Home Security 101

It’s June, which means that BlueSky has made its “triumphant” return. You know what that means.


So, the exhibition went by pretty fast, and before we knew it, we were ripping paper off of the walls and tearing down hours of hard work. Here’s a quick edit I made of the chaos at the exhibition.


So with that out of the way, let’s start at the beginning. I’ll be telling this story through the LAUNCH cycle, because that’s the order we did everything in. We also did everything using the LAUNCH journal, which gave us prompts to try to help us achieve our goals.

L – Look, Listen, And Learn

This section featured a few writing prompts, including how might we’s, and also some world issue analysis. One specific prompt… prompted us to write about some pressing world issues, and from this, my project was born.

As you can see, I started researching and looking at home security. Safety and well-being was a topic that I still feel is under-recognized as a world issue, and my project was meant to change that. My first plan? A Home Security System.

A – Ask Tons of Questions

As you can tell from the title, in this section, we asked questions. Tons of questions. We looked at a helpful question formulation infographic-thing to help get the creative, questioning juices flowing. Ew.

The first step for this section of the journal was to make a chart of NTK’s, or Need To Knows. This was a chart featuring 3 columns:

Know – Something we already knew

Need to Know – Something we don’t know relating to something we know

Next Steps – What we’ll do to find out the NTK.

Here’s my chart.

The next, and final step was to make a timeline. Not too much to explain there.


Pitch Form

This was a break from the LAUNCH cycle. Mainly because P doesn’t fit into the word “LAUNCH”. But also because our teachers didn’t trust us (not all of us at least) to create something brilliant on the first try.

Long story short, I got rejected. Not fully, though. The main reason was because I am incapable of making a functioning security system in 3 weeks. So….

However, like someone going through a breakup, I bounced back, and a few days after, I settled for the next best thing: a Guide for Home Security. This was pretty much the same, but it featured myself, writing down my thoughts and home security research down into a digital book.

U – Understand the Problem and N – Navigate Ideas

I’m clumping these together, because A: I’m lazy and B: These steps kinda belong together. With that out of the way, U was pretty much the research stage.


However, N actually featured taking all of your research and plotting it out onto a post-it board, grouping similar ideas.


C – Create a Prototype

This section featured not only the prototype of your project, but rapid and live prototypes. Here are some links explaining rapid and live prototypes.

I created some wild prototypes, such as storyboards and mind maps. Here’s my mind map, which I used to try to figure out my accessibility.

H – Highlight and Fix

This is blatantly obvious. Revision. For my revision, I decided to add some minimalistic icons to my bland, colourless guide. I went into keynote, made some icons, and added them into my book, reformatting it so that it looked simple, but not effortless.



Before we presented, we created interactive KeyNotes. These were called our Launch Portfolios. These are what we put our LAUNCH process into, like our blogs. These had icons that linked to different slides, featuring the L A U N C H.

As always, before we knew it, the exhibition was here. We (our group) was named “Home Products”, so our minds immediately jumped to home decor. Our group of Grade 8’s and 9’s set up decently well with the time we had, and soon, we Launched.


There’s not much to say about BlueSky that I haven’t said before. BlueSky is great for practicing critical thinking, and with my digital book design, it really helped me work on my project design and my writing. I was able to kind of “find” my writing style, as I mixed elements from my essay writing (informative) and blog writing (humour and “charisma”). It also helped me figure out minimalism, as I think I did a pretty good job with the minimalistic design and formatting.

Conclusion: BlueSky was a pretty nice experience, and helped me work on skills I hadn’t really thought about before.

This is Jason, signing off.

The Return of tPOL’s

Yep. You read the title right. The end is near. And by that, I mean school’s almost out. Not the apocalypse.

With that mystical insight out of the way, I’m Jason, and this is my tPOL post. No dilly-dallying today. Straight into it.

I’m kicking things off differently this time around. I generally start with my subjects, but today, I’m starting by recapping my goals from last year.

Last Year’s Goals

Last year, my main goal was to integrate what I’ve learned through PGP into my extracurriculars, and I’m proud to announce that I’ve made good on this promise. I’ve been (or am trying to be) keeping up with things. I’ve plotted out all of my extracurricular activities, from music to academics, and it’s been pretty helpful. It reminds me of what I have to do, and it’s been really overall helpful for staying on task.

My goal for humanities was to use existing feedback and apply it to future situations. With the arrival of many new video projects, the feedback from my older videos proved to be a valuable asset. For example, one of the most common inconsistencies with my videos was the shaky audio. I’m glad to say that that foe has been vanquished…. for now. I looked back at all of my old videos, and took into account all of the repeat mistakes I had made, and for the time being, I have been pretty good at keeping my mistakes fresh and new. I still make mistakes. Only now, I’m making different mistakes.

For Maker, my goal was persistance. I felt I was too “soft” per se, and I gave up a little too easily sometimes. With the twin powerhouses of BlueSky and DI, I’m glad to say that this promise was kept. Even throughout all of the struggles, from wood measurements gone wrong to not having a functioning backdrop on the day of provincials, I kept my head up, thought happy thoughts (which was one of the biggest struggles), and I got through it. I guess things worked out in the end. We made the best out of our wood surplus, and our plan for a pit-crew style de-assemble and re-assemble worked like a charm….ish. And hey, we ended up with a sweet second place trophy. With BlueSky just around the corner, I’m sure with my new mindset, I should be able to get through whatever the exhibition will throw at me.

