Halloween by John Carpenter

In the PLP Humanities class we are studying a very interesting topic that I wouldn’t have thought I would be studying in high school. This unit which is called Monster In The Mirror takes us on a journey to help us understand what draws people in society to horror movies. What about these movies interests us and makes us stay? The movie that we were shown first was the classic movie that started the infamous slash era in horror movies. The iconic classic directed by John Carpenter, Halloween.

The movie Halloween does a great job of leaving the viewer with a sense of fear. Michael Myers, who is the killer, has escaped from prison and is back again for more. He was locked up 15 years prior for killing his sister on Halloween night. Michael, who upon his escape, returns back to his childhood home which had been abandon for many years. He becomes infatuated with a girl named Lory. This is where one of the big fears arises. The fact that Michael had no relationship with Lory and knew nothing about her makes it seem like there could be a Michael that is after you. It doesn’t take anything special or you don’t need to have any special relationship to the killer. This was a new concept when the movie first came out because this was just before the first big epidemic of serial killings happened, for example Jeffrey Dahmer. Another factor of why the movie is so scary is the fact that Michael Myers does not die. This monster of a man is invincible in the movie which makes the viewer feel as if there is no end and that they will never be same. This was one of the first movies that started the category of the ‘super-fiend’ killers.

Halloween, as mentioned previously, was a pivotal movie in the horror movie scene. It paved a lot of new paths for different types of horror movies. One category of this was the obscene killings. As a viewer, while watching this movie, you are always left to wonder what is it that connected Michael to Lory and her friends? This makes the viewers wonder what about themselves could connect them with a killer? What is the real reason Michael is attracted to a Lory? The true answer is uncertain, which leaves it up to the viewer to interpret the real answer.

The POV shot has become a staple in not just horror movies but in any type of movie today. The director, John Carpenter, was a major contributor to the success of this shot because of how he used it in this movie. The point of view shot was used very wisely in this movie to help give the the viewer a sense of the monster’s thoughts and feelings. Another type of filmmaking that was used was a part that might get overlooked but is a very crucial resource. Music has a major role that a lot of directors use in horror movies to help set the mood. Sound is one of them thought to be scarier than watching something because the brain uses these sounds and creates its own personal fears and creates its own image of the worst possible scenario. 

Some of the different current events that took place around this time period were evident in the film. For example the infamous Milwaukee cannibal or Jeffery Dahmer started to wreak havoc around the same time. 1978 was relevant because it was around that time that the world really got a sense of the first serial killers and the horrific acts that they were committing.

I did some research online about the movie Halloween and it seems to me that this movie is beloved throughout history. The article that I read online was 7 Reasons Why John Carpenter’s Halloween Is One of the Most Beloved Horror Films of All Time. The article listed points I mentioned above such as the director’s excellent use of music to draw the audience in before the big scare. Another great point was up until this time, horror movies always had an ending or a part to help the audience understand a conclusion. This was unlike Halloween where John Carpenter chose to leave a lot of the endings and outcomes to the imagination. 

The original book of Frankenstein is considered the earliest version of a type of media relating to horror. The book is what would be considered now to be somewhat of a love story but there are many aspects of these two stories that are the same and many that are different. The two characters in the stories that feel neglected and forgotten about share the same view in terms of lashing back. Michael Myers and the monster both feel as if they are forgotten about and can’t seem to find someone that connects with them. This drives them crazy and causes them to lash out. Another point of similarity is that in their stories both Michael Myers and the monster seem to observe a group or a single character and get attached to them. The observations cause them to become obsessed with the character and the study how they move and what their actions. Some differences are that Michael Myers seems to be killing for the sake of fun, whereas the monster is reacting to an emotion that causes him to lash out.

The story Halloween has frightened men and woman of all ages for over 40 years. The fact that it is still able to have the same effect on people today, after all that time, is nothing short of a magnificent feat of cinematography.

Taming of the Shrew is a Comedy?

In high school, it’s mandatory that every student learns about Shakespeare and some of the many different plays that he wrote during his time on this planet. Our class was no different and  our teacher Ms. Willemse chose to teach us about the Shakespeare comedy Taming of the Shrew. As part of all PLP projects we incorporate modern technology and/or media to help tell the story we are trying to convey. The driving question for this unit was: How can we create animated shorts that use “The Taming of the Shrew” to explain the social, cultural, intellectual, and emotional settings that shaped people’s lives and actions in the past?

An animated short is basically an animated movie that explains a topic. We would use these shorts or short stories to make a movie that would be set in a different time period as the original play but have the same storyline and dialogue as the classic play. 

We started off this unit by actually going on a field school as a class. One of the things I like about PLP is that we get to experience a lot more real world experiences than any other class I know. We went to this very interesting rendition of Taming of the Shrew that was put on Bard on the Beach. This play was very well put together and told the story well. The ending had a little bit of a twist to make it a little more friendly with the current values of our society but you will have to watch the play to find out what I am talking about. After our class got an understanding of the play we set to work. We were put in groups of three or four to create our videos. 

Before we started making our big group animated shorts we were tasked to create quick 1-2 minute animated videos about women’s roles in the different time periods we were assigned. My time period was World War 2, which made it very easy for me because this was about the time women were making changes in the workplace and at home. This was obviously due to the war with all the men going off to fight. Women were working in factories and making weapons for the war and manufacturing boats. Even a select few got to go in the fight and fly in the air. These women made up the WASP’S, an elite group of pilots that served in the war. Overall this video was very influential for me reminiscing on what I had learned in years prior about World War 2.

Next we moved on to the essay portion of the unit where we were tasked to write an essay explaining why Taming of the Shrew is a classic piece of literature. Feel free to read my essay that I linked below 

Why has the taming of the shrew been re-enacted more than hundred times all over the world since its first performance in 1593? There are many different contributing factors that blend together to make up an acceptable answer. The relatable points of the story join with real life situations from present day and the diverse meanings behind all the different actions in the story draw the reader in. The conflict between the characters and the suspense of how the story will end keeps the readers attention. These are just some of the reasons that this book is recalled time and time again as a great classic. Six degrees of separation is a concept that every person in the world can relate to each other in six or less different social connections. Human nature hasn’t changed over the centuries and Shakespeare expertly illustrates the complex traits of humans and the complications that come up when they interact with each other. The play, the Taming of the Shrew can be related in a similar sense because in the book there are so many different situations that each character faces. For example the fact that Lucentio would do anything to win over his true love. This relates directly to the desire that most people have to find love in their life. Another degree of separation is the different traits that the characters share. The need for Petruchio to be rich outweighs the fact of him being actually happy and in love. Unfortunately that can be said for a lot people in today’s modern world where they are bombarded with images of material things and they need to be rich to have them all. This play is a classic that brings people young and old together and helps them to relate to the challenges of personal relationships and different socio-economic classes. Taming of the Shrew makes the reader or viewer think about the connection to present time no matter the time period the play is set in. This play has stood the test of time because of the depth and the meaning behind each minute action in the play. Each part of the play can be broken down and interpreted in many different ways. For example when Petruchio agrees to marry Katharine in the play, it may be because he feels as if he truly wants a wife and wants to find true love but can’t seem to find the right one. Or it maybe that he is a lower class man that wants to marry into a higher class family. This is just one of the many situations that can be interpreted differently throughout this amazing classic. This play refines the minds of viewers by the letting them dig deeper into meaning behind each individual line and really get at what message Shakespeare was trying to convey through his play. The universal appeal of a story such as Taming of the Shrew is unparalleled any other play of its time period. It stands next to some of the major movies of today in its ability to connect with people from all different walks of life. No matter their background this story has something for everyone to connect to. From a man trying to become rich in anyway he can to another man just trying to find true love. Ranging from woman becoming happy with being married to a father finally getting his wish. The story also raises awareness about the inequity that women had to deal with during this time period as well as through out history. The way women like Katherine were treated in this play should not be accepted in any time period. Although equality for women has improved today, the play is a reminder of how far things have progressed and how important it is to treat people from all different backgrounds and groups with respect and dignity. There are still inequities today that need to be addressed and the conflict and tension between the major characters creates intrigue and suspense for the audience. These are important features of a classic and the audience wants to know what the outcome is. They want to find out if the shrew is tamed and who really wins the power struggle. This suspense appeals to audiences of all ages and in any decade. The true definition of a classic piece of literature is a sample of writing that can stand the test of time and be relevant throughout the ages. The Taming of the Shrew fits the bill with its in depth script and complex characters. The meaning behind the story captivates the audience and reels them in. The message the book can send is a jarring wake up to people that don’t understand the hardships that come along with being a women back in these times periods. This play will continue to educate and spread knowledge for decades to come. Its ability to connect to men and woman of all walks of life keeps the book relevant and interesting.

The last part of the unit was the big animated short that we were assigned to create. This short story would show our understand of the time period that we were assigned as well as show the necessary parts of the play Taming of the Shrew that we felt need to be included to explain the social, cultural, intellectual, and emotional settings. My group that consisted of Adam Robbie and myself were assigned Act 4. Act 4 had a number of different scenes in it. 

My group had a lot of experience making videos. Each person had a different set of skills.  For example, Adam was a very good script writer. Robbie was a very good animator and I was an excellent editor. This project we wanted to do something different and share the work equally so we could better our skills in different categories and get outside of our comfort zone. We started off by tackling the script and translating the dialogue to better fit the time period to meet the criteria. We soon realized that this was a lot tougher than we first thought because it seemed to us like it was a whole new language. After translating a lot of the script we realized that it wasn’t nessasary and that to truly tell the story we wanted we only had to include that first scene because we felt that the rest would be distracting. We ended up focusing on just the first scene and really digging into that to better understand the dialogue. 

After finishing the script we quickly moved on to the animation. As I previously said our group member and friend Robbie has a lot of experience in this field. We fed off this and used the app called Tune Tastic. We all learned to use it and experiment with it until we felt we were where we wanted to be. We set off and animated the entire movie. It was hard, and there were a lot of mistakes made but it was fun. After it was done we handed it in and received an assortment of points of critiques that we welcomed with open arms. We took those thoughts into consideration and we came out with our final product that I encouraged you to watch. 

This project was very interesting for me because it brought me back to grade 8 or 9 were we made a lot of animated video. This project opened my eyes to the cruel and unfair way that all women were treated. Taming of the Shrew is about the taming of a women by her husband and nowadays that would not fly. This project has opened my eyes to the amount of change our society has gone threw and the amount of change our society still needs to go through to be fully accepting of women and for them to be equal to men.

Final Exhibition of Grade 11

So this will be the final instalment of this year’s Grade 11 blogs. Today we will talk about the Spring Exhibition that just took place on June 20th.  As Grade 11’s we were able to focus on a very important and interesting topic. The grade 11’s presented on the only war that the Americans lost which was the Vietnam war. Ironically, the Vietnamese people called it the American war.  I guess that shows how everyone’s perspective is different. The Vietnam war was the most costly political stunt that the Americans ever took part in. The amount of unnecessary deaths that unfortunately took place in this war was sadly catastrophic.

