Covid Through The Eyes Of A Camera

As you have learned in Maker 8, complex tasks may require multiple tools and technologies. This is a final opportunity to show all you have learned about using storytelling and the still image to bring your vision to life. This is a truly authentic, real-world task that you are undertaking; you will be creating a primary source artifact for generations from now showing the impact of COVID-19 on your community. So think carefully. Observe. Learn. It is your moment to share!

Photo journalism has always been extremely crucial for documenting history. Whether it be historic moments in time or messages that cannot be explained with words, the power of a photograph is undeniable. Currently we are witnessing a very historic event that has made up most of 2020. COVID-19 has had a detrimental effect on humanity across the world. Living in a developed country,  the thought of there being a major epidemic in our borders was hard to believe. My worldview of living in a reliable society, led me to think that no severe sicknesses could develop enough to spread at such a rapid rate. At the beginning, the virus was far away from home, but in a matter of months, the Coronavirus was announced as a worldwide pandemic.


In our Maker 8 class, we used our photography skills as well as our knowledge around the epidemic, COVID-19, to construct a photo essay that would answer our driving question: How can we as photo journalists tell stories of our community during this time of physical distancing. Although, before we could take any photos, we needed to become knowledgeable of both the impacts of the Coronavirus as well as the art of photography.

Milestone two was a huge step forward to answering our driving question, as well as a great example of the “empowered learner”competency.  After using technology to research about photo journalism and what makes a strong photograph, it was time to see what someone in my community’s view was on the pandemic and more specifically, physical distancing. This step would help give me some contrast of opinions and beliefs. I decided to interview my neighbour, Linda, who lives closest to my home. Although I would have preferred a face to face, I once again had to use my growth mindset and conduct an online interview. After the interview we had to keep an open mind to photo essay possibilities and brainstorm five different themes.  Linda’s stories of her experiences and worries of physical distancing had helped create a somewhat clearer idea of the answer to the driving question.

Since my community is Sunshine Falls Lane, which is very deep in the wilderness, I decided to base my photo essay around that factor. With an idea in mind, and a well thought out plan, it was time to start creating. This part of the project was led with the “empowered learner” competency as well as the “digital citizen” competency, which is about using technology to connect with the world. Milestone 4 helped us create a thorough image of what our photo essay would look like and what story it would tell. Using a story spine that I made for a stepping stone of the project, I carefully drew each photo. I took all that I had learned about composition of a photograph into account, as well as the message I was trying to convey with each photograph. Although this milestone was very time consuming, I knew that it would be crucial for the final product.

Due to my love of photography,  taking the photos was very enjoyable. The biggest problem I faced while shooting was not being able to take pictures of my community members due to physical distancing. Although, after convincing my family members to let me put a camera in their face and act as if they were members of the community, I was able to take nine unique photos that answered the driving question to the best of my ability. On each page of my photo essay, I give a brief explanation of what each photo is depicting, but to see the entire story of a community that found its liveliness during isolation through the eyes of the camera is phenomenal. As they say, a picture is worth 1000 words.

Although it is hard to believe, we are all a witness to history. The coronavirus has spread us apart physically, but with the power of photo journalism, I can hopefully bring my community and the larger community of  humanity together. I told a story of a rural community that has found happiness and satisfaction in their lives by staying mentally fit during isolation.  I’m sure that my story will be true for other communities around the world. Make sure you comment any questions or thoughts about this post.

The Golden Age of Exploration and Disease

As you know from my “Witness to History” post, history comes in all forms. From the first man on the moon, all the way to the pandemic we are facing today, what makes something historically significant varies. Most history is documented in some way, whether it be a photograph or through art, or even stories that are passed on from generation to generation. Back in the fourteen and fifteen hundreds, most history was recorded using journals or scrolls. That’s when our project, “Argh Matey”, takes place.

The Search For El’Dorado

This project incorporated two classes, Humanities and Scimatics, which resulted in the same final product. The science aspect of “Argh Matey” was led by the driving question, How do cells and diseases interact?  While the social studies aspect was led with the driving question, What is the historical significance of your explorer?

