When Galaxies Collide



It is week four of the student blogging challenge, and I am still alive. In fact, this weeks challenge has rejuvenated me and put a fire in my eyes.

This week we did not have a specific challenge to complete, we simply needed to catch up on the work that was not completed, and perhaps revise it. I thought I would take this chance to have some fun with my blog. Namely, teach you more about me, and comment on 100 different blogs. But that is a story for another time. For the moment, let me explain to you a concept that I find mind boggling.

Something that you may not know about me is that I have a passion for maths and science. Specifically, I enjoy physics, and philosophy of the universe. When I am older, I aspire to be a theoretical physics. Doing mathematics day and night, while contemplating the creation of the universe is my calling.

The other day, I was scrolling through Apple news and I noticed an article on the collision of the Andromeda galaxy. NASA describes this as “when galaxies collide”. In four billion years, scientists estimate that the Andromeda galaxy, one of our neighbouring galaxies with a black hole at it’s core is going to approach the path of the Milky Way, and the two galaxies will collide. Although, because of the distance between our planets, we will never actually make contact with another planet. We will simply pass through each other. Relying on the fact that an intelligent race still exists within this amount of time, they may never even know. This makes me wonder whether this has happened in the past, but we have not had the tools to decipher it.


Another article in this section mentions the wormhole theory. The wormhole theory was first theorized by Ludwig Flamm. Flamm had read and analyzed Einstein’s proposal of a black hole, and rewrote the equation so that the black hole had a mirror opposite. This is called a white hole. For those of you who would like a quick recap, a black hole is what would have once been a planet with very weak thermal forces. These forces would have been so weak that gravity collapsed the planet, like my dog collapses plastic balls. The planet crushes in on itself, and stretches the fabrication of time space. Gravity has nothing to fight against it that will stop the collapse, so it continues going until it creates an infinitely small singularity. Flamm theorized that if a black hole stretches into space time, something must stretch out. This is called a white hole. Whereas a black hole captures and traps light, a white hole expels all light.

If we combine these two “holes” together, we create a worm hole, a warp in space time. I am sure that we have all seen a low budget Hollywood film where the heroes use their ‘SuperWarp2000’ to open a wormhole and transport themselves to a location thousands of light years away in a matter of seconds. Theoretically speaking, if wormholes existed, we could cut down on a journey to another galaxy by a very formidable amount of time.


In order for this to be possible, we would need to create a vessel that can travel faster than the speed of light. Because of the relationship between your mass and your speed, the faster you go the more your mass increases. In order for you to attain the speed of light, you must not have a mass.

All of this is theoretical, and relies on very specific calculations. We can’t just decide that we are going to build a rocket ship that travels at the speed of light one day (ehem, Elon Musk).

If you still want to learn more about wormholes, this video explains the process very well.

I really wish that I could explain this subject more in depth, unfortunately one blog post is not enough to document centuries, and careers worth of work. I will definitely continue posting on this subject. For the moment, I would like to turn your attention to this.

My experience with commenting on 100 different blog posts

This naive task started exactly five days ago. I had an epiphany. I haven’t gotten the chance to involve myself in this Student Blogging challenge as much as I would have liked to, so I set myself to the task of commenting on 100 different blogs.

This was an image that I created of a few of my favourite comments that I left.

I used the challenge document as referral, and five days later, I had read and commented on 100 different blogs. I am very glad that I did this, as I got the chance to get to know this community more. Everyone from children to adults, from artists to meme creators, I saw one hundred different takes on the same challenge. I was very impressed, in fact I gathered a lot of inspiration from Shyanne, Yusrah and Felicia. I was impressed with every blog that I saw.

That is a wrap for week four, and I am starting to seriously consider blogging as a career. Until next time!


“Good afternoon, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight” – The Truman Show

Alberta 3.0



If you have made it this far, you deserve a medal of honour. You are a survivor.

In my last two blog posts, I have covered the itinerary of my PLP 9 Alberta trip, and I have reflected upon the work that I did while I was there. This final post will cover the habits of mind, and the lessons that I learned on this trip.

In my last blog post, I touched on this subject briefly. The habits that I exercised on this trip were my ability to gather data through all senses, creating, imagining and innovating and remaining opening to continuous learning. Although I saw proof of every habit in my work, these were the three particular habits that I saw proof of.