This project was the first time that we decided to choose a different medium to present than we have ever done before. Our teachers are very forward thinking and very creative when they come up with some of the great projects that we create. For this project we each presented our thesis in the media of conceptual art.

Before we started to learn about our project we should go over some of the steps that we took to get there. Before we just jumped into the conceptual art world we were able to go and visit an exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery that was filled with conceptual art pieces. Unfortunately I could not attend. I did however do some research myself about the world of conceptual art and research on the pieces that were on exhibit in the gallery. I am going to be honest and say that I was shocked about what was considered art. By the end of this project my point of view drastically  changed and I had a broader perspective.

Now let’s talk about the historical side of the story. We  learned about one of the biggest mistakes that was ever made by the American government. We learned all about the Viet Cong and their goal to gain independence for Vietnam and take over the south part of Vietnam. We learned about Ho Chi Minh and his world view on Communism. I really enjoyed learning about those topics and the push back by the American population after the news started to show all the deceased bodies of the Vietnam soldiers and innocent civilians.  Overall this was a very insightful part of the unit for me because I got to learn about real world mistakes that were made by presidents that I saw as American heroes.

Besides visiting the art gallery we did some research on the history of conceptual art and the world that conceptual artists live in. We learned about the “three definitions of a chair”.  We learned about the time an artist put his own human feces into a cylinder and sold it for $300,000 and many other interesting art pieces.

Now let’s talk about my project specifically as well as the night of the exhibition and how it all went. I am going to be honest and say that at first I did I have trouble coming up with my project because I was skeptical of conceptual art. After I opened my mind to understanding new things, the ideas just came to me. My project was surrounded by the idea that “knowledge is power.” When coming up with our ideas we were advised to come up with the thesis of our project before the actual art piece because like the title of this unit says, the idea is greater than the art.

In the Vietnam war the Viet Cong (the North Vietnamese) where severely over powered by the amount of military strength that the American military had. The leaders of North Vietnam knew that to win the war they had to learn how to fight the Americans and to gain the knowledge necessary  to outsmart them. The Viet Cong had knowledge of things like the jungle, climate, guerrilla tactics and could outsmart the Americans.  After I came up with the thesis the next step was to come up with the art piece that would go along with the thesis. I first started to think of a real word examples of power and also knowledge and see if there were any overlapping examples. Unfortunately there wasn’t and so I had to go in a different direction with the art piece. After different ideas I final concluded on the idea of creating a crossword puzzle that would be filled with different words that would help the Viet Cong win the Vietnam war. Within this crossword there would be three sets of blank spaces for words to solve. Each art connoisseur would have to come up with the missing words using the clues provided below. If they came up with the words and filled in the puzzle they would gain the knowledge necessary to win over the Vietnam people and win the war.

The night of the exhibition rolled around and it was time show up or show out. We were put into groups with people that shared similar concepts with their art pieces to ours. I was in a group with Hannah and we decided to take our assigned  classroom and cut it in half. We took everything off the walls to make the room as simple as possible. The ideas was to let the art do the talking so we wanted the room to be as minimal  as possible. Overall the night went well with no hiccups or imperfections and I was happy with the positive things people had to say about my project.

This entire unit has been eye opening for me because it shows the United States from a different point of view. The push-back by the public against conscription and the mistakes made by the Americans that caused all of the unnecessary deaths really changed my perspective on this important time in history. When I look back at my understanding of conceptual art it was a challenge at the start for me to understand the ideas but as time went on I opened my mind to better ideas and realized that the ideas are truly greater than the art.

Why should I move on to grade 12

Hello and welcome back to the 4th installment of tPOLs on this blog. This year I will be answering the question, Why do I feel I am ready to advance to the next grade level? This year I think I have again continued to take great strides in my learning. I have shown again that I am capable of thinking outside of the box and not sticking with the norm. I have opened my mind to accepting new ways of living my life and new ways to increase productivity. So without further ado, let’s jump right into this tPOL and explain to you examples where I have shown these different characteristics.

Marshall Plan

Let’s start off with a great example of my revision skills and my ability to take criticism and feedback and to turn it into a great product. I feel that the project that shows this skill the best would be the World on the Brink unit and essay. This unit was based around the Cuban Missile Crisis and the 13 days that the American government and the Russian government were on the brink of destroying each other’s countries alongside the rest of the world. We watched the movie ’13 Days’ that outlined events that took place over these days and as well the final result of the disagreement between the two. We also did a lot of research about the events such as the Bay of Pigs and the interaction between the American War ships and the Russian tankers. As a class we were assigned a task. Individually we were told to choose a part of the Cuban missile crisis that was the make or break point of the nuclear bombs being set off. I decided to rethink the question and go in a different way then the rest of the class. I choose to focus my essay on the Marshall Plan and how it lead the way for the Cold War. 

My essay topic was surrounding the Marshall Plan and how it prevented the world from nuclear war. My final thesis for this essay was “The Americans devised the Marshall Plan not just to gain allies in Europe but to create a constant reminder of their presence.” My argument for this was that the Americans saw an opportunity to create economic wellness for themselves and the countries that needed aid after World War Two.  The Marshall Plan saw the United States contribute billions in economic aid to European allied countries and economic opportunities for the United States.  The Americans were also having worrisome thoughts about Russia spreading communism so they thought if they helped European countries, they wouldn’t be vulnerable to communism. By having allied counties surrounding Russia it gave the US easy access to missiles if they needed to use them on Russia. This put a burden on Russia and enhanced the American presence around the Soviet Union. I worked hard on this essay and I did about four revisions to keep improving it and make it better and better.  It was hard work but I learned a lot in the revision process about things like a thesis, formatting, citing references and proofreading.

I would love for you to read my essay

Marshall Plan Essay

Carousel of Communism

Next I am going to move on to an example of my teamwork and different instanced where I showed the I can work well with my fellow classmates. This is probably the easiest example for me because I have grown up my entire life playing team sports and on team sports the most valuable lesson you learn is how to work with others. For this example I am going to go back to the middle of the year and talk about the Carousel of Communism (I take credit for coming up with the name). This type of project was totally new to my PLP year.  This was because it was the biggest group project and we had to work as one entire class for the first time. The project had a three prong approach to it. The Crucible’s Witch Trials, the McCarthy Trials against Communists and the present day Russian investigation on Donald Trump and his presidential election. The idea was to create an interactive play of sorts that would take place in the 1950’s. This play encompassed the three parts seamlessly to create one big story. To pull this off our team or class would have to be on one page and be able to understand each part of the exhibition and what each person’s role would be. At this time I specifically had just been to the ER twice in three days so I had a head injury with stitches and a badly sprained ankle. My goal for the project was not to let these setbacks get in my way. Unfortunately it did make me miss some school and on some of the important planing stages but I made the best of it and overcame the adversity to take part and contribute. In terms of my teamwork, I was a leader of people for building and design work and this required a lot of teamwork.  I demonstrated team skills with my peers as we put together the plans and had to be creative on the spot to address unexpected things. Overall this project was a complete hit. It was very fun and a way for me to better my teamwork skills. The feedback from the participants was great and they said they loved it. 

Civil Rights Comparison

Next I am going to talk about responsibility. I sat here before writing this and thought of different ways to represent this topic in my learning before writing this section. I am going to talk about the responsibility that I took when I was assigned a very important and special topic. This topic is the civil rights movement and the different people within it. When I received this assignment I felt that I was obligated to produce the best work possible to fully do these people justice for such an important topic. I felt that I was responsible for this. How can the actions of an individual change a system? This is the question I answered. I compared two important people from different time periods with different careers. There were commonalities and connections between Barack Obama become the first African American president and Jackie Robinson being the first African American professional baseball player even though they had different jobs. These two men worked hard to achieve their goals and optimized their talents and skills to make a change. Although they were famous in different fields, they both paved the way for others to follow their lead. They showed how people can improve civil rights no matter where they are starting from in life or which path they take. I felt that I showed my best work in this blog post. I rose to the occasion and followed my responsibilities for this important topic.


Time Machine

Lastly I am going to talk about the piece of work that I am most proud of this year. This is the work that may not be the best or the most impactful from someone else’s eyes but for me it was very important. I am going to talk about my Time Machine project. This was best product that I made this year in my eyes because it impacted me the most. This year as part of the PLP program we were all told that we had to take part in PGP. This program was supposed to re-evaluate the way that we go through our lives. At first I was very skeptical about this program and what it would teach me. As we went through it I learned that it was actually extremely helpful and that for the final project I want to share this great knowledge. For the Time Machine I created this visually-pleasing interactive presentation that resembles a stop-motion technique.  It will help you to better understand how to create your own goal ladder and how to take bigger strides to achieve the goals that you want to meet. This is why I decided to choose this as my best piece of work. Not because it was the best in the eyes of the normal abcd curriculum but the best in the eyes of  the overall greater good for kids and other people who should do the PGP program.  It helped me achieve many of my goals this year academically and with extra curricular activities.

This year has yet again been the best year for me so far in Seycove Secondary and the PLP program. I have enhanced my knowledge and understanding of important events following WWII and improved many of my skills. These examples of each discipline and skill are the best work that I was capable of at the time. I believe that I can do better now that I have gained even more skills from each individual project. This year I believe that my work ethic improved again since last year because I found myself procrastinating a lot less. My work habits have definitely increased positively in the past year because of the PGP program and the different goal setting that I have done this year. I do believe that there is always places to improve in each area of ones life so for me I would like to see myself improve my overall public speaking to be more relaxed and more natural. Now that I put all of these skills together to create even better outcomes I should be able to produce outstanding work that will be new and inventive next year. This is why I think that I should move on to PLP 12.

How to take care of your time.

This year we have taken part in a brand new course in the PLP curriculum. This course is called the Personal Growth Plan or PGP for short. This course is designed to help you become a better person in school and in life. This course has taught me a lot of different skills that I can take into my life and change it for the better. There were several parts of this course including the book series called 7 Habits of Mind and the book What Do You Really Want? The final project in the course is called My Time Machine.

The year end final project would have to answer this question. ‘What do I know now that I wish I knew before?’ This is a great question because you can reflect on all of the different skills you learned in the course. There were three main skills that we learned this year. These skills were productivity, goal setting and the 7 Habits Of Mind.

Goal Setting

Goal setting was the most influential part of the three parts of the course for me. This is the part of the Time Machine project that I focused on. While reading one of the books in the PGP arsenal, I learned a great technique that I still use daily. This is called SMART goal setting, but I do it a little differently than others. I use this template that was given to us in the book What do you really want?  It is called the goal ladder template and it is designed to break down your goals to make them easier to understand the steps to help you to achieve your goals

For the Time Machine I created this visually-pleasing interactive presentation that resembles a stop-motion technique.  It will help you to better understand how to create your own goal ladder and how to take bigger strides to achieve the goals that you want to meet.