Competency Being Assessed: 
  • Questioning and Predicting: Demonstrate a sustained intellectual curiosity about a scientific topic or problem of personal interest
The first competency for the Scimatics portion of the project was questioning and predicting.  The first activity we had to do was a project start mindmap. The mindmap included what we already knew about the driving question as well as questions we may have about the project or what we were going to learn. Since I had very little knowledge on cells and diseases, I had many questions about what we were going to learn in the weeks to come.
Scientific Communication:
Communicate ideas, findings, and solutions to problems, using scientific language, representations, and digital technologies.
After choosing my disease and researching the effects it has on the body, it was time to start planning out the comic book. We used this competency for Milestone 4 which was the storyboard. With the help of my story spine, I started off on the story board. Since this project is half humanities and half science, the storyboard had to incorporate both. This aspect was difficult, but after finding a way to blend the two while keeping a strong plot, constructing the rest of the story was much easier. Keeping the competency in mind, I showed how the cells and the Leprosy bacteria interact using scientific language.
Demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of evidence:
This competency was when everything came together. All of the previous weeks of hard work researching and making drafts were finally going to be put to the test in our final comic book. With the story board beside me and the app, Comic Life open, it was time to start creating. To complete the science part of the comic book, I started with the text. In the storyboard, my drawings were very rough, but the speech bubbles and narrative pieces were mostly final. That made creating the comic book much easier to complete. Due to the fact that the Leprosy disease takes over ten years to develop, my story took place ten yers after my explorer contracted the disease. During the creation of the comic book, I found the drawing aspect to be most time consuming for both sides of the story. I tried to make the drawings as detailed as possible which made it much more difficult to complete the number of panels that I had planned.
The name of the project being “Argh Matey” has to do with the time period it takes place. The 1400s up to the 1600s were considered the Golden Age, or The Age of Exploration. Some of the world’s most significant events happened in that time period, including: the discovery of the Americas, the discovery of Africa and Asia, and the first circumnavigation of the the world. Some horrible historic events also happened during this timeline, like slavery or how poorly the natives of the land were treated by the colonists.  In the humanities aspect of this project, we dove into the world of Europe during The Age of Exploration. We learned about some of the main explores who lived during that time period and what they did to become historically significant to this day.
Many attributes make something significant. It could be significant to you personally, or it could something that is historically significant. When determining historical significance, its important to think like historians. It is helpful to question if the person, event, or object you are studying achieved the following things:
• led to long-lasting change
• impacted many people
• had a profound or deep impact on people’s lives
• was revealing or symbolic of greater historical trends
My comic book told the story of Sir Walter Raleigh and his two failed expeditions to the New World. I showed how he and his expedition showed historic significance and how the Leprosy disease followed him to his early death. I thought that it was interesting that even though he led two unsuccessful voyages, he impacted and influenced many explores after his death. As I mentioned in the Scimatics section, I found the drawings aspect to be the most time consuming and difficult. Although, by the end, I found that I could copy some drawings to speed up the process.
Although, It was very challenging to finish the comic book, I am very satisfied with my final result. With all the time and effort put into it, I feel that I have successfully created a story that answers the driving questions. Reflecting on the entire project and the fact that I did it all from home, makes me feel very proud.  With as much as I learned about both topics, I would say that the struggle to finish the final comic book was worth it. I hope you enjoyed The Search For El’Dorado and learned a few things along the way. Make sure to comment any thought or questions about this post.

A Virtual DI Experience


Research and Understand: How might I research and understand a problem, process, or challenge using different perspectives?

Destination Imagination 2020 has come to an end, not the first but second time. The news came out that provincials was canceled due to Covid 19 nearly at the start of our spring break. I was disappointed that we would not be able to show our improvements at the provincial DI tournament. After brainstorming and working harder than ever before to better our solution only to find out that there would be no chance to show it, I was a bit discouraged. But there was still hope!

In PLP, everyone in our class has a device which grants us the power of the internet. There was still a way to present! Since all schools are closed and we are required to social distance the option of presenting just to teachers was not possible. And there was now way to record as a group, but with some flexibility and a lot of creativity there was still one more option. An app called Zoom allows you to video call with multiple people on one screen. The plan was that we would still present our solution as a group but it would be online.

I originally thought that there would be many problems with this idea such as materials, props, and anything we needed access to out of our houses. This would be difficult since our group’s biggest improvements were in the things listed above. Although, we all new that we were going to have to tackle this challenge with a growth mindset and be creative.

We started off by brainstorming what changes we originally made from regionals to provincials to get a sense of what we were going to have to change. Since it was all online, we had to schedule two meeting times before we presented. Taking the Competency into hand, we took a different perspective on how we would present our solution which would help us better understand the process. Knowing that we had to eliminate the idea of having props, we decided to use technology and Zoom to our advantage.

Due to our setting being the BC rainforest, we used the virtual background/green screen mode in the app to portray the habitat and the habitat morph. Except for the images cutting us off, the technique ended up to work extremely well in our performance. Since our performance began with a zoo escape to the  forest, our opening image shows the forests of BC. This helped make our group seem together and more like we were performing in one space. After the zoo escape and after we scavenged around the new environment, our background changed to the sun setting over the trees. After that, the background switched back to day time one, end then back to the sunset once more. Finally, the background switches back to daytime in the forest.