Gathering data through all senses, and using listening and speaking skills

This particular competency and habit were used mainly in the creation process of my Alberta video. As I mentioned in my previous blog post on this video, I had never conducted a solo interview before the beginning of this project. The idea was frightening to me. It took hours of planning and thought, along with a frivolous amount of practice interviews for me to conduct a successful interview. But the data that I inferred from the interview ran beneath simply what was said. I had to consider any bias that may influence their answers, detect and subject that I could get more information out of my tones of voices, and asking applicable questions by analyzing answers on the fly. Many of these things come naturally to humans, but we must do this during an interview all while considering the bias the the interviewee may have. It seemed like a daunting task. While on the trip, I lead seven different interviews. By the end of the trip, I was very comfortable with asking focused quality questions. This will be a skill that I will need for the rest of my school career.


Creating, imagining and innovating, while taking responsible risks

This habit of mind and competency shine through in my work on the Ghost Town video. From the beginning, I knew that I wanted to create a copelling product that included a complex idea, and shots that I had never used before. In a short amount of time, my group was able to ue our surroundings to frame a shot that met that goal. The final product may not have been what we originally imaged, but that does not take away from the fact that I am proud of this product. The planning and responsibility that my entire group took on is impressed me the most.


Remaining open to continuous learning

We are able to see this habit and competency through my daily note. At the beginning of every day, I was given a driving question. Throughout the day, I had to use my ability to remain open to continuous facts, information and possible interviews to ensure the best quality Daily Note. I learned some important lessons while doing this exercise, including to always start early, and go the extra mile. Because that is what makes the process worth it.

”Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight” – The Truman Show


Alberta 2.0



This is the second part to the holy trinity of Alberta blog posts. This will cover my reflection on the habits exercised during this trip. For instance, how I managed my time while working on my daily note.

Being an efficient worker is just as important as having curiosity and creativity in the classroom. Because, all though it may not be obvious in the final product, it keeps you on task, confident and mentally stable. This is why, when I mention “the habits that I exercised”, I intent to say work ethic and efficiency.

One of the best examples of this behaviour is my Royal Tyrell Museum short film. We were only given half an hour to script, find a location and film an Oscar worthy short film. At first, I felt overwhelmed by how much needed to be done. There was so much that I needed to do, while also helping my partner, Asha film her movie. I wish I could say that I came to an epiphany, and a miracle happened, but no. My secret to finishing that movie on time was getting started.

This is the Ceratopsian, the subject of my video

Time budgeting has always been something that I have struggled with, as my philosophy is the older you are when you do it, the wiser you are. After all, gems are made under pressure. But this movie required some serious execution. My first course of action was to map out each and every minute and how I would use it. This is because I tend to become a perfectionist at the worst of times. Mapping out my time helps me think ahead to how I will use each second efficiently.

After finishing this exercise, the rest of the filming and editing process went smoothly. My goal was to finish at least 8 minutes early so that I could edit and publish my masterpiece, but by working with my goal in mind, I worked with a fervour never seen in a human before. I finished filming with 10 minutes to spare, which meant that I had the chance to interview a guide in the museum.

Although the final product did not chalk up to my Alberta video in any way shape or form, I am very proud of the efficiency and self discipline that I displayed. I exceeded my own expectations. One small step for Ally, one big step for my work habits.

But let’s not forget about my Ghost Town video. We knew that we would be doing this video long before we actually departed on the Alberta trip. (I would like to give a special mention to Anders, Gabe and Rhiann for being incredible group members in this project). My group decided to separate this project into three parts. Pre-production, production and post-production. By doing this, we efficiently split up the tasks, and the work was done evenly.

There were a few bumps along the road, such as one of our group members not being present for the first half of the project. We also had a disagreement at the worst of times, right as we were filming. We had trouble agreeing on the location of filming, but ended up compromising in the short time we had. As a result, a few scenes from the original screenplay were excluded. From a cinematographic stance, the video was compelling and unique from my normal style of filming. And I am glad that I got the chance to try something new. Yet, a good part of the storyline was missing. By deciding where and how we wanted to shoot the movie, we could have possibly made it even better. Nonetheless, I am proud of the outcome.

Unfortunately, the final cut was lost in the production phase and is nowhere to be found. I will update this post as soon as I find it.

After we finished filming our ghost town video, we sat down and created a revising schedule. In my opinion, this is why the movie succeeded. We planned the shot list and order of placement, and each of set to doing a different task. The organization that went into the post production phase made the process very fast, and therefore when it came to handing in our movie, we weren’t scrambling to finish.

