I’m a big fan of incorporating dramatic inquiry to bring inquiries to life and embed abstract concepts into a concrete situation. This is one example of how the Mantle of the Expert approach can be used to do this.
Our Central Idea is “Lifestyle choices affect our bodies”. We had already explored functions of different body parts, and the learners had identified areas of our lives we have choices in that affect these body parts – what we eat, what activities we do, how we relax, and how we keep clean.
So I introduced Ogden, from a not-widely-known book called The Yoga Ogre. As Teacher-in-role, I entered the room as Ogden and told the enthralled learners that I was feeling so miserable. I knew my diet was unbalanced (he lived purely on pies), that I wasn’t having any luck exercising, that I kept getting sick, and that my emotions were all over the place. The children were eager to help and quickly came up with a list of things they wanted to know:
Who would be able to help Ogden with his problems? We settled on Nutritionists, Personal Trainers, Wellbeing Consultants, and Hygienists. The learners split into groups of 4, with each group containing all 4 specialists. We then identified how they could research their area so they could come up with a plan for Ogden.
The research began in earnest!
Being given a concrete reason for their research made them more focused on their task. They loved having a purpose and it made them ensure they were doing a thorough job. The impact of this is most amplified by the fact that the learners would rush up to me at various times during the day asking if they could continue their research so they could meet their deadline and make a valuable contribution to Ogden’s health plan!
Using Mantle of the Expert greatly increased the level of investment from the learners. They loved helping Ogden, working as a team, and having specific roles within that team to help them meet their goal. I can’t recommend this approach enough!