The City Investigation Task (CIT) is part of the Year 9 Challenge Program which all Year 9 students will participate in from 6-8 June. Students are given the opportunity to work collaboratively with their peers to design a focus question or statement about Melbourne, which they would then investigate during a full day trip into the City of Melbourne and report back on to their peers.
The CIT caters for student diversity by connecting student learning to the outside world. It draws on research regarding Middle School student engagement with their schooling and the need to provide opportunities through teaching practices that:
- strengthen both teacher-student relationships and the challenge of learning’;
- are based on a constructivist method of learning;
- involve students in decision-making about content, process and assessment’;
- present authentic tasks that require complex thought and allow time for exploration;
- include processes involving cooperation, communication, negotiation and social competencies generally; and
- provide for individual differences in interest, achievement and learning styles.
Middle Years Research And Development (MYRAD) Project, 2002
The three day task will allow students to ‘bounce ideas’ off teachers as they work on the development of their focus and guiding questions and to ‘check in’ with us whilst in the city. The program places emphasis on students selecting areas of interest to their group that is relevant and enjoyable, with questions/statements including ‘Is Melbourne fit to hold the Olympic games?’, ‘How effective are the laws in Melbourne?’, ‘How has architecture changed over the years’, ‘What is Melbourne’s opinion on street art?’ and ‘Busking is a popular form of entertainment in Melbourne’. It is the responsibility of each group to decide on the content to be gathered and the method of collection and students will spend time researching information on the internet, developing surveys/questionnaires for the public to complete and speaking with relevant organisations on the phone to prepare for their trip into the city. Each group develops a travel plan and detailed itinerary for submission; a valuable exercise in planning and understanding Melbourne’s Public Transport System.
Working independently within their groups of 3-6 students to plan, implement and report back on their focus question will require a great deal of co-operation and communication. This is particularly important in the development of the focus question and guiding questions where students have to narrow down what the aim of their task was and how they are going to prove/disprove the statement. Managing a group and navigating around the city will also put these skills to the test as students need to manage their time and problem solve issues such as missed trains, closed businesses, lack of patrons to survey and inclement weather.
The final day of the program will be spent at school with students compiling their research in order to present information. A variety of formats will be chosen by students from PowerPoint to Prezis, posters and interactive displays. I look forward to sharing the results of their findings with you in our last Aspectus for the term.