In science, my biggest goal was to keep an open mindset. I felt my attitude needed a slight adjustment, and in the second half of the year, I stepped it up. Instead of only using 70-80% of my brainpower in class, which was what I was kind of doing before, I kicked it up to 110%, and repurposed what other % of my power to other aspects, such as project design and thinking outside of the box. For example, our latest math project, which was about linear equations, involved calculating costs and looking at equations. Old me would have made a simple equation, not take anything into account, and make a pretty good video. However, new me took everything into account. Pencil cost, advertising time, and even the time it took me to walk to the library. I made a great video, and it paid off, as I got great marks.

Now that that’s out of the way, time for subject reflections.


Ohhh boy. The big fish. PGP was quite the rocky road. At the start of PGP, I, just like everyone else, was skeptical about it. It took me quite a while to catch on to what the course was about and what it offered, and by term 2, it wasn’t very high on my priorities. However, upon closer inspection, I realized that PGP actually offered a lot, from the 7 Habits to Things to Productivity to Goal Setting. After my newfound respect for the course, the Time Machine project provided me with a great opportunity to show off my growth in that course.

According to my teachers, it worked. My Time Machine product was pretty great in quality, and I think I was one of the only people who actually took the words “Time Machine” literally with my 90’s themed self help video.

Looking back, PGP was like a slope, with the line representing my interest and development in PGP.  I started at the bottom, suspicious and kind of lazy, and I slowly clawed my way up to the tippy top of the slope. Pretty good, if I do say so myself.


At the mid-term point last year, Humanities was going pretty well. I was a fan of the video projects, and I was consistent with the quality of my videos. I’m pleased to say that (in my opinion) I’ve kept that up. The quality has stayed the same, if not better, and I think my video skills have skyrocketed, from music production to special effects to being a theme master (remember my era-appropriate 90’s themed Time Machine?).

A definite high point for me in humanities was the Wild West, AKA Victoria. The reason I’m saying Victoria is because for one of the first times this year (other than the animation), I was all alone, other than my filming partner, Niklas. The reason I liked this so much was because of the unique challenges it brought to the table. For one, it was an incredibly limited filming timespan, as we only really had 40 minutes in Chinatown. Another thing was the pace. I’m generally a pretty slow actor. I take a while to get ready, and with the fast paced walking tour, I didn’t really have any opportunities to film along the way. However, I think I overcame these obstacles pretty well, with pretty good footage and new solutions (the use of old photos for contrast to show history).

Oh, right. It also taught me filming skills. ESPECIALLY rule of thirds. After some sub-par filming on my behalf for my filming partner Nik (sorry pal), I learned the importance of the rule of thirds and lighting quality.


Maker was a wild ride. I think I did pretty well this year in terms of leadership, communication, and focus. However, it also brought me back down to Earth, reviving my old foe, Time Management.

DI was so big I’m using it for my positives and negatives. The mid-term was just when DI was starting to heat up, and my god, what a blast of heat it gave me. DI really strengthened my leadership skills and my communication skills. I think I did a pretty good job of helping to keep the group on task, and after regionals, our group chat usage went from 2 texts a week to 20 texts a day.

However, negatives are needed to balance out the goody gumdrops. It gives me great displeasure to say this, but DI made me forget all about my old foe, Time Management. That’s right, the saga between me and Time Management lives on. All the fun of designing costumes and writing outrageous scripts made me forget all about the timeline, and before we knew it, we had 1 week before regionals, and a 60% completed solution. Thankfully, my group and I stepped it up, and we got things done, but a brush with an old enemy reminded me that bad Time Management is a slippery slope.


Not gonna lie, I like Scimathics. The projects and assignments are straightforward. The teacher is straightforward. I’m a pretty straightforward guy. Also, I pretty much think in numbers, so I didn’t have many struggles in this class. However, there were still highs and lows.

High point: Matter Cycles. This is the project where I really learned to think outside the box to create our methane monstrosity. I think this was the project that challenged me the most, or should I say, I challenged myself the most. I was constantly pushing myself to be better, and always looking for areas to improve. This resulted in maximum class time usage, optimal time management, and best of all, lots and lots of calculations.

In the end, I was able to create a superb presentation, filled to the brim with environmental concern, statistics, and unnecessary but still helpful calculations.

Low point: Polynomials

Nothing against polynomials. Nothing against the project. However, this project doesn’t look great compared to my Matter Cycles. I stuck to the basic, keynote template, bottom-feeding, bread and butter, simple project outlines. No self-challenging, just laziness. Not great. Sure, I had things going on, like RCM and DI, but still. However, towards the end of our (Kyle and I’s) project, I kicked it up a notch, and made some much-needed improvements, turning our project from “meh” to “wow!”.

Final Reflection

1 and a half hours and 1500 words later, here I am. Tired, hungry, and ready to reflect on my year.

Grade 9 was great. The projects were usually fun, and the video focus really drew my attention. I made a new friend by the name of PGP, gained some confidence, and made good on my goals. What more could I ask for.

Humanities: Interesting. Maker: Useful. Scimathics: Fun. PGP: Growth.

Those 8 words could sum up my year in terms of PLP, but I also had my extracurriculars. My academics are booming, due to the help of things, and music couldn’t be going any better. Surprising to see that I came so far from a socially awkward Grade 8, to fan favourite, decently confident, time-blocking, things-using, musically accomplished, Grade 9 social butterfly Jason Guan.

Ok. I’m gonna stop writing before I tear up-wait! My goal! I forgot all about that!

My goal/question for the next stretch of months is:

“How can I keep learning even when school’s over?”

As you all know, the pursuit of knowledge never ends, especially with me. Unfortunately, I will be attending summer school this year to boost myself ahead in Math, but even without that or my extracurricular academics, I will keep trying to learn new things, through reading books, passion projects, and who knows, maybe even video games can teach me something. (Mortal Kombat 11’s anatomy is spot-on).