Here is the creation

This course has been amazingly life-changing for me. I wish that I had learned these skills at the beginning of Grade 8 so I would have been able to use these skills all through high school. The SMART Goal setting has changed my view on life and how I tackle my day to challenges that I encounter. For example at the beginning of grade 9 I made a goal for myself to be on the senior team for basketball in grade 10. I worked very hard at my goal until I achieved it. Looking back on it now it would have been a lot easier to achieve my goal if I had a goal ladder template to work with to make it easier to understand what steps I had to take. Thank you for reading my blog and I hope that you take part in setting yourself some goals. In fact, I challenge you to fill out the goal ladder sheet and take your goals to the next level.

Was the world truly ever on the brink?

Welcome back to my blog and in this instalment we will be talking about a very interesting topic which is the Cold War between the nuclear powers of Russia and the USA and some other events that ultimately point to one question. The inquiry question for this unit was “ How was the world on the brink”?

The final project for this unit was to write an essay that would answer the inquiry question above. Before we get there let’s talk about some of the other activities that we did that unit. We started this unit off with a very impactful movie called “13 Days”. This movie is a realistic re-creation of the thirteen days when the world was in suspense about what the nuclear powers of Russia and the USA would do. A lot of people know or have heard of the Cold War between Russia and the USA. The definition of a Cold War is a war where there is no active combat between the two countries. This was the case for these two countries. The movie 13 Days was a movie that covered the 13 days where the world was the closest to nuclear warfare. This movie was set from the point of view of the Americans which made the Russians seem like they were evil enemy. This is not the best way I thought the movie would have been set because if you don’t get both sides of the story then you can’t understand the event fully.

The next part of the unit was learning about the positives that came out of WWII. These are organizations  such as the United Nations and NATO. The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization that is tasked to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international co-operation and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. The North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.

As part of this reflection for this unit I had to research and write a small little informational piece about a social  change topic from the 1960’s. I decided to choose the topic of women’s rights and the women’s rights movement that happened at this time. I personally realized the connection between the world on the brink and the topic I chose, woman’s rights. The first connection that I made between the two were that they both happened to take place in the same time period. The second connection that I made is that they both were major changes in the world that altered cultures and people’s perspectives of the world. These two events seriously changed the landscape of how politics is conducted today.

Here is my paragraph, feel free to read it.

World on the brink social justice paragraph

Now let’s talk about the final piece of this unit. This was the essay which was an interesting process for me. If you know me then you would understand that I am a person that likes to follow the steps for certain things such as essays. This was a new experience for me when Ms. Willemse  had us write this essay and not follow certain steps in order.  We started with the thesis and this was no cup of tea for me because by the time I was done I had come up with 10 different iterations of a thesis. Next was the introduction part of the essay and this took another 5 tries to achieve where I wanted to be. Next in an uncomfortable change of events, we were told that we had to write the conclusion before the body paragraphs.  This was extremely hard for me because I was used to writing an essay in order and not skipping to the conclusion. This was another adventure, but this time I learned my lesson and got the approval on the first try.

Now let’s talk about my argument for the essay and the answer to the inquiry question for this unit. Let’s revisit what the inquiry question is for this unit. The question is “How was the world on the brink?” This is in reference to the Cold War that we talked about earlier in this blog post. My essay topic was surrounding the Marshal Plan and how it prevented the world from nuclear war. My final thesis for this essay is “The Americans devised the Marshal Plan not just to gain allies in Europe but to make a constant reminder of their presence.” My argument for this is that the Americans saw an opportunity to create economic wellness for themselves and the countries that needed aid after World War Two but they were starting to have worrisome thoughts about Russia and what they were doing. By having allies surrounding Russia it gives easy access to missiles if they needed to use them. This put a burden on Russia and enhanced the American presence in the Soviet Union.

I would love for you to read my essay

Here: The Marshal Plan essay 2

The Hidden Side of the First African American in MLB

Another unit is done in PLP and this was probably one of my favorite units of all time. This past unit we were looking at was the 1950’s-60’s and the civil rights movement within that time period.  In class we have been talking about influential people such as Martin Luther King, Linda Brown, Rosa Parks and many more. The project that was assigned for this unit was a partner project in the media form of a video. The video was about a movement, event or a person who was influential in the civil rights movement. The twist to this project was the the topic had to be have a direct correlation to Canada or the history of Canada in some way.

Please watch the video before reading on:

As you have seen the video now, I’ll break it down for you. The criteria was to create a video that was about the civil rights movement that is related to Canada. This video had to be about of 4-6 minutes long and have a voice over and some visuals. We were assigned partners and I was delighted that I was assigned one of my class members and former hockey team mate  Ryan. Since Ryan and I both play sports and Ryan loves to watch them we decided to pick the realm of sports to choose a topic from. Then it popped into our heads that we could tell the story of Jackie Robinson and how he was the first African American to be drafted into the MLB.

Jackie Robinson’s story is a well known one. It is the story of the man with the number 42. Many people know that he played in America but we couldn’t at first think of a way to connect his story to Canada. We did a good old search and found out that before Jackie played for the Brooklyn Dodgers he played for the Montreal Royals (thanks Google) Alright, now from there we moved on to more of the Canadian part of the story. Jackie was put in the Montreal Royals by the owner of the Dodgers, Branch Rickey. As I stated in the video, it is not common knowledge that Jackie wasn’t the best African American player. Jackie was picked by the Dodgers’ owner because of how he carried himself as well as the civil rights challenges that he had faced before. Jackie was picked because Rickey knew that he would be accepted well by the Dodgers’ crowd.


This project was a good one for me because I took on a different role. Instead of doing all of the visual editing I chose to take on the research and writing as well as the voice over. This was new role for me and was driven by one of the goals that I set in PGP. The goal was to push myself out of my comfort zone and put myself in new and maybe uncomfortable situations.

This project was pretty interesting for me and very influential. Putting myself into the new situations was something that I hope to continue and build on. I learned new research skills as well as I improved my audio recording skills. The biggest thing I learned in this unit was how unfairly the African American community of the US and Canada was treated. I feel as if I am inspired by all of the things that the civil rights activists did for the African American community as well as everything they did for people of colour. Just look at Jackie Robinson and what he did for Latinos and other coloured athletes in the sport of baseball.  He was a leader and an inspiration to many people.

Now that we have talked about the final project let’s go back to the beginning of this unit about civil rights. As this unit went on we travelled from the end of the 40’s, through the 50’s and onto the 60’s. Each time we learned about a new person or event that had an impact on the civil rights movement. The first person we learned about was Emmet Till. Emmet was a teenager, just like myself or one of my classmates, who went down south on vacation to visit his uncle. While down south, Emmet was brutally murdered by two men who owned a convenience store. The motive for the murder was a misunderstanding between Emmet and the store owner’s wife. The two men were later brought to trial and were acquitted by an all-white jury of all charges.  Another person we learned about was Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks is a relatively well know story. Rosa was an old woman who was tired of the segregation on buses and when asked to move by the bus driver, Rosa refused and this caused her to be arrested. She became a well-known face of the civil rights movement. Other events included the Little Rock Nine, the lunch counter sit-ins, the freedom rides, the Birmingham campaign, the March on Washington, the Mississippi freedom summer, Martin Luther King, the Civil Rights Act of 64, and the march from Selma to Montgomery. All of these events and people are super substantial to the history of the civil rights movement. All of these people and events made sacrifices and took a positive step forward for the African American community as well as for people of colour all across America. As we talked about these people and events in class it opened my eyes to the severe, utter hatred that some members of America had towards people of colour. It shows today’s youth how privileged we are to live in the world now. That being said, there are still strides to make in equality and the Black Lives Matter movement is leading that charge. Now you know why this has been by far my favourite unit I have ever done in my PLP career.  It opened my eyes and I have learned so much that I can take into my everyday life to make me a better person.

Barack Obama VS Jackie Robinson

How can the actions of an individual change a system? This is the question I will be answering in this blog post. I will be comparing two different people that are from different time periods. There are commonalities and connections between Barack Obama become the first African American president and Jackie Robinson being the first African American professional baseball player even though they had different jobs.

These two influential people have both faced tough times while achieving something that had never been done before. When both these men broke the colour barrier in their own respective careers it was a major advancement in the civil rights movement that was started many years ago and still fights for equality today. These men were both judged for the colour of their skin and racially profiled in life but they didn’t step down and let the others win. They stood up for what they believed in and put the lives of other less-privileged African Americans on their back. I used this juxtapose image above to represent the many different similar skills and challenges that these two faced on their way to the top. The similarities are show in the photo by being able to overlap one photo with the other.

On November 4, 2008, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois was elected President of the United States. Obama became the 44th president, and the first African American to be elected to that office. At the beginning of his career, after a two-year stint working in corporate research and at the New York Public Interest Research Group, Barrak Obama was trying to make a name for himself in the business world. Barack took a job as a community organizer with a church-based group. For many years, he worked with low-income residents in Chicago’s Roseland community and the Altgeld Gardens public housing development on the city’s largely African American South Side. In 1996 Obama launched his political campaign where he won an election to the Illinois State Senate as a Democrat from the South Side neighborhood of Hyde Park. From there he worked as a senator and tried to represent the poor, less privileged families that didn’t have a voice. He would later run for office and become the second African American presidential candidate and the first African American president in the history of the United States.

Now let’s talk about Jackie Robinson’s rise to fame. Just like Barack, Jackie had to work hard to rise to his level of fame. After Jackie was finished with high school he went on to be the only student in history to letter in 4 sports (football, basketball, baseball and track and field). Just shy of graduating and receiving his deploma, Jackie was arrested for trying to help one of his friends who was unlawfully arrested by police. After this Jackie joined the army where he again was arrested or court marshalled for standing up for change when he was told to move to the back of the bus and refused. Later after the charges were dropped for insubordination, disturbing the peace and drunkenness (although he neither drank nor smoked) Jackie was discharged and went back to baseball where he caught the eye of dodgers own Branch Rickey. Branch made up his mind and decided that Jackie would be the man to break the colour barrier in Major League Baseball.

These two men worked hard to achieve their goals and optimized their talents and skills to make a change.  Although they were famous in different fields, they both paved the way for others to follow their lead and improve civil rights no matter where they are starting from in life or which path they take.


Jackie Robinson

Barack Obama

MPOL 2019

Wow, I am already in the middle of Grade 11 and it’s time for my presentation of learning also known as mPOL. If you don’t know what a’ presentation of learning’ is, it is basically a presentation that happens twice a year for PLP students to present to our parents and teachers how we believe that we can improve as learners.  We use examples of the work we’ve done so far this year to help explain our goals. For each PLP project there is always a driving question. This time it is “How are you going to progress as a learner before the end of the school year?” I will wrap up my introduction with a question I am going to ask you to think about and to comment on after my conclusion.   The question is “How can I work more efficiently and make better use of my time but not reduce the quality of my work?”   



