Mr. Thompson Day

November 28th 2016 holds a special place in the hearts of the grade 9 mini school students. It was the day our beloved original mini school teacher left the class and thus left us to fend for ourselves.

Exactly one year later, we have decided to not hold onto the feeling of abandonment, but to rather commemorate the improvements of the BETA mini school program by raising a toast to our current teachers, Mr. Murray and Ms. Neumann. Two amazing individuals who have fortunately saw enough potential in the class and their own chaos management skills to stick around longer than their predecessor.

So in order to turn around the negative vibes of the date, we as a class worked as a team (surprisingly for once) and put together “Mr. Thompson Day” to celebrate and look at how far we have come since then. Now, leading up to this event, there was a fair amount of planning involved, courtesy of Peter Szymborski, the mastermind responsible for all these plans. We sought approval from the teachers to grant us the permission to run an unknown event during class time and everyone contributed a bit of cash to fund for the cake and various other snacks.

When November 28th finally rolled around again this year, an in class party was somehow smoothly executed in honour of this event. We as the mini school worked together as a team and thus reaped great rewards in the form of a costco cake and junk food.

BETA Bits of Business

After our 3 day introduction on DNA with student presentations, we finally took our next step into our science topic. This time, BETA 9 experiences with extracting DNA from a strawberry. Though the procedure was a bit on the more difficult side as it was all aural instructions, we managed to pull through and finish the DNA extraction.

 

A photo of DNA taken through the microscope

Thanks to Ms. Neumann, our class was able to experience and get our hands on something super cool! Our first step was to get a thawed strawberry and place it into an airtight bag. Next was the fun part, we got to crush the strawberry into mush. Everyone had different methods of doing so- squishing it with finger, sitting on it, slamming it on the table, smashing it with a water bottle… all quite interesting methods, but it did the job. The next step was to add 10 millilitres of the DNA extractor liquid, which consisted of salt, dish soap, and water. After gently mixing the two liquids together, and trying not to produce bubbles and foam (that kind of backfired on some of us), we had to filter out all the strawberry gunk via cheesecloth and into a test tube. Though several people ended up spilling all of the strawberry mush, most of us reigned successful. The last step was to add isopropyl alcohol. We had to tilt the tube 45 degrees and carefully make two full squirts in order to create a layer on top of the strawberry juice.

After that, we slowly noticed tiny bubbles begin to form and a translucent light-pink, sticky substance in the between the alcohol and strawberry juice. Ms. Neumann then handed out long stirring sticks with small circular hoops attached to one end, much like a bubble wand. We used the stir stick to gently pry the translucent substance out of the mixture, and by stirring in a circular motion, it allowed the extracted DNA to stick to the hoop. We then proceeded to place the extracted substance onto a microscope slide, then we placed a slide cover on top and pushed down to try and get rid of any air bubbles. Afterwards, we placed we slide underneath a microscope, where we were able to see the results of our DNA extraction.

After a lot of focusing, this is what we saw through the microscope

That’s all for today from 🅱eta 🅱its of 🅱usiness! See you all next time!

 

BETA Bits of Business

A few weeks back, BETA 9 made play dough for our sexual and asexual reproduction stop motion films!

 

The process of making play dough was extremely chaotic even though we had written instructions to follow. In partners, we first had to gather all our ingredients, which consisted of flour, water, oil and cream of tartar. It was interesting seeing the different methods people used to measure out each ingredient, as we only had liquid measuring cups. Though this resulted in a mess, we managed to get the job done.

 

The next step was to actually make the play dough. We started off by placing a giant measuring cup filled with water on a hot plate, and then added oil. Gradually, as the liquid combination became a bit hotter, we added flour while stirring to prevent burning. Eventually, after the flour, water and oil mixture was one consistency, we stirred in the cream of tartar. After what seemed like hours of mixing, the play dough was finally set for kneading and coloring. Each group made a different color of play dough. Most people made the play dough into a ball and indented it with their finger to make a small hole for the food coloring. Then we proceeded to push, turn, fold, and repeat. Though most groups reigned successful, a few of us made some rather… interesting colours.  

 

Water and food coloring ended up everywhere, but after a good chunk of time, the class was able to pull through and clean up both the class and the hallway.

