Think and Create: Statistics

When your teachers give you a project with basically no criteria, it can be difficult. It can be even more difficult when you are stuck at home and haven’t seen your friends or teachers in over a month. But we soldier on, and keep doing blog posts!

We’ve just started a new project about civil rights in America, and African American and Canadian people in their battle for this. So to start it off, we’ve been assigned something similar to the this week I learned posts from our last project, except we have basically no criteria.

For this week’s Think and Create post, I was interested in, well, statistics. We mentioned a few times in class how there isn’t as huge an African Canadian population in Vancouver as some other places, but I was interested in the specifics. I made some infographics to help inform us of those specific stats using data from Statistics Canada, which had data only from 2016. Hope you learn something!

EVERYBODY IS LYING

Here’s the thing, here’s the thing, here’s the thing. People lie. They always have. Some people are bad at lying. Some people are good at lying. Some people are so fantastic at lying that they make a career out of it. But the thing about lying is that you really can’t tell sometimes. One thing, maybe, that’s off putting, but nothing else. Then that one thing puts you on edge. And you get suspicious. And then everyone is lying and everyone is out to get you. Yay!

This weeks TWIL post, which you might have guessed, is about suspicion. Not necessarily if that suspicion was justified, but I mean that’s not the point. Something is happening, and it’s someone’s fault, so you gotta blame someone!

As of right now in Macbeth, which is up to the end of act three, tensions are high in ye old Scotland. King Duncan is dead, killed by his own guards. These guards were conveniently killed before anyone could question them. So it’s a classic case of whodunit. There are a few suspects at play.

  1. The sons, Malcom and Donalbain. Parricide is a bit extreme, and doesn’t exactly make sense. Early on in the play, Duncan appointed Malcom his successor, which was uncommon for the Scotland monarchy. What were the sons motives then? The biggest point against them is that they fled after their fathers death, which does seem a bit suspicious. They are not trusting of their fathers court, and believe it was one of the other nobles who killed their father, and would be coming after them next. 
  1. Macbeth, yes, good old Macbeth. A loyal subject to the great king, or so it would seem. Macbeth killed many a man for king and country, so what’s one more on his belt. Or three, if you count the guards who Macbeth just happened to kill in a fit of passion over the dead king. Macbeth did have a remorseful look about him, but again, people lie. It was also Macbeth who ascended to the throne once the mighty Duncan was slain in his sleep. He had the most to gain by Duncan’s eternal slumber. Of course Macbeth is in full favour of accusing the sons, but you would be too if you murdered someone and there was another suspect. 
  1. I’m sure there are more. Duncan was all to trusting. Why, in the second scene of the play we learn of another who had betrayed the oh so gracious king. In any case, Malcom, Donalbain, and Macbeth are the lead suspects. 

The 1950’s was not so different. The 50’s were a time filled with suspicion of communism, spies, and the Soviets. Everyone was at risk. Well, everyone was at ‘risk’ of being spied on. There were a few groups of people, however, who just had to be spies. 

  1. Hollywood. Not a specific person, I know. It’s a place. That’s the thing. Everyone in Hollywood was under scrutiny. HUAC, House Un-American Activity Committee, started investigating Hollywood, actors, directors and writers alike. They decided that they could have been promoting un-American propaganda. They started subpoenaing people, trying to get them to either confess or accuse friends or colleagues. Many people were blacklisted, and unable to get work in the industry. Some writers and directors used  pseudonyms to continue their work. This blacklisting continued straight through the 50’s, finally ended in the 60’s.
  1. Homosexuals. This, less obvious, and not for why you’d think. At least, I don’t think you’d think of this. I certainly didn’t. To the point. Homosexuals, yes. See, being gay or lesbian wasn’t a good thing in this timeline. Cause, see, if you were LGBT, other governments could blackmail you into getting them secrets. Which, I mean, isn’t that far fetched. In 1953, President Eisenhower made an act thingy that made it so employees could track down and fire you if you belonged to the LGBT community. Tons of people were fired or quit, cause they were scared. Everyone was scared.
  1. Last, but certainly not least, communists, or sympathizers. This one is a little more obvious, I know. Political ideologies, religion, all this made them ‘perfect’ candidates for sympathizers. Some people, including some from Hollywood, plead the first amendment from the constitution saying that they could belong to any political party. American’s may be stubborn, but the one thing they will always stand by is freedom. 

Again, I’m sure there were others. These are just some big ones that I wanted to focus on. Anyone could be a spy, that’s the thing. That’s why suspicions were so high. But by pushing this hysteria onto a specific group of people, it definitely made it seem like the government was doing something. That was, of course, until Senator McCarthy accused the United States Army. Everything went downhill for him at that point.