Even though my Royal Tyrell museum and Ghost town films were a success, other aspects of this Field School did not go very well. Namely, my Daily Note. This was perhaps the project that excited me the most. The prospect of being able to journal for a school purpose was exciting. I journal on a daily basis, as calligraphy, scrapbooking and bullet journaling are passions of mine. Every morning we were given a different driving question to ponder. I thought I did very well on this aspect, as I tried to infer data throughout the day to support my conclusion. I am proud of the quality of my answers. Now here is the bad news. I could have done much better when it came to mapping out and presenting my ideas in an eye pleasing way. I did tend to get distracted, and my procrastination really took this wheel. This was because I have never had this much freedom when it comes to a school project. I am used to being monitored in my work. It is deadlines that spur me on to complete high quality work. I am the opposite of someone who cracks under pressure. I understand that once I move on from high school, once I go to University and get a job, that I will not have a teacher peaking over my shoulder. I am very glad that I get the chance to practice these habits now, as they will give me a chance to become a more independent worker in the future.

Reflecting back upon it now, being amongst my classmates was not the best atmosphere to be completing this work in. I do tend to become a very inefficient person when I am around my friends, and that is another habit that I must work on. Realizing that I am off task, and routing myself so that I can complete my project will work miracles for me.

In short, I am so lucky to be able to have the chance to go to Alberta. I learned many lessons along the way, all while being able to employ creativity and curiosity. I got the opportunity to think interdependently by doing my daily note. I gathered data through all of my senses, and created the best video that I have every created, which is my Alberta video. I applied past knowledge to new situations, and answered my daily driving question using proof of continuity and change. Through every exercise I took responsible risks, and stayed open to new opportunities. Finally, I thought about my thinking. Last year, I highlighted how I wanted to improve my work ethic in grade 9, and become a more productive person. Now that I have the tools to succeed in the future, I will apply them to all of my work from now and onwards. I will be unstoppable!

Thank you for attending my TED talk.

”Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight.” – The Truman Show

Adventures in Alberta || pt 1/3


This blog post is the first of the triad to come. Think about this as a precursor, and a lot of what I am saying will make more sense. All I intend to do is create an outline of the activities that we did, so that I can refer back to this post later.

Recently, PLP 9 came back from a venturesome field school, in Alberta BC. The question that drove this field school was “How does place impact our identity”. We answered this question by studying a certain group of people in Alberta, such as artists or business owners. We compared this to other places around the world, and made correlations between the land and their lifestyle. If you would like more information on the specifics of this project, I would suggest visiting my blog post dedicated to the subject.

The Alberta itinerary would be sensational. Although, not everything incredible starts off so. The bus left Seycove at 6:30 in the morning. Being a group of ninth graders, by the time the bus left Seycove was starting to look like a set from the Walking Dead.


Every location on the trip was astounding. But the first stop which made an impression on me was the Columbia Icefield skywalk. So get here, we had to drive up the mountain in a very luxurious bus. Once we got to the top of what is the architectural wonder of the skywalk, we took a guided tour around the premises. We got the chance to learn about the ecosystem up in the glacier, and the building process. I enjoyed this particular stop because of the gorgeous sights, and the freedom to wander and learn about the walk at a different pace. I found myself soaking in more information, and benefitting from this style of learning more than I usually do.

The next location that made an impact on me was the Beakerhead spectacle. I included a large section of this in my final video, where I spoke about the interviews I took and the data that I collected. I found myself thinking about the creation process of Albertan art while I was at Beakerhead. Looking back on it now, it is evident that was because of how experimental all of the exhibits were. I saw many works of art that were beyond the stretches of my imagination. This was the purpose of going to Beakerhead in the first place. The impression that it left on me gave me plenty of great material to work off of.


The final location which brought me special joy was the Royal Tyrell Museum. This is a museum in the heart of Drumheller that offers views of real dinosaur skeletons, and view of what the ecosystem in the time of the dinosaurs looked like. This may seem simple enough. Although, newsflash. It wasn’t this easy. PLP really threw a curveball at us. (Let’s pretend that I didn’t know that we would be making this video). We were tasked with scripting, filming, and editing a video about our favourite exhibit. My favourite projects that we do in PLP are those that we do on a whim. I would actually consider quick thinking my strong suit, and nothing tops running around the Tyrell museum trying to cram in five minutes of filming.

There is a reason that we call these projects. They are always a work in progress. Overall, I am proud of the final outcome.

I will be covering these topics, and reflecting upon them in my next blog post.

Every stop on this trip brought something new to marvel at. During the trip itself, the only stop that I got the chance to admire was Boogie’s Burgers (their milkshakes are out of this world. I didn’t know that such a thing as a spicy milkshake existed until I ate there. It stretched the realm of my intellect). Yet after consideration and reflection, I have begun to realize how priceless the lessons of productivity and self regulation are. I went on this trip in hopes of coming back with knowledge of dinosaurs and Albertan culture. I came back with the ability to monitor and self reflect on my work. The independence that we exercised was the most important lesson that I learned on this trip.