 

Our next step was to start and set up our stop motion film sets. Many of us found several creative ways to prop up our devices, in order to achieve the best angle, and lighting. Some students chose to go above and beyond by animating tiny details and paying attention to background movement. Many of us ran into small problems and issues along the way, such as; shadows, which made one frame significantly darker than the others. Movement, which caused the camera to go off center. And last, but definitely not least, background noise. For many students, it was hard to find the perfect location with decent acoustics, and no students wandering around. It was a difficult process, but the all the groups managed to pull through in the end, and produce some extraordinary results.

 

Some of the things we were marked based off, included:

Communication, which is how well we were able to explain our concept of reproduction, using the correct scientific terms, while still making it easy to understand.

The creativity of the script. Again, similar to communication, we had to make sure we portrayed our concept well, while still making it creative and fun! This included the details of the storyline, and how the presentation was pieced together as a whole.

The creativity of the art, which, of course, is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Things like small details, and originality were major influences here.

Lastly, collaboration. I would say this is pretty self-explanatory. We were assessed based on how we chose to use our in-class time to benefit this project.

Overall, both the play dough-making and stop motion films were extremely fun projects! Our class really enjoyed them, and everyone had a blast. Not only were we covering our studies thoroughly, we were also given the opportunity to show our understanding in an interesting and creative way.

 

That’s all from Beta Bits of Business!~

 

Akira addiction: problems of our modern world

A recent affliction has befallen many of us, spreading like the plague. No one is safe. No matter how many reverent haiku’s about the aforementioned furrball we delete; no matter how many eyes we close, thoughts we avert, or ears we plug: there is no question. This classroom menace has spread like wildfire, leaving the most thoughtful and quiet of students blubbering messes in the face of our over-massaged semi-classroom pet. There has never been a horror like this. Never have so many innocents fallen victim to such a terror.

Symptoms may include:

  • Leaving to coddle Mr. Akira at such frequent intervals they could well be judged insane;
  • Laughing over nearly everything our dog does while within a 20 meter radius of the victim;
  • Taking extreme measures to pet the dog while walking, especially under tables;
  • Commenting on an apparent abundance of “cuteness” when akira is acting in a normal fashion, or in other words constantly making note of it even at the most benign moments;

In extreme cases symptoms may include:

  • Refusal to do anything except amiably spoil a rather rotund husky;
  • Reverence of Mr. Akira as the all powerful leader of our universe and bringer of light.

As you can see, Akira addiction is a highly dangerous disease that must be quarantined before it moves beyond our classroom.

Sincerely,

Sammuel S. A. Sirenn-Song.

 

-”A truly horrific problem, finally brought to life”. A semi-anonymous human being.

-”A complete Lie! Akira is cute and- AWWWW look at Akira!”. An Akira fan club member.

-”wow! ur so amazing at everything you do. i love all your work, your the best”. -Mom

 

Akira’s Beta Bits of Business

Ruff ruff! Ruff rufh rhuhf ruuuuuff. Ruff ruhf ruhfu rfhurh ffhurh ruhfuhr ruhfuhr ruhfur, ruhfu rfuhf! HUHRFRUHFUHR!
Rufhrufhruf rhr fuhrffu rufhr ruf rurruuffff ruhffuuuuuuuuuuuf.

Ruff ruhfu ruhffr furr furf urfhur!

Ruffruff ruhf uruhru ffurf ruhfurhf. Rufff ruhfur ruuuuuuuuuuuuf ruhfru rrhhurrrfurhf rufff ruhfuhhrf rruhfhru ruhfur uhrfuuf ruhfururuhfur uurhhfur rrfurh ruff rufh hruf urhu frh furrfu ruhfhfr rruhf ruhf. Rruff frurfh!

Ruffuruhu rufhfruuuu rufhff. Furhhfurh rufhrr frhff ruhfr ruffhur ffurrf rrufff rruhfh furhff ruhfr, fuhhruffr uhfrrf ruff rrufff ruhfr ruffhr rrufffhr ruff rurrff. RUFFFF! Ruff rufhur ruhffu rrufhf,rurhfurh. Furhr rufrh. Ruff Ruff!

Ruffruff ruhf uruhru ffurf ruhfurhf. Rufff ruhfur ruuuuuuuuuuuuf ruhfru rrhhurrrfurhf rufff ruhfuhhrf rruhfhru ruhfur uhrfuuf ruhfururuhfur uurhhfur rrfurh ruff rufh hruf urhu frh furrfu ruhfhfr rruhf ruhf. Rruff frurfh!

