Fostering Relationships in a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed many challenges for us over the last 10 months, with one of the most significant challenges being our limited social interactions and lost time with loved ones. This has had a ripple effect into our school, with students not being able to fully embrace the social components of being in the classroom. As a school, we try to support all aspects of student wellbeing, including their social health, which is why we have taken the extra step to create some (safe) opportunities to socialize!

Before the winter break, our Student Life Counsellor, Jamie, and our Educational Assistant, Brydie, played a friendly – socially distanced and masked – game of Basketball with two of our highschoolers. There was a lot at stake; the losers had to bake for the winners. Needless to say, Jamie and Brydie spent the following weekend baking! Unfortunately the stay-at-home order meant that they couldn’t plan anymore basketball games in the foreseeable future…but it gives them a chance to practice for the next one!

Since moving online after the break, our Middle Schoolers have expressed their struggles with the switching back to virtual learning, after being on-site and in-person since September 2020. Acknowledging this drastic switch and second loss of social interaction, we started a weekly after school “Hangout” where the Middle School students can have some supervised non-academic fun! Our first week was spent creating communal rules to ensure a safe space, then starting our comic books by designing our avatars and making a 3-page comic on what we would be doing if we had unlimited freedom! Our participants didn’t hesitate to get creative, become the President of the United States, and soar into space!

With the end of Octo 4 fast approaching and the extended remote learning announcement, we look forward to having something fun planned for the High Schoolers to interact with one another soon… watch this space!

When Life Throws you Lemons, Sell Them

The Marketing class has been exploring and learning about ten important components of marketing. This week, students took on the challenge of running a lemonade stand in an online game. Through the game, they were able to learn about the importance of research, product development, pricing, sales and inventory management. They had complete control over pricing, quality, inventory and supplies, and their goal was to make as much money as possible over a 14 day period. It’s not as easy as it sounds though, as students needed to account for the weather, customer satisfaction and feedback, popularity, money, and inventory.

Although some students were more successful than others, everyone had fun trying to find the perfect balance between all the different factors at play. In addition, the game did well to demonstrate that marketing is more than just about sales and advertising. Soon enough, students will take these newly learned skills to put together a marketing plan of their own.

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.

Creating with Code

In Introduction to Computer Studies we have spent the past week working with python, a simple programming language that is the basis for many programs and games that some may be familiar with. We have been creating basic programs that allow users to input commands and interact with the program. This includes a question and guessing game where users are trying to guess what the computer is “thinking of.” It can be a challenging unit for some learners, but most find it the most rewarding because they have a list of products to look back at and see how far they’ve come.