SLC’s and Business Planning

Hello Grade 3 Fans,

We have been busy investigating into How We Organize Ourselves, as we prepare for our entrepreneurial projects. Grade 11 Economics students returned to Grade 3 with their final presentations on marketplaces, supply and demand, and the balance between pricing and initial costs. It was a great way to focus us on our businesses!

We originally planned on two different business models: baked goods, and BIS merchandise. To run a bakery, we need to know what to bake! So we researched different recipe ideas that aligned with our community survey data, and included ingredients we could find in Bandung. We recorded our favorites on a Padlet, and commented on which ones we preferred to use.

When we made our decisions, we then needed to know how much the ingredients cost to make a budget. We visited two local supermarkets to collect the data, and then used that information to calculate a list of expenditures.

Our original plan required us to borrow 1.5 juta, so we adjusted our recipes to cut costs!

Final Bakery Budget

After these calculations, the students realized their business loan will be about 1,000,000 Rupiah – before planning for BIS merchandise. This concerned the students, so they made the decision on their own to abandon the idea of making BIS T-shirts and hats. This week, we will propose our business to Mr. Toomer and hopefully get our business loan. Then, it’s business time!

We hope to use profits to buy more ingredients and keep our business running as long as we can. When we close our bakery, whatever profits we have left we will donate to a charity of the students’ choosing. As of now, we have narrowed it down to two: Save the Children, and BARC – the Bali Dog Adoption Center.

Writing to Persuade: Advertisements

If Mr. Toomer approves our business loan, we will then create advertisements to get the community interested in becoming customers. We have explored different advertising techniques and the role they play in our decisions as consumers. Many of us were surprised to learn how powerful advertisements can be, and that the strategies many companies use are not examples of principled behavior!

The Grade 7 English class was also learning about advertising, and came to our class to share ideas with us. They looked over ads we created for classroom objects, and provided thoughtful feedback to help us improve. It was another wonderful opportunity to collaborate with older students!

Grade 7 students sharing their advertisements!

Stand-Alone Math: Fractions and Decimals

We are also going deeper into our stand-alone inquiry into how fractions and decimals represent whole-part relationships. Students are beginning to apply their understanding of multiplication and division to discover equivalent fractions. For example, the fractions on the cards below can be written as smaller, equivalent fractions. When looking at 5/25, students can divide 25 into groups of 5. Then they recognize that 5/25 is equivalent to 1/5.

Image result for fractions capture 4

Extending the concept of equivalent fractions, we have been finding connections between improper fractions and mixed numbers. Students are successfully converting one to another through a series of engaging activities, including dominoes (seen below) and a competitive race in teams. It is amazing to see such progress in such a short amount of time!


We are also starting to connect fractions to decimals. If 0.3 is the same as 3/10, then 0.7 + 0.3 is another way of showing how ten tenths can make 1 whole. This has been a tricky concept for us, but the students are showing great resilience and are working through more complex problems.

We will continue to build our foundational understanding of fractions and decimals over the next few weeks. When we’re ready, we will then incorporate our Shape and Space (geometry) outcomes, and deepen our sense of fractions while learning about triangles and quadrilaterals.

Student-Led Conferences

We would like to thank all families for participating in our Student-Led Conferences. They are such a vital component of the learning process, as they offer the students the chance to share and celebrate their learning through their perspective. Who better to tell you where your child is in their understanding, than your child?

After the conferences, the Grade 3’s reflected on the process using Two Stars and a Wish – a strategy for students to recognize two strengths and one area of growth. Here are some of their reflections:

“I was brave to talk and explain my learning to my Dad. But next time, I need to talk louder.” – Andrew

“I was proud of showing my artwork and I am proud that I finished the SLC. I wish I did more activities in math.” – Joshua

“I did a good job explaining all of my work that I did in school. I saw my mom feeling that I am a good explainer. I can do better to try and not be shy and explain more to my mom.” – Seo Yeon

“I showed how I was improving and I was confident even if I felt shy sometimes. Next time, I will stay focused more.” – Keanu

“I am proud of explaining and showing my/Joshua’s Solar System piece. And I’m proud of playing the recorder to my parents. I wish I did more activities in math.” – Ethan

If you have not yet done so, please help us complete the parent reflection survey from last week’s BIS Buzz and today’s email. Your feedback will help us consider the structure and communication of the SLC’s for future years. Thank you in advance for your input!

