Cow Eye Dissections

This week most of the Grade 8’s did a Cow eye dissection. We were told that we were going to do this after the worm dissection but i never imagined that it would be so disgusting and smelly. When we got our Cow eye out of the fridge we had to warm it up with our hands. It was covered in cold fat and muscle that we had to cut out for our paper. After clearing off all the fat and muscle It was time to cut open the eye in half. We made a small incision with a razor and then cut the rest with our scissors. As I was Snipping at it some black liquid called Aqueous humour. It smelled like the worm but x10 worse. Afterward the lens came out. It was really cool and would magnify things if you were to put say text under it. The lens was surrounded by a gel thingy that is called the vitreous humor. The next thing I put on my paper is called the Cornea which is the front of the eyeball. After that we Cut of the Optic nerve which is connected to the Retina/Cones. The Retina/Cones is located at the back of the eyeball and reflects light so cows can see certain colors.  

BC Skills Canada

At the start of March, both the grade 8 and 9 mini – school went to KPU for the BC Skills Canada competition. We were given the options to participate in either the spaghetti bridge competition or the wind turbine competition. Now, unlike other schools we only spent 1 day preparing for this competition meaning that did not have an advantage, however, we still tried out best. The day we spent preparing, we were given only 5 hot glue sticks and a package of noodles. In addition to this we only  had about 1 hour to create our structures, which was not enough time. Meanwhile, other schools had done their science fair project on spaghetti bridges and had already built and tested them many times.


Anyway, before I get too carried away, let me define the spaghetti bridge competition rules. (I was not in the wind turbine group so I can’t really talk much about it) Our bridges had to be done in 2 hours. The goal is to build the lightest bridge that could hold 1kg of weight underneath it for 60 seconds. We were given Catelli spaghetti, hot glue guns, and glue sticks, and a loading platform that must be somehow incorporated into the design. The minimum side length requirements are 500mm for length, 100mm for height, and 50mm for width.


Now, out of the grade 8 mini – schoolers, some groups decided to go light as that would get them nearer to the top 3 if they managed to hold the weight. Meanwhile some groups decided to go heavy in order to hold the kilogram in the first place. Unfortunately, only one group out of the minischool 8 class succeeded in holding the weight. All the other ones had collapsed. To add to that, the group that had succeeded had came in dead, last. However, after we finished building we were finally able to look forward to one thing. The food. We were all hungry, children waiting to be fed, and we were… kind of.


Here’s the thing, the spaghetti bridge mini – school kids had signed up for the last lunch slot. Meaning that all of the food was pretty much taken. Some of us managed to get 2 whole slices of pizza while others had to live off of 1. My sources tell me that the groups before us had pop, and they were even making “pizza sandwiches” by stacking pizza and then eating it. Yet still, some were complaining about “still being hungry” afterwards. Luckily, Mr. Murray saved the day and managed to talk some of them out of eating all the food, that way we at least were able to eat enough to last the day. Overall, it was a pretty fun day and I do hope we are able to do this again next year. Now that we know what designs are enough to place in the top 3 I’m sure we can definitely do better if we got the chance to try again. Thanks for reading! 🙂

BETA in Competition

Science Fair

Science fair has been an eventful journey of learning. Here’s a recap.

We started off with a proposal, to make sure we started on the right track. We had to describe what we were going to do with the topic we picked, if it was going to be a study, experiment, or innovation project, and elaborate on the structure of our project from beginning to end. We were told not to present our science fair in a regular tri-fold poster and be more creative with our presentation.

Study: A project that is an analysis of data and facts used from natural, social, biological, or health sciences.

Experiment: the undertaking of an investigation to test a scientific hypothesis with the experimental method.

Innovation: the development and evaluation of devices, models, theories, inventions.

We all picked an area of study that hopefully interested us. We got our scimatics teacher Ms. Neumann to approve our proposal, and we built upon our project from there on.

