Gr. 9 Science – All About the Body

 

The Grade 9 Locally Developed Science class has been learning all about body systems in their unit “Biology: Staying Alive. Usually this unit involves a lot of hands-on activities as students discover how their organs work together to complete life sustaining processing. With our move to distance learning some activities have been adapted to engage students while they learn online.

To learn about the digestive system students started with an online interactive simulation. They had to put the organs in the correct order and then watch as the food moved through the system. To make the content more engaging, we simulated the digestive system using household items. Starting with a piece of bread that moved from a bowl, through a toilet roll, into a ziplock bag, and through a nylon, the class groaned as “poop” was made in front of their very eyes. While many thought it was disgusting, they were reminded that this process was happening inside all of them at that very moment.

Students also learned about the respiratory system with slide presentations and fun and informative videos. They each researched how the respiratory system differs among various types of animals and presented their findings to the class. Presenting online means that students don’t have to physically get up in front of the class, which can ease some students’ nerves.

To bring together the digestive and respiratory systems we went through a virtual frog dissection. Virtual dissections are very beneficial as they offer an ethical means to study anatomy, which can be tailored to suit students’ needs. The class was able to make connections between what they had learned in their lessons and the anatomy of the frog and most found it quite interesting.

Students are now working on an animal research project to present to the class and we look forward to learning about how different animals are suited to their environments.

It has been fun learning about body systems, but understanding how the human body works is actually quite important for leading a healthy life. So, keep learning and stay safe everyone!

Students Experiment with Tex-Mex

 

This week for Cooking Club students put together a variety of mouth watering Tex-Mex foods. This theme allowed students to use the ingredients they had on hand and tailor their dish to their particular tastes. There were quesadillas, tacos, burritos, nachos, taco salads and a bean dip!

With virtual Cooking Club students work at their own pace to prep and cook their food and then are asked to show their dish to the group through the video call. The club is also a chance to socialize with the friends that they have been missing for the last couple of months. This was made clear by some of the student comments this week:

“I come to cooking club because I like making food and hanging out with all you guys.”

“My favourite thing about cooking club is hanging out with friends from school.”

Next week will be another chance for students to get together and practice making pasta- a meal every student should know how to make!

Cooking in Quarantine

Over the last couple of months, the pandemic has given everyone an opportunity to take a closer look at their eating and shopping habits. It has also forced many of us to cook more and encouraged some of us to get creative with the foods we have on hand. With all this in mind, the Academy’s Cooking Club has started doing online sessions, where students can come together and make easy, versatile recipes at home.

Normally students show up to Cooking Club with the ingredients laid out in front of them, and then sign up for a job. Everyone does their task and then we put it all together to make a meal. Now, with students making food in their homes, they are responsible for all parts of the meal, including sourcing the ingredients, preparing the food, and cleaning the kitchen. This is even better practice for developing independence and preparing for living on your own.

This week for our first official session we had 16 students, along with several parents and siblings, come together to make pizzas. Students and their families were given guidelines on what they would need, but one of the great things about pizza is that it can be made in many ways with many different ingredients. Some students made homemade dough in advance, others had pre-made crusts and many used naan or pita bread as the base. Each student shared what toppings they were putting on their pizza and we got to see everyone assemble their creations through our video call. We waited patiently for our pizzas to cook and then got to enjoy them together while catching up with what everyone has been doing at home. It was a great success and we are looking forward to next week when we put together some Tex-Mex creations!

The Shoebox Project for Women

This November the YMCA Academy embraced the spirit of giving and ran its second annual Shoebox Project initiative.

Our school came together to first learn about the issue of homelessness in Toronto and Canada and then to do our part to support members of our community in need. In advisory groups, students brainstormed what gifts might help women feel special and devised a plan to purchase all of the items. Each group carefully decorated a shoebox, wrote a card with an inspiring message, and filled their box with thoughtful gifts.