The most incredible milkshakes that you will ever try

With that being said, I also got to exercise my habits of mind, such as keeping the end in mind, and sharpening the saw. I was building upon what I learned in grade 8. I get the impression that I will be spending the next few years building off of what I have already learned, constantly adapting and improving. I think I just cracked the PLP code.

Until next time.

”Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight” – The Truman Show



How to avoid getting copyrighted for using photos


Salutations, and welcome back to episode three of my mental breakdown.

This is the third week of the SBC, and our challenge was teach ourselves, and in turn others, about using photos ethically online.

What does it mean to use photos ethically online? I guarantee you that we have all gone onto Safari, and saves the first stock image that pops up to use for our own purposes. I am guilty of this. This is where that behaviour stops. Because according to the copyright act and regulations, any property online, whether it be a photo or a video etc. that does not belong to us is not available for our use. In fact, it is illegal. It may not seem like a very big deal at the moment, although take a moment to consider your actions. This creation does not belong to you, and you have not earned the title of creator. Therefore, you are effectively stealing it. Yes, this all sounds very menacing, but trust me. There are simple, yet rewarding methods to create your own photo.

1. Create your own photo

This method may seem evident, and perhaps taxing. Trust me when I say that this is actually the most efficacious method. The best way to use a photo tailored exactly to your preferences is to make one yourself. For this task, I use the app Sketches.

I would proceed by choosing a photo that has an element that you would like to include, and drawing beside the photo. I understand if you are not very artistically talented, because me either, you can always trace a shape using the stencil.

This was a photo that I created using Sketches. As you may know, I always include a “pun picture” at the top of my posts. I have always used Royalty Free photos, but my goal is to begin using my own hand more often.

If you would like to learn more about Sketches, then I would suggest watching this video. It gives a very clear and compelling explanation of the tools at your disposal.

2. Royalty free images

Are you still not satisfied with the visual? Maybe there are details in the photo that it would be pointless trying to execute. In this case, I have the solution for you. Royalty free images are an easy way to avoid the laborious process of creating a photo. Royalty free images are uploaded to the internet under a different set of regulations. This means that it is not illegal to download and use this photo. In fact, this photo has been uploaded for that purpose. It is possible that the creator does not care for their work, but I prefer to think of them as the Good Samaritan in this situation.

All you have to do to find a royalty free photo is to search up the subject that you would like to find, and then add royalty free. Google will automatically filter all of your results.

If you are using a desktop, then the story is different. I have found in the past that Google finds it difficult to push past copyright photos. An alternative method would be to change your search engine settings from everything, to non-copyright.

This is a very effective tutorial on this subject


3. Use a Creative Commons website

A Creative Commons website is a professionally run and updated website with photos free for your use. Yes, you heard me. Just by clicking on the link and searching up your subject, you can pull up hundreds, if not thousands of professional photos.

Even through these websites are basically shoving these photos in your hands, you must always cite your sources. Repeat after me, “cite your sources”. If you are using a photo from one of these websites in your blog post, then add a link to the website in the caption. If you are using a photo in your PowerPoint presentation, then add a test box below the photo with the name of the website. It is that simple.

Some of my favourite websites to find Royalty Free image websites are:

– FreeRange ( https://freerangestock.com/ )

This website is great because it is an online community of photographers are sharing their work. You aren’t just using the photos from three or four people, if you like a certain style of photos then you are given access to every photo that the photographer has chosen to give to this website.

– Unsplash ( https://unsplash.com/ )

Unsplash is a side-project started by Crew, an online marketing agency dedicated to making your design dreams a reality. Besides providing free stock photography, Unsplash also showcases graphic design work done by users with their MadeWith section. This is the website that I use most often, not to be biased.

– Flickr ( https://www.flickr.com/ )

Flickr is a multi-dimensional website that attracts photographers from around the world. If you use this app, you will be guaranteed exactly what you are looking for. This is an online community app, which means that not all of the photos will be Royalty Free. Although, this does not take away from the fact that this app is amazing.

I hope you profit at least a bit from my ideas. If you have any questions, then feel free to comment away (shameless self-advertising)

The final enjoyable task of the week if one that I may have had too much fun with. We were tasked with choosing a photo off the internet, and creating a picture prompt, which is a short story inspired by the photo. This was the photo that I chose.


It was September 22. Kayley and her friends were sitting on the Santa Monica Pier, watching the quiet water. You could hear screams in the distance. If you couldn’t see the roller coaster, it might sounds like someone screaming bloody murder. Small, lazy clouds floated above as the sun set slowly. Kayley pulled out her Polaroid camera to capture a picture of the beautiful moment. But when the picture revolted itself, it was strangely askew. The second photo Kayley took was blurry. The third photo she took cut out part of the Ferris wheel. Kayley was confused. Was something wrong with her camera? Her friend Sierra walked up behind her and peeked at the photos, before starting to laugh. “What”, Kayley asked with aggravation. “Well,” said Sierra, “can I offer you some tips?” Kayley welcomed the idea.

