'Unless' - Year 6 PYP Exhibition 2020

Year 6 students at the 2020 Exhibition

Year 6 students at the 2020 Exhibition

By Nick Martin, Assistant Head of Junior School (PYP) 

The Lorax, By Dr Seuss Exhibition stimulus quote "Unless"
                                 Publication details

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not! The Lorax 

This week has seen the culmination of an unbelievable process of learning. The PYP Exhibition is an in-depth, collaborative, student-led inquiry into an issue that is important in our world. This year’s Exhibition was inspired by The Lorax, and in particular, the idea of ‘Unless…’ Unless promotes reflection, unless inspires action and unless offers hope. To quote the great philosopher Kaiya Barsby (Year 6 student):

‘If people didn’t learn, if people didn’t care, if people didn’t act,
 then nothing would change for the better.’

Our Year 6 students have engaged in some enormous issues that are facing humans on a personal, local and global scale. They have looked at sustainability, equity, power, exploitation, choices, conflict, impact, intersectionality, addiction, health, wellbeing, extinction, exploration, influence, identity and humanitarianism. 

The students articulated the ‘unless’ for their issues:

  • Unless we give people who are disadvantaged a chance…
  • Unless you’re confident inside and out...
  • Unless women get access to equal health care...
  • Unless we learn from past mistakes....
  • Unless we use energy responsibly…
  • Unless we change our mindset towards sustainability…
  • Unless we acknowledge our history…
  • Unless we take initiative to educate others…
  • Unless we are grateful for our opportunities and use them to empower others…
  • Unless we learn how to listen and then accept people’s opinion…


This week saw a COVID-19-adjusted incarnation of the Exhibition that was represented in an online space. The students created a website that captured their inquiries, their action, their creative responses and their engagement through the Arts and through Physical Education. Parents joined each group virtually to interrogate the students with thought-provoking questions and challenges. Radford students and staff visited in person, to give the Year 6 students the ‘usual’ feel of a face-to-face Exhibition. The Year 6 students were brilliant – they were knowledgeable, confident, articulate, respectful, and showed the passion that has driven them for the past ten weeks. 

Students presented to staff and other students

A unique component of this process is the role of the mentor. An adult from within the Radford Community was assigned to each group. Mentors met with students weekly to listen, guide, prompt, challenge and support the learning. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude for our team of mentors for committing their own time and energy to support the Year 6 students. 

A truly collaborative process could not be possible without the guidance of the teaching staff. The Year 6 classroom teachers expertly supported the students throughout the process. Our team of Specialist Teachers enriched the process through each of their areas of expertise, and a host of other staff members supported the Exhibition in ways too many to mention. 

Finally, an enormous ‘congratulations’ to the Year 6 students of 2020. This year’s Exhibition was remarkable. The students showed knowledge, passion, empathy, creativity and demonstrated a sense of hope. This will be an Exhibition to remember for many years!

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