Manhattan Project2

I am going to start off with my favourite project that I have done so far in PLP this year. The Manhattan project was a great project about a very important moment in history. It involved the dropping of the world’s first nuclear bombs that halted World War 2 and brought Japan to its knees. We visited Hanford, Washington, one of the three major sites for this war project and saw how the operation was run.  It was a life-changing experience and really opened my eyes to the impact Hanford had on the world. Prior to the need of uranium to build the two nuclear bombs, Hanford was not even a place you could visit, it was not even called Hanford. Overnight a small town called White Bluffs was transformed into a factory town with hundreds of thousands of workers doing work for a project that they didn’t know what it would look like in the end.  The project for this trip and unit was to create a video that would encompass five facts about Hanford. My group was made up of myself, Kate and Sofia. We wanted to focus our video on the environment and the impact that Hanford may have had on the environment. Looking back at this project I enjoyed doing it but I think there were opportunities for improvement. I believe that even though we were at these places and had valuable primary sources at our disposal,  I was enjoying the moment and not necessarily taking in the amount of information that I should have to make the best quality video I could. One of these valuable primary sources of information was Larry Haylor who was a worker in Hanford while it was in service. In terms of my work habits, if I had planned ahead more, I could have gathered even more information directly from Larry to make the video even better.  Another way that I could improve on this project is the technical aspect. This encompasses excellent audio, visuals and script. These are all things that make a great video. I believe that I need to put less effort into writing and producing a video that I like and more effort into a video that would test well to the masses and would make it easier for people to be educated on the topic we are covering. At the end of the day these videos can impact someone’s learning and if it does that would make me very happy.

Hanford, Washington

The Carousel of Communism

Another great example of my learning that shows my great work habits and work ethic is the Carousel of Communism project. This project was for the 2018 winter exhibition. This project was the only time that the entire PLP cohort has worked together on one project. Our exhibition was based around the following three topics. The Crucible’s witch trials, the McCarthy trials against Communists and the present day Russian investigation on Donald Trump and his presidential election. I like to call it the ‘three prong approach’. So the exhibition was set in the 1950’s and had different references to connect all of these topics together. We started off by planning the entire presentation/play in class. This was the first time that the teachers let us plan the entire project with no input at the beginning from them. We created multiple story boards and many different charts to help us fathom the project we would be undertaking. We split up the gym into six different stations or sets to make a full play. Each set had 1-3 actors that helped bring the story to life. These actors also interacted with guides who brought the group of people from set to set and brought the story together. When we were introduced to this project I was quite excited about the thought of us all working together because I know the great work everyone can do on their own projects and I always thought that if we ever had the chance to all work on one big project that it would be amazing. I was not wrong, the project was great.  Unfortunately when the project was starting, I had just injured myself twice in one week and missed some school during a critical part of the project.  First I hit and cut my head mountain biking and needed stitches.  Three days later I was back at the hospital because I sprained my ankle in basketball and was on crutches.  This caused me to miss some school. Reflecting back, I wish I had the opportunity for a larger speaking role. Since I was not feeling well and was away, I was given a role without any say, and was thrown into the mix. I wish I had made more of an effort to get a larger role or insist on more lines for my role.  I was just told what to do as the project went on. I was feeling so busy catching up with school and physiotherapy that I went with the role I was given.  So to recap, to improve, I would have put a lot more effort into my leadership for my speaking role, even if I wasn’t feeling good and not let my injuries and trying to catch up on other work slow me down. Even if I couldn’t change my speaking role for the exhibition night, I am proud of all the work I did and leadership I displayed behind the scenes for the building of the sets.

Picture from the Exhibition


Alright now that that we have covered the Humanities portion of the MPOL it is time to talk about the work I have been doing in PGP. PGP stands for ‘Personal Growth Plan and this is in my eyes a great course that will help me become a better person in the long run. I have been playing sports since I was 1 or 2 and throughout these years I have set hundreds of goals for myself.   Some have been small and some have been big. When the PLP teachers introduced the idea of goal setting I thought I was already a pro. I thought that I was already a good goal setter so in the beginning I was skeptical and didn’t think it would make a difference.  I was reluctant to get started. As time went on and I worked on it further, I realized that this assignment isn’t just a paragraph about goal setting, it is meant to impact my life.  I started to notice that as I read the book and do the forms I could see how these steps could make a difference. I learned that writing big goals on a piece of paper, letting yourself see the goal everyday is a huge motivator for me and helps to keep me focused and prioritize.  If I set goals visually like this, I think it will make me a more effective learner.

PGP book


Overall these first 5 months of my grade 11 PLP year have been great. I have learned so much and gained new skills that I will be able to take into my life for years but there is always room for improvement.  I think that I can do better and be more effective with my time and still achieve a high quality of work.  In the next months coming up I will be improving on many different things and skills to again be the best person I can. I will be trying different writing styles so that I can expand my writing arsenal and expand my word repertoire. I will be updating my blog to make it more interesting and personal to me by diving into the Divi page builder to give it a more professional look. I think continuing to re-visit my goals each day will help me be more effective in my time and improve learning. Even doing this mPOL taught me something.  First I skimmed the instructions for the mPOL and started writing.  Then I looked at them more carefully later and realized I’d missed some things and I had to redo it.  If I review assignment requirements twice before starting it might take a few extra minutes in the beginning but I will save a lot of time later.  I will also plan ahead more so that I can make the best use of my time and gain more knowledge if I am reading or listening to a speaker.  PGP will help me be a better planner.  Overall in these upcoming months I hope to grow as a learner and become a person that will make a greater impact on this planet. Just like in sports, I feel that practicing a skill in school helps make you better.  It’s like the quote “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” — Will Durant   But practicing a skill takes time so that is why it is good to ask: “How can I work more efficiently and make better use of my time but not reduce the quality of my work?”  I will continue to work on this goal.



The Carousel of Communism

If you are a regular viewer of my blog or know anything about PLP then you would know that in a PLP calendar year there are two exhibitions. One being the winter exhibition  and the other is the year end exhibition. Since we just had winter break we will be talking about the recent 2018 PLP winter exhibition.  Since, the PLP 11 cohort is the oldest age group in the PLP system, we got to do something a little different where the whole class worked together on one exhibition.


In Humanities recently we have been studying the 1950’s and everything leading up to “the greatest time in American history”. This was one of the main themes of the exhibition. At this time in the 1950’s everyone had just come back from the war and the economy was booming. America was at its peak and the idea of the American way was very popular. On the flip side, the Communists (Russians ) were secretly placing spies in American societies to get information on the booming country as well as spread the Communist way.


The Three Prong Approach

Our exhibition was based around the following three topics. The Crucible’s witch trials, the McCarthy trials against Communists and the present day Russian investigation on Donald Trump and his presidential election. I like to call it the three prong approach. So the exhibition was set in the 1950’s and had different references to connect all of these topics together.

The Planning and Layout

We started off by planning the entire presentation/play in class. This was the first time that the teachers let us plan the entire project with no input at the beginning from them. We created multiple story boards and many different charts to help us fathom the project we would be undertaking. We ended up appointing two people to be the DRI’s of the project. DRI stands for directly responsible individual. These people made the final decisions on different questions and problems we had.

So when I was in Grade 9 PLP the Grade 11s did a project similar to the one we did this past exhibition where they took the entire gym and turned it into a running play. Here is a link to one of the PLP 11 blogs from the prior PLP 11’s Our project was quite similar in terms of structure and how everything was laid out but our idea was to put curtains across the gym so that we could split it up and create 6 different sets.

Here are the sets

1.  Eisenhower   

2. Vets come home/Baby boom

3. Us vs Them (Communists vs Americans)

4. Korean war

5 Hollywood

6. Hearings


Each one of these mini skits had anywhere from 1-3 actors and ran for about 4 minutes each. On top of these skits we had 1-2 guides that were in character as well they interacted with the audience and the actors to make the audience feel as if they were being drafted into the war or were at one of the Communist trials. These guides also lead the audience through the maze to make sure that the transition between each skit/station was smooth and make sense.

The Roles

Now that we had figured out the overall look and layout of the exhibition it was time to put each person in their own respective categories. So at this stage of the project I had just sprained my ankle from playing basketball and was on crutches so the DRI decided to make me a disabled veteran in the play. I was put with Ethan Dennis, and Robbie Wharton. In our part of the play Robbie and Ethan were members of the military.  They were going around the neighbourhood giving out draft notices to ‘willing and able’ men to fight in the Korean war. My job in this section was to be one of the many residents and be a draftee into the war. At first this is where the injury would come into play. Sergeant Dennis and Sergeant Wharton would come to my door handing me a draft notice and I would declare myself unfit because of my injury that I sustained while l was in World War 2. This was part of the first version but we later scrapped the injuries because we found that it didn’t play enough of a significant role as well as I wasn’t on crutches anymore. My excuse for not wanting to participate in the war was that I just came back from the gruelling second World War. Dennis and Wharton would reason with me and make a valid point about how I would have to support my country and fight the communists so I ended up being drafted.

Building the Props

The next step before the exhibition was to build all the props that would actually bring the entire play to life. We all worked together to maximize our opportunities and use all of our skills. For the first scene we created a stage so that Eisenhower could address the nation. The second scene we created a modern house for the 1950’s. Scene three was ‘Us vs Them’. This scene was the Communist rally. It was set on a street, so we had to build some street lamps as well as bring in an old bench and a bike so we could bring the street to life. Scene four was my scene, this was the street scene where I would come out of my house and be drafted. We had to build a house as one of our props but luckily Sergeant Wharton had a telephone sized box that I could emerge from that was built for an earlier PLP Project. All we had to do was slap some new paint on it and give it a new roof. Scene five was Hollywood. We made the Hollywood sign out of cardboard and painted it white. This would lead into a live stage where they had been filming a reenactment of the Crucible. We created a Hollywood film stage. Lastly was the trial. For this scene we recreated a court room for the audience to sit in.

The Night of the Exhibition

The exhibition went very well. There were some hiccups along the way. For example in the Seycove gym there is a big wall that can swing out and divide the gym into two halves. We planned to use this wall as a backdrop for our street as well so that it would break up the gym and give each scene a smaller atmosphere. Unfortunately on the night of the Exhibition there was a big storm which knocked out all the power to every school except Seycove. The one thing the storm did break was the circuit board. This caused the motor that pulls the wall into place to malfunction. We were unable to use it and had to come up with more creative means. For the entire gym we used curtains that the band and choir use for their concerts. We hung rope from wall to wall splitting up the gym into sections. At the beginning of the night we were all so excited that we ran the first group through the play in half the projected time. As we have all been in the PLP program for 4 years now we are used to rising under pressure, and we did just that. We improvised some of our script to lengthen the play so that we could meet the projected time. Other than that, everyone gave us great reviews and was very impressed with our knowledge of the topics we had studied as well as our amazing acting skills.


