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Personal Inquiry Projects: Fostering Student Agency, Voice, and Choice

AT EIS, Personal Inquiry Projects (PIP) in Grade 5 spark a remarkable sense of student agency, voice, and choice.

Personal Inquiry Projects: Fostering Student Agency, Voice, and Choice

They encourage students to delve deeper into subjects and form a greater level of understanding about their chosen topic.

What are Personal Inquiry Projects?

Personal Inquiry Projects place our students in the driver's seat of their own learning. In Grade 5, students choose their topic of interest, and design a project around this, giving them the freedom to explore, experiment, and express their unique perspectives and interests.

This year’s PIP presentations showcased our student’s creativity and collaboration. A range of topics were selected by students, including fashion design, pottery, heatstroke awareness, acapella singing, badminton, football, and watercolour painting. The choice to pursue their passions fueled their motivation and engagement, resulting in projects that reflected their authentic interests and talents. Furthermore, the collaborative nature of PIPs encouraged students to share their knowledge and skills with their peers, fostering a strong sense of community within the classroom.

In addition to the Personal Inquiry Projects themselves, students had the opportunity to present their PIPs as workshops to other classes and to small groups of students. This allowed them to take on the role of teachers and facilitators, sharing their knowledge and skills in a classroom setting. By choosing this format, students demonstrated expertise, developed leadership and communication skills, and fostered a collaborative learning environment. They were also an excellent opportunity to develop confidence as presenters and to recognise the power of sharing knowledge and their own voices.  


 Personal Inquiry Projects


Preparing for the future

Beyond the immediate benefits of student agency, voice, and choice, PIPs play a pivotal role in preparing our students for future challenges and opportunities. The skills developed through these projects, such as research, critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective communication, equip students with a strong foundation for success in their educational journey and beyond.

To further support students’ preparedness for the future, our classrooms embraced the concept of a ‘classroom economy’. Students actively participate in the job market within the classroom and are required to apply for roles, acquire references, and create persuasive supporting documents to demonstrate their suitability for specific positions. This real-world experience equips them with essential skills such as resume writing, interview techniques, and professional communication.

 Personal Inquiry Projects


A popular opportunity in our classroom economy is the establishment of a dedicated social media team. These creative students filmed, photographed, and interviewed members of the EIS community during PIP presentations. This collaborative effort enhanced their technical skills but also promoted teamwork, responsibility, and effective communication. As part of their role in the social media team, they created a website called The Digital Orcas, where they regularly post and share      stories with our EIS community each week. 

All photos and videos of our Grade 5 PIP Presentations were created by our Social Media Team. 

Article written by Ms Melissa Gough, Mr Ken Nakanishi and Mr Maciej Borucki - Grade 5 Homeroom Teachers