When taking photos, always remember to:

– Keep the camera steady

– Choose an angle that displays everything in your shot. For example, the further away the shot is taken, the more you will be able to see in the photo. If you want more sky in the photo, then choosing a lower angle would be smarter.

– Remember the rule of thirds. Always keep you eye catcher to one side of the centre

– Compose your shot. For the best results, put some thought into what you want it to look like.

Kayley followed Sierra’s advice. The photo that came out was a masterpiece.

The end.


Ok maybe I won’t be an author any time soon.

That is it for this week of the SBC! Tune in next week.

”Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight” – The Truman Show

Comment commandments

Salutations, mis amigos.

It is that time of year. Christmas is in the air, the Student Blogging Challenge is in full swing, and spirits are high.

Our challenge this week was to highlight the importance of ethical and authentic commenting. I practiced this subject back in grade 8, and last week I got the chance to visit a few different blogs who were also participating in the Student Blogging Challenge.

Leaving a comment that is kind, respectful and specific can enhance the information that you are publishing. For instance, the difference between these two images are stark.

Image one

Image two

While one image is well composed, thoughtfully formatted, and grammatically correct, the other is… not.

The importance of leaving a “good comment” extends beyond saying something nice. This comment is offering information to the creator, and may influence them personally, or the post itself. This is why we need to be very careful.

To highlight this point, I created a poster entitled digital citizenship. Digital citizenship is something that we have talked about in PLP since the beginning of time. It implies your presence and effect on the internet. Which included others than yourself.

If this subject is something that interests you, I would highly recommend this video. Not only does it show visuals and examples of digital citizenship, but it complains throughly about modern society. My kind of video.

The second aspect of this challenge that I took part in was creating a video about what a good comment is. I decided to extent my boundaries of Keynote and Explain Everything, and trouble shoot with a website called Powtoon. Overall? This took much longer than it should have. Although, I am proud of the final outcome, considering that I used personalized code to create the effect of a hand tracing the letters.

This video does contain a glitch, it becomes especially prominent at the end of the video.  Conclusion, if you are looking for a website which will give you the creative freedom to code your own videos, as well as offer an array of templates, this is the website for you. Let’s all cross our fingers that you are also patient enough to deal with the glitches.

The final activity that I took part in this week was becoming a self-taught HTML whiz. I went in with high hopes, I came out of 3 Kahoot! quizzes, many different tutorial blog posts and a 98% quiz average. After learning how to insert italics, headers and images, I decided to create a tutorial about how to insert these codes using Explain Everything.

This week of the SBC was enjoyable, and I can’t wait for next week! Mentally prepare yourselves, people

”Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight” – The Truman Show

Avatars 101


This marks the beginning of a golden age for my blog. The Student Blogging Challenge.

I have participated in this challenge in the past, namely last year. It was a very fun and engaging experience, mainly because it gives us the chance to interact with all walks of people.

Of course so that everyone knows that I am not an internet catfish, the first step in this process will be creating an avatar.

An avatar is a personalized image which reflects something about you, such as your appearance or your passions. In my case, my avatar is a picture of prison Mike from the Netflix hit show, “the Office”.

I am elated to start this challenge once more.

“Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight” – the Truman Show

Meanwhile in Alberta…


Oh my goodness. It has been millenniums since I have visited this relic of a blog. As my own personal form of a welcome back present, here is a mind blowing fact: did you know that competitive art used to be a sport in the Olympics? Unfortunately overtime, the sport lost funding and has become known as a career or a hobby. Today, art is taken very seriously, and many famous artists are revered as some of the most incredible people to grace this earth. Take Picasso, Kahlo, Da Vinci or Monet for example.

Today marks the end of our first Humanities project of the year; the land is us. This trip also involved our field school to Alberta! The question that drove this project was, how does the land impact our identity.

Pop quiz: what do you think  the land change about our identity

A) what we eat, and how we eat it

B) what we wear, and how we deal with the change of seasons

C) our beliefs and traditions

D) none of the above, only how we self identify

E) all of the above, and more

How does land impact our identity? This was our driving question for the following project. Our task was to inspect this question, and focus our answers and inquiries on a certain group of people. For myself, along with Meg, Grace and Asha, this group of people was artists. Another important component to this project was lensing, which in English means looking or viewing a certain something through a political, social, economical or environmental lens. The lens that we chose to peer through was up to us, so I chose a social lens. Therefore, my thesis was, how are artistic themes impacted by the Rocky Mountains, and how do these themes affect passerby’s, namely students. Our final product should look like a professional documentary, and must cover the driving question as well as include interview evidence

If you would like read more about my Alberta trip, then feel free to ignore or check out my Daily Note, a collection of notes I wrote while on the trip.


