Real-world inquiry learning at Gib Gate

Research proves that students learn more deeply and perform better on complex tasks if they have the opportunity to engage in more authentic learning such as projects and activities that require them to employ subject knowledge to solve real-world problems*

Authentic, real-world inquiry learning is a core aspect of the Gib Gate curriculum. A project that will involve the whole school this year is currently being led by Year 5 students, supported by Gib Gate Preschool students.

Designated as a Land for Wildlife Site by Wingecarribee Council in 2018, the woodland area in the Gib Gate grounds adjacent to the Preschool has been deemed an important wildlife corridor. Year 5 students are working closely with the Council and local experts on the regeneration of local flora and fauna suited to this habitat.

Working in teams as Botanists, Pedologists and Landscape Architects, Year 5 students are researching and identifying invasive and native flora, conducting experiments to test the effect of light and soil types on native plant regeneration and designing a 3D Nature Corridor based on the Gib Gate Land for Wildlife site.

Inviting Preschool students to collaborate with them, Year 5 welcomed the students to their classroom last week to share the data Preschool had collected and analysed regarding bird life in the Land for Wildlife area.

Using binoculars and the power of close observation, Preschool students tallied the types of native birds they spotted in the paddock area during their daily walks. Identifying Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Magpies, Rosellas, Lorikeets, Noisy Miners, Kookaburras and Crested Pigeons, Preschool students concluded that Noisy Miners far outnumbered other native birds at Gib Gate. Sharing their data with Year 5, questions were posed such as: ‘Why are there more Noisy Miners than any other type of bird?’ and ‘How do we encourage other native birds into the Nature Corridor?’

We are looking forward to following up with Year 5, and to the whole school becoming involved in the Land for Wildlife Inquiry Learning project in coming weeks.

*The Power of Inquiry, Kath Murdoch

Ms Sally Robson, Head of Gib Gate


New for 2019 – additions to our Standardised Assessment Programme at Gib Gate

In Teaching and Learning, as part of Frensham Schools Strategic Priorities 2018-2022, we are continuously seeking to improve and extend our assessment and benchmarking using a research-based, robust set of tools to provide data across multiple subjects and years, enabling us to study individual, class and cohort levels of achievement and growth. This approach to data analysis ensures excellence in teaching practice and enhances creative pathways for learning that increase personalisation and flexibility for all students so they can achieve their personal best.

In 2019, we will be utilising the newly developed UNSW Global Assessment programme – REACH. The REACH Assessment tools provide us with an annual, independent and objective benchmark of student progress to support our teacher professional judgement, class-based tasks and formal school-based assessment programme and inform future curriculum planning and programming.

The REACH assessments are based on the Australian curriculum for the relevant year, are suitable for use across all ability levels and are administered in comfortable, timed conditions for all students. Items range from recall and routine application of knowledge and skills, through to more demanding questions that provide additional challenge for high-ability students.

In 2019, students in Years 2-6 will undertake the following assessments delivered online: Digital Technologies, Science, English and Mathematics. For Writing, students in Years 3 and 4 will complete the test on paper while students in Years 4 to 6 will complete the test online. The Writing Test is not available for Year 2. Testing will take place between May and August.

We have always provided our students with the opportunity to challenge themselves using UNSW Global ICAS Competition papers and we will continue to use this tool in addition to REACH.

ICAS has been redesigned for 2019 and beyond and is aimed at recognising academic excellence for high-potential students, emphasising challenge and extension in tightly timed conditions. The ICAS Competition online papers in 2019 will be offered to those students who reach the top 10% of the cohort in each year from Years 2-6 allowing them to apply their learning and challenge themselves at ‘competition level’ in each of the disciplines above. The 2019 ICAS Assessments require students to think beyond the classroom and provide us with data that acknowledges their performance achievement at the highest level.

Please refer to the UNSW Global website for further information:

Ms Kate Chauncy Director of Teaching and Learning P-12 and Coordinator of Gifted and Talented Programmes

Enrichment / Activities

Japanese Incursion
Students in Year 3-6 participated in a Japanese Rakago performance incursion last week. This high-energy performance was inspiring, as students have been working on their Japanese speaking and writing recently, setting themselves personal goals.

Opera Australia brought their newly devised Opera, In the Light of the Moon, to Gib Gate this week. This Opera was based on the Owl and the Pussy Cat poem. Our students are fortunate to experience high-calibre musicians and performances annually through Opera Australia’s Touring Schools programme.

Extracurricular enrolment forms are published on SchoolBox. Please return forms before the end of term to ensure your child’s place in Term 2 activities.

Mrs Anne Graham, Gib Gate Coordinator (Administration)


Madeleine  Hannah and Elizabeth Beckhaus (Year 1) were proud of the ribbons they won for swimming

Congratulations go to all the children who swam at the SHIPS and IPSHA Swimming Carnivals over to past two weeks.  Gib Gate results were highlighted by a large number of personal best times. Particularly pleasing is the noticeable overall improvement in times from previous years, with many of our senior students swimming low 30-second times for the 50 metre freestyle.

Kindergarten to Year 2 also enjoyed their Fun Swimming Carnival at The Centenary Pool last week. There was noticeable development in the children’s swimming skills, due in large part due to the Swimming Development programme being run for Sport each Thursday of this term.

Summer Sports
The summer sports Cricket, Basketball and Water Polo wind up over the coming weeks. We congratulate all players and coaches for the time and effort put into training and playing over the long summer season.

Interschools Equestrian Championships
Congratulations to Sophie Baldwin (Year 6) 3rd place overall in the 80cm and 6th place overall in the 90cm Show Jumping, Piper Berkelouw (Year 5) 4th overall in the 80cm Combined Training  and  Annika Basson (Year 4)  9th overall in the 45cm Primary Combined Training who competed at the NSW Interschools Equestrian Championships last week. Sophie will now represent NSW in the Australian Interschools Equestrian Championships in September.

Interschools Regional Snowsports
Families who have expressed interest in competing in this year’s Interschools Snowsports competition are reminded that selection of events is now due. Please send selections to the Gib Gate office.

Mr Michael Standen (Coordinator PE and Sport Gib Gate)


Teamwork - Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. Helen Keller

Teamwork and learning collaboratively across different grades is something Gib Gate prides itself on. As described in Ms Robson’s message, recently, the youngest Gib Gate students answered a request from Year 5 for assistance in finding out what kind of birds visited the bushland at Gib Gate. Pictures and names of birds the Preschoolers are familiar with were listed and when they recognised a bird, a tally mark was made on that page. The students saw Kookaburras, Rosellas, Lorikeets, Noisy Miners, Crested Pigeons, Magpies and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos. They decided evidence was also required, so feathers and photos were collected and shared with Year 5. The Preschoolers noted that more birds were seen on a rainy day than on sunny days. Leo Berkelouw thought it might be because the birds were happy with the rain, and after adding up the tally marks, students concluded that Noisy Miner birds outnumbered all other birds. 

In turn, Year 5 students shared how they had been researching flora and fauna in the bushland area. They had taken on the roles of zoologists and landscape architects. Items of flora were viewed under a microscope, plants in pots were displayed and work on computers was shared with the Preschool students. Ms Robson set a challenge to Year 5 to find out why there were so many more Noisy Miner birds than other types of birds at Gib Gate. Preschool students look forward to working further with Year 5 on the Land for Wildlife project.

Mrs Tinna Loker, Preschool Coordinator