Overall I really enjoyed this project and I would say that this is by far my favourite project that I have done in my PLP career. The amount of information in my head that I walked out of that building with on the night of the Exhibition was far more than any history class could have taught me. A great example of this is when we were off school for Christmas holidays I had an interesting discussion/debate with my uncle surrounding the McCarthy trial as well as the blacklisting of Hollywood movie stars. I was able to recall all of my information and facts that I had learned previously. I truly believe that if I hadn’t done this project and had only studied for a test on the same topic that I wouldn’t remember half the stuff I still do today. Usually the two biggest critics for our PLP projects are our teachers Mr Hughes and Ms Willemse but to our surprise they loved our project as well. This was a fun and interesting project and a great way for a class such as ours to bond and build teamwork skills.

Here is the walkthrough video of the play:


Crucible Creative Creation #3

Lately in PLP we have been reading a play called The Crucible. It’s set in Salem Massachusetts  in the 1690’s but was written by Arthur Miller in the 1950’s. It’s main idea is about the horrific Salem Witch Trials.

While reading this book we have had to highlight and take notes of the interesting events that happen. In the assignments for this book we have to create three blog posts. Every blog post relates to a question that we have chosen from a list of questions. For this blog post I have chosen question 10. Question 10 relates to the book because The Crucible is considered universal and enduring and the question is to think of a book, movie or album from your generation that will be universal and enduring.

For my example of the  book, movie or album that is going to be enduring and universal I have chosen the Harry Potter book series. Don’t get me wrong, the movies are good but I think that the books are better. I believe that the Harry Potter franchise is timeless because of how relatable the books are to all ages. A person of any age can pick up one of the books and immediately connect with one of the many memorable characters. Kids like to read them and adults like to read them to their kids. Another reason why the book will be relevant and popular forever is that they create magical, fantasy worlds that people can escape to and enjoy as well as have traditions and history in the stories.  Overall they are well written and keep readers in suspense always wanting to read more. Those are just some of the reasons why I believe that the Harry Potter franchise will be enduring and universal. Below I have created an interactive timeline that shows the books in order as well some interesting facts about them.



Crucible Creative Creation #2

Lately in PLP we have been reading a play called The Crucible. It’s set in Salem Massachusetts  in the 1690’s but was written by Arthur Miller in the 1950’s. It’s main idea is about the horrific Salem Witch Trials.

While reading this book we have had to highlight and take notes of the interesting events that happen. In the assignments for this book we have to create three blog posts. Every blog post relates to a question that we have chosen from a list of questions. For this blog post I have chosen How to Spot a Witch”.  This assignment was to create a paper or something similar on how to spot a _________. You fill in the blank.  For example, “How to Spot a Joey” or “How to Spot a Mountain biker”.

For my version I decided to make “How to spot a duster”.   A duster is a category of hockey player that you may see at the rink or on the pond. The definition of a duster is “Someone who is garbage at everything with bad flow and no skill at anything they do especially hockey.” Here is a short book that I created on how to spot a duster. Enjoy.

Crucible Creative Creations #1

In PLP we are reading The Crucible as a class. This is a play that was put into a book and it is about the Salem witch trials that took place a few hundred years ago. While reading this book we have had to highlight and take notes of the interesting events that happen. In the assignments for this book we have to create three blog posts. Every blog post relates to a question that we have chosen from a list of questions. For this blog post I have chosen to describe my version of heaven vs hell.

For myself heaven and hell are two places that people can find themselves after their time on this earth has come to an end. Heaven is known as the place were you want to go when you die and that is something I believe. Hell is the opposite of heaven. Hell is somewhere you don’t want to go when you die. Some people believe that heaven is the after life. I think of heaven more as a resting place for people that have made the right decisions in life and have enjoyed their life. Hell is a place where you are put to do work for the devil because you have made the wrong decisions in you life time. Heaven and hell can also be a state of mind that some people find themselves in when they are very happy or unhappy about life.

A visual comparison that I made below shows heaven as a scenario of tranquility, sunshine and happiness on the left.  The depression, darkness and dreariness that hell provides is on the right.



On October 3rd-6th, I went with our PLP 11 class, Ms.Willemse and Mr. Hughes and travelled down through Washington state and down through Oregon until we reached a little town called Portland, Oregon. From there we travelled to Hanford, Washington which is the famous site of the nuclear reactors used to help create the plutonium for the world’s first nuclear bomb. This is the story of how it all went down.

Here is a live map of where we went


My chosen book

On October 3rd at 6:45am our PLP 11 cohort gathered in the Seycove roundabout, ready to start our four day trip. We departed at 7, give or take 5 minutes and were off to Portland.  Before long we had to get off the bus and bring everything with us so the US boarder security guards could check our bags. Thankfully everyone was let into the country and we were all good to go. Next stop was Powell’s book store down in the heart of Portland.

Powell’s book store just happens to be the largest book store in the entire world. It was quite amazing how many books there are in that store. I was curious about the true number of books so I decided to ask at the information desk. The lady at the desk stated that the number of books is aways fluctuating but there are around 1 million books and around 32,000 categories in the store. While we were there we were given two assignments. One was to find a book and, as a group, act out the title to the best of our ability and the second one was to find a book with a cool title that was related to some of our hobbies or interests. For the individual challenge I decided to go with a sailing book because sailing / boating is one of my favourite activities to do in the summer and I thought that this book looked very interesting.  I think the North Sea would be a little rougher than our sheltered North Vancouver waters

PLP 11 cohort at Powell’s books

The next stop on the trip was a restaurant called Fire on the Mountain which is a wing place in Portland. They have a very cool theme as well as some very hot wings. I thought it was fun how they served every plate of wings on a frisbee instead of a plate.

Fire on the Mountain

The last stop of the night before the hotel was the Mcmenamins Kennedy school. This was an old elementary school that was turned into a hotel with an old fashioned movie theatre. To the delight of all of the males in PLP we watched  Mamma Mia 2. After that it was time to hit the hotel.

The next day is where the real hard work was about to begin. The first stop that day was the Reed College Nuclear reactor. This was actually quite an amazing experience. To see a real life nuclear reactor is quite interesting because while we were in the same room as the reactor they were powering it up to show us how it works but the reactor operator fed too much power to the reactor so he had to scram it. The interesting thing about this is that a scram occurs when there is too much power at once and they have to shut it down. This only happens ten times a year so we were actually even more lucky to see something like that.

PLP11 at Reed Collage

After lunch it was time to hit the road again to the Vista House at Crown Point which is essentially a lookout tower that looks out on the Columbia River. It was a very nice view and helped to put into perspective how big the Columbia River actually is. At this time we also stopped at Multnomah Falls. This a super awesome viewpoint and if you are around that area I definitely recommend it.

Vista House at Crown Point

Next was the Maryhill Museum of Art and we were back in Washington. This was a very interesting museum because it mixed new with the old. It has lots of famous paintings, sculptures and photos by artists from around the world and by indigenous people of North America.  It also had the world’s largest chess collection which was cool and I really enjoyed seeing how the museum was built partly in an old structure and partly in a new structure. While we were there we were told to find a sculptor or painting that we could make a video about. The video had to tell the name of the sculpture, what it is stating and what I thought about it.  Here it is:


After that we moved on to a real life sized replica of Stonehenge that also sat on the same property as the museum. This was quite amazing and put into perspective how big the real rocks at Stonehenge actually are. The monument is a tribute to World War I soldiers and it is built on the former site of the town of Maryhill that burnt down. It is beside the Columbia Gorge. After Stonehenge we set off to the city of Hanford which was the main destination for this trip. After we arrived we had dinner and then it was time to hit the hay and get some sleep.

Here is a slideshow of a few more trip photos:

The next two days there were some great learning opportunities. On the third day it was time to get a full visit of the Hanford nuclear compound. As I mentioned earlier it is a decommissioned nuclear production complex.  This was the site of the B reactor which was the first full-scale plutonium reactor in the world and its plutonium was used in the first nuclear bomb. This was all part of a project called the Manhattan project. Visiting the site where the nuclear reactor sat was so helpful from my perspective because it opened my eyes to the size of the site. It is the size of Staten Island. Another takeaway from visiting the site is all the great people we got to talk too. If you want to read more about the project surrounding this trip where I go more in-depth about these amazing conversations and all of my learning please click HERE. So throughout that day we visited one of the old homes on the site as well as a bank and a pump house. Our tour guides were amazing and had so much knowledge.

Our tour guide Larry

After the tour of the Hanford site we were able to visit the Reach museum in Richland Washington which was a great place for us to do some reading and research on our project. The museum has two sections.  One focuses on the history of the Hanford Reach area.  The second displays the history of the Hanford site and the part it played in the Manhattan Project.

The dinner we had that night was not an ordinary dinner. As a team, we set out to give Red Lobster a run for their money. Red lobster is having their ‘all you can eat’ shrimp buffet. Our teacher Mr. Bryan Hughes had a game plan before we went into the restaurant and he gave us a pep talk to get our heads in the game. After about  2 1/2 hours of a hard fought mental battle the winner of the ‘all you can eat’ shrimp buffet was Ethan Dennis with 143 shrimp eaten.

The next day was the last day of our trip and probably the most interesting part of the trip for me. That morning we visited the Hanford site again but this time we went and got a tour of the inside of the B reactor. This was amazing to see what the reactor looked like in real life and see all of the different moving parts of it in person. The sheer magnitude of the reactors is amazing. After the uranium has run its course it was put into a pool that was huge. The reactor was cooled with water pumped from Hanford Reach of the Columbia River.  It was the length and width of a high school gym. The picture below shows this.   Underneath these floor boards is a pool filled with uranium rods that had just come out of the reactor. This was the place that they would sit and cool off before being disposed of.

Swimming pool where the uranium is

After we had finished at the B reactor it was time to make the trek home. This trip was super amazing as every PLP trip is but because I was personally very interested in the topic of this trip it made it even better. I would like to thank Ms.Willemse and Mr. Hughes for taking us on the trip as well as putting up with us for four full days.




The Manhattan Project²

Nuclear Bomb Explosion

The Manhattan Project²

Welcome back to my blog.  I would like to start my Grade 11 year off with a bang, literally a bang. Without further ado let’s jump right into it. This first unit is picking up where we left off at the end of Grade 10 when we were studying World War II.  We are talking about the Manhattan Project. If you don’t know what the Manhattan Project is well then you have probably heard of what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki around 1945. No, still never heard of it? Well this was the year that the US shocked the entire world by dropping the World’s first ever nuclear bombs on Japan. It turns out that the US had been building and testing these nuclear weapons for the previous 6 years. This is the story of the Manhattan Project.

