BY KARISSA MILLER
Fifth-graders at Cloverleaf Elementary School shared their International Baccalaureate exhibition projects with younger students, faculty and staff inside the school gym and cafeteria on Thursday.
Principal Andy Mehall mentioned that while it was not planned, the event coincided with Earth Day.
“It’s the perfect combination of real-life events that go on and students are learning to make a change and impact. It’s pretty exciting for me,” Mehall said.
According to Instructional Facilitator Alison Whitaker, the project is the culmination of everything the students have learned in the Primary Years Programme.
This year’s project challenged students to engage in the United Nations’ 17 sustainable global goals. UN.
“Our inquires started with learning each one of these goals. Each class then chose one or two areas to do their inquiries,” Whitaker said.
“Good inquiries are designed to not only answer questions, but have students come up with new questions,” she added.
Life below water, for example, was a popular topic among the students. According to Whitaker, one group focused on oil spills, another on overfishing and yet another group on other types of pollution.
“Even though a class focused in one area, what they learned went in different directions. Other classes chose multiple areas to do their projects on,” she said.
Students Talon Dyson, Kieran Teears, Cannon Reynolds and Enderson Uribe chose to do their project on life below water and entitled their project “The Goated Fishies.” The group focused on overfishing.
“We want to save the fishes from getting farmed or caught. We need to save them because it’s very bad for the population,” explained Teears.
The group learned that it’s important to share your knowledge to help animals.
“You simply tell people that you see overfishing, that there’s a problem. Ask them if they can maybe put some of the fish back,” Teears said.
Whitaker said she was proud of all the students.
“They worked on their presentation skills. IB calls them to different approaches to learning and it’s a set of social skills, self-management, communication, thinking skills and research and development skills. It’s one of the most important achievements for all the students,” Whitaker said. “They have been able to take what they’ve learned and collaborate with their peers to come up with a presentation.”
“Those are real world inquiry skills that they will use no matter what kind of job they have in the future,” she added.
Before submitting their final project, students also uploaded their presentation to Google docs and received feedback. Whitaker said she was impressed by how students used that feedback to improve their overall presentations.
As a result, some students explored local issues, such as some of the issues surrounding Cape Fear waterways.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, parents could not attend this year. Fifth-graders presented their projects in person to other classes in small groups throughout the day. The Cloverleaf leadership team and teachers made some videos for parents to see their child give their presentation at school.