This is a surprisingly emotional Jason, signing off.

Mud…. The Greatest Threat of Them All

WWI, AKA the Great War is one of the most infamous wars throughout history, and for good reason. It was incredibly gruesome, and had an incredibly wide impact on the world. In our latest unit, we studied all about this big, gory mess of a war and in this post, I’ll be talking all about the war in all of its bloody glory.

So, WWI was not fun, to say the least, and to be honest, I probably shouldn’t describe all of the bloody, gory, gruesome death that occurred during the war. So I won’t.

With that out of the way, out unit began with the introduction of our main project: a video (we pick what type) based on a particular aspect of WWI. The twist? We had to present these to (drumroll)….

elementary school kids. Yep. Every high-schooler’s worst nightmare. And even better? This project was individual. You can probably guess the emotions that were running through my brain. Throughout this project, I learned to tolerate small children better, and I eventually grew to enjoy the project, but I’ll save the reflection for the reflection.


Now, as you probably know, World War I was quite a broad topic. Probably too broad for me to sum up in a single post, but I’m sure as heck gonna try.

So, the most common theory of what really “started” WWI can be traced back to the assassination of Austria-Hungarian archduke, Franz Ferdinand.

Franz Ferdinand was the heir to the Austria-Hungarian throne, but married Sophie, who was of lower birth than him, leading to strange circumstances. While in the city of Sarajevo, the archduke and his wife, who were riding around the city in their car, were targeted by the Serbian Black Hand, a group of Serbian Nationalists that really hated Franz. After several failed assassination attempts, a failed bombing, and a lot of disappointment, Gavrilo Princip, who was stationed around a corner near a shop, shot and killed both Franz Ferdinand and Sophie.

As you might have expected, the Austria-Hungarian government didn’t take too kindly to this. Austria-Hungarian General Conrad von Hötzendorf, who was infamous for always trying to start wars, didn’t take too kindly to their archduke being assassinated. He demanded the Serbians sign an ultimatum, which they nearly all agreed to. However, with Kaiser Wilhelm, the German General, in vacation, Conrad saw this as the perfect opportunity to declare war. To show our understanding of this topic, we (Emerson, Sam, Fraser And I) created a video.

Clarifications: I represent Austria-Hungary, Fraser represents Germany, Emerson represents Serbia, and Sam represents Russia.

We also read 3 different books. The books varied from horse stories, to brotherly alliances, to bayonet incidents. We wrote reflections on each part of the book, and the books actually taught me a lot. The book I picked was called Generals Die In Bed. I picked because A: It was written by an actual veteran, and B: gratuitous violence.

Not much else to say about WWI that you probably don’t already know. The triple alliance (Britain, France, Russia, and later the U.S., and Canada) battled the triple entente (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottomans). Germany occupied Belgium as a part of their Schlieffen Plan. Tanks. Planes. Chemical Warfare. Germany also used their U-Boats to try to starve Britain. However, at some point, the German U-Boats angered the wrong people, and ended up getting the U.S. involved in the war. Russia went through their own revolution, resulting in them dropping out of the war. As you all know, the Allies came out victorious, but losses were suffered on both sides.

My Project

Now, as I said in the beginning, we created individual videos based on a specific aspect of the war. How did we decide? you may ask. Luck of the draw. We spun a wheel, and lucky for me, I was picked first, which meant I ended up with my first choice, tanks.

As always, the first step with any project is research, and I had quite a hefty amount. Not much to say about that. Next, we picked our video forms. I decided on a John Green/Crash Course type of video. Next, I wrote a screenplay. Not much to say about that either. After that came the storyboard. This is when I really finalized my set design. Finally, I filmed. I was able to find a decently well-lit, neutral desk area to record. After a bit of editing and GarageBand, I cranked out my first draft.

After the first draft, I got some pretty nice critique. I smoothened out the audio, made some more music, and the second, and surprisingly, final draft, was ready to go. 

After what had felt like a pretty short amount of time, we presented. We headed down to our local elementary school, and paired up, 1 Grade 9 to 2-6 Grade 6-7’s. It went pretty smoothly. We had made quizzes the days before, and it seemed like the kids were actually pretty engaged.


In hindsight, I think I really enjoyed this project. The content was really interesting, and once again, I learned new video skills, especially my GarageBand skills. This was another project where all music had to be custom, and I learned how to create music of all genres.

The politics, social situations, and especially warfare were all really interesting. It may sound disturbing, but I enjoyed reading about all of the different types of combat, from aerial aces, to battleships, to big ol’ tanks. Another thing I worked on is set design. In this project, with my video form, set design was vital to the operation and I’d like to believe I did a pretty good job. Overall, enjoyable content, new video forms, and an interesting challenge led to a great way to end off the year.

This is Jason, signing off.

Blast From The Past

Hello loyal readers, I’m Jason Guan and this is my official PGP post. Before I start, this may be my biggest post ever, so prepare for some reading.

So PGP (personal growth plan) is something new that the PLP team introduced this year. It’s an X-Block class that involves all of the goal-setting things from regular class and compresses them all into one, once-a-month class.

In this post, I’ll be showing off my “Time Machine” project (blast from the past), and also walking through everything we’re learned this year in PGP.

But first, backstory. In the beginning, I was a small child who didn’t know any better. I had the occasional late assignment in showbie, and got flooded with work. However, from the beginning of Grade 9 until now, I have learned so much information I wish I could have told my past self. That’s what Time Machine is for.

My Time Machine Project

The first section of this post will also be the best. Time Machine. For time machine, I chose to create a good ol’ self help video. You know what I’m talking about. These videos are notorious for being mystical and using fancy words like “revitalize” and “heal”. I found this to be the best way to show off this information, as many aspects of self help videos and PGP line up together.