Photo’s of the Manhattan Project:

So this is PLP which follows the criteria of project-based learning so we worked on a project about the Manhattan Project. There were three main sites where the Manhattan Project took place: Los Alamos New Mexico, Oakridge Tennessee, and Hanford Washington. These legendary, historic towns were built from the ground up overnight for the Manhattan Project.  Los Alamos was the testing facility for the world’s truly first nuclear bomb named Trinity. Oakridge was the site for the pilot plutonium plant and the uranium enrichment plant and lastly was Hanford. Hanford was the site of the world’s first nuclear reactor.



As part of our learning for this trip we were lucky enough to go to Hanford, Washington, visit the Hanford site and actually get a tour of the B reactor. I do believe that this was a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience. Being able to see the reactor in person really helped me comprehend the dramatic effect the Manhattan project had on the world. Hearing the first hand stories that the tour guides shared with us about their lives while working at Hanford, opened my eyes to the importance this place had to the people of the United States and the world.

The project for this trip and unit was to create a video that would encompass five facts about Hanford. My group was made up of myself, Kate and Sofia. We wanted to focus our video on the environment and the impact that Hanford may have had on the environment. We thought that five environmental facts about Hanford was a good theme. Here is the final product of our video.

As I stated earlier in this post I was fascinated by what these tour guides and retired Hanford workers had to say about how the Manhattan Project and Hanford had impacted their lives. For example our tour guide Larry, stated that “if it wasn’t for the Manhattan Project and the creation of the nuclear bombs that were dropped on Japan then some of my family members would have gone to war in Japan and may or may not have returned.” These real-life stories helped me understand the important impact the nuclear bombs had on the people of America.

Larry our tour guide

While we were learning about the Manhattan Project in class, I started to do my own research about criticism and negative impacts of the Manhattan Project. It is truly astounding to learn the number of fatalities that these bombs caused. Over 226,000 men, women and children lost their lives when these bombs were dropped. Even more interesting is the burden that these bombs put on the world. After the bombs were dropped the world’s eyes were opened to the fact that nuclear bombs were now on the table and the art of warfare would be changed forever. Another related interesting fact was that the scientists who helped create this mammoth weapon later became their own critics and spoke out against the creation. Julius Robert Oppenheimer was an American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California and since August 6 1945 he has been known as the father of the atomic bomb. Oppenheimer was one of the leading scientists in the Manhattan project alongside Albert Einstein. After the ground breaking creation of the atomic bomb, Oppenheimer was named one of the chairman for the general advisory committee of the United States Atomic Energy Commission. He later used this position to lobby for international control of nuclear power to avert nuclear proliferation and a nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union since they were also creating nuclear weapons.

Dr. Oppenheimer


Los Alamos:The Secret Cities of the Manhattan Project

Leading up to this big project for this unit we had completed other smaller studies to help us understand what the Manhattan Project was really about. Since we are an ipad-based course we played a game called Los Alamos:The Secret Cities of the Manhattan Project. This was a simulation of the three sites that the Manhattan Project was based on: Los Alamos, Oakland and Hanford. In the game we walked around the three sites collecting information as we talked to the different scientist and workers present during the game. After completing achievements by walking around the map and talking to everyone, players move on to the next stage in the operation until getting to the Trinity site where the bomb is dropped. This game really helped me put everything together to help understand what the workers and the scientists had to do on a daily basis as well as what the different sites of the Manhattan Project were like.

The Game: Los Alamos

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Newsreel

Back in the 1940’s there no 4K tv’s or tv’s in general so when you went to a movie theatre, they would play news reels instead of trailers before the movie started.  These were short little clips that would give you the rundown on what’s happening in the world on that day. A fun activity that we had to do was create our own news reel about the bombing of Hiroshima and  Nagasaki. These newsreels were only one minute long but they pack a punch and tell you everything you need to know. Unlike a newspaper with only pictures these news reels were the first chances for people to really see in video what happened with the nuclear bombs.

New to PLP this year is a new tool to support our learning. Instead of using Itunes U as a distribution spot for all of our work requirements and reference information, we now use Canvas. This new app allows our teachers to be more creative with how they teach us unlike ITunes U which was more restrictive. So for the Manhattan project we referred to this app to help focus our work on the right requirement in the app. This is also very helpful when it comes time to reflecting on our blogs.

Character Card

Another great example of learning that we had to do was the character card assignment. This assignment was to fill in a template that was kind of based around a baseball card. My character card was Major General Thomas Francis Farrell who was the Deputy Commanding General and Chief of Field operations of the Manhattan Project. General Farrell was handed-picked by General Groves for this position. Major General Farrell played a key role in the nuclear bombings in Japan and investigating the aftermath. Here is my character card:

My Character Card

Learning about the Manhattan project has really opened my eyes to what the world is really capable of. All this learning has showed me that the power that these nuclear bombs hold is nothing to mess with. It can be worrisome for some people to think that different governments around the world hold this power. With one click of a button, millions of people can die but it is really good that we are teaching teens in schools about this important time in history. Students need to know the major damage that these bombs can cause. Hopefully when we grow up and when it’s our turn to take the hot seat,  we will have learned from past leaders about what is needed to avoid repeating costly mistakes and how to achieve more global harmony.


The Last BlueSky


Alright it’s almost the end of the school year so that means that it is time for the PLP Spring Exhibition where we present our Blue Sky project. This also means that it is time to think, create and execute. For people who don’t understand what I am talking about, the Blue Sky project is where you come up with a solution to a problem that someone has. Each year the target audience for the problem and solution changes. This year for Blue Sky we were given a link to the UN sustainable development website. We formed groups and we were given one of the 17 goals on the website that we would focus on. My group worked on the goal of sustainable cities and communities.  In addition to addressing a problem, the project  had to answer a driving question.

My group was made up of Ethan, Simon, Adam and me. We thought that it would be a good to create a project that would be about making cities more efficient.Our driving question was “How might we make the bus routes more efficient and enjoyable for passengers so more people use transit and reduce pollution?”  Adam and I came up with the idea to create  newly redesigned bus routes. Adam and I would work along side of Ethan and Simon who created a first class bus. Our goal was to put these two bus ideas together and make the ultimate bus system called A-Line Buses.

I want to back track for a minute to help you understand how Adam and I came up with our idea. We used use the L.A.U. N.C.H. cycle. There are 6 steps involved in the launch cycle. Here they are.

L– Look, listen, and learn – Goal: Awareness, seeing a problem and having a sense of empathy

A– Ask tons of questions – Goal: Sparked by curiosity, leads to understanding the process or problem.

U– Understand the problem or process – Goal: Use authentic research experience (interviews, analyzing data, articles, watching videos)

N– Navigate ideas – Goal: Brainstorm, combine, analyze, and navigate ideas to generate a concept for what they might create

C– Create a prototype  – Goal: Could be an action, digital work, tangible project, work of art, or event

H– Highlight and fix – Goal: Fix what is failing, for every mistake brings you closer to your final product

Alright now that you know more about the LAUNCH cycle, we can move on and talk about all the preparation for the exhibition and the exhibition itself. Adam and I started to think about how we could get the ultimate product for our project. We thought that we would survey different people around the school and ask them the question “How can we make the bus route in Deep Cove and Phibbs Exchange better”? We got a lot of different answers but the top two conclusions were that we needed to make a faster and more direct route to Phibbs Exchange from Deep Cove. The Second conclusion was that we needed to create a bus route that goes into more neighbors and visited more schools. So we did just that and created A1 and the A2 bus routes.

The A1 is based on getting people from the Deep Cove and the Panorama area to Phibbs Exchange and eventually Vancouver as quickly as possible. It doesn’t cut into any residential neighbourhoods, it is meant to go up Mt Seymour as fast as possible.

A1 Bus Route (Focused on efficiency with a faster and more direct route to Phibbs Exchange from Deep Cove)

A2 Bus Route (Focused on convenience for travelling between schools and local residential neighbourhoods)

The A2 is more focused on bringing people to and from their houses and schools. Throughout the route the bus goes by Seycove Secondary, Sherwood Park Elementary, and Dorothy Lynas Elementary as well as going through four large residential neighbourhoods.

Along with creating these maps for the project we decided to put some numbers behind our idea to help it make sense to some of our customers. Here are the different calculations that Adam and I did that compares the 211 and the 215 to our A1 and A2.  The bus route that is focused on getting people down to Phibbs faster is travelling 1.8km less which saves people time and the bus company money.

Along with the maps and calculations Adam and I thought that it would be a good idea to create a Kickstarter video. This video would explain our project and put a visual to the writing. Also people could watch it at the Exhibition night to supplement what we were saying or watch it when we were talking to others and understand our project better. In the video we showed our calculations as well as the two maps. Also in the video, there is some footage of some different buses that run in Deep Cove. Here is the video so please feel free to check it out.


Now that we had everything that we needed for the project, it was time to set up for the exhibition.  The day of the exhibition came around and Adam and I helped to set up our section in the library. Since we were in the Sustainable cities and communities category,  we thought that it would be cool to use the big white board that we have at Seycove. Here is a photo of the city landscape that we drew.  We set up with Simon and Ethan’s portion of the project which looked at the cost of using a car and a revamped transit seat.  We had the Kickstarter video playing on the screen in the background and we set up our project information and maps on the green board.  So as people came to our area, they found out about the high cost of running a vehicle, the benefits of the new bus routes and the improved seating.

Alright the clock struck 5:30 and it was time for the exhibition to start. Since we were close to the door we had a lot of visitors to our booth. It was really fun talking to all of the different adults and teens who came through into our exhibition. I really enjoyed talking to the people who were super interested in our project and asked a bunch of different questions. One person asked if we could serve beverages on our bus and we thought that was a good idea.  Overall the entire night went great.   Everyone who came to our project had  said they liked our project and they would use the bus more often if the A-line bus system was in service.


One last thing to mention is that part of the PLP curriculum was to contact an expert in the field of the group’s project.   Adam and I contacted a Translink representative.  She really liked our idea and gave us a link to a project they just started. This project is called the Youth Innovation Project . The Youth Innovation project is to get teens like us to be innovative and come up with new ideas around the bus systems. Ideas are submitted and by July eighteenth a winner will be chosen and will receive a grant ranging from one thousand dollars to ten million dollars. Let’s hope we win!

Over the past three years I have participated in many Blue Sky projects Spring Exhibitions. One of my projects was to provide information to Mt Seymour trail users and was called Trailinfo. Another was called the Productivity Desk to help students study better and now the A-line bus system. Over these three years I have learned so much about problem-solving, planning, project management and presenting. I believe that these projects have made major contributions in my growth as a learner. I will miss Blue Sky projects but I can’t wait for what comes up next year.

