Each inquiry unit we design intentionally revolves around a 21st century skill that our students/all children will grow up and will likely succeed if they are well versed in. This unit’s theme, for example, was collaboration.
We have been encouraging very independent themes such as responsibility, communication, and innovation for the first few years because we really wanted to drive home the idea of self-awareness. You really can’t be a self-motivated learner without it. Digging deep and understanding the hows and whys behind how you work is uncomfortable for some adults, but when kids become well versed from a young age, it produces competent and complete adults.
That is not to say there won’t be failure, hurdles, or working through challenging situations. But if you allow kids to be a part of those situations in a safe and positive environment that encourages them to work through those challenges, the outcomes certainly lend themselves to a more positive outcome instead of avoiding them altogether and expecting them to know how to embrace them as adults.
We began the unit exposing our kids to a variety of lessons on collaboration, allowed them to view the idea from a variety of lenses, allowed them to fail while collaborating and then talked them through how to change their actions, and after a few months of them completing projects around topics that they were interested in (engineering, astronomy, mental toughness, art, songwriting, systems in the human body, writing a book, etc.) they have come up with their own definitions of collaboration and why those are important. Here’s one student’s definition.
Written by A.A.
We all have goals that we’d like to achieve, and everyone says if you work hard and keep pushing, you’ll get there. And maybe you will. But sometimes it’s not just you who has to do the work. Sometimes you need people by your side, working with you, helping each other. Collaboration is a very important thing, but why? This unit, I learned a lot about the different skills you need for a successful collaboration.
Collaborating means working together to achieve a common goal. I found that it takes a whole lot of problem solving to figure out how to make a collaboration work. When you have multiple people working on one thing it can be tough to find a valued job for everyone and be productive working with each other. But when your team finds solutions to the problems you face, it’s really fulfilling.
I also learned how important communicating with each other is. Finding good ways to share ideas and learning how others think can really make it easier for everyone. Without good communication, collaborations would be a whole lot of arguments and hurt feelings.
Collaboration is all about using our strengths to help each other get to great things. When everyone works together, the big end goal doesn’t seem so far away anymore. In this unit I learned that collaborating can be hard, but it’s so worth it. Being someone who does most of my projects alone, it was really cool working with people and hearing ideas that I would never have thought of. When we share our minds with each other, it makes something completely special and unique that you can all be proud of. And that is what I think is the purpose of collaboration.
Stay tuned for some of their final projects. They’re rehearsing their presentations this week and will Showcase them to our families the following week. Impressive to say the least.