For my artefact for this weeks TWIL post, I decided to make suspect folders on some of the people I mentioned in this post. For Macbeth, it’ll be Macbeth, obviously, and Malcom and Donalbain. For the 1950’s side, I made up these people. Keep in mind, the FBI did have files on suspected communists, sympathizers, or LGBT people, but they probably didn’t look like this. I made these using, well, mostly keynote, and Splice for the editing. 

 

The Foundation Of Every Success

For my second TWIL post, I’m shifting my gaze from the political side of things, to the social aspect of both the 1950’s. More specifically, I’ll be focusing on the role of women, and how important they are to a household in both these time periods.

 

What does 11th century Scotland have in common with post WW2 America? How have women’s roles changed over the centuries? Why can’t men do their own laundry? Podcast time! Women’s roles during WW2 and post WW2 were drastically different. After working in factories for years while the men were away, manufacturing munitions and the like for the war, women were expected to go back to being house wives. And for the most part, they did. Only one third of the workforce in America were women. The rest were conforming to the ‘American dream’. This American dream, of 2.5 kids, a house in the ‘burbs, dominated the media. Society demanded this idea, and people, as they do, conformed. Women needed a husband, a house, somewhere to become this thing, this housewife. Men also needed a wife. Being a bachelor in the 1950’s was not a good idea. Being seen as a homosexual, at this time, was really bad. Whispers of communism were everywhere. By being someone who could be blackmailed into communism, you were at risk. So by obtaining a wife, this suspicion was gone. Of course, that’s just one reason they got married. In this American dream, the housewife literally held the house together. Cooking, cleaning, all of this was extremely important for the ‘successful man’. She was the support of the house, the support of the success. In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth really is that supporting wife. Macbeth sees her as an equal, calling her in the play ‘my dearest partner of greatness’. And yet, it is still her who prepares the house for the king, ordering the servants about in preparation for the occasion. In the 11th century, women had roles akin to the ones in the 16th century, as in the 20th. Lady Macbeth’s status brings her above many tasks, but she still runs the household. Lady Macbeth is also the support behind her husband, driving him forward alongside his ambition. Without Lady Macbeth, Macbeth wouldn’t be where he is in act 3 of the play. She supported his ideas, was counsel before the plot, created the plan for the murder. At each step Macbeth took forward, Lady Macbeth was right there with him. In both times, women were seen as the weaker sex, only capable of housework and the like. Lady Macbeth has to perform witchcraft, ‘unsex’ herself, to be able to perform the deed of killing Duncan. Women were the ‘innocent flower’ then, as they were in the 50’s. Though society moves forwards, some stereotypes move as well. In any case, both timelines need the support of the women, them, working behind the scenes, keeping everything together.

For this TWL, my artifact is a podcast. I brought this together using my GarageBand and sound skills we’ve been learning over the past couple years. Sound is one of my favourite mediums to work with, so this was a blast!

 

SLC’s the Seventh: mPOLs

Grade 11 is a huge year. Not only is it academically challenging, a huge step up from grade 10, but also a year where everything matters. The courses we take, the grades we get, habits we develop, they all contribute to our future, shaping the way. So far, grade 11 has had some ups and downs, but only I can speak to my work, and that’s what I’ll be speaking to today.

How did you “fail” this year? What did you learn from this experience?

One of the biggest things I have taken away from PLP is leadership, and learning to work with others. While being a leader is good in some respects, sometimes I feel as though other people want to lead. I don’t try to vie for leadership, I step up only when no one else will. Leading a class like ours is sometimes difficult, as we try not to get on each other’s bad sides. When we were tasked with creating our own groups for the Lord of the Flies project, I feel I let down our class. There were many ways in which our groups could have been formed, but I lead it with counsel from others and decided it would be random. Groups were in the end successful, but I feel some groups had their disadvantages.

What skills did you use and what skills do you need to continue to develop?

On the Albuquerque trip this year, I decided to pull an Emily and collect as much information as possible. I conducted interviews all over the place, recording audio of our tours and much more. Getting out of my comfort zone was difficult, but in the end it payed off. I got a lot of information, but not all of it was relevant. This year, I would hope to develop the skill of interviewing people better. Sometimes I have a hard time communicating what I mean, which impacts the relevance of my interviews. Working on this skill will help me not only in interviews, but also any other time I will be working with others, or public speaking in general.

Did all the work you completed this year meet your standards?