Final Science Blog Post

For my last Science blog I will explain what we did in Science class for the final project of Science PLP 10. For this last unit in Science we studied astronomy. For the last year in PLP Science all the projects students have done have all been on the same topic within the overall theme. But this time it was different. For this unit we chose different topics and different projects in partners. The projects we could choose from were radioactivity and radiation in space, nuclear reactions (how a star works), possibility of colonizing of planets (Mars or the Moon), star life cycles, evidence of the Big Bang formation of the universe, First Nations stories of the creation, components and scale of our solar system, and telescopes and astronomical measurements. My partner Alex and I decided to choose radioactivity and radiation. Each topic would have two teams or partners studying it. So Alex and I decided to focus on the radioactivity side of the radioactivity and radiation project.

Alex and I set off to create a keynote presentation. Our driving question was ‘What are the different radioactive levels in planets and how is it reflected in their environment’? When we set off on this project we wanted to create a scale of sorts that would show the most radioactive planet to the least radioactive planet. We spent a lot of time researching on the interweb. After a extensive time researching we came to the conclusion that there is no way yet to tell which are the most radioactive planets but this is a Science project and we can’t just have that as our conclusion. So the Alex and I talked to our teacher Mr. Gross and after an informative talk we decided to change our focus a little bit and focused more on Earth and provide different information on how radioactivity affects certain planets. We covered Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.


So Alex and I set off researching again. We found a lot of information about the four planets that we focused on. For the presentation side of the project we decided to stick with the keynote. For the keynote we focused on two aspects for each planet. First we would gave some facts about the environment and then talked about how radioactivity has affected the planet. For example if we look at Mars the environment is cold, dry and there is a lack of oxygen. There is also no protective atmosphere like on Earth so that means that Mars is exposed to a lot more radiation than Earth. To be specific it gets 7.5 times the amount of radiation that Earth gets.  Alright we finished up our keynote and put all of our research into the slides and presented it to our class. We explained to our classmates that putting planets on a scale of radiation is very hard and challenging thing to do and that it hasn’t been done before.


For this project the grading was a little different. We had to pick 4-6 core competencies that we would be graded on. The 6 core curriculum competencies for Science were: Questioning and Predicting, Planning and Conduction, Processing and Analyzing data and information, Evaluating, Applying and Innovating, and Communicating. Alex and I picked Questioning and Predicting, Planning and Conducting, Processing and Analyzing Data, and Communicating. We sent that to our teacher Mr. Gross for him to evaluate.

As we listened to all of the projects we had to take notes and create a mind map on all of the topics and how they all connected.

Here is my mind map.


It is amazing to think that everything within Astronomy can be connected together in some way or another. Coming back to our Radioactivity Project, it was super fun and interesting to learn about Astronomy and the universe we live in. I am proud of what Alex and I accomplished and I gained a lot of knowledge about Astronomy.



Alright, here we go. It’s that time of the year where I stand in front of my teachers and parents and describe what I have been doing in PLP 10 for the past year. I will talk about work where I have shown the most growth as a learner as well as answer the question why  I feel I am ready to advance to the next grade level in terms of things like my work ethic and teamwork. I will focus on three examples that I believe show my growth as a learner which will include one from Scimatics, one from Humanities and one from Maker. So with out further adieu lets jump right into the first example.

Humanities:   Lets start of with Humanities. In Humanities this past term we have learned a lot but I am going to focus on our recently completed World War 2 unit. One of the cool things that I like about PLP is the first hand encounters that you get when you are learning about a topic. An example of this is the memory project that we did in relation to the World War 2 unit. The memory project was a podcast that we had to create from a discussion that we had with a World War 2 veteran. A German World War 2 veteran named Helmut Lemke came to our class to discuss what the War was like for him. Our class got to ask some questions of Helmut and he gave some very interesting answers. As well, Helmut told a bunch of amazing stories such as his time on the Russian front. If you are interested in listening to his story about the Russian front feel free to listen below.For this unit we were told that we would be put into groups and that these groups would represent a country. Your country would then create a webpage that would be filled with different types of information about your country. I was put in a group with Mimi and Alex and we worked on France. My group and I started with a template of a website that we used from Weebly which is a website creator. We played around with different versions of the template until we found one that we liked. We added all of the research information that we had done earlier in the unit. We proofread our website and it was time to present our website to the class, Ms Maxwell and  Kathleen Barter (our guest judge). I really enjoyed this unit because I believe that if we learn about our history or our past and those mistakes than we are less likely to repeat them. I also just find the topic of World War 2 very fascinating and it was cool how we got to incorporate that into making a website. While doing this project I showed my research, design and communication skills.

Scimatics:  Next I’ll move on to Scimatics. In Scimatics this year we learned about math and science in a very interesting  way by doing lots of projects that apply the theory into the project. I am going to talk about the algebra tiles project.This project’s objective was to create a fun and interesting board game that used algebra tiles to show how numbers and variables can be represented to demonstrate algebraic operations. The game had to expand, factor and complete the square for polynomial expressions. My partner Kyle and I decided to revise a version of Snakes and Ladders that incorporated the necessary requirements. We sat down and created a list of rules because every good game needs a long list of does and don’ts.  Then we reused an old chess board to create the game board and some pieces.  This project was a very interesting and informative way to teach someone about a topic such as algebra. There is no better way to teach someone than to have them create a game. We had to figure out the rules, the questions and many other variables. This project showed my growth in being able to plan, create and execute a project successfully with a partner as well as my ability to work within requirements while we still made it our own.

Maker/Planning 10:  The last example that I will be talking about today will be from my other PLP class. This class is Maker/Planning 10. The example that I will be taking from these classes is going to be my job shadow project. I am chose this project because it really opened my eyes to a possible career in my future and I grew in my knowledge of how what we do in school is so important to jobs we do later in life.   The job shadow that I took part in was related to project development. This project was super interesting hands on learning where my uncle Norman Laube and I drove around to different job sites that his two property development businesses Peakside Homes and Pure Living owns. It was super interesting to see what he does day to day. I was flabbergasted to find out all of the different regulations and rules that he has to follow when making a new home or planning for an multi-unit building. This job comes with a lot of ups and downs. There are a lot of different problems that you come in contact with. This a reason why I believe that I would be great for this job. One of the most satisfying and rewarding things for me is solving problems.  There are many people like architects, contractors, city planners, bankers, realtors and home owners to deal with and I enjoy interacting with lots of different people so that would suit me too.

Revision, Teamwork, Responsibility  and High Quality Work:  Overall through the school year and almost 181 days of learning, I have learned a lot about subjects like English, Socials, History, Science , Math, Career Planning and Maker time.  My knowledge of these topics has grown and I have really grown in my reading and writing and math skills.  This will definitely help me in Grade 11 so I can keep up with more complicated and longer work.   For revisions I believe that my podcast making skills have been the best thing this year in that respect. I worked hard to improve my podcast skills.  The Helmut WWII podcast is a prime example of that. In terms of a project that I worked particularly well with a group or person. I believe that Blue Sky is a great example of me working as a team with an other individual. For responsibility, I think a good example was our Generator Project when our group was having trouble getting it to work.  I dove in and tried something new to fix it and was successful.  Lastly I believe that there is no way better than to finish strong and I believe that I did just that with my Lord of the Flies blog post. This is just one of many great examples of high quality work that I produced this year.  I enjoyed the topics of the unit and I couldn’t wait to write about it in my blog.

Work Ethic, Work Habits:  I believe that my work ethic has been the one of the best parts of my schooling this year. I have worked hard and made great improvements and so far my marks have been very good which reflects my work ethic.  I am doing well at school at the same time playing school sports every term as well as team sports outside of school and working 2 days a week. I complete assignments on time and I try to get all of my revisions in as soon as I can once I get feedback on an assignment. My work ethic has to be good because I am still a normal teenager that likes to hangout with his friends and relax will at the same time doing everything that I mentioned above. This week for example I planned  my week very carefully and tried to get my work done ahead of time because I worked Sat and then Sunday it was my birthday and Father’s Day.  This meant doing home work on Thursday after Blue sky as well as staying home on Friday evening to do some blogs because I had work the next morning. Things happen and sadly I had to do some homework on Sunday but my planning helped me get the bulk of it out of my way.

Areas for Improvement: I believe that I have had a great year but no one is perfect and I am just the same. I would really like to work more on my public speaking. To be more specific when speaking.  To quote Sam, “I tend to talk at an alarming rate”.  So I would like to slow down because I think it will be easier to understand what I am saying. I would also like to get better at reading unfamiliar text out loud to groups of people. This just comes with practice and repetition.

In conclusion:  Here is a quote related to my blogs that I was really proud to hear.  Earlier this year Mr Hughes said “Spencer is the most on top of his blogs of any students in PLP 10” Mr Hughes. Not only was I proud to hear this, it is also another good reason that I am ready for Grade 11.  I’d like to thank my teachers for giving us interesting assignments and answering my questions through the year.  I enjoyed the year. I like school and the people at school so that makes learning even more fun.

Lord of the Flies

So after a year filled with lots of assignments and learning, I am finally signing off for Grade 10. This last blog post in the Grade 10 category is about our latest unit. This unit is entitled Lord Of The Flies. Some people reading this blog will know what this book is about. Lord of the Flies is a 1954 novel by Nobel Prize–winning British author William Golding. This book has been read by philosophers, teachers and students all over the world. While we were in this unit we read this book but the entire unit is centered around a driving question just like many other PLP projects are. The driving question for this unit was “How do we organize ourselves?” We also studied the Canadian political system and different types of government.

Alright let’s start this post with the book. As I stated previously we read Lord of the Flies as we went through this unit. Every week on a Wednesday  we had a quiz on the book. We did this quiz in groups  but this time our teacher Ms. Maxwell let us choose our own groups. Ms. Maxwell left the room for 20 minuets and left us to fight and argue about who was in each group.  We didn’t much of that. We chose captains to be in each group, such as you would do in PE in high school and dispersed the remaining class members into each group. My group was Sam, Sydney, Michael and I. This would be my group for the book quizzes as well as the debates but we will get to those later. So back to the quizzes. We got points for how well we did in each quiz and by the end of the book we would totaled all of the points up to see who won. The book was super interesting and had many hidden meanings. This book is much more than just a story of some school boys stranded on an island, it is a story about human nature, power, and corruption. The story follows a group of boys stranded on an island who start out civilized and organized but then conflict starts to rise between them.  As the groups stop getting along, some of the boys turn violent and deadly.  While we were reading the book we were required to fill out a character chart with different observations. Here is my character chart.

LOTF Character Chart 2

As well as reading Lord of that Flies another part of this unit was studying the government. As part of this unit we looked at different sections of government and studied how the Canada government worked. We were told to make a chart of the different branches of government in Canada as well as the major leaders of the parties.  I toured inside the Parliament buildings awhile ago in Ottawa.  It was interesting to study the place I visited and remember seeing the House of Commons and the Senate and where the Prime Minister stands.  Here is a photo from my visit

Here is a diagram that I created that shows how the political system of Canada works.

