This Friday we have the amazing opportunity to try a class wide float your boat challenge similar to the district event that happened last week! Using just cardboard and tape students will have to build a working boat model all by themselves and then test it against 5 different teams. In the next few days we are planning and prototyping to find out what best design each team will be using and come Friday we race!
Not only does this provide students with an excellent platform to exert critical and creative problem solving, it is also a chance for collaborative and technical skill building.
There are 2 events, a speed race where team battle it out to be the first across the pool (Kensington) and then a weight event where boats are tested for their max capacity with the goal of staying afloat for a full 2 minutes. We welcome all parents and family who wish to witness the chaos. The plan is to head over to Burnaby North first thing in the morning and build in their courtyard (or undercover area) then walk over to the pool at 11:30. Races will commence at high noon and will possibly be shot lived.
If you are interested in being a judge please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and hopefully see you all Friday!
PS. In other class news we released our butterflies, are building our tiny houses and upcycled inventions and are mid way through a LiD themed paper mache project. Also the LCS battle rages on (literary champion series) and it is as of yet unclear what 2 book will go head to head at the end of this.
Two amazing opportunities that directly connect to our learning have come to my attention and I’d love to share! They areboth on the weekend so no school field trip is possible but I do plan on going and it would be great to see you there.
Go, go TINY is being put on by the BC tinyhouse collective (this Saturday!!)in collaboration with Science world and is FREE! They will be building a tiny home on site and you can tour them and get inspired for our science project! click here for more info
Vancouver Mini Maker Fair (Jun
e 10th and 11th) showcases the amazing works of all kinds of Makers -anyone who is embracing the do-it-yourself (or do-it-together!) spirit and wants to share their accomplishments with an appreciative audience. Join more than 150 artists, tinkerers, performers, inventors, crafters, and other Makers for a weekend of crafting, learning, and exploring! This one is at the PNE Forum and you do need to buy tickets to get in. http://makerfaire.ca/
As May zips by I’d like to take the time to thank some people who have helped bring exciting opportunities into the classroom.
Last week we got the chance to visit the Museum of Archaeology at SFU thanks to Dr. Burley and his faculty of teachers and students. We got a behind the scenes look at some of the historic collections of the museum, we identified distant relatives of Homo Sapiens by their skulls, we learned about the migration patterns or early humans in Polynesia and examined animal bones in the bioarchaeology lab. Students were engaged and curious and it was fantastic to see how history is revealed to us through the garbage of our ancestors.
I am excited to announce that we have 2 more guest speakers coming into our class later this year, both parents with computer engineering backgrounds. One will be speaking more about software design and the other will be teaching us how to program in a virtual reality.
Students are currently working on a large science project where they have chosen one of 3 paths, Engineer, Inventor and Politician. It has been the source of many enlightening conversations in our class and have lead us to questions such as
How can some companies sell goods for very low prices and still make a profit?
Why would a small company chose to stay small over increasing profit?
Why do governments not tax big companies more to give more support to smaller and possibly more eco friendly ones?
How do you calculate the carbon footprint of something that has parts made all over the world?
Just to name a few! I hope it sparked some conversation at home and I would like to thank the critical thinkers in our class for continuing to questions the systems in play around them.
We are also starting a new paper mache art project and I would like to thank Ms. Geddes Sr. for coming in to share her wealth of knowledge and bringing us unique materials to work with.
What is normal? This class continues to teach me not to expect anything expected. Here is a snap shot of our class after lunch today… 2 students started reusing materials in our maker space to create a water filter that transformed into an auto plant watering tool. They enlisted the support of plant club to find a way to suspend their water pump and hang it over our soon to sprout mango seed (another experiment). Several other students were at the benches playing their adapted version of chess, some are making a diagram of a leopard gecko for their LiD project. Two are discussing how better insulation could reduce energy usage in a home and one is finding connections to whales and learning about similarities between their brain cells and ours. We have a unique class that hopefully inspires those in it to push the limits of their understanding and creativity as well as provides a space to nurture who they are as individuals.
This week we had our museum showcase, students presented their social studies immigration projects to parents and other classes and I was blown away. The depth of their understanding about their personal and family histories as well as the appreciation they showed for the stories of others was unreal. Thank you to all parents that made it out and thank you to students for all your hard work!
We also had our career day last Friday where parents came in to do short presentations about their own job paths. Debriefing with the students after they had very positive experiences, all of them saw at least one they could relate to and many who actually had their own parents come said they learned so much about their parents that they never knew before! They have recommended we do it again next year so no worries if you didn’t get a chance to come this time around. Thank you very much to those who did make it.
Next Monday we are heading up to SFU for a archaeology themed visit so please don’t be late!