I chose to focus on my three favourite habits, AKA the topics I wish past Jason had known. Putting first things first, Think Win-Win, and putting first things first. These all associate to some part of my life, whether it be education, music, or health. Here’s the final product.

Here’s the second part of my post, the explanation of everything we learned. This is the long, reading part that I warned you about. So buckle up, grab a drink, and prepare for a mild ride through the streets of productivity.

Goal Setting

I’m sure you all know what goal-setting is, and we thought we did too, until we read the book “What Do You Really Want?”. This book was focused on goal-setting and how to set effective goals.

One of my biggest take-aways from this was SMART goals. Smart is an acronym to consider when setting goals. It stands for:






If you remember this acronym, then your goals will be bound for success. One of our main assignments for this unit was the use of forms. Forms (Think it and Ink it) were great ways to get thinking about our goals, and we wrote them down in a journal.


Our Productivity (Time Management) unit was mainly centred around two main aspects. Time management tools and time blocking. Time management tools are like evolved to-do lists. The one we used was called “Things” and allowed us to set deadlines, set repeating to-do’s, and even organize them by area and project. It was incredibly useful for managing your time well, which was one of my goals from last year.

Time blocking was another focus of this unit. Time blocking is the use of a calendar app (we just used the Apple calendar) to plot out every 1-2 hour block of your life. This can be incredibly useful for people who play sports and practice often, or for people like me, who are terrible at sports but take a ton of extracurriculars.

The 7 Habits

Oh boy. This is the big fish. This is one of our biggest units this year. The 7 Habits. The 7 Habits are a set of… well…. 7 habits designed to help you achieve your goals and many other things. The 7 Habits (in order) were:

Be Proactive

Begin With The End In Mind

Put First Things First

Think Win-Win

Seek First To Understand, then to Be Understood


Sharpen The Saw

I could sit here and type out a long, detailed explanation of the 7 Habits, but I highly doubt you want to read that, so I’m going to make good use of this unit’s main project, the 4 creative reflections. For each section of the book, we were asked to fill in a workbook to show our learning, as well as make a creative reflection for each section. I think you’ll enjoy looking at my doodles/sketch notes a lot more than reading big, fat blocks of text.


Wow. That was actually a lot less than I expected. But, I still have a Reflection to write.

PGP was a big help for all of my classes. The time blocking and use of things was incredibly useful for planning out my valuable time and helping my stay on track and helping my assignments stay on time. The 7 Habits were an even bigger help. They stayed in the back of my mind, and helped me in every situation where they could be used. I think I’ve used every single habit at least once after I learned about them, and I feel I utilized them well.

The first ever unit, goal setting, was just as big of a help as anything. The forms allowed me to concentrate on all of my goals, and the SMART acronym is something that I don’t think I’ll ever forget, whether that be good or bad. The Time Machine was a great manifestation of everything we learned in PGP, and was a great refresher on everything I might have forgotten.

Overall, PGP may have been frustrating at times with the workload, but in the end, I think it paid off.

This is a very tired Jason, signing off.

Clone Army

Hello. I’m Jason Guan, and this post is gon’ be ‘bout cloning. Mitosis, you know what I’m sayin’?

I’ll stop now.

Ok, so this unit was all about reproduction. I’m talking mitosis. I’m talking meiosis. I’m talking asexual AND sexual reproduction. Our final project for this unit was to clone two plants. A dandelion, and a plant of our choosing. After a few lessons on cell division and microscope usage, we got right to it.

The first main part of our project was planting our plants. We (my partner Luciano and I) dug up some dandelion roots, cut ‘em up, and planted the chunks of root in some soil, praying for them to grow. Spoiler alert, they didn’t. After that disappointment, we hoped our personal choice plant, garlic, would end up growing somewhat better.

The garlic planting was MUCH better. We planted the cloves and within a few days, the garlic sprouted beautifully.

The second main part was microscope usage. To examine mitosis in action, we cut off some of the root tips, and do some standard procedure. The procedure involves taking a root-tip, soaking it in hydrochloric acid to kill it and stop the cell growth, and soaking it in blue stain to make it more visible under a microscope. Under the microscope, we found some great mitosis photos.

Finally, what would a science post be without curricular competencies. These are some I (and the teacher) feel we excelled at.

Select and Use Appropriate Equipment

This competency involves making good use of the equipment given to you. In our case, it featured correctly using the microscopes and following the cloning procedures. In my opinion, we did great work with the microphones and got some great pictures. We also assembled out slides perfectly, using the acid, distilled water, and blue stain very well.

Transfer and Apply Knowledge to New Situations

This habit involves using prior knowledge and using it in completely new situations. I think a perfect example of using this competency well is when we took our knowledge of using the acid and blue stain procedure we learned to analyze the dandelion and garlic root tips. I think we definitely used the procedure very well, other than maybe not using enough dye.

Formulate Physical or Mental Models

The last competency I want to talk about is formulate physical or mental models. In terms of our project, this involves taking photographs of the Mitosis in our root tips, and organizing them into charts plotting out the stages of Mitosis. Interphase, Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, Telophase, and Cytokinesis. We made some great charts involving the stages of Mitosis, and I think that was a great contributor to our success in this competency.

So, that brings the clone army to an end. I enjoyed this project, as it allowed me to get hands-on and actually make a physical model.

This is Jason, signing off.


Hello viewers and welcome to another thrilling blog post. Today’s topic? Confederation.

That’s right, for this unit, we took it back to the great 1800’s. Farmers were yelling because of crop failure, newspapers lined the streets, and everyone was scared of those darn Yankees. Let’s get started.

