people change their minds over time?

Resource #5: The true story of Mary Anning: The Girl Who Discovered Dinosaurs by BBC via The Kid Should See This

Which makes me wonder…

…How does our upbringing impact our interests and what we’re able to achieve?

…Why have women been excluded from science and most other fields over time? Why/how has this changed today?

Resource #6: These items worn down over time tell pretty interesting stories

Which makes me wonder…

What are other ways humans can observe change over time?

…How is critical thinking needed to tell the stories of change over time?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

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Inquiry into SDGs: Zero Hunger

This is a series of provocations designed to provide resources for students to inquire into the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. For more, click here

Zero Hunger. It’s a bold goal. But if we work together to wisely use the tools and abundance of our world today, it is possible. Share the resources below with students to help them inquire into this important global goal.

Resource #1: World Food Program Quiz on Hunger

Resource #2: Michael Pollan’s Food Rules by Ant House Studio

Resource #3: An Oasis in the Midst of a Food Desert by Great Big Story

Resource #4: Tweet from the World Food Program

Maria Rita says food has never been a problem for her family before #CycloneIdai. They used to grow tomatoes, cucumber, pumpkin, beans, maize and never ran out.

A joint seed & food distribution with @FAO is helping smallholder farmers in #Mozambique return to the field. 🌱🌾👇 pic.twitter.com/layeL3iQbG— World Food Programme (@WFP) April 17, 2019

Resource #5: The Good Garden: How One Family Went From Hunger to Having Enough by Katie Smith Milway & Sylvie Daigneault

Provocation Questions:

  • Why does hunger exist?
  • What efforts improve hunger?
  • How can we more wisely use the food we grow?
  • What are the different perspectives on food shortages?
  • Whose responsibility is it to ensure everyone has enough to eat?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

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Inquiry into SDGs: Decent Work & Economic Growth

This is a series of provocations designed to provide resources for students to inquire into the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. For more, click here

A good summary of the Decent Work & Economic Growth global goal is as follows:

“The SDGs promote sustained economic growth, higher levels of productivity and technological innovation. Encouraging entrepreneurship and job creation are key to this, as are effective measures to eradicate forced labour, slavery and human trafficking. With these targets in mind, the goal is to achieve full and productive employment, and decent work, for all women and men by 2030.”

United Nations Development Programme

Below are resources intended to help students think about how they might make personal connections to this goal. How does it impact their local areas? How might their choices help?

Resource #1: PeopleMovin: interactive online graph of migration flows across the world


Resource #2: Fair Hotels advertisement by Naissance

Resource #3: My Brother by Audrey Yeo

Resource #4: One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway & Eugenie Fernandes

Provocation Questions:

  • What is “decent work” like?
  • What are the benefits of a human having a job?
  • How is job availability changing?
  • What are the effects when a person is unable to work? For themselves? For their families? For their communities?
  • How is work connected to healthy economies, communities, and countries?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

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Inquiry into SDGs: Partnerships for the Goals

This is a series of provocations designed to provide resources for students to inquire into the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. For more, click here

Finally! I made a plan over a year ago that once I finished my series of provocations on each of the PYP essential elements (and then a brief series of provocations on learner identities), I would begin a series of provocations for each of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. At last that day has arrived. The SDG’s are part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We are working to be part of that plan by providing resources to help students think about their own contributions, both now and in the future.

Partnerships of the Goals is one of the SDG’s themselves. It:

“seeks to strengthen global partnerships to support and achieve the ambitious targets of the 2030 Agenda, bringing together national governments, the international community, civil society, the private sector and other actors.” (source)

Below are resources to help students inquire into what this goal means and how they might apply it themselves.