Our World-Famous Mathematicians

Good afternoon Grade 3 Families and Friends,

Today, I’d like to share a project we participated in through Cambridge’s NRICH Mathematics. NRICH was created to provide challenging tasks that require students to apply their understanding of mathematics and critical thinking skills to successfully solve. We have used several NRICH mathematics tasks in class to support our stand-alone math investigations.

Each month, they post a few “live” tasks, where students from around the world can solve and share their responses. Last month, Grade 3 students chose a live problem to try and solve with a partner or small group. And guess what? They posted almost all of our solutions!

Two of us solved the problem “Which Scripts?” They used their understanding of place value and Chinese to crack the code. Read the details of their solutions posted here.

This is what the number 51 looks like in each code!

We had a larger group work to solve the task “Twenty Divided Into Six,” which was proved challenging at first! The students soon realized that the minimum amount for each group had to be over 20. They kept trying larger sums, until eventually they discovered a solution. Unfortunately for us, because this problem was solved over 70 times, details of our solution weren’t published. But some of our names were!

One group decided to also try “Domino Square” – a task that required students to build a square with dominoes where each side had an equal sum. You can read details of our solution here.

Sorry to the students whose names were cut off! I’m not sure how that happened.

We are so proud of our now-famous mathematicians! I challenge you all to try your hand at these tasks. What would your solutions look like?

How We Organize Ourselves

Hello Grade 3 Families and Friends,

Our fifth Unit of Inquiry is well under way! We will spend the next 6 weeks investigating how goods and services are exchanged to meet the needs and wants of communities. This is often nicknamed “the business unit,” as students investigate marketplaces by creating their own business(es).

First, they created a survey to collect information on needs and wants the school community has, but are not currently met. We created a Google Form to send to staff, parents, and older students, and interviewed the younger grades face-to-face.

After collecting a significant amount of data (over 75 digital responses!), we collated our data into an organized bar graph. Our graph can represent different groups of data at one time. This helped us to visualize our responses, and interpret our information to make an informed decision. Students can choose any business they’d like, but it has to be meeting the needs and/or wants of our school.

We interviewed Grades 4 and 5 about their experiences with this unit, and have begun to make our final decisions. As of now, we are considering whether to have one or two businesses, and if we should sell food, drinks, and/or BIS T-shirts, hats, and backpacks. We are using Visual Thinking strategies and Flipgrid to record our thinking processes. Follow these QR codes to see some video recordings of our initial thoughts and reflections:

Seo Yeon
Grade 5 sharing memories of their juice business

Next week, the Grade 11 Economics class will come to teach us about supply and demand and its role in determining the price of our goods. We will also interview some “experts” – business owners in the food and clothing industries. This will help us make our final decision before the holiday!

English Language Update

Students are learning how persuasive language is used in advertisements to support their inquiry into How We Organize Ourselves. We have begun looking at advertisements in magazines and connecting them to different advertisement techniques. Next, we will practice using persuasive language to “sell” items in our class, before starting to write and design our own. Jingles will be written in music class, too!

For our stand-alone English centers, we have continued to add activities to Word Work. Most of our students have recognize spelling, grammar, and punctuation as goals for improving their writing. To support their self-regulatory goals, we have incorporated activities that help students recognize parts of speech, subject-verb agreements, and spelling.

Boggle is a fun, quick spelling game!
Hmm… which pronoun is the appropriate choice?
Subject-verb mix-up: some are correct, and some need to be fixed!

The students themselves have requested we teach them how to write using cursive, or connected letters. Though we were surprised, we were happy to oblige! Students now are working on cursive handwriting once a week as part of their Work on Writing time with Ms Vina (you don’t want me to teach cursive, trust me!).


Stand-Alone Math: Fractions and Decimals

Data handling integrates perfectly into our Unit of Inquiry, as it supports our decision-making process for choosing a business that meets the needs/wants of our community. But not all math fits well into our transdisciplinary inquiries. So what do we do? We teach stand-alone units!

Our new stand-alone investigation explores how fractions and decimals represent part-whole relationships. Students are already identifying, comparing, and adding fractions in a series of hands-on activities that they choose from. As we continue our inquiry, students will also recognize equivalent fractions and improper/mixed fractions, and connect fractions to decimals.

Fraction strips help us visualize how fractions are parts of a whole.
Can you find fractions are equivalent? How do you know?

Equivalent Fraction Bingo
Adding and subtracting fractions seems difficult at first, but it’s really quite simple!
Comparing fractions – how do you know which is bigger? Can you prove it?


