Our Trip to the Outback

Our Trip to the Outback

As a part of EY4’s final task on their unit about how people use transportation systems to stay connected, I decided that the summative task was going to be a rather large scale simulation of a trip. Originally I had thought that I could have them individually plan a trip, but then I worried that it might be too basic–a trip to the shop to buy ice cream, for example–so I wanted us to experience the  idea of a system, which is more complex and involves many steps.  We came up with a list of different countries around the globe: Egypt, Australia, Italy, Korea, and Mexico. We researched the countries and determined a list of reasons why we might go there:

  • seeing interesting places
  • trying new foods
  • seeing family  (in some cases)
  • meeting new people
  • having different experiences
  • seeing different kinds of animals
  • shopping

Then we researched the countries–what would be the interesting things to do, see or eat? Students got really excited to go to Egypt and Australia, although Italy, with its pizza, was close behind. We took it to a vote, and Australia won.  We took an interest survey of what students would like to do there.  Next, we started to consider how we might go to Australia. We looked at maps and thought about how long it might take us to go there. Most students agreed that taking an airplane was the most sensible form of travel, although one student did suggest that a submarine could be faster. Since we had never been on a submarine, it became a ” I Wonder” and a point of inquiry. I love when we chase up these wonderful imaginings (and yes, there is a supersonic submarine that is in the making which would be faster than an aircraft, but its not ready yet). 

After that, we set into motion getting our passports ready, our tickets “booked”, and packing our bags. I had a wonderful Australian mum help me with the snacks for our in-board flight, our Humanities teacher was one of the tour guides when we “arrived” in Sydney, and the art teacher provided me with some inspiration for Aboriginal dot paintings for our visit to the “Australian Children’s Art and Culture Museum”.

Everyone boarded Tiger Airlines to Sydney and enjoyed in-flight entertainment and snacks. Then they were met by Mr Horton from Outback Tours who took us to the Kangaroo Park and we even saw Koala Bears. After our tour, we headed to the Australian Children’s Culture and Art Museum in which we made dreamtime paintings, read and watched cultural videos, and made didgeridoos. It was a lot of fun and the kids learned a lot.

So the summative task involved:

  • Country preference ranking
  • Country research (topics explored: foods, places, animals)
  • Interest Survey
  • Trip Reflection

As you might imagine, it was very successful. The students really got a sense of how involved taking transportation can be. Even my students with little English were able to participate fully, and, although it was hard to articulate their reflection, I had enough evidence to demonstrate that understanding took place.

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Judy Imamudeen

Judy Imamudeen

Developing learners as leaders is my joy! As a highly qualified International Baccaluearate (IB) teacher and educational leader, I am committed and passionate about executing its framework and empowering students in creating a future world that works for everyone.

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