The project that I really struggled with this on was the Manhattan Project Project. With my book, before the trip, I had worked extremely hard on gathering the information for it. I literally spent hours every day before the trip doing research and putting together the pieces. I had the information for the book, I just hated how it looked. I tried to model it after another book, but it fully made me want to die. Using the skills of peer critique, I bugged my friends for hours at the airport, trying to come up with a solution, a better format. It was really hard, as it was fully up to us, and I couldn’t come up with anything. Finally, I came up with my current theme, but having this struggle was very hard. It’s difficult in PLP, when the standards for our work are so high. But those standards aren’t wrong. We can do the work, and because of that my standard has been raised. 

I know I still have a long way to go as a learner. Without PLP, I know I wouldn’t be the same person I am today. I have to keep moving, though, even if it’s slow. Two steps forward, one step back, still moves forward. Now I have a question for you.

Where do you think I grown the most since grade 8? How can I continue this progress?

Liars in the Midst of Friends

Shakespeare has been something that people study in school for, well, a long time. The 1950’s are a very interesting part of history, full of threats and standoffs. So why not combine the two into a project?

For this project, we’ve been studying Macbeth, the Shakespeare play, and the world post WW2, and the Cold War. While learning about these topics, we’ve been assigned something called This Week I Learned posts, or TWIL posts. Each week, with our teachers lectures and our study of Macbeth, we have to find a connection between Macbeth and the 50’s. This week, I’ll be focusing on secrets, and the impact they have.

The Potsdam Conference, which took place July 17-August 2nd, 1945, was the last time The Big Three met. The Big Three were the leaders of some of the biggest players in WW2; Harry Truman, president of the United States who just replaced FD Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, British prime minister who was replaced halfway through the conference by Clement Attlee due to an election, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. The Potsdam Conference was where they, among others, discussed post-war Europe. During this conference, Truman got the phone call that told him the Trinity test was successful. Now, Truman had this huge power, and didn’t really want to tell those at the conference, chiefly among them Stalin. He did tell Churchill the news, creating a ‘two against one’ dynamic.

In Macbeth, after fighting many great battles, Macbeth returns home to his Lady Macbeth with strange news. While returning from battle, he was visited by three witches, who declared he would be king. Macbeth has great ambition, so with the spurring on from the witches and his wife, they hatch a plan to kill the king, Duncan. One fortunate part of their timing is that King Duncan is coming to stay at their home for one night. These three big players, the killers and the killee, creating a ‘two against one’ dynamic.

In both cases, Macbeth and Truman know the repercussions their actions can have. In Truman’s case, the superpower that man has discovered can create mass destruction. in Macbeth’s case, he knows the death of the king will have a devastating impact on their kingdom. That doesn’t stop either of them, though. Two of the three are in on the secret as well, but in both cases Macbeth and Truman aren’t super great at keeping the secret. Macbeth has a moral struggle, and cannot act the part of ‘the innocent flower’. Truman mentions to Stalin that they have a weapon, not hiding it as well as maybe he should.

Both Macbeth and Truman are in the midst of a Shakespearean ‘fair is foul, foul is fair’. Macbeth can become king, but only by killing King Duncan, his kinsman and honoured guest. Truman can end WW2, one of the worst wars in history, but only by murdering tens of thousands of innocent people. There is no good decision for either of them.

Mos Eisley Cantina; The Poetry Club

Star Wars is a huge franchise. With over 10 movies, multiple television series, and more merch than anyone can comprehend, Star Wars is a huge part of pop culture today. To make something like these movies, it you create another universe, full with food, culture, and religion. For this year’s winter exhibition, we pulled upon this amazing world to create a Star Wars Exhibition!

Now, if you’ve followed my blog for a while, or PLP in general, you will note that this is the second time our class has done a Star Wars exhibition. Being that as it was, we couldn’t just do the same project again. Also, in the past we have done the Star Wars exhibition in our Maker class. This year however, we do not have that class, and so we had to connect Star Wars to something we would learn about in regular class. And so our teachers did.

How can we use poetry to reflect our perspectives on people, places, issues, and beliefs?

Yay, poetry. Poetry, but with a historical context.

In the 1950’s, a wave of disgruntled writers started a movement we now know as Beat Poetry. They used their experiences, being put down by the world, the after effects of World War 2, and many others as inspiration for their work. It was performed in poetry clubs, often accompanied by jazz. This is where we found our connection to Star Wars.

The ambiance of the Catina on Tatooine was similar to that of a poetry club in the 1950’s, and so our project was formed. On the night of the exhibition, we were to create the Cantina and present poetry! But to do this properly, we first had to learn more about Beat Poetry, and the Beat Poets themselves.