Wrapping Up Another Inquiry

Hello Grade 3 Families and Fans,

Our inquiry into How the World Works is coming to an end. Students have successfully shown individual understandings of the central idea life on Earth is dependent on Earth’s position in the solar system. We discovered how characteristics of Earth provide for life, such as the atmosphere, availability of water, and the rotation and revolution of the Earth. We also learned about other celestial bodies in our Solar System, such as comets, planets, dwarf planets, and moons. And we activated our research skills to learn how astronauts provide for life outside of Earth.

Using liquids of different densities helped us create models of the Earth’s atmospheric layers.


Gravity is something we take for granted, so landing on a chair was a fun way to remind ourselves. 🙂

After measuring our weight on Earth, we could calculate our weight on other planets and moons. All the students weighed less than 2kg on Pluto!


This last line of inquiry was key to our summative assessment task. Students worked together to create a space colony that would keep them alive for at least one year.

First, they decided where to live. This proved more challenging than we expected, because other places in the Solar System do not (as far as we know) support life! Atmospheric protection, oxygen, gravity, and access to warmth/sunlight are all issues the students needed to research and plan for. After much deliberation, the group decided on Ceres, a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt. One perk about Ceres is that most of the planet is made of ice, which the students relied on for water and oxygen. They applied research from the International Space Station to create everything from a greenhouse, to space suits, to toilets!

Researching details on Ceres


Then we shared our research to come up with a plan for our year on Ceres.
Finally, it was time to design our colony together!


After the group planned their year in space, the students could choose from several K’Nex “space exploration” building kits, as long as the models they chose reflected aspects of their colony. For example, they did not choose a model of the ISS, because their colony plan did not call for a space station. We spent the last few days of our unit with this extension, working through complicated design instructions to eventually construct a “Ceres Rover” and our “Grade 3/Space X Falcon Super-Heavy Rocket.” It was such an engaging way to wrap up our inquiry!

Reviewing our plans before choosing our K’Nex models
Deciding which models best represent our colony
Collecting our materials
Here we go!
Building the Ceres Rover
Starting the rocket launch pad
Just one of 34 pages of directions for the rocket and launch pad!

We are very proud of our final products!


How We Organize Ourselves

On Monday, we will begin our fifth unit of inquiry under the theme of How We Organize Ourselves. Our new central idea is: goods and services are exchanged to meet the needs and wants of communities. This is nicknamed “the business unit,” and is set up in a similar fashion to the PYP Exhibition. By that, I mean that the unit is completely student-led. They will create a survey to the community, asking about wants and needs that are not being met at school. From the results of their survey, they will make a business plan – including a budget and advertising strategies. The students will even take out a loan from the school that they pay back with their profits! It is a wonderful real-life experience for the students!

Please find the unit overview link below to get a better understanding of the next inquiry. Please note that data handling outcomes are completely integrated into this inquiry, as organizing and representing data is the first step before creating their business plan. More details and reflections are coming soon!

How We Organize Ourselves Overview

Math: From one stand-alone inquiry to the next

Students have also wrapped up their stand-alone math investigation into number patterns. They spent a few weeks analyzing patterns, generalizing patterns with a rule, and organizing patterns into tables and words, furthering their multiplication and/or division skills in the process. For their summative assessment task, students were given the learning outcomes and three questions to answer. How they demonstrated their understanding was entirely up to them, as long as the questions were answered and the learning outcomes were met.

  • What is a number pattern you can explain (use multiplication and/or division)?
  • How does your pattern work?
  • What is an example of a real-life problem you could solve, by applying your pattern rule?

Some students chose to create a poster, while others made a video. One student made a puppet show! It was fun to see where their creative interests took them as they explained to me their current understanding of multiplication and/or division.

Videos and poster pictures coming soon!

Our next stand-alone inquiry will be investigating how fractions and decimals represent whole-part relationships and help us solve problems. We will identify, model, and combining fractions in different contexts, before exploring equivalent and improper fractions, as well as decimal-fraction relationships.

Until next time!

Investigating How the World Works

Hello again Grade 3 Families and Fans,

Here’s post #2 today! Last week, we began unpacking our new unit of inquiry under the trasdisciplinary theme of How the World Works. We began by giving students time to research the solar system and come up with their own guiding questions. We could have spend days just reading about space, we were so excited!


