Inquiry Field Trips as Experiential Learning in the PYP

There is a lot of emphasis on taking students out for field trips and excursions in the PYP. We plan our fieldtrips thoughtfully as they are very important and powerful learning experiences that can have a transformative effect on student’s inquiry. Field trips are organized for a number of reasons:

Tuning into a new unit and creating curiosity

Provoking and challenging students’ critical thinking

Stimulating inquiry and a richer understanding of the current unit of inquiry / unit cycle

Gathering and collecting key information during the “finding out” phase of the inquiry process

Application of what students have learned during the unit to a new situation

Learning through experience

In PYP3, our first unit was Healthy Lifestyles, under the “Who We Are” transdisciplinary theme. To increase student inquiry and engagement with the unit, we went on a field trip to Årstiderne Farm. At the farm, students worked together to pick fresh vegetables and cook “vegetable sin carne.” Throughout our trip, the students displayed their understanding of the unit’s central idea: a healthy lifestyle requires continuous attention to physical, social, and emotional wellbeing. They displayed these understandings through picking, prepping, and cooking a healthy meal (physical), collaborating to create a common and delicious goal (social), and self-regulating emotions to stay positive and sunny during a very rainy day (emotional). After the fieldtrip, we reflected on how our experience connected to the unit. The student’s reflections revealed a fieldtrip’s unique ability to strengthen inquiry and relevance during a unit.

In PYP 2, students were given an opportunity to stimulate inquiry and a richer understanding of the second unit on communication under the How we express ourselves transdisciplinary theme during a field trip to Tivoli. The students participated in a workshop in which they explored movement, dance and stories as different methods of communication while portraying characters from the Cinderella Fairytale using only motion and body language. Throughout the trip, the students displayed their understanding of the unit’s central idea: The human need to share feelings and ideas leads to effective methods of communication.

Ms. Joanna Okolowicz

IB Coordinator for PYP