For this part, we were each assigned a beat poet to research. I was assigned ruth weiss. Her story is extremely influenced by the Second World War, and she continues to inspire us today. You can read more about her in the document I’ve attached.

The next big part of the project was writing the poetry. We had to learn about different poetic devices. This was not the first time we did this, we had a poetry unit a few years ago. This project was more free form, and we went deeper into a specific form of poetry. Beat poetry is often free form poetry, without rhyme or structure.

It was really cool to have this freedom within writing our poems. Our only limitations was our driving question, How can we use poetry to reflect our perspectives on people, places, issues, and beliefs? Writing poetry in this way was honesty kinda fun. One thing I friend to keep with the vibe of beat poetry was a little bit of aggression. Many of my poems were argumentative, challenging the social norms and such.

Now comes to the Star Wars bit. For the smoothest operation of this, we were divided into groups. I was in food and beverage. The idea of dividing us into groups was a really smart idea, I think. It made sure we all did our part, and that no department got forgotten about. Food and beverage was actually super fun. Our group was Jesse, Maggie and I, so we worked really well together.

The food we made was really good, and took a lot of time, with regards to research, and the actual making of the food. We wanted to make the food authentic, so we did quite a bit of research about food on Tatooine. We had Ahrisa, which were small multigrain bread rolls we made, hubba gourd, which was cut-up cantaloupe, and dustcrepes, which were spanakopita rolls that again we made. Finding the recipes and making the food took a considerable amount of time, but it was really worth it.

On the night of the exhibition, Jesse, Maggie and I were working behind the bar. Setting up the bar took a considerable amount of time, but in the end we were able to actually have people order drinks from the bar and serve them. All the drinks we served, while non-alcoholic, were based on ones from Tatooine. We had a bit of an issue with ice, but other than that, it went really well.

One of the cool parts about doing a Star Wars exhibition is the day after. Once we have put all this intense effort into this project, we get to go see the new Star Wars movie, in this case The Rise of Star Wars. It was a really fun time, and it was very rewarding to see finally what we were working towards. PLP is such an amazing program, and I don’t think there’s anything quite like it!

Now finally to the nitty gritty stuff; assessment. For this project, we were focusing on two curricular competencies.

Historical Perspective: Explain and infer different perspectives on past or present people, places, issues, or events by considering prevailing norms, values, world views, and beliefs.

Create: What literacy skills am I using to write, speak, and represent in the texts I create?

I did touch on these a bit in the post, but I’ll discuss them a bit more here. With regards to the historical perspectives competency, when looking into the 1950’s, we had to do just this. The beatniks had first hand experiences in this world, and we learned about it through them. To get another perspective on this idea, I also talked to my grandpa, who was in his 20’s during the 50’s. It was an interesting perspective to look at, the Canadian perspective.

For the creating competency, we had to learn a lot about poetry, and literary devices in creating the poetry. Things like allusions and cacophonies helped our poems come to life, and I learned how language impacts us in all sorts of ways.

This project was very informative. I had a very fun time baking, some of which I had never done before. This was probably one on my favourite exhibitions! I also learned a lot about communication, with other groups and my own. Also communicating to an audience. It was definitely a time!

Beelzebub on a Stick

Leadership is tricky. Power is a balance. And every human is capable of ‘sharpening a stick on both ends’. Welcome to Lord of the Flies.

For this project, we had to read, you might have guessed, Lord of the Flies by William Golding. This book, though old, relates on a very deep level to our society, and how pretty much tribalism runs our society. Now, tribe is a kind of loaded word. You may be thinking of ancient man, but the actual definition of a tribe is “a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.” So you can see how this definition of a tribe can actually apply to our society. The driving question for this project is actually 

What is the Role of Tribalism in Society?

Before we get to that, I’m going to talk about, well, the book. 

THIS PORTION OF THE POST CONTAINS SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ LORD OF THE FLIES, SKIP OVER THE BOOK SECTION.


William Golding’s Lord of the Flies was written to sort of make a point. He is quoted as saying “Wouldn’t it be a good idea if I wrote a book about children on an island, children who behave in the way children really would behave?”. This quote is directly attacking R. M. Ballantyne’s The Coral Island. In this book three English boys, Jack, Ralph and Peterkin, are the only survivors of a shipwreck. In the book, they quickly decide on Jack as the leader, and have many great adventures with inhabitants of the surrounding islands and themselves.

 

Golding didn’t think that was realistic. He wrote the Lord of the Flies to show how, when unbounded by the rules of society, people will resort to savagery. In the book, it was boys who lost society, but the idea applies to all humans. He just used children because they would lose their civility sooner. 

