students on the sofa

Sparking Minds: Exploring Electricity in Atelier 21’s Year 6 Science Class

In the classes of Atelier 21, education transcends traditional boundaries, and each classroom is a canvas for exploration and discovery. Spend time there and you’ll immediately sense a different rhythm—no bells disrupt the flow, there are seamless transitions from one engaging lesson to the next.

Classes in the primary school are named after influential people. Madiba, after Nelson Mandela, is the home of, Year 6. Here, the walls serve as vibrant showcases of student knowledge and creativity. Zoned into clear sections, they beckon learners to delve deeper into core subjects, approaches to learning and their real-world applications.

At Atelier 21, lessons spill over into dynamic group discussions and hands-on experiments. Michelle’s gentle call to start the science lesson is a cue for students to seamlessly shift focus from literacy to science, a testament to the school’s focus on developing a self-managed approach rooted in personal responsibility.

Guided by innovative educators, like Michelle, students embark on a journey of inquiry and collaboration. As they delve further into their latest science project – electricity, the atmosphere is one of calm excitement.

Having already explored simple, series, and parallel circuits, students take ownership of their learning, armed with the components contained within the kits and a carefully crafted set of questions to extend their curiosity for what else they could learn. Through active participation and respectful communication, they actively and consciously foster a culture of shared responsibility and collaborative learning.

Within the school there is a common language known as “learnish.” Students either work in learning mode, when mistakes are expected and celebrated, or performance mode when they do their best to present their findings in a way that is clear for others to learn from. Even at 10 and 11 years old, the year 6 students are adept at shifting between modes and are able to actively apply the skills learnt in one subject, for example literacy, to another, in this case science.

There is no opportunity for passive learning; here, students are immersed in real-world scenarios, encouraged to relate their observations to everyday life. Discussions on the differences between conventional lightbulbs and LEDs spark curiosity about practical applications and societal impacts.

As the lesson draws to a close, the classroom transforms into a circle of shared insights and reflections. Students eagerly discuss their findings, guided by Michelle’s encouraging words and a sense of learning reflection and camaraderie.

Looking ahead, the journey continues with deeper dives into scientific concepts and applied learning. Through Q&A sessions and skills slams, students hone their critical thinking skills, embodying Atelier 21’s commitment to holistic and experiential education.

It is easy to see the principles and practices that are engrained in the upper school being an active part of the learning language and practices of the younger years, preparing them for a smooth transition into the Middle Year’s Project (MYP) approach of the International Baccalaureate that begins in year 7.

In this dynamic ecosystem, developing a love for how to learn is what matters most. It is not just about acquiring knowledge; it’s about fostering curiosity, collaboration, and critical thinking. Atelier 21 offers a glimpse into an educational paradigm where students are empowered to explore, question, and discover – a true future focused approach, the essence of education redefined.