These background  images were a crucial part in the story element of our solution. Because of our presentation being online, we had to edit our original story quite a lot. Since our story was said to be hard to follow in the regional tournament, we were originally going to make the morphs of the animal and habitat more specific and easy to follow with narration. We ended up changing not only the content in the story element, but the length of the actual performance.

After along couple of days digitally-rehearsing and a few last minute changes to the solution, our time had come to present. Going into the performance I knew that we had improved our solution Juristically but after we had finished I felt glad that we presented. Once it was all done, I Took a moment to reflect on our performance and the circumstances we were in. Although we couldn’t show the appraiser our improved solution, it was still felt good to show how hard we worked as a team. Although I am exited for our next DI experience,  I’m sure that I will never forget our 2020 Destination Imagination. Make sure to comment any questions you may have on this post below.

A Tournament To Remember

Finally! After weeks of hard work and some sacrificing of after school hours, the Destination Imagination regionals tournament has arrived and passed. I could write a whole post about what DI is but to make it easier for you just click right here to learn all about it. For this project our driving question and cor competency was How might I research and understand a problem, process, or challenge using different perspectives? At the beginning of our month long journey, I new very little about destination Imagination and what we were going to be doing. Although I had a advantage of having and older Brother in PLP, I had only heard his opinion and what he did. That being the case I began with a bit of a fixed mindset.
Going into the challenge, I had some catching up to do. Since the explanation of what DI was and why we participated in the challenge was on the day we got back from winter break and our family vacation, I had to spend a few classes reading about the tournament and so I could understand what we were doing. As a group of five, Liam, Nathan, Julien, Raymond and I worked together to solve the challenge given by the scientific category. Much needed to be done before we could present and lucky we had more than a month to do so.

The challenge process was split into four stages that we had to get through before the day of the tournament and one after the tournament.
Stage one was recognize. 
This is where you become aware of the challenge and gain an in-depth understanding of the challenge.
For this stage our group brainstormed ideas for what we would present. Our challenge consists of 6 elements that made the challenge unique. I found that I demonstrated a great understanding of the “research”  aspect of the DQ in this stage. I read the challenge outline, what was required and not allowed for our , and even the scorning to gain a different and better perspective on the task layer out for us.
Stage 2 is all about generating ideas, focusing on promising ideas, and creating a project timeline.
With our the knowledge of what the challenge was and some possible ideas to support our solution, we needed to plan out how things were going to be done. This stage took a majority of our time due to the importance it had. In this stage we made a detailed plan on what and how we were going to present for our solution. We struggled on finding our two team choice elements for the challenge but after brainstorming  everybodys talents and/or interests we decided to make a song using  our own ukuleles as well as a couple of digital songs made by Raymond.  After generating ideas and narrowing them down to a clear process, it was time to present our ideas for critiques, which in this case was our teachers. After a many FAILS we had a solid plan.
Monkeys enter B.C. Rainforest after zoo escape (greater Vancouver zoo) Monkeys find this new environment is very different from their own Monkeys taste leaves, and spit them out Monkeys sleep, and shiver in bush Morphs to claws and thick fur Monkeys deprive natural resources Eat everything in sight Trees rot and decompose Some trees still barely standing Monkeys challenged by bear Main monkey tries to slash bear with claws Main monkey gets injured Secondary Monkeys flee Main Monkey try to climb tree to get away Tree breaks (robo arm pushes over tree) Bear battles monkey Secondary monkeys come in to help Bear gets injured Bear flees Monkeys are now very feared hunters, and can’t live in B.C forest anymore

Stage three: initiate and collaborate

Stage 3 is when you research, explore, experiment, and then commit to your options. You will also build and complete all the requirements.


In this stage our main focus was mking sure that we were 100% ready for the building process.  From creating a plan “B” or an alternate plan if something goes wrong to re-reading every aspect of our challenge to even watching videos on challenges before us. During this stage we made sure all the materials needed for the building process were available. We also plotted out what we would accomplish every class and the days we would work after school. This stage took a lot of work but in the end we were all glad we put in the effort.   

Stage four: Assess

Stage 4 is about assessing your progress. This will inevitably lead to reworking or reimagining ideas. At the same time, you will be practicing your presentation of the solution.

Its been a long few weeks planning our performance and now its finally time to create. I wondered why it took three stages before we could start building and testing our solution.  Although, when I realized how much we would’ve done the challenge wrong with out reading the rules  our the challenge outline I understood why we spent so much time on the past three stages. It took many long days with countless hours of hard work to complete this stage and even with the time we ha we barely met our deadline. By the end we had completed everything that that we would use for our solution with a week left to rehearse. 