Grouping our questions together, we noticed a few trends to pull from and guide our next activities. For example, several students had questions on the Sun and Moon – how were they formed, where do day/night come from, and why does the moon disappear? We started here because just a few days later was the total lunar eclipse.

We learned how light is actually all colors of the rainbow, and the different light waves can change the color of the sky depending on the position of the Sun!

Using globes and flashlights, we could simulate day and night.

Using the darkness of the theatre, we were able to see how the moon reflects sunlight.
The phases of the moon are only what we can see from our position on Earth!

Finally, we used Oreos to document what we understood as the phases of the moon.
They were delicious!
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Moon, and Earth are in complete alignment, and the Earth blocks the sunlight.
Light is every color, but only the red waves travel through the Earth’s atmosphere to the Moon, making the Moon look red.

After the eclipse, the next set of questions we tackled were about other cosmic bodies. Using virtual and augmented reality tools, we were able to see the planets orbiting the Sun, and we could compare and contrast asteroids, meteors, and comets. We could even drive rovers around the Moon and Mars! It was such an interactive way to learn about our solar system.


As the week ended, we were able to tie both areas of focus together. We presented our understandings of the difference between asteroids, meteors, meteoroids, and meteorites. And we discovered how they impacted the surface of the Moon by hurling our own asteroids. 🙂

The surface of the Moon looks like this because the Moon has no atmosphere. So none of them can burn up before impact!

For details on our current Unit of Inquiry, please review our How The World Works Unit Overview attached here. Next week, we will unpack our second line of inquiry and look into features of Earth that provide for life. So stay tuned!

Fabulous Friday

Hello everyone,

Because I am so late posting (sorry!), I’ll do two posts today. Here is a reflection of our Fabulous Friday.

First, we practiced our presentations with Grade 4. They helped a lot by providing thoughtful feedback, which we used to reflect on our presentations and prepare for Fabulous Friday.


The day of our presentations, we set up our spaces, and listened to one another one last time, to make sure we all felt confident.

Finally it was time for the real thing! We started with students in the multi-purpose room, and led them through a silly episode of Jeopardy. Then students visited our tables, and we used our Google Slides, atlases, and art pieces to provide our understanding of the central idea: landforms impact the development of settlements.



We were proud of our presentations, and thankful for feedback from our peers. It was a wonderful way to wrap up yet another successful inquiry.

Another Successful Inquiry

Happy New Year, Grade 3 families and fans!

2018 has already been busy here, as we wrap inquiries, practicing for Fabulous Friday, and preparing for the upcoming ACER ISA exam. More information on the ACER ISA will be uploaded soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to share with you how successful our Unit of Inquiry has been.

I’ve heard from several of you already, with stories about your children sharing their knowledge and questions with you at home. Our students have more questions now than they started, which means they will continue to think about the impact of landforms after the inquiry! It’s always great to hear how engaged and inquisitive the students are outside of the classroom, so thank you all for sharing with me your evidence of student action.

Where We Are in Place and Time

From day one, students have been hard at work investigating into how landforms impact the development of settlements. Using the conceptual lenses of form, change, and causation, students researched a landform of their choice. Using text and digital resources, they discovered how their landform was made over time, how it continues to change, and how people adapt to live there. Students then organized their research into a ‘writing to describe’ informational report, and used their report to create a Google Slides presentation.  Below are copies of their final writing products; their Google Slide presentations will be uploaded next week when they are complete, so stay tuned!

Seo Yeon       Andrew      Texas       Joshua      Keanu      Ethan

In addition to their written reports, students used elements of several content areas to deepen their understanding of the central idea. For example, in visual arts, they created a papier mache model of their landform. They used several photographs and satellite images of their landform to gain a better understanding of how to sculpt it. Not only did this help build their art skills, but it also helped students construct a more macro understanding of their landform, how it is built, and its affect on the local landscape.

[photos coming soon – sorry for the delay!]

Students also were tasked with applying their mathematical skills for their presentation. Earlier in our inquiry, students explored the purposes of scales and legends in maps. In addition, students studied measurement of distance, surface area, and time. For their summative assessment, students were asked to use their understanding of measurement, and developing multiplication skills, to calculate a trip from Bandung to their landform. After researching flight options, students had to use atlases to calculate the total distance of their trip, as well as calculating the total amount of time they would spend traveling. It was a practical way to connect their understanding of math to their Unit of Inquiry, and show me their understanding of the math learning outcomes at the same time.

