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Grade 3 quickly gets to grips with theme-based learning

09 Jan 2019
The founding grade 3 pupils of Huili School Shanghai have truly hit the ground running, with an opening term full of new experiences, new relationships and new learning. Each and every school day, the diverse and personalised curriculum delivered by their international and Chinese teachers has challenged pupils to problem solve, work collaboratively and try new approaches in order to progress in their learning. Our carefully planned curriculum, delivered around central themes, has also cultivated an environment for pupils to learn and display the Huili values of courage, responsibility, kindness, integrity and respect in their lessons, to further develop their personalities alongside their academic abilities.

During the first grade 3 theme topic, named ‘How Humans Work’, pupils took on the role of health investigators as they conducted their own eye-sight tests, wrote instructions on how to take care of your teeth and even quizzed our own Wellington academy director, and ex-professional sportsman, Mr Carlton Palmer, on what he believes is the key to staying healthy. Meanwhile, in English lessons, the pupils tackled the big question: “What’s more important: a healthy body or a healthy mind?” In doing so, pupils were challenged to think from a variety of perspectives in order to develop their own answer to this question while learning the key features of writing a balanced argument.

Collaborative learning was a key part of the ‘Buildings’ topic, as pupils worked in pairs to design and construct their own bridge structure, which was then tested to see how much weight it could hold. Pupils also worked in small groups to plan and conduct an investigation to explore which 3D shape provided the strongest structure. Both learning opportunities required the pupils to apply their prior knowledge and show good teamwork skills in order to succeed. The theme of teamwork is also a pivotal learning point in grade 3 physical education lessons, as the children have been participating in a ‘season of sport’ to compete against other teams in their house groups. In doing so, they have learned about attacking and defending, winning and losing, cooperation and collaboration, all while developing a real house spirit within the school. This was further demonstrated in the first whole-school house competition which took place in November as grade 3 children competed for their house in the school’s first swimming gala.

The rich curriculum offered at Huili School Shanghai has also allowed the children to express themselves and progress creatively in a range of different ways. Grade 3’s art lessons, led by a specialist teacher within the subject, explored contemporary architecture within the ‘Buildings’ topic. After gaining lots of new knowledge, the children were then given the freedom to create their own building and insert it into the Shanghai skyline. During ICT, they were given the opportunity to design and print their own 3D building, and in music lessons they performed a piece of music entitled ‘Build’ while learning ostinato and how to create a layered rhythm.

With new, creative and engaging lessons being taught to the grade 3 pupils around a central theme, they are being challenged every day, from the moment they enter the school gates. It has been a pleasure to see them progress and succeed in all areas of the curriculum and all of the grade 3 teachers are very proud of what the pupils have achieved in such a short space of time.