Ruff ruff! Ruff rufh rhuhf ruuuuuff. Ruff ruhf ruhfu rfhurh ffhurh ruhfuhr ruhfuhr ruhfur, ruhfu rfuhf! HUHRFRUHFUHR!
Rufhrufhruf rhr fuhrffu rufhr ruf rurruuffff ruhffuuuuuuuuuuuf.

Ruff ruhfu ruhffr furr furf urfhur!

 

[Translation]

Hey guys! I`m Akira, Beta`s therapy dog. My job is to help out around the classroom by making everyone happy! But I mostly just come in for the cuddles. Right now I’m gonna tell you all about what Beta did this month! What was the highlight of the month? When I came in and this girl and her friends had bought a cake from coffee cart! Crazy good! They gave me lots of pieces and I even- oh sorry am I off topic?

Anyway, Beta had a pretty great month. In the true spirit of October and Halloween, everyone started working on a poem about death and destruction. I was surprised to learn that this was Mr. Murray’s idea, not a certain death and destruction loving classmate.

The poems turned out great! They left everyone feeling very sad and poetic, and like you can’t just say “it’s sunny” anymore, you have to say “the sun’s rays lit up the morning dew on the grass, putting a spotlight on the pools of blood and tears from my people”. Maybe I should be a poet!

Before presenting though, they went on a field trip to the Vancouver Writers Fest at Granville Island without me! They all came back full of pizza, gelato, burgers, hotdogs, bubble tea, any treat you can think of really, but I was glad to hear that some people went looking for a Halloween costume for me. No one brought back food though, so that was disappointing.

In science they dove deep into the world of cells (cells, cells they’re made of organelles), and they made some amazing presentations about it. Even I learned something, but I was pretty distracted by my nap and a cameo from a super star!

Well those are my highlights from the month! I can’t wait to come back to Beta and see what else they get up to. Bye!

Another report from your host, Kowl!

Hi there! Welcome to Beta Bits of Business, with your host, Kowl. So, as for the future of this report I’ve got two things. One: everything’s (hopefully) went back to normal, and I’m finally getting something on time, and two: this will be my last report under the category of Beta Bits of Business. I may continue as This Week at Alpha… From Beta, or Current Events Coordinator, but the BBoB report ir being handed over to the a new person whom I do not know the name of at the moment.

So, students are still working on their poems here, and we’ve recently began presenting in groups of four to try and get each other out of our little bubbles of comfort. Very, very soon (actually, the day this will get published) we will be actually presenting to the class, which is unfortunately because by that time I’ll be switching jobs and I won’t be able to write about it. Anyway, everyone is trying to get their poems done, polished, and practiced by the presenting day. The criteria for the presentation is the following; your poem must be above 1min 45sec, but below 3min 15sec. You also must be very familiar with it, and while bringing a IPad up to read off of is acceptable, you should be able to speak it easily.

Recently a cell test was given to us in a unique form; a Kahoot test. For those of you unfamiliar, Kahoot is an online game where the teacher can host a game and give their game code to the students. The students go to http://kahoot.it and enter the game code and their name and they will appear on the teacher’s host screen, which is generally projected for everyone to see. Then, the teacher can configure a few settings and press start, and all the screens will start loading. Next, the host screen will show a question and count down, and then it will show the four choices. Each answer choice has a shape and colour corresponding to it (red triangle, blue pentagon, yellow circle, green square), and on their devices the students get four large boxes, each with the colour and shape. They click the shape that corresponds to the answer they believe is correct, and once the timer counts down it will display the answer. Those who got the answer correct will gain points; the faster you selected, the more points you get. There is also a leaderboard, which shows who has the most points. The questions were cell-related, and Mrs. Neumann checked which questions each student got correct. Unfortunately, we had several WiFi problems, including but not limited to lagging, freezing, the inability to join the game, losing connection, and not responding to an answer.

Alright, now we’ll go into the riddles! Last week’s riddle was “Throw away my outside and cook my inside, then eat my outside and throw away my inside. What am I?” Any guesses? If you have any, post them in last week’s comments before you read this. Done? Alright, the answer is… corn! Now, for today’s riddle.

“What is it that everyone is always doing at the same time?”

To see the answer, you have to continue reading into my next role!

Published 27 / 10 / 2017 (that’s October 27th… also, I don’t know what’s up with the first entry’s year date…)                                                                  Sincerely, Reporter Kowl

 

What have the grade 8’s been up to?

 

Hey Pups, how has this October been for all of you? Now i expect an “it’s been amazing” because it has been. Now, lets just go over what the highs of this month has been!

