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Year 6 students become experts in Artificial Intelligence after two weeks of interdisciplinary research

By Teresa Ferrer, Curriculum coordinator

The Year 6 pupils have been studying Artificial Intelligence and its applications in an Interdisciplinary Unit for two weeks. Geopolitics, visual arts, languages, and neuroscience have all been included. Xavier Piera, CEO of  Cyklos, addressed our students on what it means to tackle AI: “what they are learning here is exactly the same as what companies are working on today. It’s great to see the enthusiasm we sparked in them encourage them to start ideating to create a better world”.

Every year, in Middle Years, the students are expected to complete an Interdisciplinary Unit of Inquiry. This research is a natural progression of their transdisciplinary research in Primary. The objective is to investigate a theme from a holistic approach that includes different angles and disciplines. This global perspective requires the cooperation of the whole team of teachers, as well as the support of external professionals that come from different areas of expertise. At St. Peter’s School Barcelona, the interdisciplinary units of inquiry are taken very seriously.

All teachers in the Middle Years were involved in the implementation of this interdisciplinary unit of inquiry on Artificial Intelligence. It demanded an extra effort in planning, designing, and guiding the learning process, but in the end, it was a great example of how a theme can be addressed from many different angles in order to gain a deeper understanding. Education in the XXI century requires this type of cross-curricular approach, that focuses on skills and abilities more than on learning content passively.

After two weeks of intense research, you could converse with the Year 6 students and they could tell you what exactly is machine learning and which sorts of data classifications can artificial intelligence process and alanlyse. They might teach you how to construct songs using artificial intelligence or write an article (or even a poem), using GTP-3 tools. They could converse with you about reality, the metaverse and intelligence, or they even demonstrate how monitoring whales may profit from this technology.

One of our three strategic pillars in our school project is Exponentials. This means that we have a strong focus on science and technology. With this objective in mind, we designed the interdisciplinary unit of Artificial Intelligence for students in Year 6. We believe, as Xavier Piera, that approaching cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, to our classroom, is fundamental for our students. They should have the opportunity to know what is going on out there in the real world.

It’s been a fantastic learning opportunity for both teachers and students!