Gr. 9 Science – All About the Body


The Grade 9 Locally Developed Science class has been learning all about body systems in their unit “Biology: Staying Alive. Usually this unit involves a lot of hands-on activities as students discover how their organs work together to complete life sustaining processing. With our move to distance learning some activities have been adapted to engage students while they learn online.

To learn about the digestive system students started with an online interactive simulation. They had to put the organs in the correct order and then watch as the food moved through the system. To make the content more engaging, we simulated the digestive system using household items. Starting with a piece of bread that moved from a bowl, through a toilet roll, into a ziplock bag, and through a nylon, the class groaned as “poop” was made in front of their very eyes. While many thought it was disgusting, they were reminded that this process was happening inside all of them at that very moment.

Students also learned about the respiratory system with slide presentations and fun and informative videos. They each researched how the respiratory system differs among various types of animals and presented their findings to the class. Presenting online means that students don’t have to physically get up in front of the class, which can ease some students’ nerves.

To bring together the digestive and respiratory systems we went through a virtual frog dissection. Virtual dissections are very beneficial as they offer an ethical means to study anatomy, which can be tailored to suit students’ needs. The class was able to make connections between what they had learned in their lessons and the anatomy of the frog and most found it quite interesting.

Students are now working on an animal research project to present to the class and we look forward to learning about how different animals are suited to their environments.

It has been fun learning about body systems, but understanding how the human body works is actually quite important for leading a healthy life. So, keep learning and stay safe everyone!

Grade 11 Biology Unit 3 – Genetics

Jumping back into the thick of things after our break, the new virtual biology classroom delved into the brand new unit of genetics. We began the unit by discussing the structure of DNA and built up to what genes are and how they are expressed. Once we were comfortable with the structure and expression of DNA we looked at the process of how it replicates itself and then moved on to looking at the processes of mitosis and meiosis. Next we ventured into the world of genetic disorders, focusing more on the different types of disorders and looking at a few examples of each and how they manifest.

As the unit came to a close, we explored various reproductive technologies and their links to genetics and ended the unit by discussing the various ethical, social and legal issues related to genetics, genetics research and technology. This set up students to start thinking about genetic disorders and the various issues related to them, which is what their unit research project was centered around.

Grade 9 Science Unit 3 – Space Exploration

As schools and students have moved to online learning, the grade 9 science class is fortunate to have had the opportunity to do so with a fresh start on a new unit called Space Exploration. In this unit we started off by discussing the history of astronomical discovery and the important roles it has played in the evolution of our societies. We then moved on to exploring our own backyard by cataloging some of the characteristics of the planets in our solar system by exploring NASA’s planetary website.

After we were done in our own backyard, we ventured farther and father out into the universe, looking at all of the vast structures it has to offer. Eventually we spent an entire class talking about stars, their characteristics and how they live and end their ‘lives’. Upon learning about stars, we went back into deep space and learned about various astronomical phenomena, from those close to us such as solar and lunar eclipses, to the more exotic ones such as black holes, quasars, and pulsars. We ended the unit by discussing the various challenges of exploring space which prepared students for their mission to Mars assignment.

Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Dogs with superpowers, a ketchup race, amazing animals, delicious food, and a whole lot of fun: Academy students from four very different classes came together to experience all this, and much more, earlier this month at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

The Royal is a longstanding Toronto tradition, and a fantastic place to extend learning through experiential opportunities that activate (literally) all the senses. This also means that it’s perfect for cross-curricular learning; at a seminar hosted by faculty and students from the Centre for Food at Durham College, we learned about how ketchup is made — including investigations of chemical processes, food science and safety standards, career connections, and sensory feedback. It was a supercharged lesson for our students from the Food and Nutrition, Grade 10 Science, Career Studies, and Grade 11 English classes.

At the Academy, we’re constantly working to find ways large and small to break down the walls of the classroom and provide authentic learning experiences. And when we can combine that with free cheese samples and a pack of adorable Superdogs? Well, that’s absolute perfection.

Check out more photos from this event on our Facebook page!

Ontario Science Centre

On Tuesday April 9, the Academy’s two science classes made their way to the Ontario Science Centre to embark on a cosmic journey. The first part of the day gave students the opportunity to explore the space exhibit, where they investigated celestial objects they’d already learned about in the classroom, as well as celestial objects and phenomena they would be learning about after the trip. After the self guided tour of the space exhibit, students were treated to the IMAX movie Journey to Space, followed by a tour of the universe at the Centre’s planetarium. By the end of the adventure, it was the most jam packed outing to the Science Centre to date.

Check out more photos from this event on our Facebook page!