The last step for the Grade 3’s is their presentation. This week, we will look into what makes an effective presentation, and practice the communication skills needed to successfully lead their individual presentations for Fabulous Friday. We are so excited to share our understanding with the elementary school community, and we hope to see you there!

Next week, I will post information on our fourth Unit of Inquiry, as well as photos of Fabulous Friday and our field trip. So stay tuned!

A Final ’17 Update

Hello Grade 3 Families and Fans,

Can you believe it’s already the mid-year holiday?! I certainly can’t. Here is a quick update before the new year.

Where We Are in Place and Time

To extend our understanding of how landforms impact the development of settlements, students took a field trip to see part of the local landscape. First, we visited the Stone Garden to see limestone formations, created from sea life millions of years ago. It was incredible to imagine these hills were once part of the ocean floor! Next, we visited the Pawon Cave, to see the effects of weathering and erosion. It was a great way to see how these forces of nature work slowly over time to change the landscape!

The bats sure made the cave smelly!

Fossils of cavemen were found here

Mapping our Travels

For our related math inquiry, we have been focused on measurement and shape and space that help us with mapping. After understanding the concept of scaled maps, we broke into small groups and used atlases to calculate a trip of our choice. The itineraries were pretty interesting!

[photos to come soon]

Sports Day

This week, we had our elementary and secondary Sports Days. The Grade 5 students led different groups through a series of sport-related activities, from relays, to handball, to volleyball with a twist. The students had such a fun time participating, and showed great sportsmanship across different teams.



When we come back from the holiday, we will be wrapping up this unit and presenting our understanding to you and the school community. But until then, I hope you all have a relaxing, rejuvenating holiday – and we’ll see you back January 4!

Where We Are in Place and Time

Hello Grade 3 Families and Fans,

It has been yet another exciting, busy week at BIS! Students have been inquiring into the related concept of plate tectonics, to develop their own understanding of how the Earth continues to change over time. We built models of tectonic plates out of paper, and out of peanut butter and biscuits! We also started using different digital tools and websites to collect information for our upcoming research project.

The Earth’s crust is broken into several tectonic plates. These plates float on thick, molten rock called the mantle.
When plates push together, a lot of pressure builds. Sometimes this causes earthquakes and tsunamis.
When plates spread apart, magma bubbles up from the mantle, forming mountains or underwater ridges.

When plates are pushed together, mountain ranges can form from the crashed plates and the hardened lava from the mantle.
This is how the Himalayas were made about 80 million years ago!

Next week, we will look into how weathering and erosion impact our landscapes over time!

Vocabulary Word Clouds

Each Unit of Inquiry is supported through the Daily 5  via the center Word Work. Students have a list of unit-specific vocabulary words and a variety of activities to encourage choice and independence. One new activity is using Word Clouds – a digital tool to visualize thinking. The largest word in the center is the vocabulary word, and the others are related. Check out some of our Where We Are in Place and Time word clouds!

Seo Yeon
Area and Perimeter

Our new math unit is integrated into our unit of inquiry, as it supports our understanding of how landforms impact where people live. We started by applying our numeracy skills to calculate area and perimeter (of rectangular spaces). The students particularly enjoyed finding the area and perimeter of our classroom!

Measuring the carpet
The surface area and perimeter of the door is tricky to measure!
Measuring the sides of the cupboard helps us calculate the surface area and perimeter.

Working together to measure the dimensions of the classroom
Breaking the room into two rectangles helped us calculate the surface area and perimeter of G3!

Unity in Diversity

Good morning Grade 3 Fans,

A full update on our transdisciplinary and stand-alone inquiries is coming later this week, but in the meantime, I wanted to share photos of and information on Unity in Diversity Day.

Students started the day with the entire school, parading around campus with countries that represent their cultures. Then we formed groups from EC3-G2 and G3-G5, and rotated through different activities. For lunch, the parent community prepared an incredible display of food that represented our different cultures! We all stuffed ourselves silly, before sharing our understanding of the day during a special assembly.

It was a lovely day of celebrating our uniqueness and learning how diversity unites us!

We are IndONEsia!
Our United Kingdom families
We learned the difference between “equity” and “equality” with Ms. Drezgic.


With Ms. Katie, we made “diversity flowers,” and read a story about a woman who’s diverse ideas helped change her community.



We learned how to play Continuous Cricket and Rob the Nest with Mr. Markey and Mr. Lane.


At the end of the day, we shared our understanding of different activities with the PYP during a special assembly.