Neighbourhood Prototype Project

Alex’s Exploring Technology has been learning about the design process and how it can be applied to urban planning. We began with research and brainstorming to explore what makes a neighbourhood a good place to live. Students generated lists of “look-fors,” and we furthered our research by heading out on a walk.

During the walk students worked in survey teams to notice aspects of the neighbourhood that make it a good place to live, and aspects that need improvement. Teams took photos as evidence, and marked important findings on a map. Back at school, they worked to record their findings on google earth.

One new insight gained during the walk was the importance of art and cultural spaces (murals, theatres etc.) in a neighbourhood.

Based on their explorations, students worked on designing their own prototype neighbourhoods. Some students used Minecraft to create neighbourhood layouts. Others worked on creating a physical model of an ideal neighbourhood.

Circuit Project

In Computer Technology, we cover a broad range of topics that are related to computers. This month we will be looking at a basic and crucial part of computers, electricity and circuits.

Students are first taught the basics of electricity as well as the safety of handling electrical equipment. Then, we start a series of circuit projects, where students get the hands-on experience to build and draw different circuits for better understanding.

Satellites in Space – Designing Spacecraft

The Grade 9s were treated to a special visit from NASA (Wallops Visitor Center – big thank-you!). The students participated in the program MISSION EXPLORERS: DESIGN A SPACECRAFT.

Together the Grade 9s mission was to design spacecraft that would study the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere of earth. NASA guided the students step-by-step on how to design a spacecraft beginning with a review of the different types of space technology such as rovers, scientific balloons, and satellites. The students then decided the power source for the spacecraft and the scientific instrument such as a camera or magnetometer. The students also incorporated a communication device to send signals to earth! The students chose between an antenna and an orbiter relay system. The students were ready to sketch their own spacecraft design!

After our visit, the students transformed their designs into 3-D models! During cross-curricular, the students are learning about climate change from space. The satellites in space collect important information about the planet we live on together including how our environment is experiencing pattern shifts. The students carefully thought about how to build their satellites, questioning how to attach antenna and robotic arms that can collect samples. The students experimented with a variety of materials from cardboard to clay to sponges to popsicle sticks imagining what they could be! The spacecraft reflect a diversity of applied design ideas! Next stop, SPACE!

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

Environmental Action Plan

In our Biology unit, the grade 10 students spent time learning about the environment and how long certain materials take to decompose. Once they had completed their research, we decided to spread awareness by making a fun 3D display! The students brought in items and worked together to build the display. Most students were shocked by what they had learned, and made Environmental Action Plans to spread awareness and commit to changing something about their lifestyle. Some replacement items included:

  • Reusable or recyclable coffee pods
  • “Unpaper towels”
  • Bamboo toothbrushes
  • Concentrated cleaning detergents with reusable bottles
  • Biodegradable dog poop bags
  • Steel, paper or glass straws
  • Reusable coffee mugs

  • While reflecting on what they had learned, this is what they had to say:

    “The numbers don’t surprise me but I want to help because a lot of harm can be done by these things in the amount of time that it takes for them to decompose.”
    -Jasper G-S

    “These numbers surprise me a lot! I’ll be able to make adjustments to the products that I will use after learning this. I will start to recycle more.”
    -Ryan dV-C

    “I can’t believe that Aluminum cans take between 80 and 200 years to as long as a million years. I might recycle more.”
    -Lex B

    “Some of these do surprise me because it takes so long to decompose. Some of the ones that surprise me are plastic bags that take 10-1,000 years to decompose. Another one that surprises me is Chewing gum takes 5 YEARS. Candy wrappers take 10 to 20 years. Glass bottles take a million years to decompose or they don’t decompose at all!”
    -Claire K

    “All of these numbers did surprise me because I never knew that it takes that long for things to decompose!!!! I will make adjustments to the products that I use regularly after what I have learned in order to help save our world!!!!! I would also recycle more because it is better for the environment!!!!”
    -Melia M

    “A lot of these numbers surprise me and I will start to make adjustments to the products I use by using more environmentally friendly products and after learning this I will start to recycle more”
    -Erin R

    “There were lots of things that surprised me when I was learning about how long everything would take to decompose. It takes 1000 years for a plastic toothbrush!” -Matthew S

    Our class challenges YOU to consider your environmental impact and make sustainable changes!

    Pepto Bismol Lab

    The students actively extracted bismuth metal from pepto bismol tablets. A soft metal that has similar properties to lead, pepto bismol is widely used in medicine and cosmetics though does not have a specific medical purpose! Bismuth actually helps with the absorption of fluid across the intestinal wall!

    To isolate the Bismuth metal, the students combined Pepto Bismol and HCl (hydrochloric acid). Students then filtered the solution. Student then pondered: “Hmmm… we have bismuth chloride…” We put aluminum in the solution to form Aluminum chloride allowing the Bismuth to precipitate out of solution. The students watched in incredible amazement as the Bismuth formed immediately as these little black dots in solution! We filtered and fired the bismuth sample. The students extracted 3.2g of bismuth from 96 Pepto Bismol tablets.

    WoW! One student shared that this was a great experiment!

    The students asked careful questions throughout as they extracted a solid from a solution. Incredible!

    We got to extract an element!
    We experimented with stomach medication
    We turned a medication into an element!
    We did science!