Stage five: Evaluate and Celebrate

Stage 5 is about presenting at a tournament and then reflecting and celebrating the experience.

For this stage we reflected on the tournament and brainstormed what we need to do differently for provincials. To better our solution we have to re-design and build our props. We also have to construct a better story line that will make sure the audience follows what’s happening throughout our performance. In order to do that we will need to follow a schedule after and in school. In school the order we will do the tasks will be: trees then cave/bush then working on theatre in the round, after that we will make better and more realistic looking monkey costumes, then we could better our hydraulic arm by painting it and making a stand for it to rest on, finally we will work together to make the story element more significant. After the break we will rehearse for the remainder of the classes.

Throughout the course of the month long project I have grew not only to be better learner or creates but a a better person all together. I have improved my skills on collaborating, working well with a group, thinking outside of the box, and finding a solution to a problem. I am exited to present at provincial and show our improved solution. Make sure to comment any questions on this post below.

Change, Change, and More Change.

One month ago today we began our fourth humanities project this year. For this project we incorporated two focuses that shared a comm0n trait. Change. One of the two factors of this project was the renaissance which might have held the biggest change Europe had faced. The other factor was our transition from grade 7 (Elementary school) to grade 8 (high school) which was when we faced change in our own life. Although our transition was not as historic as the renaissance, both of these changes impacted our our lives.                      whether it be dramatic or smaller day to day things.

Whether you want to realize it or not, shifting from Elementary School to High school, may be one of the toughest transitions you have experienced so far in your life. It will also be a defining moment in your life! By making connections between who and what has impacted you the most this year, you can better prepare yourself for other shifts that will happen in your life! By applying this knowledge to different time in history as well, we can understand the evolution of Worldviews of ourselves and other throughout time and history. We will also focus on the competencies to create a creative representation of who and what impacted this change in your life, and the consequence (both positive and negative) of those changes.


-Ms. Maxwell 

This unit was led with the driving question: Who or what has challenged your worldview in the transition from elementary school to high school? Although it really only applied for the gr.7-gr.8 transition aspect of the project, it shared some common traits such as cause and consequence which was a main focus in this project. The competencies that were used in this project were the “Create” competency and the “cause and consequence” competency.

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

This competency was all about the making or writing aspect of the project. One of the two parts to this project was the song that we made. Pretty cool right? We wrote and sang a song all about what has changed from elementary school to high school and how it changed or altered our worldview. I found I thrived during this part of the project and found the brainstorming as well as the lyric formation to flow smoothly. After forming my lyrics to the R.E.M song “Its The End Of the World As I know It” or in this case “Its The End Of My World As I Know It”,  found my self to be much closer to answering the driving question. We then sang and recorded the song using Garage Band.  I found that I struggled with this part of the process. Coming into it I thought that I could record my song in one take and that it would take very little time. I  ended up to to be wrong and due to my misjudgment I had a very late night. After that experience then knew for our group song that we would need to leave plenty of time record and edit.


Cause and Consequence: Who or what influenced events to occur and what were the consequences of those events?
Although this competency was a main part of both aspect of the project, the consequences of the renaissance effects life even today. For this competency we learned all about the renaissance and why it was a such a significant time in history. We learned all about renaissance men and how the scientific revolution was a breakthrough in science history. We learned what humanism was and how it effected art work and the way people saw life, and we even learned what sparked and ended the renaissance itself. For this area of the project we completed many small pieces of work for each area of the renaissance and one final piece that helped us reflect on or learning. Our final product was a Milestone called Cause and Consequence of the Renaissance. For this milestone we chose an aspect of the renaissance that showed a consequence of that time. We then wrote how it still efffects us today and what caused it in the first place. I chose the scientific revolution and more specifically, the scientific method and the impacts it had.  I thought I understood this competency to the extending level due to my thought and work towards this area of the project. In both the song and the renaissance I showed exemplary work.
over the course of this project I have gradually curated an answer to our driving quest. So many things have changed in the past school year and the transition has been quite the roller coaster. From new opportunities, to having a longer commute to school every day, my worldview has changed and been challenged from the dramatic transition from grade 7 to grade 8. Make sure to comment any questions on this post below.