Our first checkup seemed to be a somewhat stressful deadline for some people. Juggling IDS homework and science fair homework was challenging, and many relied on winter break to catch up. Some of us were pushed behind on IDS by science fair. We all were working on our creative ways to present our science fair, some of us were still researching.

When we finally presented our science fair projects, it was interesting to see the variety of design and thought that people had put into their project. Some people kept it digital, and some people brought live models. Each project had different many different perspectives on a specific issue or topic. Everyone had a unique idea about a particular subject and did a great job of incorporating their scientific reasoning. Particularly meaningful projects were recommended to continue to the regional science fair contest.

Some people did better than others, but we all can personally learn something from this experience, whether it be time management, creative design skills, or scientific thought. There were a variety of projects, and they all were unique in their own way. Ranging from stall tests, to mosquito repellant, to a new form of chess design, to hovercrafts. It was interesting to see all the projects laid out.

B.C. Skills Canada

There has been a new field trip announced. It is called B.C. Skills Canada. At first, only those who wanted to go could go, but the field trip has been made available to the entire class.

This unique ADST project is a form a contest that multiple schools will participate in. There were a variety of competitions to choose such as cardboard boat racing or wind turbine building. There will be a gold, silver, and bronze medal awarded. Our class voted to enrol in spaghetti bridge building and wind turbine designing contests.

Students either got to chose to design a wind turbine out of included construction substances as efficient as possible to generate power or build a bridge made of brittle spaghetti sticks as light as possible to hold a 1 kg weight for at least 60 seconds. Both sound like fun, but there seemed to be much more people who wanted to do the more straightforward spaghetti building contest.

This project is meant to test the cooperation and teamwork of our group as a whole, while also assessing our ability to create prototypes, drafts, and reports.

Update from BETA

This month in Mini School our class did some pretty interesting things including playing with fire!!

We started the month off with wrapping up our Science Fair projects. Everyone’s presentations were really cool!

Thanks to our Scimatics teacher, Mrs Neumann, we were given the opportunity to have a wonderful new experience…playing with fire! We watched her make this slimy ball and light it up. People could touch the flames, pick them up and prod the little flaming ball.

After that, the class each got to create and display to each other their representation of an atom. The students had to show the nucleus, protons, neutrons, electrons, quarks, leptons and electron shells. All the student’s models were great!

Along with many other classes, the mini school took part in a district-wide geography challenge. Congrats to Karen and Simon who did a fantastic job representing our class in the school level.

Playing With Fire

This Month we played with Fire. This may sound dangerous to let VERY responsible 13 year old students to play with fire but Ms. Neumann said she had everything under control. The project we did was called california snowballs. Ms. Neumann taught us how to be safe with fire and how not to get hurt. She had students come up and measure the liquids using a graduated cylinder. A graduated cylinder looks kind of like a test tube with Measurements on it. The specific one we used had a max measurement of 25 mL.

We also had a yellow tub of water just in case things went wrong. After mixing the two liquids we had a snowball. Now picture this, you have a snowball in your hand but instead of a snowball its a slushball. That’s what it felt like. Ms. Neumann then lit the slushball on fire and one by one we went up to “play with fire”. To make sure you didn’t get burned you would have to soak your hands in water creating a protective barrier and then scoop up the burning slushball from the bottom. 

This was a very fun experiment and i want to do something like this again.


A Challenge for Mr. Murray

Welcome to a mostly anonymous semi-fictional BETA Bits o’ Business report!

You may have noticed the contraction in the first sentence. As other BETA Bit writers have mentioned, there was a Poetry in Voice competition in class! As exciting as this was, something else happened…

The week before the presentations:

“All Y’all that’s spicy!”  a voice blurts out.

Mr. Murray sighed.

The owner of the voice that uttered the contraction using sentence was rebuked, and the owner of the offending voice apologized. Profusely. Repeatedly. Whilst claiming it wouldn’t happen again.

Similar scenes play out in different forms all over the week.

Finally, presentation time arrived.

The Day before the presentations began:

A group of students are talking to Mr. Murray. The topic of Mr. Murray’s memorization skills are brought up, and a bet is quickly made.