Without civilization, humans resort to savagery.

All power needs to be balanced by a shared responsibility.

Innocent people have the ability to become evil when removed from civilization.

When no longer bound by the confines of societal consequences, humans feel free to act upon their initial instincts and detach themselves from civil society.

In the absence of societal structure, humans fall back on their violent and destructive nature. A primordial instinct is released.

The book is full of symbolism. Each of the boys represent a different part of society, and the different styles of leadership. One of my favourite pieces of symbolism in the book is that of the fire. The fire, the thing Ralph clings to for most of the book, represents their ties to society, their ties to civilization. At the beginning of the book, the ties are still there, and the fire burns well. The first time the fire goes out, when they killed their first pig, they lost a part of themselves. They killed a living thing, and that took something from them. As the book goes on, the fires continue to die, until at last, there is no society left. The final fire, the one that ravages the island, has no ties to civilization. It is just destruction, chaos, and everything the boys become.

The book was very interesting. Honestly, the ending was more traumatizing than I thought it would be. There was so much more death than I thought. Also, Rodger is a total psycho. I can forgive him for the Piggy thing, but wanted to behead Ralph and mount his head on a stick is a totally different issue. Children are psycho. 

As I mentioned before, the project was on tribalism, like the tribes in Lord of the Flies. Tribes run our society, groups of people brought together by common ideals. In this project, we were studying some of these tribes. Some examples of these are self help groups, gangs, fan bases, but the tribe our group decided to study was the Royal Canadian Mounted Police!


The RCMP is a very interesting tribe, and a vital one in our society. They have a recognized leader, common values, and have a great sense of pride in their identity. We were actually able to interview a retired RCMP officer, Mr. Bob Bell.

Emily- What is the identity of the RCMP? What is their image, their values, what are they trying to preserve? 

Mr. Bell- The RCMP has a proud history. Formed in 1873 by the government of PM John A McDonald as the North West Mounted Police (NWMP) the objective was to protect the huge empty territory between the new provinces of Manitoba and British Columbia. There had been a massacre at Cypress Hills there was fear of US military intervention, violence against the indigenous people by whisky traders. 300 NWMP officers marched west on July 8th 1874 to protect all of those issues which they did very quickly. The NWMP became the Royal North West Mounted Police (RNWMP) in 1904 and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in 1920. When the Headquarters moved from Regina to Ottawa. My last posting before I retired was in Regina and my office was that of the Commissioner of the RNWMP. Cadets are taught and immersed in that proud history, taught those values and taught to preserve the image and values of the proud history of the RCMP.

Emily- How do you think having an identity benefits the RCMP (perhaps focuses missions, gives the public role models, etc.)?

Mr. Bell- The RCMP have a world wide reputation. The iconoclastic uniform is known everywhere. With Liaison Officers at embassies around the globe the RCMP Foreign Service  have  contacts with police officers and investigative agencies, for two examples, the FBI in the USA and the Australian Federal Police in Australia. ( I was a liaison officer in London, England and Washington DC at different times in my career. ) So the identity of the RCMP and its members gives the public a role model in towns and villages across Canada as well as helping the RCMP in their mission worldwide.

Logan- How would you des ride the community inside the police force?

Mr. Bell-  All cadet training is carried out at the RCMP Training Academy, Depot Division at Regina, Saskatchewan. Every cadet must live in the barracks. Even if your home is in Regina you have to live in. Troops are formed 32 at a time. Cadets come from every corner of Canada and the course lasts for six months. So in terms of group dynamics, each cadet troop forms an identity, comradeship, an esprit de corps and friendships which last a lifetime. I graduated more than sixty years ago and I am still in touch with troop members although the numbers get less every year. Every year there are Troop Reunions, often held at the Training Academy, fifty, forty thirty years, after graduation they get together to swop stories and compare notes about their careers. For those who have retired from the RCMP there is the RCMP Veteran’s Association across Canada one in Victoria and another further north on the Island. So that tells you about the community inside the RCMP. I ended my career as the Commanding Officer of the Training Academy and Depot Division in Regina.

Alivia- Why did you join the RCMP? Did you always know that you wanted to be a RCMP officer?

Mr. Bell- I always had an interest in police work. I was bored with my office job as a cost accountant, living in Toronto, looked into joining the RCMP and had no interest in the Toronto City Police, I wanted adventure  and thought that the RCMP would be more adventurous by sending me somewhere across Canada. Got that right as the cadet from Toronto was sent to Prince Rupert as my first posting.