The Ultimate Design Challenge

A dream come true I would say. Being able 3D print an object of your choice that you get to make all by yourself was terrific.  Just the feeling of working incredibly hard on designing an object and knowing that you’ll be able to have a physical replica of it is pretty cool. Having access to the i-pad allowed us to design, mesure and print our 3D object. Although, before we did any of that proccess we needed to do quite a bit of learning. Since our math unit is all about learning how to mesure surface area and volume of 3D shapes, a few weeks of this project was spent doing work books that would help us for our final product.

Finally, after our brains could take in no more formulas and equations, it was Time to start to. Think about what we would make. After thinking for a while I remembered how I had always wanted to 3D print a surfboard fin that I could use on one of my own boards. Although, after being put into a group which Quinn who waned to make skies, I had to compromise and collaborate with him. We decided to make not just fins for a surfboard but an entire surfboard all together. Although this would be hard we agreed that we were up for the challenge.


Competency Being Assessed: 
  • Communicating and Representing: Explain and justify mathematical ideas and decisions.

I thought that I covered and even extended my knowledge on this competency with my milestone 1. Like I said above I strived to challenge myself by choosing a complex and difficult-to-mesure shape that would challenge Me but would, end up with a more satisfactory result.

Competency Being Assessed:
Reasoning and Analyzing: Model mathematics in contextualized experiences.

For this competency we we made formulas for the  shapes we chose for our surfboard and calculated the surface area and volume of each shape. Going into these milestones I still didn’t fully understand the formulas and how to calculate the volume and surface area of the shapes. I only had some scattered memory’s on this math from previous years were we may have spent one or two weeks on this topic. Although after some nights and classes of study and trying my hardest to understand the concepts it finally seemed to click which made the rest of the project much easier.

Competency Being Assessed: 
  • Applying and innovating:  Contribute to care for self, others, community, and world through personal or collaborative approaches.


This competency was when it all came together. After a full month of designing and measuring our surfboard it was time to print. Over the course of the project I learned a lot and crossed many obstacles bu there was nothing as releasing as printing our final product. Since one of the surfboards was nearly impossible to mesure we had to make another that was made up of more simple shapes but may have no looked as much like a real life surfboard. Out of all of the competencies used in this project, I would say that I  covered the Applying and innovative one most thoroughly. Once the board was 3D printed and all calculations were completely finished, we needed to present all of the work we had done along the way. We presented using an app called keynote which we put all of the work and what we did to reach our final product.


Overall, I enjoyed the entire project and presenting what we created To the class. I learned more about a subject than I thought was possible and ended up with and amazing mini-surfboard that I will keep for a long time.  Although we faced many challenges through the the process, as a team Quinn and I overcame the obstacles and came away with an incredible end result. Make sure to comment any questions yaourt may have down below.


Science That Matters

You would think that learning about matter and atoms is common knowledge and is something that everyone should have learned in the fourth grade. Going into this project with that mindset did not serve me well. I instantly realized how much there is to know about something as small as atoms and molecules and how important they are in the universe.

We have just completed an entire project on this topic and my head is overflowing with information. Due to my need to make a little more space in my head for projects to come, I am so exited to share all that I have learned along the way.

This project was made up of three competencies that helped guide us throughout the assignment. Our first competency was all about building a curiosity or wonder towards learning about matter. Although we covered this competency multiple times throughout the extent of the project, I best showed my knowledge through my project-start-mindmap. For this task we were asked to think about any previous knowledge on matter and the changes within it. Luckily I found this topic very interesting so I had accumulated a fair amount of knowledge on the topic. We then revisited the mind map at the end of  the project to ad some of the information we learned as well as the answers to our questions we formed at the start.

I thought that I showed the most growth in the “Evaluating” competency. This one mainly focused on showing an in-depth understanding on the topic at at hand. In this instance we were asked to show our knowledge in the form of a video game or simulator. Starting the game was quite difficult due me having zero programming or coding knowledge. I struggled with this aspect for quite a while.
The final competency was quite challenging and was used many times throughout the work we completed. This competency focused on communicating ideas using scientific language, representations, and digital technologies. After learning all about the KMT, the Atomic theory, mater and everything in between, we were provided with quite the chalenge. Taking advantage of the amazing devices we have at our fingertips, we programmed a game using code that would answer the driveing question:

How is the motion of atoms and molecules related to temperature?
After a few frustrating attempts to code what I pictured my game to look like, I had to compromise and start from scratch. Although it did not go quite as planned, I was able to cover the competency’s outline and curate an immersive tempeture pong game using temperature and a couple of sprites to show my knowledge on the KMT.

From matter to elements to atoms and density I am blown away by all of the mysteries of the universe. Learning this has helped me not only but also understand but appreciate what we learn. Thank you for reading and make sure to comment any questions or comments on this post.

A Long, Long Time Ago.