The bet in question?

Can Mr. Murray memorize a poem of the student’s choosing in one night, to prove that it can be done?

Cries of the Iliad, the odyssey,  and other epics are heard!

Mr. Murray smiled in what appeared to be a confident manner.

The Wager was set. Should he lose, the class may decide an appropriate punishment.

Presentation day:

The suspense grew as students arrived on the day of presentations.

Poems were hastily recited.

Print-outs were read over.

Encouragements were received.

The first poems were read.

It is not my job to describe them. That, I leave to others.

Mr. Murray was questioned.

Where was his poem?

He regretfully informed the class that he had lost the bet.

However, the class could choose: Punishment or an Extension.

Someone threw around some words, full of contractions.

Mr. Murray grimaced.





The vote was tied.

Absent people were messaged.

Still the vote remained tied.

A compromise was suggested. An extension over the weekend, and a poem.

A poem using a contraction in every sentence.


On a random subject of the classes choice.


The weekend passed. Poems were presented. All of the presentations were amazing, but only two could continue to the next level. A vote was undertaken, yet I shall not publish the results.

Soon Mr. Murray shall present his “Poem”.

Mr. Murray asked for his topic, as well as contractions he must use.

For two minutes jumbles of frantic consonants were scribbled onto the board.

And then it began.

The class before, everyone was working on IDS. Certain people were very far ahead, or very far behind, and Mr. Murray performed his poem, where the few understandable words were about IDS, and how much had been completed, as well as how much more could have been done, had the class not been interrupted so many times.

There are two existing videos, but I do not have either.

It was hilarious. It was sad. It was unintelligible, and this BETA bits o’ business report is now finished.

Creative Presentations in Electricity!

Coming into the new year, everyone had their creative juices restored after a long winter break. In order to harness this creativity and use it to its fullest potential, Ms. Neumann has challenged us to make a presentation about the current war between Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla. However, this was not to be just an average presentation, but rather, she challenged us to create a creative and different presentation that is engaging, doesn’t have any negative views on these scientists, and has to be full of accurate facts that show how they were as scientists. As the presentation time rolled around, we saw all sorts of different and creative means to show off this newly acquired knowledge. Those presentations ranged from videos, to drawings, to memes, to personality test, and even a roll of film.


The videos we saw in class were mainly focused around “dank memery”. The likes of Sam and Nathan showcased their talent to create original, funny content while still making it educational. Their audio was clear and easy to understand. Peter and Josh also created a video which was much more tame but still memelicious nonetheless. Both groups were able to finish and present a true masterpiece during class, and proof of it is that the entire class enjoyed it very much.

Harry and Shaw-Ern made a creative twist on YouTuber “Jacksfilms” video “THE PRIVILEGE QUIZ”. They ask a series of questions which all have 3 options to answer with. Depending on which answer you chose, you’d get a certain amount of points and by the end the total number of points you have accumulated will determine whether you are more like Edison or Tesla. The majority of the class were smack dab in the middle, between Edison and Tesla.

Quinlan, Celina and Sunnie all did amazing work for their presentation. Quinlan and Sunnie both drew Edison and Tesla’s faces and then added a lot of information around it. Sunnie’s was very clean and elegant whereas Quinlan focused a lot more on the information. I’m still not sure if Quinlan intentionally made Edison look like one of the moai statues on Easter Island, but it was a nice touch. Celina created a short story were Edison and Tesla are attending a wizardry school, and a competition to use electricity effectively put Edison and Tesla up against one another. Everything in this category was very well polished but the Grammy goes to Celina for the inclusion of Edison and Tesla as bug eyed anime characters.

The memes created by Brian and Spencer are worthy of being included in the next edition of Meme Review (link in the description). Many lunchtimes were put into the making of these top quality memes. The editing was done very well, and there is definitely no lack of creativity when it comes to the vast selection of memes. Everything from “do you know da wae?” and “understandable, have a great day” made this a very interesting and enjoyable presentation.