Rolling into a set of three 4 day school weeks means making the most of the time we have in class. This week we have been finishing up our socials studies projects about personal immigration stories and I am hoping to invite parents in to view them on Wednesday April 26th after lunch! If you and any other family members are free it will be our own class museum exhibit with possibly some tasters of cultural foods as well! We also have been experimenting with self destructing towers, watermelon slide games and pop art scaled self portraits.
We had a guest speaker in this week to talk about two different topics. Keith Gourlay from Performance Biofilaments came in to talk about what it is like to work as a R&D Scientist, the road to a PhD and what is currently being developed to make plastics less harmful. He also brought along his house! He lives in a tiny house and as we are commencing a unit on sustainability and resource management his alternate living arrangements are an interesting answer to some economic and environmental issues.
Abby from our class is also the newest YouTube sensation with her newly produced feature “Cindermochi” check it out!
Congrats on making it through spring break and through our very exciting first week back! We have had several big moments in the past couple days so I thought I’d recap them briefly here with some photos.
Before the break we got a chance to collaborate with the Alpha secondary robotics program and spend a couple days with their Vex Robotics kits, constructing them overcoming the organizational, engineering and communications based challenges. It was amazing how focused students were and even though we had sore fingers I think definitely worth it.
After the break our first day back held an unexpected surprise in that my partner Kimisha came to the school and proposed to me in front of the class! I am so thrilled to have been able to share that moment with my class and my heart was even more full when they independently organized an engagement party for the next day. We had decorations and dined on apple pie and maple cookies while sipping ice tea and listening to music. I am so proud of the community we have in this class and at the organizational skills of our leaders.
We also made our very own 3D print with our Tinkerine Ditto Pro and students are gearing up for their very first chance to design and print something of their own. Don’t forget… 3D printer knowledge test on Monday!
Finally today on April fools eve, students welcomed my “cousin” Mr. Grenier into the class and spent half the day marvelling at his moustache. It is a tradition for me that I have carried out for the past 3 years on April Fools to dress up as my high school French teacher (the real Mr. Grenier) and put on my French accent and strict rules. It was a tough crowd in this MACC pack 3.0 but I hope most students enjoyed the half day change.
We have also started our LiD connection board. Every student has their own LiD identity peg and any time they find a connection to another persons topic they can add a coloured string from their peg to the other person’s. Only one day down and Bruce has 3 great connections already!
All in all a great week, rest up this weekend as we will be hitting the ground running next week!
Our very short week last week just flew by, students participated in either skiing, snowboarding or bowling and it seemed from the smiling exhausted faces I saw that it all worked out quite well. I really appreciate these opportunities to bond outside of the classroom and to be united by our physical activities.
One of the workshops that I attended last Friday (centred around electronics, coding and arduinos) for the Pro-D put me in contact with Mr. Cook from Alpha who teaches a program on Drones!! I have invited him into the class and over the next couple weeks he will be teaching us about the science and physics of flight as well as how to properly pilot our very own drones! Students were very engaged and have started to experiment with gliders and flight patterns of paper air planes in their free time.
It was also so great to see so many glorious pink shirts today! We have a long way to go in order to stop discrimination and bullying in our world and today students took a stand by marching around the school with signs that spoke of acceptance and love. I am always astounded at how open and welcoming my students are of new people and perspectives, they continue to inspire me with hope for our future.
Next week we have our month end assembly on Tuesday if you would like to come and we will be having another drone class with Mr. Cook hopefully on Monday. Our acorns are also fully sprouting!! Plant club will be replanting them this week or early next week. If you have any medium sized old plastic plant pots we are on the look out! Feel free to bring them in any day.
As the week draws to a close we have become menger sponge crazy! Ray has shared his love of mathematical patterns with the class and we have started building our very own 3D fractal. I have added a link to his blog in the links below and here is a video from his youtube channel that describes what a menger sponge actually is!
We have also started our final social studies project for this term and students have brought home interview questions that they will need to complete with your help. The goal of this project is to help students better understand their own immigration history and see connections to classmates as well as to historical immigration trends as well. I hope this process proves insightful for the whole family and stay posted for a parent night to share our final projects with you after spring break!
I hope you have an excellent Family day long weekend, for those who will be coming skiing next week please make sure you bring plenty of warm layers and try to avoid cotton if possible. Also bring your own helmet unless you are planning on using one from the rental area and goggles are a great idea as well as they will not be provided for rental. You are expected to arrive at the school at 6am with all of your gear and ready to board the bus, you are welcome to have snacks on the bus however nothing too messy or spill-able please.
We had an excellent afternoon with Charlotte Spafford yesterday and talked about abstraction, being an art Therapist and the importance of medium choice when creating art. Students were then guided though a workshop where they chose an object, analysed the shapes, form, texture and colour and then abstracted it with various mediums (chalk pastel, watercolour pencil crayon, felt, glue, sparkles…). The goal and the challenge was to flex your mind to de-construct something and represent it in a new and abstract way. Here are a few abstract pieces by our students: