Student Vote

The two Civics classes in the Academy have joined together to work with Student Vote Canada to bring a realistic voting experience to the school.

Before the voting day, students first create informative videos about the municipal election, then create posters for candidates to investigate their stories and platforms. On the voting day, students take on different roles such as deputy returning officer, poll clerk and scrutineers to help guide other students through the voting process.
It has been an authentic and engaging learning experience for all of us!

Back Again at Cedar Glen!

There are many things we have all missed out on over the past two years. As life continues to flow ever closer to normalcy, we are all benefiting from being able to do the things we have not been able to. One of those things here at the Academy is the annual expedition to Cedar Glen. Although we were able to do a day trip there last year, is it really a Cedar Glen trip if it isn’t overnight? This school year, the school was once again able to journey to our 262 Acre home away from home, a pilgrimage we look forward to with excitement.

Our trip this year started on Wednesday October 19. After packing up 3 buses with bags, students and staff, the school made its way to Schomberg Ontario where Cedar Glen is situated. As always, our trip began with the students rotating between volunteering on the farm and playing various field games led by the amazing Cedar Glen staff. After lunch the Navy and Maroon squads faced off in a forty five minute game of capture the flag. Students zipped, dodged and zagged to steal each others’ flags while trying to avoid capture. Having moved into cabins and with food in everyone’s belly, students spent the evening doing various indoor activities as the weather outside although not frightful was bad enough to prevent the campfire and night hike.

Thursday morning’s activities had students choosing to partake in one of several activities. While some tested their balance on the low ropes course or played various field or arctic games, others tried channelling their inner Legolas at the archery range. The main focus of Thursday, however, was the fourth annual instalment of the Academy Games. Although young in its inclusion into the Cedar Glen trip, the Academy Games has very quickly become a source of fierce competition between the school’s to squads. Reigning three time champions Maroon were looking to defend their unbroken streak of victories to steal a fourth win, while the Navy team aspired to dethrone Maroon’s string of successes.

After lunch, both squads gathered to receive this year’s team swag which were Navy and Maroon hoodies. With their newly acquired swag on, and some previous ones as well, both teams faced one another and cheered off, trying to outdo one another. When both teams quieted, the official start of the games was announced and both teams ventured to their first stations. After about two and a half hours, the squads slowly started gathering at the final station that pits Navy and Maroon in a fire building competition that is mired in much controversy. The Navy team was first to show up with two of its four squads. Eventually a Maroon team arrived and in the blink of an eye, all four teams from each squad were present.

After looking over penalties and rewards gathered during the game, it was an even start for both teams. With representatives chosen for each team, it was now up to a few members to build the fastest and tallest fire in order to burn through three heights of rope before the other team. Both teams started slowly, battling the dampness in a lot of the tinder, kindling and wood they had gathered from the multiple bouts of precipitation from the day before, and that very morning. Eventually, the Maroon team’s flames started to rise and reach ever higher. The Navy team battled relentlessly to catch up, but had difficulty getting their fire to hold long enough to ignite the larger pieces of kindling and wood. Eventually, time and circumstances conspired against a first ever Navy win, and with the third and highest rope burnt through, the Maroon squad secured its fourth straight Academy Games championship, and still remains undefeated.
Both sides walked back to the main cabin together for dinner. One student disclosed that they had hidden some wood for next year’s game! After dinner students finally got to enjoy the campfire that was cancelled the night before as well as a night hike for those who wanted one.

On our last day we took part in our usual ritual of doing more archery and playing the now infamous teachers vs. students animal survival game in the woods. Eating one last meal at lunch, students packed up the buses and headed back to the Academy. Despite the weather not being great the first two days, everyone toughed out the elements and had a great time. This year’s experience at Cedar Glen was special. It brought everyone another sense of normalcy from the past, and gave an opportunity for some to experience Cedar Glen in its truest form for the first time. We can’t wait to be back next year.

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

Album One | Album Two | Album Three

Scientific Observations in the Park

Early in the school year, the grade 10 science classes learned about quantitative and qualitative observations in the field. The groups headed out on a single-period walking excursion to Queen’s Park where they could conduct some observations in a dynamic environment. Students began by engaging their senses; feeling textures, smelling scents, observing colours, and listening to the sounds around them. Learning how terms like “lots,” “green,” “good,” and “cold,” represented judgements that could be considered qualitative was useful. Students also developed knowledge around how countable measurements of distance, weight, amount, temperature, volume, and area using standard units would be considered quantitative.

Students toured in small groups around the park, making both qualitative and quantitative observations. They were instructed to return to the whole group with three qualitative questions, and three quantitative questions that could be posed about features of the park. A group discussion was held about how that data could be gathered and verified.

Mapping the World

In unit two of our Issues in Canadian Geography class, we have been exploring the concepts of Mapping! This includes learning what a map is, who makes maps, map projections and distortions, the features of a map, and how to read the stories that maps tell!

As a warm up activity, the students tried their hand at cartography by drawing a map of the world from memory. Within seconds, all of their erasers were frantically in use–which is the point of the exercise. When we think of the world, we often start with the area(s) of the world that we know best or feel the most familiar with, typically North America. When it’s time to move on to other continents and countries, we realize that we overestimated the size of North America then have to redraw it to make it smaller and smaller…and smaller. The fact that all maps (not just the ones we draw) are drawn from someone’s perspective s an interesting concept to discover with the students, and from there we can further explore how we view the world outside of our community.

See the above photos for our interpretations of the world!

Field Study

Have you wondered what is the quality of our water and soil in the city? The students in Environmental Science actively performed water testing at the waterfront and soil testing in the parkette beside the YMCA! The students enjoyed collecting the samples, especially the water sample from Lake Ontario. We were surprised at the results we received for the oxygen levels at the waterfront. The results were either invalid or Lake Ontario is heavily polluted since we received a reading of 0ppm. The students factored into their results that we were testing near the shoreline where human pollution collects including microplastics and boat oil. A low amount of oxygen suggests that the water ecosystem is unhealthy. The students have also been engaging in possible solutions by investigating local and global environments. The students observed that there is “too much construction” in our city.

At the lakefront, the students also investigated the levels of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium in the soil collected from the parkette. The students can be seen in the photographs performing chemical analysis of the soil samples. “We got good results,” said an environmentalist in training! The students were fascinated by the unique opportunity to engage in a field study in their local community! One student expressed:

“We could not have picked a better day. It was not raining. It was sunny.”

As we continued our field study, we compared the disturbed location (heavy human traffic area) to an undisturbed location (limited human traffic area). What area did we choose? The Green Industries terrace! We wanted to determine how healthy the soil is where the Green Industries class is growing plants and vegetables. If nutrients are too high, nutrients can become contaminants! What were the results? The students are still actively comparing the data though, most intriguing, nitrogen was high in the disturbed environment. Nitrogen is a common ingredient in fertilizers. Another student shared:

“We learned a lot about our city and the biodiversity.”

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