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Inquiry Elementary

Looking for Learning:  Elementary School

Elementary units of inquiry give the students opportunities to deepen their conceptual understanding of a variety of science, social science and interrelated topics.


ECC students have learned about the parts of the body and developed their gross motor and hand-eye coordination during PE with Mr. Pablo.  They thought they were just having fun with the bean bags! ECC celebrate collaboration and friendship during the mini-olympics.

Students have been exploring the theme of colour by mixing coloured icing and making coloured pancakes. They also considered the importance of colour in Hindu festivals including Holi and Diwali.

ECC students demonstrated their understanding of birds as they presented their learning to parents and other members of the Colegio Maya Community.  Presentations ranged from posters and models to songs and slideshows. Students also developed their verbal presentation skills in this impressive culminating activity.



1st Grade

One of 1st Grade 1’s units encourages students to understanding that we are all unique and special and when we come together the combination of our qualities strengthens the community.  Parents kindly volunteered their time to help the students understand more about the diversity of countries and cultures that influence our student population.

The Grade 1’s culminating activity for the “community” unit saw them involved in a bit of community planning! Students built various community services and then placed them in “Sunny Safe Community” in places that made sense.

Students have been exploring the interconnectedness between humans, plants and animals in the rainforest biome.  They have learnt about some of the special adaptations that plants and animals living there have, and considered our responsibilities with regard to protecting these biologically diverse and important ecosystems.  They used a systems thinking compass tool to help them explore the complexity of the issue and to make connections between their ideas and thoughts.

In Elementary technology, 1st grade students designed their own keychains using 3D shapes.  They learned about shapes, drew their designs in 2D, transformed them into 3D using clay, then designed them using 3D software and finally printed them with the 3D printer.




Grade 2

2nd grade students have been writing to inform; a key competency of which is the appropriate sequencing of events. The students wrote the steps needed to make a pizza then celebrated their final writing outcome by creating their own mini-cracker pizzas.

They finished their inquiry into the role of insects in the environment with a trip to the Medfly research centre near Laguna el Pino. They learned how this insect arrived in Guatemala, the damage it can do, and how the scientists at the centre are helping to solve the problem. It was a smelly but very informative trip!

Our artists explored the artwork of the American pop artist, Jim Dine.  They replicated his style of artwork using heart symbols and a clever printing technique to give their work creative texture and individuality.  And just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Students are busy developing their global citizenship as they increase their awareness of struggles and triumphs from around the world. Students are researching a global issue that is of particular interest to them and will present their findings to their classmates in a few weeks.  Nothing is off-limits here for these reporters, and students have chosen topics as varied as the Syrian civil war, ocean pollution, cancer treatment for dogs and the plight of honey bees in Florida.




3rd Grade

3rd grade students explore the idea that adaptations give living organisms an advantage when competing for essential resources.  During the first stage in the inquiry process students explored the concept of “adaptation” by thinking about how objects can be adapted for different needs, identifying plant adaptations in our lovely gardens, and being book detectives - gathering and sorting information from nonfiction books.

In technology, students have been learning how to create characters for a video game.

Our historians proudly showed off their learning at the culminating event of their “Uncovering the Past” inquiry unit.  The students explored different types of evidence and artefacts that can be used as clues to tell us more about the past, then chose a historical event to research and present to the wider community.

Students visited a local farm to learn more about where our food comes from as part of their exploration into the sustainability of food production systems.  They were working towards understanding that the consumer choices we make can affect our own health and the wellbeing of our local communities and wider world.




4th Grade

4th Grade students have been exploring ways to solve division math story problems using a variety of strategies and manipulative. It looks like fun but there is some deep critical thinking at work here too.

Students have been find out all about human body systems.  They explored how the eye works, made robotic hands and used a human outline to position and explain various body organs and systems.

Grade 4 teamed up with the Grade 1 students to help them develop their close reading and note-taking skills in relation to non-fiction texts.

Students have been learning about some of the main religions of the world, with the help of some visiting experts.  Understanding more about the core values of religions from around the world encourages students to see the commonalities between them, the ultimate aim of which is to promote religious tolerance and a more peaceful and caring world.




5th Grade

5th Grade students are learning about equivalent fractions and how to add, subtract and multiply fractions by creating maps of a hiking trail and calculating distances between landmarks. They are connecting fractions, number lines and distance.

In their “Economies of the World” inquiry unit, students became expert economic advisers. They chose a country created an economic plan to help improve Sustainable Development Goal #8: decent work and economic growth. Students are working collaboratively, thinking critically, improving their research skills, practicing presenting their ideas and learning how to give and take constructive feedback from their peers.

Student have been investigating balance in ecosystems, and were lucky enough to have a visit from a research scientist involved in collecting data relating to pollution and other factors affecting Lake Atitlan.   The students were able to ask questions and clarify their understanding of some of the many issues involved in this real life puzzle.




The Colegio Maya Elementary Percussion Ensemble learned musical techniques on various percussion instruments in order to make many different parts come together to make one piece of music.  Students learned that even though individually they are only one voice, all together they can make a great composition and have a great musical conversation.