A Look at Families of Elements

On the 28th of November 2016, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) approved the name and symbols for the four new elements that had been previously discovered during the past few preceding years: nihonium (Nh), moscovium (Mc), tennessine (Ts), and oganesson (Og), respectively for element 113, 115, 117, and 118. The periodic table of element was first organized into its modern form by the Russian chemist Dimitri Mendeleev in 1863.

Mendeleev noticed that 56 known elements of his day displayed more than the simple pattern of increasing in atomic mass. He realized that groups of elements had similar physical and chemical properties that they shared with one another, despite having different atomic masses. He used his newly formed period table to correctly predict the properties of eight elements that had not yet been discovered!

Using their knowledge of the periodic table and understanding that elements in the same groups/families on the periodic table share similar physical and chemical properties, the grade 9 science class put their scientific investigation skills to observe four sets of chemical reactions to determine which solutions belonged to the same family on the periodic table.

Students reacted silver nitrate separately with potassium chloride, potassium iodide, potassium bromide and potassium sulfide. After reacting the solutions, student recorded their observations and applied their knowledge and understanding of the periodic table to figure out which of the potassium solutions (if any) were part of the same group/family.

Tokens 4 Change: Youth Helping Youth

Once again YMCA Academy students participated in Tokens 4 Change, an annual event which raises funds for Youth Without Shelter, a youth shelter in Etobicoke that gives a home to 1,000 homeless youth a year.

In January, the entire school participated in a workshop led by Youth Without Shelter, that opened their eyes to the reality of youth homelessness. They learned about the diverse reasons that youth find themselves without a home. Many were surprised to realize that you cannot tell if someone is homeless from their appearance. This workshop had a lasting impact on students and inspired many of them to sign up for Tokens 4 Change.

On Friday, February 3rd, 10 Academy students canvassed at St. Andrew’s station, covering the busy 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. shift. They were loud, energetic and creative in their messaging, encouraging commuters to reach into their pockets and make change for Toronto’s homeless youth. Thanks to their help St. Andrew’s was the second high producing station this year. This one day event raised almost $100,000 which will go directly to supporting youth transit costs and fund essential, empowering programs at Youth Without Shelter.

The Cookbooks are Ready for Sale!

The YMCA Academy cookbooks have been printed, packaged and are ready for sale! The idea of the cookbook came from the Cooking Club which meets each week to create delicious and nutritious foods. The club has gathered their favourite recipes and compiled them with recipes submitted by students, staff and friends of the Academy. All together there are 115 recipes spiral-bound together with a custom cover of Cooking Club photos.

These cookbooks make wonderful holiday gifts and are a great way to support the Academy. The books cost $20 for one or two for $30 and all of the proceeds will go to programs that benefit our students, such as Cooking club and the YMCA Youth Exchange. If you would like to place an order, please e-mail Katie Clay at kclay@ymcaacademy.org.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this project and to those who have purchased cookbooks. Your ongoing support of the Academy is so appreciated!


Cooking Club is at it again!

The YMCA’s afterschool Cooking Club started off the new school year by making a delicious (and healthier version) of a 7-layer dip. Students worked together to prepare the ingredients for the 7 layers and assembled their own individual dip in a plastic cup. A great idea for parties and it avoids double dipping!

Students in the club meet once a week to work on their culinary skills, learn new recipes, and have fun with their peers. There is a focus on making healthy choices and students learn about the nutritional value of foods and are encouraged to try new things.

This year the club will be putting together a cookbook which will include recipes contributed by staff and students of the Academy, as well as recipes made by the club. The cookbook will be sold to fundraise for programs at the school including the Cooking Club. Stay tuned for more information about how you can support the YMCA Academy and take home your very own cookbook!

Math Students Apply their Skills!

The YMCA Academy’s Grade 11 College Math class took to the park to apply their skills to real world problems. After studying trigonometry in class and using technology to verify its laws, students were ready to see its applications firsthand.

Trigonometry has been used through the ages to solve problems in fields such as astronomy, land-surveying, navigation, architecture and more! In our class the students had to find the height of a lamp post, using a device called a clinometer which measures the angle of elevation, and determine the width of a pond that we created with chalk. Students worked together to take required measurements, determine which trigonometric formula to use and solve the problem.