A Grade 11 IB Brazilian Social Studies class had very special guests after their visit to a major steel-maker company called CSN (Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional). The guests were 4th Grade students who were currently on a Unit about “Brazilian Global Economy and Trade”, while the High School class was on a Unit about “Brazil in the Globalisation Age”. That was such an interesting intersection of the topic, the IB teacher (Mr Carvalho) and all 4th Grade teachers (Ms Hoffman , Ms Macden, Ms Engstrom and Ms Schwartz) took advantage of it.
The purpose of the visit to CSN was to understand the industrialisation process in the country. With this knowledge and first hand experience visiting CSN, Grade 11 students were interviewed by 4th Graders who wanted to learn more about how a natural resource becomes a good to trade. High School students acted as “experts” explaining about steel production, but at the same time improving their own learning. According to Mr Lunds, the younger students were very specific in their questions and showed great interest in the topic. That encouraged his Grade 11 class to increase the engagement with the information gathered during the visit and synthesise for the younger learners. According to the 4th Grade teachers, their students had been very engaged in the study, but connecting with the 11th graders took their learning deeper. The 4th graders loved being able to discuss a serious topic with high schoolers and felt proud to be given the chance to apply their knowledge.
Another level of learning “with an expert” happened on the spur of the moment , as one of the Grade 11 students called his father on the phone to answer questions from both classes. The student’s father is none other than CSN’s CEO, Benjamin Steinbruch. So an improvised phone call near a microphone and speakers, generated a Q&A session, as you can see below. Students asked the CEO directly about specific concerns, so in the video you can hear a question related to the water shortage that is being experienced in the country and how it might affect such an industry. The video was also improvised but great way to record such rich opportunity. This experience teaches us that it is important to grab an opportunity as it happens, being creative with technology and management of the class. Certainly all involved became more engaged with the information and learned from each other’s perspectives.