At Orchard Grove Primary School, we employ the Integrated Studies approach to embed the goals outlined in the Victorian Curriculum in authentic and student centred learning experiences.
Engagement and ownership are key elements in fostering independence in each student. The Integrated Studies approach is designed to build intrinsic motivation and leverage the connections that exist between the core curriculum areas of Literacy and Numeracy and embed them within other learning contexts, such as:
– Economics and Business
– Civics and Citizenship
– Design Technologies
– Digital Technologies
Using a blend of explicit teaching, inquiry and challenge based learning, our Integrated Studies practice is designed to give students base knowledge and understanding, then challenge them to think creatively and critically to solve problems suited to their age and experience. Students from Foundation to Year 6 are introduced to whole school umbrella concepts, such as:
These concepts are frameworks the teaching staff use to plan and embed learning experiences most appropriate to each year level. The learning experiences are structured as opportunities to apply knowledge and skills in real-world, authentic situations. These range from designing a structure to withstand a force or carry a weight, to designing teaching tools to instruct younger students on a particular topic, to running a micro-business at a profit to raise money for charities, to creating and testing products designed to promote a healthier life. Each unit of work is then celebrated with either a peer review, peer teaching or an expo for other year levels and/or parents to showcase their learning.
Working in teams, planning effectively and compromising and negotiating their way to a successful outcome are vital life skills embedded in the problem solving process. The students use a wide range of digital and hands-on thinking and planning tools to develop their ideas, such as challenge rubrics, and digital teaching and learning tools. We encourage students to experiment and choose the tool best suited to the task, so they become aware of the intrinsic pros and cons of each type of tool. Sometimes a pencil and paper is quicker, sometimes using an app on an iPad is better. Each student needs to know what suits their purpose and learning goal best.
At Orchard Grove Primary School, we are committed to developing creative and critical thinkers; students who will grow into confident and capable independent learners. The Integrated Studies approach, where learning is contextualised within real challenges with real audiences, is an effective and engaging way of achieving these goals.