Chief of Classroom Curiosity

By Kerry-Ann van der Merwe

“It takes a community to raise a child, but it takes a classroom of students to make for meaningful learning experiences - we are our best resource!

Let’s collaborate, create, and learn together!”


See how Kerry-Ann van der Merwe who teaches Digital Technology (Grades 000 - 3) and Grade 5 Natural Science (IEB) at Steyn City School, Fourways, uses CURIOSITY to awaken her students’ minds and scaffold their learning through collaboration!

The vision

The vision


With this Natural Science unit, I wanted my students to learn about Food Chains and be able to differentiate between Food Chains and Food Webs. It was also important that my students meaningfully demonstrated their understanding of Food Chains and how these have different and/or similar animals/organisms, dependent on the biome selected. And, of course, I wanted them to be able to demonstrate their answer to our driving question: 


“What are the relevant food chains of your chosen biome/habitat?”



Curriculum standards

The vision
Curriculum standards

This learning facilitated the development of the following content identified in the IEB curriculum:

  • Understand the importance of food chains.
  • Understand that producers produce their own source of energy.
  • Understand that consumers have to eat/consume to obtain a source of energy to live.
  • Demonstrate the sequence of producers and consumers within a food chain.

Learning journey

The vision

Duration: The entire process took six hours altogether.

Teacher planning

The vision

Planning and Execution of Classroom Curiosity and Demonstration of Learner Understanding


I made use of a Wakelet Collection, in which I AppSmashed and curated, to present our Lesson Content. The link was shared in our Microsoft Team so that students attending in-person lessons and those learning from home could all make use of the information at any time - especially to refer to during their Minecraft Build.

For the introduction of the task itself, another Wakelet Collection was shared with the class and discussed in detail prior to the commencement of the Minecraft Build Wakelet.

Student activities

The vision


The students were introduced to the driving question: 

“What are the relevant food chains of your chosen biome/habitat?”

using the Wakelet above.

Student activities




We then discussed the Habitats/Biomes found in South Africa, as well as the possible food chains found there. Students were required to build their own knowledge by conducting research into the various habitats and biomes.

Then the students watched a crash course about food chains and food webs in a Wakelet guided learning eduventure. 



This task was made out of a group build of a biome, populating it with relevant organisms, and placing sign boards around the habitat that explained food chains and facts about the biome.



The students then had to use the screen record function on their iPads to record their “walk-throughs” of their builds, their explanation of the food chains, and sharing the information that they discovered about their chosen biomes. 


After a demonstration of how to use the iPad’s “screen record function” to video and do voiceovers of their Minecraft Habitat, Food Chain, and Habitat Facts, I then demonstrated how to upload the clip, from the iPad, onto the Flipgrid.



A check was performed prior to final submission and updates/amendments could be made according to the Rubric provided.


Final submission of Minecraft World (sent via Microsoft Teams Chat) and Flipgrid Video Submissions were marked. Feedback given via Rubric that was sent back to the students electronically.

Student reflections

The vision

ICT Skill-sets and practice continue in Natural Science, outside of their ICT Lessons. #21centurylearners

Teacher reflections

The vision

My students successfully demonstrated their understanding, practiced their teamwork skills, as well as learned how to delegate tasks and keep to a time management plan - all very necessary skills for the workplace someday.

Minecraft Education Edition allows for students to demonstrate their understanding of the content in a creative and non-threatening way - a fun way to assess!

I missed being able to pull these builds through into a Virtual Reality format this year so that the students could have the opportunity to “walk through” each others’ worlds and peer assess and experience this task on another level. COVID did not allow us to do this with our VR goggles at school!

Technology used

The vision

Wakelet - to curate and display instructions

Minecraft Education Edition - for the build and demonstration of knowledge

Flipgrid - to showcase the students’ walk-through videos

Technology used

What's next?

The vision

My students have had Wakelet Student Accounts created to make way for us to start collaborating on our 2021 Virtual Science Fair presentations. I am so excited to teach them how to curate learning resources that we can all enjoy, as well as create enriching presentations together.

Closing thoughts

The vision

“Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.” - Rita Pierson


It is vitally important to equip our students with 21st-century skills, while teaching them how to work with different people, as well as how to regulate themselves, in terms of their behaviour, to ensure that the task is completed in a way that demonstrates their pride, effort, and ownership of their learning.

Want to learn more about how to actually teach 21st Century Skills? Bring us to your school or join us online for our Extreme Project Makeover or Breaking down the Silos workshops or our Becoming a Learning Architect Teachfix Webinar Series.

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