We began this new project by considering the following question. How does place impact our identity. When I first began this project, I didn’t know much about the subject that we would be covering. What was identity? Considering it is such a wide subject, how would we narrow down the search? How would we be finding our evidence? Soon, all of my questions would be answer, starting with the Using a Lens exercise.


Our using a lens exercise assed our ability to compare and contrast continuity and change for different groups of people in the same time period. We presented this project using our speaking and listening skills in a variety of informal and formal contexts for a range of purposes. In groups of four we were tasked with researching and writing from one perspective on a current issue. The current issue assigned to my group was the wolf cull, and how it impacts Alberta economically, geographically and politically. I chose to take on this task from a political point of view. This activity helped me gain an understanding of the lenses that I would be using, because by listening to the other people in my group enforce a lens with facts from students, political leaders, celebrities and nature, I was able to determine for myself how this issue should be resolved.


Furthermore, thanks to this exercise I was able to become more aware of how others are impacted by the wolf cull, such as how supplies in firsts nations bands deplete because of the inability to hunt caribou, how soon to be confidential areas will impact the way of living of people and wolves alike. Although, issues like these prevail because the head of the democratic system is benefitted by it. So now I knew what lens I wanted to use, how to gather information surrounding this lens how we would narrow down this project.

The next activity which implemented the driving question into my brain was in Alberta, at the Glenbow museum

The Glenbow museum is a revered art and history museum in the heart of Calgary. They believe in expanding the accessibility to art through history. Most of their exhibits revolve around three of the lenses that we studied. It includes political, environmental and social exhibits all meant to provide meaningful experiences for their visitors. As an independent non-profit, member-based organization, Glenbow generates over 60 percent of its operating revenue through fundraising, museum and program admissions and Glenbow memberships. This is not an advertisement

While getting the prodigious opportunity to visit the Glenbow museum of art and history in Calgary, we took a clinic with one of the workers there. We were led into a room that brought on a blast from the past, with old Canadian artifacts covering the walls. We had to absorb all of the information around us, and write down what proof we had that it was a component of identity. For example, we had to walk around one of the exhibits keeping food and it’s role as a part of identity in mind. Peering back in time, and learning about how one doll, or a blanket, or a dessert can tell us so much about the land it came from and what the beliefs were in that land was incredible. One activity that really rang true to our DQ was an item inspection. I was given an Inuit doll to inspect, and using my newfound manners I inspected this doll to see how it would have been made, and what it’s use would have been. This gives us good insight as to what the beliefs or pastimes were popular in Inuit culture, in turn telling us a lot about their identity. While doing this activity, we were specifically working on our ability to compare and contrast different groups of people in a similar time period. It was at this stop that I truly began to understand what dentity was, and what changed throughout time, as a result changing identity. This was a crucial part of this trip.

Last but not least, Beakerhead tied this project all together. Since the beginning of this trip, we had been practicing going on our best behaviour in front of others, in other words not being our regular intimidating selves, and interviewing them. This was a large step for me, because the idea of going up to strangers and asking for their opinion was a daunting idea. Although, by practicing with my peers and working up my self confidence, I learned how to conduct a successful interview that achieved it’s purpose. The thesis that led these interviews was also my own personal driving question: how do the Rockies impact artistic themes in Alberta, and how do these themes affect students. By asking simple, yet opened ended questions about artists own personal form of inspiration, I was able to determine the answer to my driving question, which was later represented in my video.

The process of creating this video was a compelling and amusing one. I had been waiting for the opportunity to create a video for our Humanities class, and the guidelines of this project offered an excellent opportunity for creativity and demonstrating my ability as a listener and speaker in a variety of formal and informal contexts for a range of purposes.

I am very proud of the final outcome, as I made it a goal of mine at the beginning of this project to make a professional video that clearly stated my answer to the driving question. It needed to included proof of how much I improved my ability to listen and speak about an opinion that did not belong to me, which you can see very briefly while I was talking to Jacqueline. I am delighted as to how I conducted this interview, and how her well structured and thoughtful answers could be translated into supporting evidence for my video. I did conduct multiple other interviews, although they were not applicable to the idea that I wanted to enforce in my video. I ensured that I included a segment specifically dedicated to continuity and change of the artistic scene in Alberta over the years, and what role the landscape played in that change. I took as many chances as I could to get peer feedback on my video, so that I could achieve my goal of professionalism. I may or may not have gotten excited about the video and included in interview with a classmate about my driving question.

