This week, all LAS Diploma Years students began the first lesson of the FOLK (Foundations of Learning and Knowledge) introductory unit. An important component of the LAS Diploma Years education, and part of our IB building blocks, FOLK invites students to investigate the nature of learning across disciplines, giving them an opportunity to explore how they know what they know.
The goal of the fig lesson is to get the students thinking about the interconnectedness of knowledge by exploring figs from multiple perspectives: direct sense perception (using our 5 senses), scientific perspective (pollination of the fig by the fig wasp), poetic voice perspective (looking at The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath), and from the perspective of an art historian (looking at paintings of figs from Caravaggio and Masaccio). Through the experiment, students learn about the many different ways of knowing and types of knowledge. They learn that just because a student is familiar with an object, in this case a fig, there are still a variety of new and different ways to see it. These skills will transfer to any new object or idea that the students encounter in their future studies.
Following the LAS Mission — "developing innovative, compassionate, and responsible citizens of the world" — this lesson helps students become more compassionate global citizens. We believe that global citizenship requires students to be able to identify and empathize with perspectives different from their own. It is the basis for becoming more compassionate and responsible, and this lesson helps support students on that journey.
Art used by students in the FOLK Figs lesson | Still Life with Fruit by Caravaggio, 1605 - 1610
In their own words | Student Reflections
"Previously, I thought of knowledge and learning to be fixed and stay the same. But, this fig activity made me question that, and now I think that knowledge and learning is more flexible and ever changing, similar to how a fig takes time to develop and change." Mark '23
"The fig activity helped me learn and understand the nature of knowledge better. It helped me learn how figs can represent life and other cycles. My learning process has definitely improved as now I will look for more meaning in my learning." Isadora '23
"I have personally learned a few things about the nature of knowledge like how to distinguish between something I know and something I do not know...before I used to see figs as just a normal fruit but now I see them as an explanation of different types of life exploration." Abdul '23
"The fig activity changed my understanding of the nature of knowledge and learning, by making me understand (realize) the figs are important fruits represented to describe many different things...by thinking more deeply in something that at first doesn't seem to be interesting, can make you discover new things, and see the things in a different perspective." Ginevra '23
"This activity has made me learn and comprehend that there's so much more meaning to things than what we see. For example, fruit, apart from eating them, they have so much meaning and history. I've had to do my own research too because I didn't quite understand at first, but it ends up being pretty interesting." Ana '23
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