NEWBURGH - On Thursday, June 19, 2014, fifth grade students at Horizons on the Hudson proudly presented their Exhibition research-based projects. Exhibition is best described as a social science fair event representing culminating projects for which students have identified topics of interest and have undergone a year-long collaborative inquiry process. The process allows them to formulate their own essential questions/inquiries which are used to drive student-led research with guidance from teacher mentors. The process is spearheaded by Horizon’s International Baccalaureate Coordinator Wanda Mejia-Jenkins, along with fifth grade and special area teacher mentors, parents and the entire fifth grade student body.
The entire cohort works within a chosen IB transdisciplinary theme and this year’s theme was, How We Express Ourselves. Within their inquiry based research groups, students not only define real-life issues and solutions in the context of our global community, but they are required to find connections of those issues within their own local communities so that in turn their researched solutions can be action based with the intention that their work have a connecting affect right here in Newburgh.
The entire process provides students a platform to represent the essential elements of the Primary Years Program (PYP) that they have been developing over the years as students of the PYP IB Program. The experience hones in on continuing the development of students’ skills in demonstrating independence and responsibility for their own learning. Key to the process is that students conduct research with intention towards taking action as a result of their new found knowledge. Exhibition groups are guided by their mentors to ask themselves "...and now what?". Students make decisions that define how their inquiry process can positively affect their local community.
This year’s Exhibition groups researched issues such as gun violence and how to create a campaign to promote safety in our communities, how advertisements have an influence on self-esteem, how written expression can change a person’s actions, and how different forms of expression can help educate tweens to make the right choice.
Exhibition groups demonstrated pride in using their communication skills along with other IB essential elements student characteristics to share their knowledge not only with the entire school community, but with their local community as well that same evening when student groups presented to parents and other family members. In addition, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Roberto Padilla, Executive Director of Elementary Curriculum & Instruction Julio Vazquez, and Board Members Darren Stridiron and Andrew Johnston were in attendance for the event.