I discovered something fascinating after asking this classmate to watch a video seen at Beakerhead Spectral Illuminations. Even though this work of art did not include any words, had no scientific evidence to influence the viewer, nor pictures of the landscape being torn apart, the artist behind this video was able to send a message through simple metaphors. And in many cases, this message was much more inspiring than anything else we had heard about climate change on the trip. The land is in-fact being destroyed by us. It is evident that we must incite change, and this artist conveyed a message that inspired us to carry it out. I asked this artist, who would prefer to remain nameless how he had come up with the inspiration for this video, and his answer was simple. “Because I live in Alberta, and noticing what affects people and what doesn’t has become my career. Alberta has changed the way I work, and the message that I send out to the world. People may be the cause, but they are also the solution. And thanks to the mountains, and the beautiful land around us, I have come to realize that. I want to be a part of the solution”. What this artist has said touches close to home. We are the cause and we are also the solution. By using artistic methods, we can inspire the next generation of people to become more aware of the world around them, and their future.

“We are the cause and we are also the solution”

We knew from the beginning of this project that the answer to the driving question was. If in the pop quiz, you answered E), then you are correct! The land changes everything about us. In the case of artists, it changes the entire artistic process, and every single aspect of their lives. I discovered in my inquiries, that we are impacted by the art that is produced by them. It changes how we see certain parts of the world which would be otherwise insignificant, such as the metaphor behind cutting a piece of wood. In our case, the land we live on changes everything. From what we eat, to what we believe in, to how we dress and our future. It changes how we see the world, which is our worldview, and how the world sees us, which is our identity.

In the end, all of my questions were answer. But that does not mean that I will ever stop questioning.

”Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight“ – The Truman Show

Being A Math Ninja: A Forgotten Art?


Salutations, strangers.

Did you know, that in France, a pie chart is sometimes referred to as a “camembert”. Camembert, when roughly translated to English means cheese. That is right. While we have been over here in North America creating pie charts, the French are over there doing cheese. Ok that is beside the point we have a project to talk about.

Buckle up, because it is time time of year again. The end of a project!

This is our very first math project of the year! Math has always been such a fun and compelling subject, and I have always wanted the opportunity to express original ideas in such a rules and regulations focused subject.

The question that drove this project was: how does math make games more complex, interesting and replay-able? The answer should be represented through a physical card game that will be played by our fellow grade 9 class. The final product should include an instruction sheet that clarifies the rules in a compelling and unique way, a clear point keeping system and fun game pieces that ring true to your game. The game must revolve around the rules of exponents, which include the rule of multiplication, the rule of division, etc. They must be represented in whole number operations. This project will test and exercise our ability to gather data through all senses, therefore benefitting our ability as innovative designers and computational thinkers.

The “Big Idea”, or in PLP what we like to refer to as the “Driving Question” was: How can math make a game more complex, interesting, and re-playable. And at first glance, this may seem simple. Or at least, this is what I thought when I first saw this project launch, I believed it to be simple enough. And though I was proved wrong, the benefits of this project outweighed how difficult it was to create this game.

Pre production: This is the step in which I must innovate and brainstorm ideas. According to the Myers-Briggs test, this is the area in which I excel. The pre production process requires us to think, ponder and consider ideas, and then form a rough outline for the creation process.

To begin this process, we needed to understand the subject of which we were creating this project on. Considering creating a game about the laws of exponents requires knowing the laws of exponents. The activity that allowed me to comprehend this was our in class quiz. This encouraged me to study and practice using the law of exponents in a more complex form. Once you know all of the rules, very difficult equations become very simple to solve.

The rules of exponents

After many Kahoot quizzes, and an unhealthy amount of Khan academy, we began mapping out our game. The exercise which helped us with this process was the dice game exercise. We only had 15 minutes to fabricate two or three games simply using one dice, and the laws of exponents. This activity forced cognitive activity, and gave us good insight as to how the game would work.

This is a short slide show of the notes that went into the production of Math Ninja

Production phase: The production phase is the time frame in which we actually brainstorm and create our game. I was paired up with Holly Robinson for this phase. Our firsts draft looked like the Game of Life, and although it would have been educational, the instructions would have been complex to explain, and the game was not compelling, which would be a prominent part of our mark. Luckily, the god of peer critique blessed us with one bold statement: the game is horrible. Ok, maybe they didn’t say it like that, but it confirmed our suspicions.

The inspiration for Math Ninja came from the Game of Spoons, a game in which each player competes for a limited number of spoons by taking from a  pile at the centre of the table. The objective of the game is to receive four of the same cards, which is your ticket to grab a  spoon. Our final product was similar to this, except we changed and created a few aspects of our own.

