An International Preschool-Grade 12 Academy 

Third-Graders Explore Agents of Change

The third-graders at GEMS World Academy Chicago closed out the school year by considering how they can create change in the world.

As part of their Change Catalysts unit, the third-graders visited with a number of Chicago organizations and individuals who are striving to create change in the local community. It started with a visit to the Bridgehouse Museum, where students chatted with members of Friends of the Chicago River, an organization that works to improve the health of the Chicago River for the benefit of people, plants and animals.

Later, the students were visited in their classroom by Joey FineRhyme (real name: Joey Feinstein), a teacher, speaker and “raptivist” who inspires children all over the city to become engaged citizens, especially when it comes to environmental issues. Joey rapped with our students about what it takes to be an agent of change.

Another change catalyst who visited the class was Jana Kinsman, founder of Bike a Bee, a local urban farming initiative. Jana, who visited a day after her organization was in the news for safely removing a swarm of bees from the Loop, helped students build their own beehives.

At the end of the unit, our students painted murals of the change they hope to make in society. The International Baccalaureate curriculum in place at GEMS combines academic rigor with a focus on becoming principled global citizens. The third grade’s Change Catalyst unit was a great example of how the IB comes to life inside our school.

Below, see pictures of Joey and Jana working with our students, along with a video of Joey's rap.


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