The last presentation, by Chloe, featured a fake roll of film with pictures drawn onto it. In other words, each major scene in Edison and Tesla’s life was summarized by a picture, and text, all written on one frame of the film. This was done very well, and led people to believe what it would actually look like if it were played in a movie theater.

All in all, having a creative presentation at the start of the year was a great idea, and resulted in some amazing projects.

Life of a Minischooler at the end of a term

After the break, we’ve seen a significant amount of stress flowing in the atmosphere of our classroom. The end of a break always does bring such stress, you may say, but of course it’s much more than that. The constant cram of redundant math questions, simple one may say, but doing hundreds of them brings no good to the mind.  The constant reminder of nearing deadlines…. Science fair …… IDS which is agreed by many to be the “Intense death sentence”, and it never fails to disappoint from its definition.

The start of yet another seating plan, bringing the smell of the devastating bottle recycling bin to many unfortunate individuals.  Of course I can’t continue with such pessimistic views, as we have signified the end of the bottle recycling program, replaced with the less rancid fundraising program which will continue to bring our class income. We yet to see the result of this change with the first launch happening this month, how exciting….

A large scramble of fractions and tests thrown at us, a particular test question striked us with relatability,  a student has five hours before going to sleep they have to spend …..[fractions of time on ___] do they have 30 minutes to play drums. Amusingly the fractions have added up to over their available time length, of course this was a mere typo, but still a very good representation of the average mini school student’s night before a deadline.

To end on a brighter note, our immensely adorable beloved dog Akira. Perhaps the only member of our classroom that brings joy to everyone. Eating snacks in the minischool classroom brings an attentive pair of large puppy eyes near you, and so begins the Akira wars; basically a series of events where a group of students consecutively “steals” Akira from each other by leading him to their desks. This ends in three possible ways, someone running out of food, Ms. Neumann intercepting, or Akira falling asleep.


That’s all for now…


Heading into a new term

As the Minischool gears up for the due date of science fair, everyone has been hard at work on their projects, catching up on math, and scrambling to finish overnight humanities projects. However, this means that we are all overworking ourselves, between projects and procrastination, and the loving company of Akira has become a precious commodity.


Each and every day, a subtle fight occurs in which top fighters take out food and other tasty morsels to lure the dog to their side. However, now that we have a new seating arrangement in which we do not sit in two long rows, and we do sit in small groupings of 2, the war heats up, with more competitors. Akira will come running with a longing face towards your table when you hold out food, although he does not stay for long before another morsel catches his nose. Callings of “Sit. Down. Good Boy” happen as often as every couple of minutes, but after he lays down by your side, he might hop up a few minutes later to pursue another piece of food. He goes back and forth between us, perhaps gaining a few pounds along the way. Some argue that the getting up and running around is enough exercise for him to work it off, but who can argue with the privilege of the dog lying beside them?

In other, more academically related news, (see how easy it is to get carried away with the dog?) we have had an extremely math heavy quarter, plowing through 2-3 chapters within the course of just a couple of weeks. Additionally, we will all be moving on to our second semester classes nearing the end of January, leaving most of us away from the fun of Home Ec and Tech Ed, and into French.

Poetry in Voice

In the past few weeks, the minischool has been catching up on homework during Tutorial Days. We have recently started a poem project where we had to pick a poem, memorize it, and present it for a school competition.

Some of the poems include: “Lonely Land”, “The House on the Hill”, “Blanc” and even one called “Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes”.

Semester 2 is here and the new classes are…. New. Report cards have not arrived yet, but they will be coming really soon. Though the teachers have assured us already that we all got good marks, it’s quite hard not to worry about them, especially being in this class. And of course, we cannot forget Akira. The classroom dog is still as cute and fluffy as ever and is always eager to eat from other people’s lunches! It seems as though the Akira disease is getting stronger and now everybody in the class wants him to themselves. We would get up now and then to bribe him with treats and convince him to sit by us. Of course, it never really works:) but what would you expect from a dog? Thanks for checking out our blog and actually taking the time to read our posts!