What an eye opener! It has been nearly 530 years since the last sword stroke of the crusades but after all that I have learned, it seems like was just  yesterday. In a time of constant change, history is being made every day. Just in the past ten years we have made countless incredible advancements to our world. Life in the Middle Ages was not much different. Although the changes being made back then weren’t quite as dramatic as ones today, those times were at an ever changing state.

There were many similarities and differences from now and the Middle Ages and it would take a lot of time to dissect each carefully. That is why our humanities eight class has dedicate an entire unit to learning just that. This project was split into two different competencies that guided us through work we completed.

The first competency was all about comprehending the information we were given, whether it be our final presentation or all of the notes we took to get there.  We began the project by reading a book that took place in the Middle Ages during the crusading period. Although the novel was quite dull, I found that for information purposes, it ended up to be quite useful. The book was split into three readings were we completed a specific assignment for each. I found that all three of the assignments helped me reach the end goal of answereing our driving question:

What was life like in the Middle Ages? How does it compare to today?

The final competency helped us through the entire project and helped me the most to answer our driving question. One of the assignments that we completed in this project was something called a character letter. I found the letter to be the most interesting and enjoyable to complete out what I worked on in this unit. For this assignment we were given a role in the feudal system and were asked to research everything there is to know about it. I was given the role of A great powerful Baron. My research came in many varieties and I even at one point found myself searching the web for what an average barons diet consisted of. Much knowledge came with the research and I learned a lot about the role of someone of great importance in the feudal system in this process. After completing this assignment I reflected on all that I learned. I noticed how some aspects such as the laws put in place and that news and communication would only travel by word of mouth or postage led me to belive that times have greatly change. Although, I also noticed some similarities such as the value of money, the food they ate, and there value of sleep.

With all of the knowledge we gained along the way, we were asked to complete a keynote presentation that showed an example of both continuity and change from the Middle Ages to now. This was the final step towards answering the driving question. The presentation consisted of both of the two competencies in this project. Me and my partner Liam curated a complete answer to the driving question in our presentation with a well though out explanation for each aspect we chose.


Overall,  I enjoyed learning about this time period, and all of my struggles and successes that came with it. I can now heart-fully say that I am great full that the Middle Ages are long gone. Thank you for reading and make sure to comment any questions you may have about this post.


Mid Year Presentation of Learning

So far this year I have not only grown as a learner but as a person. Before I started this post I began to reflect on the work I have completed up to now. I was astonished by how dramatically my work level had improved in such a short time period. I noticed that everything from my grammar to the level that I answered the various competencies, had all changed for the better. I also noticed that my reflection posts began to show more in depth thinking and writing. Not only did the work I complete improve but I would say that I really started to learn how to learn.

I started this year not knowing what lay ahead except for only knowledge of my older brother’s words. I had been informed that there would be a lot of work and a lot of learning, which at first seemed unpleasant. I had formed a fixed mindset and I was not ready to change it. Although, to my luck, we started off the year with the perfect project. We learned all about what a growth mindset was and how we can use it in future learning. Over the course of this project I began to open my mind to new possibilities and approaches to learning. I not only used these skills at school but in my day to day life. This made my life so much easier and stress free. The most important aspect that I learned from that project was my work ethic. I discovered how to not procrastinate, how to organize my life, and how to have healthy work habits.

In Humanities, our previous knowledge of a growth mindset was put to the test. At the beginning of the Media is The Message project, I struggled with the amount of work and found it difficult stay on top of homework. Although, after being informed of an app called Things, I found myself more organized which made it easier to learn. Now, looking back on all of the work I completed in this project, I realize how important it was for my future learning. In the Media is The Message project I experienced my first FAIL during the final reflection blog post. Although I had many mishaps throughout the course of the project, this one experience stood out the most. Due to it being my first reflection post I had no idea of what or how much I should write on the post. Due to my lack of knowledge, I ended up saving it all for the last night and wrote way too much. I realized that I could not repeat that experience and that something had to change. I came to the conclusion that In order for the previous FAIL not to re-occur a few things needed to happen. After I received some very helpful revisions, I curated a step by step process on what I would do differently going forward. First off, I needed to spread out the time I would be working on the post, secondly I needed to read the post outline carefully, and finally I needed to make my post shorter and more direct, making the process less strenuous.

Although we did not complete much work for our PGP class, I would say that I have used the message that it provides on multiple occasions. Our first PGP meeting this year was all about organization on the iPad and getting things done or “GTDing”. We learned how to time block on the calendar app and how to organize our life at school and at home. Even though there was not much time spent on this topic, I find that I use those tools everyday.

