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The wonders of technology

As part of their PYP unit, Where we are in place and time, our Year 2 students discovered that Earth has changed dramatically over the past 4.5 billion years and that technology is relatively new.

Ms Peck took her Year 2 students on a voyage of discovery this week, travelling back some 4.5 billion years in time – before even the dinosaurs existed – to a time when an exploding star fused gases and rocks together to form Planet Earth.Timelinetake25

Slowly unfurling a giant black ribbon around the perimeter of the Piazza, Ms Peck showed the students how Planet Earth has evolved over time. She placed images at various points around the room to show the dawn of the Ice Age, the formation of the seas, the arrival of the dinosaurs, and the evolution of plants, insects, animals and humans.

The students realised that Planet Earth is ancient and that we humans have only been around for a tiny part of it. It was also strange for them to reflect that the buildings, cars and technology we use each day all started with an exploding star, billions of years ago.

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Ms Peck then placed different images of technology around the room, along with some technological objects on tables, that all harked back to a pre-digital world. There were vintage cameras, old typewriters, radio alarm clocks, cassette tapes and slides.

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Using the central idea: Technology has changed over time and influences the way we live, Ms Peck asked the students to think about the following lines of inquiry: What is technology? How has technology changed over time? How does technology influence the way we live?

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To prompt their thinking, Ms Peck asked the students to perform a See, Think, Wonder exercise. Armed with their workbooks and pencils, and bucket loads of curiosity, they quietly went around the room, carefully examining each object and picture, and writing down their thoughts, questions and observations.

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Some of us can remember untangling chewed cassette tapes from our Sony Walkman or inserting Kodak film into our camera. But for Year 2, who’ve grown up with iPads, laptops and mobile phones, it was fascinating to hear that people used to have to dial a number using a circular phone to keep in touch with people, and that they had to wait for an operator at the telephone exchange to plug in a line to connect them.

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And even the Woodstock teachers had trouble identifying the first toaster. Most thought it was an old-fashioned heater!

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And it was mind-blowing to see a picture of the first Apple computer! 

As the students quickly realised, technology has changed a lot over time and it has changed almost everything about the way we live. Modern technologies, smart phones and the internet mean tasks that once took us days, weeks or months now happen at the swipe of a screen. Over the course of the PYP inquiry unit, Year 2 will be learning a lot more about technology, its purpose and its impact on our lives.

Watch this space!