Our final product for this was a keynote presentation to the class. My group, which you may have been able to discern, was Logan, Emily and I. It was a very interesting group to work with, seeing as we are all leaders in our own way. But it was a successful though interesting ride, and I think our final presentation reflects that.

Overall, I think we done good. Though it was difficult at first, finding deeper messages within the text really helped me understand the book, and it’s ties to our world. I also learned a lot about the writing process. We had a lot of writing in this project, including a literary analysis test and journals, and all that writing really helps. Sometimes in projects we don’t do a lot of writing, other than the blog posts, but in this project we were able to practice our writing skills. Also, I had a lot of practice doing MLA’s, because I did all of ours for the project. I enjoyed this project because I was able to improve some of my skills that aren’t often used!

In the Middle of the Desert at 5am

One thing I don’t think people talk about enough is the fact that there is a huge cultural difference between the different parts of the United States of America. It’s not that surprising, but actually experiencing it is a whole other thing. Before this trip, I had only been to the west coast of the United States, which is similar enough with culture to Canada’s west coast. This trip was something truly different.

First of all, I had no idea where New Mexico is. No idea. I knew it was kinda south, but I definitely couldn’t have pointed it out on a map.

 

The trip was the destination for this project, but before we went, we had to learn about where we were going. I can honestly tell you this is the most informed I’ve ever been on a trip.

This project kicked off in the middle of summer vacation, I kid you not. We were assigned summer readings. Our class had one book to read, and I quickly made the connection between the book and the New Mexico Field School. Knowing this, I was enticed to read the book, to get a head start on the new school year. It was difficult at times, because the book, Age of Radiance by Craig Nelson, had some very scientific knowledge that I did not have. At times it was hard to follow, but making notes helped a lot.

Reading the book, though confusing at times, was hugely helpful in understanding what we were going to be doing on the trip, and in the learning before hand. I had that insiders knowledge, and I think that made the trip, and the project, the success that it was. If I were to go back and do it again, I think I would try and do more research while I was reading the book, and have a better understanding of each thing they talked about.

The next ‘milestone’-ey thing that I thought was really helpful, or interesting, was the Manhattan Project Character Card. This is something that the teachers had very strict guidelines for. They were also not present while we were doing this milestone, which made things, well, interesting.

Us, as a class, had to pick the 16 most significant people to the Manhattan project, and each person in the class was assigned one of these people to make a ‘character card’. Except it wasn’t make, it was fill in a very restrictive template. Some people fought this more than others. I thought having a template pre-made would make things easier, but it didn’t. The template had a very small area for us to explain who the person was, what they did, and why they were significant. It’s that word again. Significant. This is what the entire project was on.

How did the development of the atomic bomb change the world in a historically significant way?

This milestone helped us have a better understanding of the driving question, stated above. Why were these people significant, and why were they more significant than someone else. My person, Klaus Fuchs, had a very interesting story, which you can read all about on the card!

Now, we come to the final product for the trip, our books. In grade 8, and grade 9, for field schools, our teachers made book templates in book creator for us to fill out during the trip. They had photos, videos, audio clips and text. Our job was to make a book that answers the driving question, using the trip to gather evidence.

At first, I thought I had a good idea. I was going to follow a theme inspired by —. It seemed like a good plan, and was commended by the teachers. Once I did it though, I was not pleased. I had all the content I wanted, the information was, I thought, pretty solid. I just HATED how it looked. It was awful.

It took me a while, but with help from my friends, I scrapped that entire theme and started again. I kept the content, which took a while to collect and I was very proud of, but I changed everything else. Also remember, this was during the trip, at the airport. I have a post all about how I used efficiently, but that’s not the point. I realized that I could do another theme, which I am very pleased with.

I’m very happy with my book. If I were to go back, I would definitely have done the newspaper theme the first go around, but it worked out just the same. I think the time I put into it really shows. Something about this really sparked my interest, so I wanted to do a good job. There were maybe more opportunities for long and well edited videos, but I did my best to capture everything I needed, and was flexible with my ideas.

And now, drumroll please,

This was probably the coolest field school I’ve ever been on. We had long days, jam packed with learning and other things, but it was amazing. I also got a lot of patches, which is some good I collect and am really happy about!

As I said, this trip was packed full of crazy stuff. So I’m just going to talk about a couple places we went to, the ones that I think best describe our trip.