The Shoebox Project for Women operates throughout Canada and the United States, delivering gift-filled shoeboxes to women in need. In Toronto the shoeboxes are distributed to women accessing a variety of services such as the YMCA Women’s Shelter, CAMH, Native Women’s Resource Centre, Covenant House etc. The aim of the project is to remind women that they have not been forgotten and that they are a valued and respected member of their community.

Once again this project raised some questions among our youth about homelessness and about the unique challenges faced by women and girls and provided excellent learning opportunities. It encouraged our students to foster empathy and to be engaged citizens. It also promoted collaboration among our students who had to work together to complete the various tasks and achieve their goals.

Our students and their families were very generous and even though we only have 8 advisory groups, we had enough donations to put together 19 boxes! Our shoeboxes contributed to the over 57,000 total boxes delivered in Canada, the USA and the UK for the 2019 holiday season. Thanks again to everyone who helped make this another successful project!

Check out more photos from this event on our Facebook page!

Youth Exchange Canada: Tobique First Nation

From May 18th to 24th, students and staff from the YMCA Academy shared in an amazing experience visiting Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick as part of the YMCA Youth Exchange Canada program. Many students felt that this trip was a highlight of their high school career and will always remember the fun and interesting activities they did and the wonderful people they met.

Our group met at the airport early Saturday morning, tired but excited for the adventure. After a short flight we arrived at the Fredericton airport and took a bus to Camp Wolostoq. We got a little lost on the way as Rein tried to direct the airport bus down an ATV trail, but we eventually made it, mostly in one piece! The camp was great, there was lots of open space and forested area. All of the cabins had been recently painted with artwork displaying animals that have a cultural significance. We were able to meet the artist who painted the cabins and she told us about why they are important to their culture.

The first night we had a chance to catch up with everyone who had visited us a month earlier in Toronto and also meet some of their friends and family. We settled into our cabins and had a campfire complete with hotdogs and s’mores.

The next day we visited Fredericton and went to the University of New Brunswick to learn about the history of Indigenous peoples through a pop up museum and also got to visit the Beaverton Art Gallery. We explored downtown Fredericton and then headed to Kingswood Entertainment Centre where we got to go bowling and play laser tag and arcade games.

The following day we hung out at the Wolostoq Education Initiative/Tobique Youth Centre and found out about the facilities available and activities they run. We had the option of going fiddlehead picking and were able to forage buckets full of the beloved young fern/vegetable, which we enjoyed for dinner a couple of days later. We also visited Hartland to walk across the longest covered bridge in the world!

The next day we toured the reserve and the local elementary school and helped out in a nearby community garden planting herbs and vegetables. Then many of us participated in a sweat lodge ceremony, which for some was a highlight of the week. The experience was 3 hours long, comprised of 5 themed sessions that allowed participants to share their thoughts and feelings, while in a hot, dark space in very close proximity to each other. It was a very special experience that we will treasure. After this it was a quick transition to Grand Falls for a chilly zip line across some spectacular waterfalls.

The next day we did many activities that taught us about the history and culture of Indigenous peoples. We chose from a variety of crafts, including basket-weaving, wood burning, rock painting, rattle making, and medicine bag making, and also had a chance to learn about the use of plants as medicine and go on a plant scavenger hunt. That evening there was a community potluck and drum and dance circle, which was a lot of fun.

Our last full day was spent at Camp Shiktehawk and we had perfect weather for all of the fun activities, including archery, human bowling, ropes courses and rock climbing. That night we had a friendly game of kickball, Toronto vs. Tobique, and then had many of Tobique youth come back to camp with us for the last night. In the morning we were certainly sad to see the week come to an end and to have to say good-bye to our friends, but we had such a great time and know that we will stay in touch and hopefully see them again soon.

Some words from our students:

“This exchange was one of the highlights of my high school experience and I would very much recommend it to other students.” -Seth

“It was a great trip, I wish it was longer!” -Peter

“I had the time of my life!” -Javier

Check out more photos from this event on our Facebook page!