First off, the obviously grand Writers Fest!!! Held on the Thursday the 19th of October, we went to Granville Island to listen to some poets and, of course, writers. The first portion of our day was listening to the Vanslam team, CAKAWW!!! The performing poets included the 3 active poets and their coach, Go in poets! We then had a long lunch break that gave us time to roam around Granville Island ,and on the occasion, meeting up with students from Alpha’s discovery program, the grade 9 and 10’s of the Beta minischool, The UTP kids from UBC and more. Then for the second and last portion of the day, we listened to authors: Arushi Raina, S.K. Ali, and Cherie Dimaline and their books: “When Morning Comes”, “Saints and Misfits”, and “Dreams and Nightmares”. Then on our way back we took one bus (yes only one of the two busses came) fit 70 people on and left the others on taxis, although it wasn’t much of a shock *cough* *cough* we used the same busses from our grade 8 retreat *cough* *cough*.

Then the next best event, the mock test and the prizes that came along with them! The first test we had was in science with the terms and definitions of the organelles within plant and animal cells, ON KAHOOT. Yup, that’s the first biggest sign that the test was going to be a mock one. Overall with 18 questions and the first place prize of a CLOCK THAT RAN ON LIQUIDS, then we had a fun 2nd test on grade 9 biology with the first place prize a 3d printed object of our choice. I didn’t win either but you know it’s fine- i’m fine, not salty *cough* i shouldve won *cough*.

And lastly, UPCOMING EVENTS!! On the list for Friday the 27th of October: the Beta Poetry Slam and the unit test in math!

Keep at it pups!

Best wishes from the best~

Becky Jackson

The Writing of Horror

We are beginning the study of atmosphere and tension; the study of creating fear and terror in the reader. We are writing horror slam poetry, a much too small genre that benefits from the natural rhythm of a poem. The best speakers can keep an audience on the edge of their toes, tingling with delicious suspense. You cannot surprise a reader out of their seats easily, so a pattern of trying to throw them out of their seats repeatedly is not effective. With writing- it is all atmosphere and tension, and pacing.

We will also visit a slam poetry workshop, a wholly exciting venture. Vancouver is a hotspot for slam poetry, and this informal but carefully crafted art is a hidden gem. A good speaker and a good poem can together captivate an audience like almost nothing else. I personally have never looked forwards more to a single thing we have done in class since the start of the year, and am sure that nearly every other person in class have at least a drop of excitement for the upcoming events.

Here it comes.

Sincerely,

Sammuel S. A. Sirenn-Song.

Strawberry DNA Extraction

After our 3 day introduction on DNA with student presentations, we finally took our next step into our science topic. This time, BETA 9 experiences with extracting DNA from a strawberry. Though the procedure was a bit on the more difficult side as it was all aural instructions, we managed to pull through and finish the DNA extraction.

A photo of DNA taken through the microscope:

Thanks to Ms. Neumann, our class was able to experience and get our hands on something super cool! Our first step was to get a thawed strawberry and place it into an airtight bag. Next was the fun part, we got to crush the strawberry into mush. Everyone had different methods of doing so- squishing it with finger, sitting on it, slamming it on the table, smashing it with a water bottle… all quite interesting methods, but it did the job. The next step was to add 10 millilitres of the DNA extractor liquid, which consisted of salt, dish soap, and water. After gently mixing the two liquids together, and trying not to produce bubbles and foam (that kind of backfired on some of us), we had to filter out all the strawberry gunk via cheesecloth and into a test tube. Though several people ended up spilling all of the strawberry mush, most of us reigned successful. The last step was to add isopropyl alcohol. We had to tilt the tube 45 degrees and carefully make two full squirts in order to create a layer on top of the strawberry juice.

After that, we slowly noticed tiny bubbles begin to form and a translucent light-pink, sticky substance in the between the alcohol and strawberry juice. Ms. Neumann then handed out long stirring sticks with small circular hoops attached to one end, much like a bubble wand. We used the stir stick to gently pry the translucent substance out of the mixture, and by stirring in a circular motion, it allowed the extracted DNA to stick to the hoop. We then proceeded to place the extracted substance onto a microscope slide, then we placed a slide cover on top and pushed down to try and get rid of any air bubbles. Afterwards, we placed we slide underneath a microscope, where we were able to see the results of our DNA extraction.

That’s all for today from 🅱eta 🅱its of 🅱usiness! See you all next time!