December 8, 2021 News

Perry Creek Elementary students learn about magnetism during International Baccalaureate lesson

SCJ Perry Creek IB Program
Third graders work on an experiment with magnets. The lesson is part of the International Baccalaureate program. Perry Creek Elementary is one of three schools in the Sioux City Community School District applying to be designated as an International Baccalaureate World school. Photo courtesy of the Sioux City Journal's Tim Hynds

Experimenting with a toy compass, Perry Creek Elementary School third graders Liam Cadena and Kaiden Schubert were learning the rules of electromagnetism.

When left alone, the compass will always point north. But by introducing a magnet, the compass needle follows the magnet.

“The needle’s going crazy,” Kaiden said as Liam moved the magnet around the compass. “That is so cool.”

Perry Creek, along with Nodland and Sunnyside Elementary School, is currently in the candidacy phase of becoming an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School.

According to Perry Creek principal Amy Denney, the third grade unit on magnetic forces will help in the school’s efforts to become IB-certified.

“Students are naturally curious about the world around them,” she said. “This allows children to develop that curiosity, allowing them to engage in complex problem solving.”

So, what does it mean to have an International Baccalaureate education?

Developed in Switzerland in 1968, the IB curriculum was originally taught at international schools attended by children of American diplomats.

Over time, the curriculum — which emphasizes independent thinking — is being adapted into more traditional school settings.

“The best way to prepare our students for the future is by allowing them to become critical thinkers,” Denney explained.

The IB curriculum encourages kids to experience different cultures, languages and histories.

Such global learning practices can be applied to English, math, science, social studies and the arts.

Denney said the International Baccalaureate program is inclusive for every student from pre-kindergarten to high school.

The program allows kids to learn in a very hands-on fashion.

While it may look like third graders Lucas Strub and Vainqueur Makengo are playing with magnets, they are actually learning.

“Some magnets attract while others do not,” Vainqueur said. “I wonder why that is?”

“By letting kids to experiencing things, first-hand, it also allows them to be curious and ask questions,” Denney said. “That is what the IB curriculum is all about.”

Read the full article from the Sioux City Journal here.