In PLP, we strive to take our learning to the next level no matter the subject or topic at hand. Our Scimatics projects are all great examples of this. So far this year we have completed two units in our Scimatics class. Out of the two projects, one in particular set me in the right direction to becoming a better learner. In this project, we learned about the Pythagorean Theorem and light. I incorporated science and math in a creative and exciting way. Due to the fact that this project occurred during the same time period of our winter exhibition, Star Wars was a big part of it. We were put into groups of three for the extent of the project. After the learning was done and we were all mathematicians, we created our final product.  The process consisted of hours of designing and building with several weeks of class time perfecting our masterpieces. I have to say that I would not have gotten close to the level of work we completed without my team. We collaborated and constructed as a team and all worked very hard to get to the end result. 

I have achieved an incredible amount so far this year but if there is one thing for certain its that there is always room for improvement. I decided to make an overall goal for the end of the school year. If I can understand what I need t improve and I know what needs to be done in order to achieve it, I can form a goal. Reflecting on all that I completed so far, I noticed a few big set backs that I can improve to make myself a better learner. I noticed that throughout all of the projects this year, I found myself spending a lot of time doing work at home instead of in the classroom. I realized that problem could be preventable for future projects and that I needed to find a way to eliminate it. After I thought long and hard on how I could change this, I came up with a step by step process that will put me in the right direction for achieving my goal. First off I need to be completely aware of all work during that time period, then I need to record all of my work and their deadlines in Things, after that I will make a hand written schedule for what homework needs to be done and when I will work on it, and finally when it is time to work as hard as I can and try to stay focused. After being aware of the problem and creating a process to solve it, I am ready to form a goal. My goal for the remainder of the year will be to minimize the time spent doing work so I can live a healthy and happy lifestyle. Now, having this goal, I am prepared for whatever lie ahead. This year has been a learning adventure that has just began. Throughout the rest of the year I hope to grow as a learner just as rapidly as before. Thank you for reading and make sure to moment any thoughts or questions about this post.


Star Wars Exibition


What a month! 

I can now say that my brain is 90% Star Wars. I can tell you anything form the plot of the movies to why the Death Stars environment is un realistic when it comes to gravity. I have learned so much and I am so exited to share it with you in this post!

 At the beginning, I Realized I did not have much recollection of the Star Wars movies, even though I had  almost watched the entire series a while back. I was quite worried that my knowledge on this topic would limit me for this project. I vividly remember desperately searching my brain for past knowledge on Star Wars when I first I was informed. The rest of my afternoon after that was spent on YouTube watching five minute recaps of all the Star Wars movies. Although by the second or third day of of the project I became aware that the previous afternoons of reading about what a Jedi was were not needed. If I had only known that I would have plenty of time to dig deep into the Star Wars universe in the weeks to come. 

“Star Wars” has been a cultural touchpoint for over 40 years now. What is it about this franchise that inspires our world to keep making content related to it and spending money on it? During this project, you will learn about the “Star Wars” universe – from movies to lunchboxes – while designing your own inquiry project. Using creative and critical thinking, you will address your inquiry challenge by exploring materials, using tools and equipment, designing and building, developing processes, and communicating the merits of your work. Ultimately you will present this understanding at the PLP Winter Exhibition and share to the world!

View point from Ms. Willemse 

We obtained the knowledge we need through the various fazes of the LAUNCH cycle.


 Throughout the corse of this project we were asked to answer the driving question: “How might I design and build an answer to my own inquiry”. As well as our answer to our inquiry question we completed a science and math project that would also be presented at the night of the Exabition but before we started building much had to be done.

L- look, listen and learn.

The first stage in the LAUNCH cycle was L. This phase was all about Being open to new ideas and to approach your research with an open mind. For the “L” phase we were asked to brainstorm any information about the Star Wars universe that seemed interesting.

The competency for this stage was

Look, Listen, and Learn

  • Engage in a period of research and empathetic observation in order to understand design opportunities

the milestone for this competency was something called a “How Might We Form”. This activity helped narrow down our research an aspect of Star Wars  that may Interest us for our final product.


My How might we question was:

How might we make the environments of each planet more realistic without changing the plot of the movies. 

Since our final product was an answer to a question, we were asked to state a question as a “how might we”. I thought that I  Covered this competency with ease by both reflecting my learning on the milestone and the LAUNCH journal which portrayed my research.

A= Ask Tons Of Questions

The next phase in the launch cycle was the “A” phase. In this phase we asked tons of questions about our topic of interest. This stage was to create a deeper knowledge  Of our topic which will help us in the upcoming phase. The milestone for the “A” phase was The “Project Pitch Form”. I had already had a couple of ideas stirring in my brain but during this phase we were assign our planets. Being assigned the Death Star my original plan would not work as well, forcing me to think creatively to come up with a new conclusion. I grew as a learner due to the demands of having to be flexible in this stage.