Conditions in Upper and Lower Canada

Now, you may not know, but before we became the great nation of Canada (singular), Canada was split up into 2 main parts. Upper Canada (Ontario) And Lower Canada (Quebec). As you may have expected, these two sides HATED each other. The Brits mainly controlled Upper Canada, And the government was made up of a bunch of snobby rich people. Debt was slowly growing, and a rebellion was beginning to form. In the mainly French speaking Lower Canada, however, crop failure was an looming threat as prices for grain (from the British) were rising, and the oppression finally began to strike a nerve in the hearts of the French.

This, combined with the rising tensions between the British and the French became too much, and rebellion began to form. The rebellion in Upper Canada were led by the man who liked to dress in women’s clothes, William Lyon MacKenzie. They were campaigning against the corrupt Family Compact, who ruled Upper Canada. The rebellion in Lower Canada were led by the Patriotes, who, like the British, were against an unfair government. As you can see, a responsible government was needed.

However, we 21st century people aren’t the only people to notice that. Following his experience with the Canadas, Lord Durham was also noticing the problems and solutions to those problems. However, instead of complaining about it on his blog, Durham wrote a letter and sent it all the way to the British parliament, thus causing change in Canada.

Factors Leading To Confederation

You probably all know what confederation is (the uniting of Canada), but do you know what caused confederation?

Well, I’ll tell you. The main factors we could come up with were: government, economy, transportation, and the American threat.

Government, as you can tell, was a major player in the uniting of Canada. Judging from the previous text on upper canada, you can probably tell that there was a huge need for a responsible government. Party politics were big in those days, which involves people with joint beliefs teaming up and forming “parties”. Some parties included Parti Rouge, Parti Bleu, and the Tough Grits.

As I mentioned, Upper Canada’s debt grew more and more. To help improve this, they tried to charge Lower Canada much more for grain. A joint country could help economical matters much more. Not much more to say.

As you can tell by looking at a map, Canada’s a big place. Transportation between provinces and cities could be hard. However, the man himself, John A. MacDonald thought up a plan to convince provinces to join the country he envisioned. That’s right, the CPR. I talked a bit about this in my Animation Post, but the point is, the CPR was meant to aid transportation between provinces.

And last, but not least, the American Threat. So, tensions were looming in the U.S., as they just had their big Civil War. Canada was scared of the Americans, but however, the concept of strength in numbers was booming, and they realized that if the Canadians all banded together, they could very well handle the Americans.

The Final Project

Now that I’ve finished going over the content, I’ll go through the much-anticipated final project.

Our final project this unit was a history minute. What? What’s a History Minute? Well I’ll show you. Here, I’ve compiled some of my personal favs. After some of these, you’ll know.

So, a history minute is a documentary, dramatic re-enactment, and much more crammed into the span of one minute. The reason we picked these were to show off our video and story-telling skills that we’ve been working on for the past year or so. As always, we had a driving question. This unit, it was:

How Do The Stories Of Our Past Shape Our Identities Today?

And, as is with many projects, we got into groups. Ours consisted of Sam, Jackson, and Caleb. We started off the project with picking themes, and we ended up (in a good way) with Battles and Rebellions. Next, we picked our topic, which ended up to be the Battle Of Stoney Creek, or more specifically, Billy Green.

In case you didn’t know (I didn’t expect you to), Billy Green had a really complicated backstory. All you need to know about him is that his brother-in-law got captured by the Americans, escaped, and figured out the Americans’ attack plans and countersign, a symbol or phrase used to call off sentries and much more.

Following the events of his B.I.L.’s capture, Billy told General John Harvey and the British, and eventually led the attack on the Americans with a sword. Yes. You read correctly. A SWORD.

Needless to say, this made perfect material for a dramatic recreation. We soon set off on our video journey, researching, writing a screenplay, storyboarding, and finalizing our shot list before we started the long, arduous process of filming.

Filming took pretty long, especially for us, as we had to figure out the exact time of day, weather, and lighting as we filmed all of our scenes outside. Not to mention re-filming, which was obviously needed. We had to line up every specific shot perfectly, and film every shot multiple times from every angle. Then there were the forgotten lines, and the schedule conflicts. I’ll stop myself and won’t complain too hard about this.

After editing, we had ourselves something. This was, of course, the first draft, so it definitely wasn’t perfect, but you can watch it.

Following some feedback and peer critique, we re-filmed scenes (specifically the confusing battle scene). We also re-did some of the audio, and a week or so later, we came back better than ever, and our second draft was a vast improvement from our first.

After that, we got some light, minor critiques, and fixed some editing errors, audio glitches, and added some drum/percussion beats into the backgrounds (made by yours truly). After what seemed like a few days, we were ready to present our final video…ish.

We actually got a bit more feedback after that, so we made some on-the-spot adjustments and finally cranked out our final video.

Following the completion of our videos, we sent our videos to Historica Canada, the actual CREATORS of Heritage Minutes. I’d like to thank Ryan Barnett and Joanne Archibald for taking the time out of their busy schedules to watch our videos and give us some helpful feedback.

Final Reflection

Overall, I liked this project for a few reasons.

1: The project covered different genres of videos. Typically, we make either an informational video or a documentary. It was fun to work on something more exciting, such as a dramatic recreation. I was a big fan of the action sequences and thrilling scenes.

2: The content was relevant. Confederation is obviously something we Canadians find very important. Otherwise, we’d be split into separate provinces. What I mean is that we would still be seen as different country-ish land areas. Not sure what to classify Upper and Lower Canada as. Ok, I’m explaining this terribly, but you probably get my point.