Los Alamos Historic Sites Walking Tour

This was the first stop on our trip. And honestly? It really was a great first introduction to New Mexico, and The Manhattan Project. Our guide, Aimee Slaughter, was amazingly knowledgeable about, not just the Manhattan Project, but of the history of the area. She told us about the Pueblo people, the First Nations who lived in Los Alamos before the Manhattan project, and how they all tied together. She told us a really cool story about someone who lived on the land before, worked in the town, and has relatives there today. That story is in my book.

National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

One thing about learning about radiation is that it’s kinda scary. It’s this awesome power that can blow up cities, but it’s also everywhere. We did an amazing workshop with David Gibson about radioactivity. We got to use geiger counters and everything. I thought it was cool to know that radiation is everywhere, because atoms are constantly decaying and letting off radiation, but that doesn’t hurt you. It’s called background radiation!

Meow Wolf

There are no words for this. It’s like a trip of hallucinogenic drugs, but you are definitely not on drugs. There are secret passageways, slides through washing machines, portals with doors that open with hand prints, like honestly, you kinda have to go there. You could spend hours exploring that place.

Trinity

On July 16th, 1945, the first ever atomic bomb was dropped in the middle of the New Mexico desert. This one event completely changed the world, ushering in a new age of science, technology, warfare, and so much more. We got to go there. Where it all happened. It was so cool. Jesse and I spent a while conducting interviews of people, just regular people, to see why they were there. Everyone had their own reasons, but the core message was the same. This is where it happened. This is where the course of the war changed. This is where the world changed.

This was an amazing trip. We’re not that far away, and yet, there are so many differences between our culture, and the New Mexico culture. Though we have different food, and different ideas, there’s one thing we can all agree on. There was a time before the bomb was dropped, and a time after.

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

PLP 11. Wow, I’m old. Since coming to this program in grade 8, I’ve learned so much about thinking flexibly, and on the recent Albuquerque, New Mexico trip, I did just that. It was 6 days of waking up ridiculously early, learning about bombs of all things, and collecting evidence.

For the Albuquerque trip instead of, as many of our field schools are, just collecting everything you can on the trip without knowing what the final product was, we did actually know what we needed. It was still a race to get information, but we knew specifically what we needed. See, for this project, we were making a book. I talk more about it in the Albuquerque trip post, but basically we had to use this book to prove that the atomic bomb was a kind of turning point for the world, that there was a time before the bomb was dropped, and a time after. Which it really is. The world has never been the same. But more on that in the other post.

For the trip, I knew a moderately vague outline of what I needed for my project. I had what goes where, all that, but I wanted to collect as much as possible so I would have it when making the book. The first thing I decided was to ask Emily if I could use her mic. PLP has lapel mic’s, but Emily’s you can just hook up to your phone, and record holding it. At first when I asked, she said she wouldn’t have room, but I said I could pack it. And I am so glad I brought it. It didn’t only help me, either. We did a lot of media sharing on this trip, between classmates. I think that decision was a huge help in all of our projects. Maybe if you didn’t get exactly what you needed, someone else did, and you could share.

Another thing that I think was a bit of a risk was talking to strangers. When we were actually at the Trinity Site, Jesse and I went around to people who had come to the site and ask them why they came. It was a risk because we didn’t know exactly how those interviews would work out. Originally, I was going to ask people about their opinions on nuclear power, but some people might not have answers. I had to adapt my book to what happened, and boy, did it pan out. I got some amazing interviews with people who came to the site. Most people wanted to come here because it changed the world, and that’s exactly what our books are about. How this one event changed the world forever.

Another thing that I did on the trip was to take advantage of time. The first draft of my book had the content I wanted, but the theme looked like literal garbage. I knew that due to the early mornings, I wouldn’t have tons of time at night to edit, because we needed as much sleep as we could get. So while driving, and even on the plane, I edited. I used the extra time, so I wouldn’t have as much work to do on the trip. Also, but constantly adding things to my book and editing it, I knew what I still needed to collect from the sites.

Overall, this was an amazing experience. Talking to so many people, it was amazing to hear how this still impacts people today. I learned so much, so much of it that I wouldn’t have been able to learn in a classroom.

What a Wild Ride

Grade 10. What a year. I’ve learned so much. The biggest highlight of the year was probably the Circle BC trip. 

Circle BC was a 12 day road trip to some of the coolest places BC has to offer. From Vancouver, up to Prince George, over to Prince Rupert, with a 22 hour ferry ride back down the coast. This trip was also the inspiration for our Exhibition this year. As such, this post will talk about it all.

Circle BC

This trip was definitely the best PLP trip I’ve done so far. It was amazing to explore our province, and to see what it has to offer. As this was a 12 day trip, I’m only going to be talking about the highlights for me, but check out some of the other PLP 10 circle bc posts to learn some more!