Math Ninja is not a difficult game. It is fun to play with your friends, as it quickly gets competitive and messy, all while teaching you how to simplify and apply the rules of exponents with variables to an equation. The chosen dealer must set the large deck, dubbed the Game Deck at the centre of the action. This player then deals one card from the smaller pile (the rule pile, I know, creative, right?) to each player. Everyone props their rule card onto a card stand, as we have found that if other players can see your cards, they will withhold the cards necessary to you, defeating the purpose of the game. Every player now must count the figures on their card. (For instance, if my rule card said a^3 x a^5, the I would need 5 cards). The dealer must deal this number of game cards to the player. Each player is now allowed to look at their cards. The dealer places the game card deck to their right, and begins passing cards to the person on their left. If a card comes along and it is necessary to replicate your equation, then you are allowed to keep it, and take out another card from your deck to replace it. This card should be passed along to the next person. The first person to replicate and simplify their equation must grab a coloured ninja star. If they have done so successfully, then they are the winner! If they are not, the next person who grabbed a ninja star gets a stab at simplifying their equation. The winner of a round receives a white ninja star.

I would like to specially thank Noah Louie for turning Holly and I from incompetent ninja star origami folders into practically ninjas ourselves. We first introduced the idea of ninja stars late on in the game creation process, but the idea of a quick and reflexive weapon fit the game theme perfectly, hence our name. Unfortunately, this was the point in the project in which we had to Vito the “Reneé Des Cards” name, and I will forever mourn this lost oppertunity.

This is the video that we created to explain the setup of our game

Math Ninja allows people who do not enjoy doing long mathematical equations to simplify, and break down large problems into concise, one to two variable equations. As I mentioned earlier, knowing your small equations builds up into the ability to do much longer problems. By including a simple, and re-playable method, people of any age can test their flexibility with numbers and their reflexes at the same time.

Our final rule sheets. The first picture explains gameplay, while the second one clarifies setup.

To execute this final product, we need to create the following:

• Card stands

• Two well marked decks of cards with coloured tape to indicate their significance

• 15 ninja stars, 5 of which were coloured

• A rule sheet, and considering that we did not have enough space to explain our game in one rule sheet, a second one as well

• A video that explained the contents of our game, and how they apply

Holly and I really hoped that our final product looked like a fun and professional game, and I believed we accomplished that and went beyond, which I am really proud of.

Post production: This was the stage that everyone was looking forward to. The lovely grade 9 math class decided to grace us with their presence, as they played our games and examined what they had learned from the game. As far as this activity went, I enjoyed being able to play a game that I had worked hard on with another class. Although, pitting four competitive grade 9s together almost always results in a disaster. It got even more competitive when we threw candy in the mix. Since we received compliments about our game, I decided to work up the courage to send this game to a local game company. Tune in next Sunday for episode two.

In short, I am so glad that we finally got the chance to do a compelling and innovative math project, and I am very proud of the outcome. When I began this project, I didn’t know what the laws of exponents were, nonetheless how I would be able to create a game out of them. The ability to apply and quickly analyze a question using mental math strategies using exponents seemed not a simple task. I would like to thank my peers, Khan academy, and replaying Math Ninja as a form of revision for helping me become confident in my mental math strategies. You know what they say, practice makes perfect, and in this case it is very true. Replaying my game has allowed me to quickly rebuild, recreate and simplify equations. This applies to the math we are currently doing in class, because each problem is a set of much smaller problems. By breaking them down and simplifying into a smaller equation, they become very easy to solve.

This ties into reasoning and analyzing, which is one of the curricular competencies for this project. Reason and analyzing is applicable because it is what allows us to use patterns and logic to play a game. Before this project began, much of the reasoning and analyzing I did was done in my head, but I was not able to put it into words, or decipher it in the English language. By doing many rounds of peer critique, and explaining strategies and recurring patterns in this game to my friends, I can comprehend what is going on in my own head.

Furthermore, the curricular competency which ties this all together is applying and innovating, which we can outline as contributing to care for self, others and your community through an individual or collaborative approach. Once upon a time, I did not know that we could apply this curricular competency to a math project. But by creating Math Ninja, I have gotten the opportunity to explore innovation in mathematics by using computational fluency and flexibly with numbers, and applying it to brainstorming which I have been doing in other subjects throughout the years. Holly and I took a faint outline of the game, considered each element, and made changes according to our audience and what we want others to learn from the game. In the aftermath (see what I did there) of this project, I have begun to realize how I have enhanced my abilities as computational thinkers and innovative designers.

Thank your for attending my TED talk.

”Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight” – The Truman Show.