3: I was able to keep working on my video skills. Alright. I mention it every video, but this project was, yet again, a great way to “refresh” my video skills. I get it. Every project refreshes my video skills but it’s true. I used my new rule of thirds and angles during this project, and I was able to work on something I don’t get to do often: GarageBand. I harnessed by tribal urges and I cranked out some nice beats for the background of our video.

I actually enjoyed this video project quite a bit. The content, project premises, and skills used made for a killer combo, and resulted in a very satisfactory end product. Nice.

This is Jason, Signing Off.

Workplace Safety

  • Fact: Did you know that working in a wooded area can lead to tick borne diseases?
  • Fact: Did you know that kitchen equipment exceeds the maximum noise level for workplaces?
  • Fact: Did you know that a back pain is different from a back strain?

Hey everyone. It’s Jason and this post is gonna be about workplace Safety, our latest Maker unit. Seeing that we are all at the working age, our teacher and the curriculum thought it would be a great idea to take a quick lesson on workplace safety. Before I start, we were tasked to make one piece of media to show our learning. I created an info graphic to show what I had learned and to display it in a clean, well designed way.


Now, workplace safety is serious stuff. There are many hazards associated with many different jobs and occupations. Every workplace has its own dangers. For example, if you’re working as a dishwasher, the biggest hazard is cutting yourself on the knives and other sharp objects. If you’re working at a lumber mill, one hazard is the use of chainsaws and other power tools to cut down trees.

However, there are many lesser known, equally dangerous risks at every workplace. While washing dishes, you may cut yourself, but the building you are in might have been built before 1975, leading to asbestos. You may severely injure yourself cutting down trees, but there is also a threat of tick-borne diseases.

To fully understand dangers in the workplace, we watched a slightly disturbing workplace safety video. You might be asking, “Why I see it disturbing?” Well, it featured LIVE RECREATIONS. So while this woman was talking about losing a finger, it was happening ON THE SCREEN. However, it was still pretty educational, and gave us some great stats, such as 34 young workers are injured every working day.

Now, onto less grisly topics.

Many young workers are injured due to lack of instruction, even though they have the right to refuse work they believe is unsafe. The mandatory three steps for new workers are pretty simple.

Orientation: This is the introduction to the job. This is usually done in big groups and a PowerPoint or booklets are shown to the new workers.

Training: This is more specific, and the role of everyone at their different jobs is explored thoroughly.

Supervision: At the end of it all, a more experienced worker will follow the younger worker around and help them out, completing the process for training.

We learned this through a series of videos (thankfully not so grisly) that gave an overview of this whole process. We also took some notes on videos detailing the instruction process for other local businesses. I chose PlayLand/the PNE, and I learned a lot from their orientation, ride instruction and training, demonstrations, and the supervision.

Now, workplace safety was a pretty interesting unit. Yes, nastier topics like workplace injuries can be interesting to me, but I really liked this whole unit. Although I don’t have a job yet, this unit set me up pretty well, teaching me to refuse unsafe work and to have a sharp eye for possible catastrophes. That’s a big part of why I like this unit. It’s something that will undoubtedly help me in the future, when I become a working man.

The way this unit was presented was also pretty interesting (sorry, I’m using this word a lot). The videos we watched helped our understanding a lot, and it was a cool way to deliver them, because all of the training videos were from local businesses we knew.

Altogether, the workplace safety unit may have been short, but it was incredibly informative and was something I enjoyed.

This is Jason, signing off.

What’s the Matter? (Cycles)

What’s happening, trusty readers? Not so good? You-oh. Oh, jeez. That sounds terrible.

Just kidding. Today we’re gonna dive deep into a cloud of methane and science. That’s right. We’re talking ‘bout the matter cycles.

So, to start off our unit, we looked at a trusty Crash Course video. As always, the link should be right under this sentence.

After that, we got grouped up and picked our cycles for our project. The Great Amelia B. and I chose the carbon cycle for our project. Oh, the project! Right. Our project for this unit was to identify a negative impact on your cycle and create something (organism, system) that helped reduce that effect.

We of course identified global warming as the negative effect on our cycle, and we quickly found methane to be a huge part of the problem. Methane traps 25 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon, and is abundant in our atmosphere, so reducing that would be a huge benefit to our planet.

Throughout this unit, we’ve learned about food chains, trophic levels, and levels of consumers. We also took place in a debate over which cycle is “best”. (Spoiler Alert, we didn’t win)

Time flew by, and within a while, we had already made a KeyNote presentation to present our solution, which involves taking methane from a barn, chilling and liquefying it, and reacting it with a zeolite to turn it into methanol, an environmentally safe-er fuel. Full presentation down below.

[Insert Video Here]

Also, as is the case with all of my science projects, I made a mind map. No explanation needed.

Now, despite what you may think, this post is not to explain my unit and project. No, no, no. It’s for presenting the big c’s. Curricular Competencies. Yeah. I’ve done plenty of science posts before, so I’ll cut right to the chase.

Use Knowledge of Scientific Concepts to Draw Conclusions that are Consistent with Evidence

Long title aside, this competency had to do with my knowledge of ever-changing environmental variables, and how all cycles are interconnected. I think we demonstrated our understanding very well, as we had slides explaining the effects and consequences on all cycles, and accounted for all variables, such as rising sea levels, and raising temperatures.

We used examples from nitrogen-lacking carbon sinks and rising ocean levels to display our learning and everything we learned about the cycles, not just our own, but also the nitrogen, water, and phosphorus cycles.