Learning

The place that I learned the most at was Barkerville. We spent 2 full days exploring the heritage site, full with costumes and interpreters. We did a bunch of cool school-group things, like a court room session where Kai was on trial, and a school house lesson where all the girls had to wear bonnets! It was interesting to see BC’s past in this way. I was most interested in the gender roles, and how their were so many rules for women and what they had to wear. Learning by experiencing was why I wanted to join PLP, and this stop was full of that!

Reflected on Canada

This was a big one. There were many places that made me do a lot of this, including many of the First Nations focused stops. The biggest one, though, was probably the Port of Prince Rupert Interpretive Centre. It was there I realized just how much Canada’s exports mean to BC, and how many jobs this market creates. It also made me think about what we are doing to protect the environment with this, or really how little. Some of the technologies that you think would be so much more advanced, like devices to record sound pollution, are only just being installed now. The stuff that the ports are doing, while benefiting Canada and many Canadians, could be really screwing up our environment.

Place I’d Go Back To

Onto a happier note, the place is like to go back to is probably the Nass Valley. I learned so much up there, and there is still more to experience! One thing I definitely want to go back and do is the 3 km hike to see the crater. We didn’t do it in the trip due to time restrictions, but I think it would be so cool. After the hike, I’d want to go back to the Aiyansh Hot Springs, a natural hot springs. I’ve always really liked natural hot springs, so this was super cool. 

Most Fun

The most fun I had on the trip was definitely on the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Tour. First of all, it was on my birthday, so that was pretty great. Also, I learned I really like boats. It was a seven hour tour, where the boat took us to near the edge of the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear sanctuary, where grizzly bears live completely untouched by humans. On the boat we were near, but not right at the reserve. We saw like 9 Grizzly bears, it was amazing! I’m really glad we were on the boat, though. Grizzly bears are huge. I had such a cool time hanging out with friends on the outside deck and looking for wildlife. 

On the way back to Prince Rupert, we saw 2 whales! It was awesome! We also saw seals, sea lions, and a whole bunch of eagles. That is a 16th birthday I will never forget! Oh, also, the teachers bought me a cake, so that was pretty cool too!

Exhibition

Now that I’ve rambled along about the trip, it’s time to get to the Exhibition. But first, here’s a podcast to introduce you to the idea. 

This podcast was done during the actual Circle BC trip. The first draft was actually due on the ferry from Nanaimo to Vancouver. So a lot of us, me included, did the editing and everything on the 22 hour ferry ride. Due to this, on our first drafts the audio quality kinda sucked. Luckily, though, I had been recording tons of audio from the trip, and was able to work that into the first draft. That made it better, in my opinion. This podcast was definitely something, man.

For the actual exhibition, as you may know, we have to have an artifact. So I had this idea, about First Nations Oral Traditions, but I didn’t know how to present this. I spent many hours trying to come up with ideas, and then finally, it hit me. 

I couldn’t tell the stories myself, because I don’t know the stories, and I didn’t want to mess something up, or have them be culturally appropriated. So instead, I decided to create something where people can find out where to learn about First Nations oral traditions. It’s actually on this very blog! 

I created a separate page, called First Nations Oral Histories Resources. On this page, which you can visit yourself, holds as much knowledge as I can find. Each nation has a labeled image, and when you click on it, it takes you to a post where you can find books and websites with First Nations traditional stories. 

Some of these were very hard to find. I did find at least one thing for each nation, but it was very difficult. I think this is because most First Nations stories are told orally, and many are specific to families. Because of this, many aren’t written down. 

I’m really happy with how this project turned out. Not only did I learn so much about First Nations oral histories, I mad something that people can visit and learn about them. I feel like this made an impact, no matter how small, and I really hope this will help people in the future.

The night of the exhibition went really well. Our groups theme was education, so we didn’t really have to do tons. I’m really proud of a couple things I did for our room, though. First, we wanted to have some sort of intro at the beginning. I wrote that, with some help from Ms. Maxwell, and it went at the entrance. How many people actually read it, I don’t know. 

The other thing I’m pretty proud of is my pencils. We were the education theme, so I wanted to give people something that was kinda educational. So we got pencils, and I got a bunch of places that we went to, and made them like little flags on the pencils, so people could get a pencil and learn about some of the places we went! Again, not a lot of people took pencils, but they made me happy!

If I were to go back and do this project again, with all the time in the world, I think I would have liked to contact each of the nations, and asked them if they had oral traditions they wanted to share, or if they knew of more places to find them. Maybe also putting these contacts in the post, so people could learn about the stories right from the people.