Resource #1: Further Up Yonder by Giacomo Sardelli (I recommend using subtitles)

Resource #2: Amazonia Security Agenda by Moth

Resource #3: Flying Rhinos by Green Renaissance

Resource #4: Where Do We Go From Here? by RSA

Resource #5: A Declaration of Interdependence by Tiffany Shlain & Let It Ripple Film Studio

Resource #6: Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller

Provocation Questions:

  • What is a partnership like?
  • Why do good partnerships matter? For ourselves? For our communities? For our world?
  • What is our responsibility to work together?
  • What are the different perspectives on partnerships, and how do they sometimes create barriers in our ability to make partnerships?
  • What is the connection between global citizenship and partnerships for the SDGs?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

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An Inquiry Into Symbiosis + “Friends Stick Together” Review

I still recall my surprise as a kid to discover how unlikely animals cultivate symbiotic relationships. Particularly the crocodile and the Egyptian plover bird (for the longest time, I had no idea Tomie de Paola’s “Bill & Pete” was based on science)!

As fascinating as these studies are of working relationships in the animal kingdom, I think their value goes beyond observational science. An inquiry into symbiosis is a great way to get kids thinking about concepts like collaboration, relationships, and problem-solving.

That was one of the reasons I was so excited about receiving “Friends Stick Together” by Hannah E. Harrison from Penguin Young Readers, along with the invitation to participate in its book tour. It finally gave me the push to share the following resources to help students inquire into symbiosis.

Resource #1: “Friends Stick Together” by Hannah E. Harrison

Beginning with a definition that introduces the way symbiosis isn’t necessarily as clean as we might think, Friends Stick Together sets the tone that it takes time to learn to work well with those around us.

I especially loved the zany Levi the tickbird (his “epic” air guitar solos were my favorite). His over-the-top behavior, especially when contrasted with prim Rubert the Rhino, definitely reminded me of one of my childhood favorites, Tacky the Penguin.

I feel like it’s easy for these kinds of books on friendship to get overly didactic, but I feel like Harrison struck a good balance, thanks in large part to her humor. Be sure to check it out when it comes out

Resource #2: “The Wolf, The Duck, & the Mouse” by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen

Ok, so this one is total make-believe symbiosis. But it’s still a fun way to get kids thinking about how we can rely on and help one another.

Resource #3: How Wolves Change Rivers by Sustainable Human

This resource is much more direct to the science of symbiosis; it’s a great launching point to discuss the complexity of relationships.

Resource #4: Symbiose by Rosalie Benevello, via The Kid Should See This

This beautiful stop motion is sure to spark a lot of conversation about the relationships between humans and nature.

Provocation Questions:

  • What does it mean to have a symbiotic relationship?
  • How does symbiosis impact our world? Our communities? Our schools?
  • How does symbiosis in nature compare with symbiosis in humans?
  • How is technology impacting symbiosis?
  • What is our relationship to foster symbiotic relationships?
  • What are the different perspectives on what it means to have a symbiotic relationship?
  • How do our actions impact people around us?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

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Having Better Conversations on Global Awareness #TeacherMom

A few months ago when I shared the book, “This Is How We Do It,” with my 7 year-old, I remember getting flustered over one of the conclusions she drew: that just because that one kid in Peru looked poor, all kids in Peru are poor. I knew my frustration was more about my lack of ability to help her understand relative wealth of individuals vs. countries.

But it’s a misconception that’s certainly not just limited to young children. We make assumptions all the time about what life is like for people in other countries; stereotypes are reinforced by limited media coverage and of course, Hollywood.

This week’s provocation centers around helping our students start having better conversations on how people live across the world.

Resource #1: “See how the rest of the world lives” TED-Talk by Anna Rosling Rönnlund

Resource #2: Dollar Street interactive tool described in the above video!

Resource #3: “If the World Were 100 People” by GOOD Magazine

Resource #4: “Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes – The Joy of Stats by BBC, set to start at :30 to save time (this is a MUST-WATCH, especially if you share the above video!)

Resource #5: This Is How We Do It picture book by Matt LaMothe

Provocation Questions:

  • What are living conditions like across the world?
  • What impacts quality of life?
  • What are patterns you observe when it comes to how people live around the world?
  • Why are their differences in how people live their lives?
  • How is the way people live changing?
  • What is our responsibility to understand the differences in the ways people live around the world
  • What are the different perspectives on what makes a quality life?

featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto

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