Annual Cedar Glen Trip


After missing our beloved yearly trip to Cedar Glen for the first time in 2020, Academy staff and students made the yearly trip once again. Given current circumstances, this year’s trip was a day trip instead of our usual overnight outings. Students departed from the Academy at 9:30 am on the morning of October 22, new maroon and navy swag baseball caps on their heads. The excitement level on both buses was high as staff and students travelled down the highway.

After arriving and disembarking from the bus, the school was greeted by Cedar Glen staff, who after a brief welcome, led us in various short games. Afterwards, students split into one of 2 groups for the morning activities. One group participated in archery while the other in low ropes activities and games. At the halfway point of the day, the entire school gathered at the amphitheater where we were served pizza.

With lunch and the morning activities complete, the trip’s main event was ready to begin. Students were split into their advisory group squads (maroon and navy) and began the yearly anticipated Academy Games. Groups from each squad rotated amongst five stations, racing against the clock. Rock climbing, archery, trivia, and ragata challenges awaited every group as they ran from one station to the next. The game culminated at the fire building station where both squads raced to be the first to build a fire and burn through a string. After a competitive race, the maroon squad ended up on top, winning their third consecutive Academy Games. In a show of sportsmanship, the maroon squad cheered on the navy squad until they too could burn through their rope. We can’t wait until we can do it all again!

Check out the rest the rest of the pictures on our Facebook page!

Digital Aristotle: A Reflection of Virtual Learning

It’s somewhat hard to believe that a year in lockdown has already gone by. To say it has been an interesting year would be an understatement. After all is said and done, and this human experience is in the rearview mirror, there is a lot that will be looked back upon and analyzed. One of the major realms that will undoubtedly receive a lot of attention will be education, particularly virtual learning.

Virtual learning is by no means a new idea or phenomenon. Virtual schools have existed for years now, but such schools were created for educational reasons and designed for specific situations. The pandemic, however, has thrown the vast majority, if not all of the world’s education systems into some form of virtual learning. Those who choose to attend virtual schools do so (for the most part) of their own volition. Over the last year, everyone has been thrust into virtual learning whether they wanted to or not, whether they thrive in such a situation or languish.

There is a notion in education as to whether or not the growth and implementation of technology will one day lead to a future where students can learn solely from an artificial educator. The current education system is built on top of a framework that was designed to educate students to have the skills and knowledge to be effective and efficient factory workers. In the early days of education, students would sit in desks and listen to a teacher at the front of a classroom. The teacher was a source of information that they would disseminate to their students, a sage on the stage. Fast forward to today, and the only difference in many of today’s classrooms is the colour of the board at the front of the room.

Education has gone through many “revolutions” where this, that, or the other thing was going to radically change how students learned. From radio to television and tablets, no one invention or innovation has really changed education in a fundamental way. The internet, however, offers one place that holds more information than anyone can ever hope to consume, and essentially renders the idea of a person at the front of a classroom who knows a lot of information obsolete. So who needs teachers? Are they commodities who will one day be completely replaced by screens and algorithms?

In my estimation, the past year of learning mostly online – which has had teachers using a lot of digital resources such as videos, podcasts, and the like – has shown us that replacing a classroom teacher with digital content is not a scenario that leads to optimal learning environments. Granted, our small school full of dedicated and passionate teachers has been able to make the best of the world’s current situation; it is likely that many students have found virtual learning less than ideal. Although having one-on-one guidance for each student would be the ideal scenario, even if you could fabricate a digital Aristotle to tutor every student based on his or her individual needs, it could never replace a real – in the flesh – educator. As technology continues to advance, the sage on the stage needs to transform into the guide on the side, helping students navigate the world wide web of information overflow and teach them how to learn and not necessarily what to learn.

Applications of Acid-Base Reactions in Everyday Life: Antacids

Acid-Base reactions are a part of everyday life. In the previous lab, students identified everyday substances found in the home as acids or bases. In their second chemistry lab, the grade ten science class explored the practical applications of acid-base reactions, specifically looking at the use of antacids to stop acid reflux (“heartburn”). The antacids used were: Alka-Seltzer, Tums, Rolaids, and Life Brand.

In the experiment, the different antacids were reacted with an acid (soda pop – coke) to determine which one neutralizes the acid best (increases the pH). After the experiment, students explored the results, and reflected on the effectiveness of the antacids and considered possible explanations for their observations.

Identification of Acids and Bases

Although we have temporarily returned to fully online learning, the show must go on. One of the more “colourful” experiments in chemistry is the one where students try to identify everyday household items as either acidic or basic, and not having access to a lab wasn’t going to stop the grade ten science class from the experience. Having “commandeered” some basic pieces of equipment (test tubes, litmus paper, and a funnel) the identifying acids and bases lab was relocated to my kitchen. Students were given a list of everyday household items (vinegar, pepsi, lemon juice, liquid soap, baking soda, orange juice, mouth wash, and milk) and had to hypothesize whether they were acids or bases.

Each substance was reacted with a bit of red cabbage juice, which contains a natural pH indicator that changes colors depending on the acidity of the solution (very acidic solutions turn the indicator a red color, and basic solutions a greenish-yellow color). This gave students a quick, surface level indication of whether the substance was an acid or a base. To be a bit more accurate, however, we also tested the pH of each substance using a piece of litmus paper. This lab nicely sets up our next experiment where we will look at the applications of acid base reactions.

Learning to Plan


With the first unit on leadership in the rearview mirror, the grade 12 recreation and healthy active living class is headed into its second unit, the facilitation of recreation and leisure. In this unit, students will be learning how to collect relevant information about a target group, analyse the data, and use it to plan a physical activity event. They will learn about the nitty gritty of planning by learning to take into consideration the who, what, where, and how of events, while also being mindful of safety guidelines, procedures and considerations. By the end of the unit, students will have the necessary knowledge to plan a physical activity event for a kindergarten class with various needs.