 Evaluate the Validity and Limitations of a Model or Analogy in Relation to the Phenomenon Modelled

I think this competency was something we unknowingly did pretty well at. Throughout the entire project, we constantly questioned ourselves with “Is this realistic?” and “What other problems could this bring?”. With some advice from our teacher, we investigated every possible aspect of our project. Cost, comparison to other carbon-saving machines, timing, exact measurements and calculations, as well as the exact number of cows needed for an effective 14-day system.

Formulate Multiple Hypotheses and Predict Multiple Outcomes

Throughout our project, we’ve always looked at alternate methods and failsafes in case something does terribly wrong. We’ve looked at multiple outcomes, multiple new innovations and tried to use average numbers for our calculations because, of course, nothing ever stays the same. Maybe one day, the cows have an off day. Maybe another day, the cows are like gas machines. All these variables must be accounted for, and we’ve done our best to make these visible and important in our project.

Throughout this project, I’ve learned and refreshed a lot of information on food chains, trophies levels, and consumers (not people who buy a lot of merchandise, things that eat other things). However, the key pieces I learned in elementary school were still here and better than ever. This unit was a refreshment from the horrors of like terms and polynomials (jk) and was a huge help in my scientific studies.

This is Jason, signing off.

Time 2 DI

DI happened.

We got second.

Thanks for reading.

Just kidding. As you all know, after regionals come provincials, and this post is all about the magic of provincials.

So, after regionals, a lot about our performance changed. For one, we lost a group member. No, he didn’t die, but unfortunately, Caleb, (AKA Moses) was unable to come to provincials, so we had to rewrite our story. However, it may have been a blessing in disguise, as we smoothed out all the lumps in our story and it turned out better than ever.

For the most part, I’ll handle this post as I did the regional post. I’ll go section by section and talk about what changed.


Our original story was about three good friends on vacation in Costa Rica, but because one of our characters was no longer here, we had to revise it. This was our new story.

Mee (Sam) And Yu (Amelia) are siblings on vacation in Costa Rica. They go to party, but Mee ends up contracting musical hallucinations. They go to see Dr. Martin (Alex), but he is not of much help. Stuck, they decide to move on and go on a jungle tour with Mr. Martin (Alex again), until Martin warns them of a witch doctor in the area and drops his map. The siblings take the map and go to find the witch doctor. The group is separated, but Mee And Yu find The Witch Doctor (Jason). The witch doctor gives Mee antidepressants to help stifle his hallucinations and the two siblings leave. On their way back, they get a ride from Martin (Alex, again) with Martin’s Cab Service.

As you can see, quite a bit changed with the loss of one character, which goes to show how important everything is in a destination imagination challenge.


Now, for the Sympt-O-Matic, we took out the original drawings on the interior of the skull model, and we put in new, coloured drawings for the circuit to light up. Also, if you watched the regional performance, you’d know that we didn’t really have a stand for the Sympt-O-Matic, and it just sat on the ground in 2 pieces. We made soooooo many repairs to the Sympt-O-Matic this time around. So many that I need a separate paragraph just to explain them.

So, the biggest struggle with fixing up the Sympt-O-Matic was the fact that it was lopsided, so it kept falling over, taking a toll on both its structural integrity and our patience. To fix that, I went out, bought a big ol’ bag of stir sticks, and we attached them to the base of the crooked side, and that way, it stood up much better. We also attached a makeshift “hinge” by attaching many layers of duct tape to the back side of Sympt-O-Matic, making it able to open and close. Nice.

Double Vision

Double Vision didn’t really change. The story aspect stayed the same, but the stage blocking changed. Our idea went through a few changes, starting with draping camouflage material over a hook at the top-middle of the backdrop. This idea was quickly veto’ed, and turned into gluing sticks and other material onto a wooden base to separate the stage.

Also, sorry for the lack of photos. You’ll see everything together in the performance video.

The team choice elements didn’t change, so I won’t explain that, so here comes the day of.

The Day Of

We only had a month between regionals and provincials, and the progress we made was incredible. It was like we had separate performances rather than a revised performance. However, the day of DI came with its own set of problems.

First, the backdrop. I haven’t gone into much detail over the backdrop, but it was pretty much an 8 foot long, 6 foot tall wooden frame nailed to a platform with paper draping down from it. The backdrop was a big issue on the day of, because, as you may have read, it was 8 foot long, 6 foot wide. Not good. Our genius idea was to take it apart beforehand, and piece it back together on the day of, like a pit crew.

This worked… to some extent.

Thing is, we ended up SCREWING the backdrop together, and NAILING it back together. But, we didn’t take out the screws beforehand, so they were pretty much stuck. However, we were able to get hold of an electric screwdriver, which came in clutch and allowed us to piece together our backdrop, with the help of some counterweights.

After that, we got dressed, I got painted up, and we set up. The performance can be seen right down here.

We ended up placing 2nd, out of 5 teams, which was pretty cool. We took home a considerably sized trophy, and I kept my streak of placing in the podium.


So, in the regionals post, I talked about how I wanted to improve my communication skills, and my god, we did it. Our Basecamp (group chat) usage skyrocketed and we talked so much about everyone’s roles, our progress and we were able to improve all of our scores and aspects of our challenge in the span of 2 school weeks (and spring break).

Something else I think we did well was thinking on our feet. Throughout all the misfortune, we improvised and got everything done. For example, Caleb (Moses) not being able to come to provincials – we got a new story. Backdrop was in pieces with screws in it – we removed and reused screws to put it back together. Definitely a strong point for our group throughout the process.

Now, I talked about the knowledge that I gained in the regionals post, and not much about the disease changed. However, DI provincials was as much of a learning experience as regionals. The process of revising and refining just helped my hone my revision skills onto specific topics (Story Improvement, Model-making). The knowledge that I learned not only in this year’s DI, but in last year’s as well will definitely culminate and make next year’s DI one to remember.

