Urban Planning – Designing your Own City

After learning about the six major categories of land use in urban areas (Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Institutional, Recreational and Transportation), Grade 9 Geography students had the opportunity to design their own cities.

Students created their cities based on the standard percentage of land use in a typical North American city. For example only 7% of the city could be recreational, 32% had to be used for transportation, etc. Students were challenged to think about what types of land use should be located close to each other or further away from each other. They also had to consider questions such as: How would people move around the city? What types of industries would sustain the city? What types of residential buildings would work in the city?

As a final step in the project, students presented their designs to the class and received peer feedback about strengths and suggested improvements.

Grade 9 Science Unit 4 – Sustainable Ecosystems and Human Activity


The year is drawing to a close, and what an adventure it has been on many fronts. In the microcosm of grade nine science, we ended the virtual year off by examining ecosystems. First, we looked at some of the basic concepts and terminology related to ecology, and then zoomed into the various ecosystems Earth has to offer. After examining the living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) components of ecosystems, we spent some time examining how the biotic factors interacted with the abiotic factors, as well as how the biotic factors interacted with one another. We discussed symbiosis, predation, energy flow, limiting factors, and competition (for food, resources, shelter, etc).

Students played an interactive online game called Mountain Scramble, where they had to try balancing all the living things in an ecosystem over a twelve day period, giving them a hands-on look at how difficult a task it can be (way to go nature!). For the end of the unit, we looked at the similarities and differences of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and the impacts various human activities have on them. To demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the unit, students worked on an assignment where they analysed the impacts housing development and fertilizer use can have on local ecosystems, and proposed some ways to lessen the negative impacts.

What does a can of tomatoes have to do with Geography?


Unit 3 of the Grade 9 Geography course focuses on natural resources.  We use a “simple” can of tomatoes to explore what natural resources are, how humans use them and how we use energy resources at every stage of production.  The class had to brainstorm the production steps required to start with a tomato seed and end up with a can of tomatoes sitting on a supermarket shelf.

Once we brainstormed the steps in production, we traced back which natural resources were used in each step. As a class, we investigated several of these in depth.  For example, if you want to put the tomatoes in the can, you first have to make the can.  What natural resource would you gather?  What impact might gathering that natural resource have on the environment?  What energy natural resource would be required to manufacture the can?  What resources are used in transporting the can?

At the end of the lesson, students started to understand that there are hundreds of steps in the production of even a simple item, and that resources and energy are used in every step.  Ultimately this led us to a larger discussion of how to reduce the amount of natural resources and energy that we use in our daily lives.

Grade 11 Biology Unit 5 – Anatomy of Mammals


As we approach the end of this new online frontier, the grade 11 biology class has completed its second to last unit, The Anatomy of Mammals. We broke the unit into three parts, the first being the anatomy of various body systems. The unit began with an in-depth look at the circulatory system, exploring its various components (the heart, blood vessels, and blood cells), their structures and functions. Next, we looked at the respiratory system and finished off part one by taking a voyage through the digestive system. Once the three body systems were explored, we moved into part two of the unit and discussed how different body systems interact with one another. We finished off the unit by examining the impacts our choices have on our body systems.

Green Our Homes With Green Industries


When Green Industries had to make the shift to online learning, it was a bit of a bummer, as it meant we weren’t going to be able to do all of the hands-on learning and field trips that we had planned. But I like to look at the opportunities that situations like this can present us. Now that we had to learn at home, why not use this opportunity to improve our homes, indoors and out, by greening them!

Students Green Their Homes With Green IndustriesWe began by learning all about the benefits that immersing ourselves in nature can have, and how adding a few plants into our living spaces, and participating in gardening can improve our mental health in trying times. We practiced propagating plants from ones that we already had growing in our home as well as growing our own food from kitchen scraps, getting artsy while making plant labels from upcycled materials found around the house, and preparing garden beds outdoors.


Now that it is warm and sunny out, the students are moving their growing from the indoors to the outdoors, and we are continuing the greening process from the comfort of our own yards!