Competency Being Assessed: Ask the Hard Questions

  • Identify potential users and their requirements for a chosen a design opportunity
  • Identify criteria for success and any constraints

I found that I struggled With coming up with lots of questions that could improve my knowledge on this topic. coming up with robot questions took less brain power therefore, I ended up with more quantity than quality questions. Although, as we progressed in this phase, my questions started getting deeper and deeper until I had a well formed understanding of my topic.

U= understand the process or problem.


By this phase turn on I began to understand the process of how I was going to create an answer to my inquiry question. In this phase we learned how to use our technology to our advantage to research our topic. We focused on how to use more specific search terms and how to extract the most information in the a productive way.

Competencies Being Assessed:


Understand the Process or Problem

  • Identify and use sources of information
  • Critically analyze and prioritize competing factors, including social, ethical, and sustainability considerations, to meet community needs for preferred futures
  • Choose an idea to pursue, keeping other potentially viable ideas open

Innovative Designer

  • Students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions

The main focus for this stage was the innovative designer competency. This competency focused on using technology to our advantage as I mentioned before. I thought that I covered this competency and even strived to extend. For this competency we exported a copy of our LAUNCH journal. Throughout the journal I used full use of the technology provided to help me design an answer to my inquiry question. This stage was a huge step forward  to our final product.

N- Navigate Ideas

In this phase we were asked to navigate our ideas for our end result. To help me with this I constructed a brainstorm that held all of my possible ideas. I  then made a short video that showed how narrowed down all of my ideas to one.

After three phase of the LAUNCH cycle it was time to come up with an answer to my driveing question.  I decided that I would construct a detailed model of the Death Star with that could realistically hold gravity.


Competencies Being Assessed:

Navigate Ideas

  • Generate potential ideas and add to others’ ideas
  • Screen ideas against criteria and constraints
  • Develop a step-by-step plan that identifies key stages and resources and carry it out, making changes as needed
  • Identify and use appropriate tools, technologies, and materials for production

Innovative Designer

  • Students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions

Once again the innovative designer competency was used. For this phase our video required extensive use of technology and design. For both the brainstorm and the video I thought that I covered this competency tot the best of my abilities. The “N” phase was a crucial step forward towards our end result.

C= Create a prototype

This is when it gets interesting. We’ve came out of L, A, and U phases with enough knowledge start planning out our final answer to our questions, after that we navigated our ideas in to one thought-out solution, and now it is time to start building. After multiple blueprints and brainstorms the assembly process begins!




Competencies Being Assessed:


Create, Make, Design, and Build

  • Explore and test a variety of materials for effective use and potential for reuse, recycling, and biodegradability
  • Prototype making changes to tools, materials, and procedures as needed
  • Record iterations of prototyping
  • Use materials in ways that minimize waste

Computational Thinker

  • Students develop and employ strategies for understanding and solving problems in ways that leverage the power of technological methods to develop and test solutions

The first competency wants to create, make, design, and build. This competency why did not just focus on creating a well developed product, but using materials in ways that minimize waste. Due to my project mainly consisting of recyclable material, I used minimal waste for my end result. It was at this phase that I begin to appreciate all of the previous stages. I started to realize that I would not have been able to create such a functional prototype without the past knowledge. This is when I would say I had grown most as a learner.

H= highlight and fix.

This when we see what went wrong and what we can improve in later learning. The activity we did for this phase was extremely important towards our end result. In this phase I realized how important pointing out mistakes is and that if you can see what went wrong you can almost always fix it. We also learned all about the “FAIL” acronym which is short for First Attempt In Learning.




Competencies Being Assessed:


Highlight and Improve

  • Identify sources of feedback
  • Develop an appropriate test of the prototype
  • Conduct the test, collect and compile data, evaluate data, and decide on changes
  • Edit based on feedback from critiques
  • Iterate the prototype or design idea

For this competency I thought that I showed great understanding on how to make a functional  Accurate answer to my Inquiry question. I did a great job fixing any problems or FAILs that I had alon the way. I thought that I took any feedback to heart and typed my hardest complete my work to the best of my ability.

Well… there you  have it. One month of sweat and tears and I would say it was a success. Even though there was a few set backs in the various phases I would say that the amount I matured as not only a learner but as a person was incredible. Overall the exabition was a great experience and I am exited for the next one this spring. Make sure to comment any comments or questions you have on this post.

Thank you!