This is Jason, signing off.

*insert DI pun here*

What’s good fellow bloggers. As you can tell by my creative title, we’re tackling the big fish in this post. A topic so big it requires 2 posts to cover it. That is, of course, Destination Imagination.

For those of you who don’t know, Destination Imagination is a non-profit organization that focuses on equipping kids with the skills they will need later in life, and helping build STEM skills. A more detailed explainationncan be found in the “About” section of their website.

Vision & Mission

Our Group

This was our second year of DI, so we were used to the process. We started by looking over the challenges for this year and picking teams. My team consisted of Sam, Amelia R, Alex, and Caleb. After getting into groups, we picked our challenges, and we ended up with out uncontested first choice, Scientific, AKA Medical Mystery. Here’s a helpful video explaining the rules of our challenge and what we’re trying to achieve.

Now, I could go on and on about our solution, and I will, but for you, the audience’s sake, I’ll try to keep it short to save room for my reflection. I’ll be splitting it into four parts, one for each aspect of our challenge. Ok. Let’s begin.


For the story, we first had to pick our disease. We originally wanted to make up a disease (which we aptly named D.E.A.T.H), but after some help from our teacher, we decided to pick a real disease. Lucky for us, this disease, musical hallucinations, ended up being the basis of our team choice element.

After the disease was decided, we wrote our story. The basis of our story was:

Mee, the patient, (played by Sam), was on vacation in Costa Rica with friends Meme (Amelia) And Moses (Caleb) when they go to a bar and order potent cocktails from Bartender Martin (Alex). They wake up to Mee having musical hallucinations. He is taken to Dr. Martin (Alex again) and are informed he has musical hallucinations. They do not take it seriously, and go on a tour led by Mr. Martin (Alex, again). The get lost but somehow find the witch doctor (Jason)’s hut in the forest. The witch doctor shows a model of the disease and the effects in the human head, and guides them to a temple. Here, they find medicine (antidepressants) and leave. They go home.

This story went through multiple revisions, but this is the final product. Well, until provincials I guess.

However, we also needed to create a backdrop. We started with a complicated rotating backdrop, but quickly realized that was too complicated, so we made a simple wooden frame and two large sheets of paper with a room drawn on one, and a forest drawn on another. Sorry for the lack of pictures, we don’t realky have any. You’ll get to see the backdrop and story in the performance.


The Sympt-O-Matic was another important part of our challenge. It involved creating a model using technical methods to show the effects of the disease on a human patient. For us, our disease mostly affected parts of the head, so the Sympt-O-Matic was a human skull.

The plans started out as putting a petestal inside a papier-mache skull, with a tissue paper brain and lights lighting it up. However, we forgot all about the petestal, so we made a new design. The new design consisted of the skull, split in half, with paper lining the sides with drawings of the parts of the brain and ear with lights on the inside. This design worked out pretty well.

Double Vision

Double Vision was the third main aspect of our challenge. It was called, as you can see from the title, Double Vision. This was the… how do I say this…. most difficult to understand aspect.

This featured one scene in any part of the performance that is shown in “double vision”, which involves showing a scene in two different perspectives. That’s it. Very…. interpretive.

Our double vision went through many stages, like a metamorphosis. It began as a simple hallucination, as our disease had been made up. After changing our disease to musical hallucinations, it turned into a scene in which Dr. Martin explains the effects of musical hallucinations in two ways, with Mee on one side and a regular patient on the other side. Don’t understand? Me neither. To this day, I still have no idea what that whole thing was about.

qimono /pixabay

Eventually, we figured out it didn’t have to be about the disease. It could actually be about some part of the story, so we decided to separate the stage, and have Mr. Martin the tour guide getting separated from the group and the perspectives of each party.

Team Choice Elements

If you’ve read my last DI post, you know what these are, but I’ll explain it anyways. Team choice elements are meant to show off your team members’ skills and abilities. You use two of these in your presentation.

Our first team choice element revolved around ya boi’s MAD oboe skillz. Sorry about that. But, it’s pretty obvious where this came into place. Musical hallucinations? Oboe? Music?

Spoiler, we used the oboe music as sound effects for musical hallucinations.

Our second team choice element was costume design, or more specifically, face painting. This came into play during the creation of the witch doctor. The witch doctor’s costume consisted of me, dressed in big ol’ black robes, with a big ol’ skull painted on my face.

Yeah sure, I looked like the grim reaper, but it was all good, as it really helped establish the witch doctor’s “mysterious vibe”. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of the process, so you’ll have to watch the video of our performance to see the witch doctor in all of his magical glory,

The Performance

So, DI came pretty quick, and before you could say Musical Hallucinations, DI was at our school and our performance was in 3 hours. There weren’t many things to do on the day, except rehearse lines. Then, we got ready in the prep area and we got ready to perform. Here’s the performance.



My DI experience this year has taught me a lot.

During the main building process, communication was crucial, and that wasn’t something I think we really excelled at. We rarely communicated, and that led to us never actually meeting up. So, we split up the work, which ended in disaster, as a lot of our jobs were two-people jobs.

This lack of communication also led to a lot of procrastination. Not good. We ended up leaving our Sympt-O-Matic’s finishing touches, the backdrop, and a lot more to the last minute, ending up in a lot of stress.

However, DI also taught me a lot about medicine, such as parts of the brain, ear, and what each of those parts do. I also learned about mental disorders, and how antidepressants have many, many usages. DI also taught me about cooperation, as we were able to work together in the last minute to pull everything together.

This, of course, isn’t the final DI post. Beware, provincials is coming.

This is Jason, signing off.