For our Sharing the planet unit on energy the learners inquired into different renewable and non-renewable sources that are used globally to generate electricity. To consolidate their knowledge and apply their understanding of renewable and alternative energy, the P5 learners elected to work in collaborative pairs on the Joule Island Energy Project, a global project that was initiated to promote the use of renewable energy sources. Joule island is a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with no access to fossil fuels. It has sunny days and wind most days of the year. A thick forest, a hot spring and a river that originates in the mountains are found on the island. The learners were informed that a group of 30 scientists will be living on the island for 3 years and their task was to provide uninterrupted energy to cook, heat and electricity for these residents. They studied the conditions and resources available on Joule Island and offered critically thought-out solutions to meet the energy needs of the scientists. As a class we co-constructed the success criteria and agreed to present our findings in a detailed informational report.
From the onset, we had a few learners completely immerse themselves in this engagement demonstrating ownership of their learning. Working collaboratively, on the assigned Google Docs, they unanimously decided which sources of energy they will be responsible for inquiring into. They researched via a variety of sources that included websites and videos, gathering information and applying this understanding to meet the energy needs of the scientists who will be living on the island for 3 years.
Developing key communication skills was important to meet with success in completing this task. With some learners located in different countries, communicating at a time convenient to both partners was one an additional challenge to overcome. This is when we observed exemplary problem-solving and creative thinking skills come into action. They found multiple ways to communicate with their peers through emails, posting comments on their Google Docs and even arranging calls. Some pairs were so driven to successfully complete this project, they requested meetings with their teachers for guidance. Overcoming the challenges of time and place, the learners found a way to collaborate and motivate each other to complete this task. Several learners have extended themselves to create a Google Slides presentation in addition to their report. We are so proud of our P5 learners.
Here are two examples of the excellent and varied research projects and presentations created by P5.
Carden, Graham. “Joule Island.” Graham’s Physics, 8 Apr. 2014, mrcardensphysics.wordpress.com/2014/04/. Accessed 10 Sept. 2020.