In BETA Minischool grade 9 this month:

We’re back in BETA, with more dysfunctionality and {chaos theory at work} than ever before! With two new teachers, Mr Murray and Ms Neumann, who are contractually obligated to not leave in the middle of the year, we’re probably going to have a better time than last year. From the students of BETA Minischool, here is an account of how things are going, and what we’ve done so far.

Week 1: Intro icebreaker escape room

Week 2: Historical perspectives, Alien base

Week 3: Cells (animal/plant)

Week 4: French revolution story

As you can see, we completed four projects for Humanities and Scimatics, as well as a fun “intro” activity which tested our problem-solving abilities and left us all very confused. The escape room used 3 clues to give us the code for a locked box, which then contained three coded riddles, each of which led us on separate trails of 8 more coded riddles each (making a total of 24 coded riddles). Additionally, we had a dance puzzle which gave us directions to make number-like poses. The Grade 8s proved more  successful at the “escape room” than we, the Grade 9s. Overall, this activity was a great introduction to the Mini School classroom, and puzzled us all. It also proved how incompetent we are a cooperating in all contexts. Hooray for Beta 9!

The first project of the year was a brief presentation on historical thinking concepts, which had us fumbling around with technology to get something together. Working in random groups of 2 or 3, we researched and found examples about one of the six historical thinking concepts. Certain students had the unfortunate task of carrying the group. We then created a presentation using various presentation softwares and showed it to the class, explaining in detail the historical thinking concepts, which we are going to be using throughout the year. It also proved how the class can be very unproductive most of the time, as most of the work was done at home, while most class time was spent having ridiculous conversations about frivolous topics.

The second project was a presentation on Alien Base Counting. Within partners or by ourselves, we created an alien race and explained their counting system, as well as explaining traits such as their way of life and appearance. Our projects allowed us to think creatively as well as learn how different counting systems and bases worked. Some bases proved to be harder to count in that one might think, like base 2(x). Many people went above and beyond by creating entirely new worlds and going in-depth about the aliens’ lifestyles and details. Some details enriched our understanding of said alien life forms, and some information would probably have been better off unknown. Nevertheless, we managed to accomplish another project as we quickly realized what the teachers meant by “Project based-learning”.

The third project was a presentation and essay on the Cell Structure and characteristics of life. Working in groups of 3 or 4, we researched a plant/animal species and attempted to explain how the plant/animal fulfilled the characteristics of life and explained its cell structure. Some chose common plants and animals, and some chose strange plants and animals, often with much comedic effect. This was a smaller review project, intended to refresh and/or patch up what we’d learned previously about cells and life, and helped us recall the memories from 8th grade science. Some of us probably spent more time than was necessary, but it was all for the cause of learning!

The fourth project was a Choose Your Own Adventure-style story pertaining to the French Revolution. We worked either in partners or alone, and created a choose-your-own-adventure story based off actual events that happened during the French Revolution. Our stories used many creative ideas, including the perspective of nobles, the clergy and even animals. Some people chose to make an adaptation of the French Revolution, setting it in the future, the present-day or even in a different world altogether. As with many of the previous project, some decided to take the project very seriously, to the point of staying up until midnight, while some made stories filled with ridiculously silly turns and weird outcomes.

Overall, this month at BETA Mini School was an exciting and intriguing introductory month to the program, and set the bar for the many months to come. If this month was any indication, the following year will be full of exciting (and stress-inducing) projects that will help us all to learn more material, and more in-depth as well. See you in October

-Beta Bits of Business team


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