As well as part of the  government portion of the unit we were given the mini assignment to research about the different styles of government that we see around the world. My Lord of The Flies group was given dictatorship. We create a small three slide keynote that we would present to our peers in class to help them explain to them what dictatorship is. Here is the small keynote that we presented to our class.

What is Dictatorship

We were also taught about the different types of government that different people  associate themselves with such as whether you consider yourself a left wing or right wing person.  We took a small quiz that would help you see where you were on the spectrum. This was a very interesting quiz that asks some very contested questions. I encourage you to take a look at the quiz and see where you are on the spectrum.  It is a very insightful quiz.  I will link a blank document below. Feel free to download it and take the quiz.

Where Are You on the Political Spectrum?

So at the end of each unit there is always going to be a big project or assignment. For this unit it was no different. The assignment for this unit was a debate! The teams that we were in for the entire unit were the group that made up our debate teams. We debated against another team in the class. We were given a choice of topics for the debate and we had to chose our top three. Here is a picture of all of the topics that we brainstormed on.

Our group’s top three picks were, Civilization VS Savagery, Power and Authority, and Humanity and Inhumanity. Our teacher Ms. Maxwell chose the topic for our group as well picked  the team that we debated against. The next thing we did was to choose what side of the argument we would be on. We  ended up doing it by calling heads or tails while we flipped a coin. Our group got the cons side of the argument. The statement for this debate was “ Be it resolved that power leads to corruption.” We would be arguing that power doesn’t lead to corruption. The only catch for this debate we were only allowed to use the points from the topics that we studied this year. This included but were not limited to World War 1 and/or 2 , disruption in Silicon Valley as well as Lord of the Flies.

To practice for the debate we did some activities to practice presenting publicly and impromptu speaking. We did two activities, activity one was called “ pass the buck “. Pass the buck was where one person in a group got a topic to talk about and when 30 seconds was up they  passed the buck and the next person had to argue on the same topic and after 30 seconds the next person did the same. The next exercise was “ impromptu speeches. We stood in front of the class and the teacher gave us a random topic to speak on. You had to do your best to expand / explain your topic. These exercises were great things to do to get ready for the debate but it was time to gather our points and execute.

We studied all of the notes that we had taken from the past year to gather all the important information that we could find. We studied these debate research notes and our group put some points down on paper that we could refer to during the debate. Monday June 11th arrived and it was the day of our debate. The debate started with an opening statement from each team followed by a rebuttal from each team followed by questions from the audience and then closing statements. I don’t want spoil the outcome because our debate was turned into a podcast that is linked below.

Overall this unit has been one to remember. I have enjoyed learning more about the political system that we have here in Canada. All of the different forms and branches of government are very fascinating because this is how our world is run. I found it very interesting to see how our teacher Ms. Maxwell centered our entire unit around a book. Lord of the Flies is definitely a book that I would recommend to anyone who hasn’t read it already. There are so many different hidden meanings that characters and events represent in this book it is almost impossible to find them all by yourself. Lastly the debate is something that was just fun. I really enjoy stating my opinion as well as speaking about a topic that is very relevant in this world.


Peakside Homes/ Pure Living

As my Grade 10 year comes to a close, I have to finish a couple of things before I can move on to Grade 11. One of these things is Planning 10. School District 44 says Planning 10 is a requirement in order to graduate. One of the big projects that is involved in Planning 10 is the job shadow project. Wait didn’t I do that already in grade 9? (Bring your kid to work day). Think again. A Job Shadow and Bring Your Kid To Work Day are different. Let me explain. Bring Your Kid To Work Day is when you go to work with one of your parental guardians. A Job Shadow is when you take control and you go to work with someone who works in the same field that we are interested in. To be able to go on your job shadow we had to finish three steps first. Step one, read over the project brief. We did this so we could understand what we were getting into. Step two, create a brainstorm list of the jobs that we were interested in and find some businesses associated with this line of work and call them to ask if we could job shadow with them.  Lastly step three, create a list of questions that we could ask them while you are participating in your job shadow.

Finding the job

When it came time for me to create a list of jobs that I wanted to do, I did so and after doing some research, I came to a conclusion. I was very interested in Real estate Development. I thought about if I knew anyone who participated in this field of work and my uncle popped into my head. My uncle Norman Laube is the owner and co founder of  Peakside Homes and Pure Living. These two companies are in the Real estate Development business. I called my uncle and asked if he would let him job shadow me and he said yes. Next it was time to make a list of questions that I would ask about his job. A lot of my questions were based around the financial aspect of the job which is what he deals a lot with. These questions would help me understand the job better as well as write this blog post. Here are some of my questions.

When it came time to ask Noman about some of the questions that I have about his job. Question 1, How did you get the knowledge and skill to become a property developer? Answer : I went to UBC and studied business and real estate. I worked with Omnicron for many years and I learned a lot about the job there. Question 2, Is it easier to work with a company or with your own company when making a project? Answer : “ I believe that it is easier to work with your own company because you are the boss and you get to make the decisions. Questions 3, What kinds of challenges do you have to prepare for and have dealt with before? Answer: When doing property development there are goverment regulations that you need to know (for example how many inches a railing has to be from the edge of the deck.) When you gain experience you learn how to deal with these problems.


Peakside Homes

The day came and it was to time to do my job shadow. My uncle and I drove around to a bunch of his different houses around the North Shore. First he took me to his two houses on Panorama. These two have been listed at around 2.5 million dollars each. The project started off by Norman getting an offer from his realtor about a house on Panorama with a lot of land. They purchased the house and went to an architect firm for them to design two homes to sit on this lot that they had just bought. These two house would be modern and have high quality appliances. Peakside Homes always puts elevators in their homes because it makes them stand out when they sell the house. Here are some picture of the two homes that are almost done and have both been sold.

After Norman gave me a tour of the two Panorama houses and all of the special features and challenges that he ran into while they were building, we moved on to the first house that started the business. This  house is in lower Lynn Valley. The house is a 5 bedroom 5 bath with 4,335 square feet. The house sits on a 8,850 ft square lot. The house has an elevator that visits all three fours and has a suite so you can have some extra money coming in. The Appin house was listed at 2.1 million and sold even before they were done in 2016.  Here is a picture of the house in 2018

The last home we toured was one of the two homes below that sit on Doran road in Lynn Valley and offers a city view with an open floor plan and a huge patio. Each home has over 4600 square feet of living space and sits on a 7500 square foot property on the top of a beautiful hill.  The house offers 6 bedrooms, 7 baths and it is within .46 km of Argyle High school. The houses are listed at just under 3.1 million dollars each.

Pure livivng

Also my uncle Norman Laube is also the co- owner and co-founder of  another company called Pure Living. Pure living is also a real estate development company that so far builds more mid-rise devolpment projects. He and his partner are working on a project proposal for Keith Road and Mountain highway.   Here is the sketch that a designer did.

Requirements for the Job

This job requires someone to have knowledge of things like property analysis, building construction and local government regulations.  You have to have the ability to problem-solve, analyze and work well with lots of different people because you work with architects, realtors, bankers, contractors and government officials.  I think I am good at analyzing and problem solving and building things and I work well with lots of people.  I would have to go to school like UBC or BCIT to take courses in property development and then work with someone who is already an expert in this field like Norman.


Overall I had a great experience following my uncle Norman Laube around during a regular day at the office. I enjoyed see what is takes to source, buy, demolish, design, build and sell a house. There are a lot of stressful situations that come along with this job like getting permits or surprise delays or unexpected expenses but at the end of the day it is all worth it. I think that it is really cool how you can drive around every day and look at the difference that you are making in the community. The real question is would I consider doing this job once I graduate from university and look for employment? The answer is yes, I would be very interested in working for Peakside Homes or Pure living in the future. This is because I really like the aspect of putting new homes the neighbourhoods. I enjoy the different challenges like designing a house that fits in all of the laws and regulations.  I would have to gain the right knowledge skills and experience but I think I have the interest and right skills to start studying and learning this field.  I would like to thank Norman Laube for letting me shadow his job and spending time with me.

Here is a video of some of the photos that I took during my job shadow

Slideshow video


Unit 3B (Science)

For the past couple, of weeks we have just being focusing on science in scimatics in PLP. So it was time to switch over to math. The inquiry question is how can we use systems of equations to make better choices? The project for math was a create a keynote or a video that would example your findings. We had to pick three different cellphone plans rom three different carriers that were roughly the same. Then we would compare the plans to see if you use not much data which is the best plan vs if you use a lot more data which is the best plan.

My partner Alex and I set off to pick three different plans we chose Telus, Rogers and Bell. We chose these carriers because they were the top used carriers in Western Canada. We chose three plans that had the some perks. They all had unlimited local minutes and nationwide inured as well as 1GB of data.

After that we used math to find an equation that we could plug in to figure out different points that we could graph. Here is our math.

Then we plugged some numbers into our equation and we got around points on our graph here are our points.

After we had finished our graph Is was easy tell which were the best plans to go with.


BC Tech Summit

So the PLP 10 class attended the BC Tech Summit youth innovation day. This blog post is going to be a recap of what the day was like and some highlights or interesting things that we did. Alright let’s start the day at 7:00 am at Seycove Secondary school. We departed Seycove abruptly at 7:05 am with majority of the PLP cohort in the Seycove bus and Simon, Adam and I in our teachers car. Traffic was not bad that day and we arrived around 7:50 at the Vancouver Convention Centre which is where the summit was being held. We were dropped off on level one with our other teacher Ms.Maxwel. This is Where we would get register and get the necessary requirements for the day. There were over 2000 kids that were attending the last day of the 3-day summit. We were put into groups so that we could move smoothly throughout convention.

The day at the BC Tech Summit started off with a couple of guest speakers. The best speaker of the day from my point of view was Brent Bushnell from Two Bit Circus Brent talked about what is involved in being the CEO of Two Bit Circus. Two Bit Circus is a company that uses technology and science to provide entertainment that is imaginative and interactive.  They employ scientists, roboticists, artists, storytellers, engineers and entrepreneurs. He also talked a bit about his life. Brent went to UCLA where he studied business. When was at UCLA he met his friend and businesse partner Eric Grabman. The pare started to create and build interactive art. After that they made a couple commercials using 360 cameras. Then they made a very creative music videos that went viral. Brent went on to talk about innovation, and he gave a very interesting statistic that stuck with me. He said that 65% of graduates will have a job that doesn’t even exist now. That is really striking and could be worry sum for some people. Not having security and specific job titles to aim for can worry some people. Technology is a driving part of these changes.

After we listened to Mr. Brent Bushnell talk about Two Bit Circus at 10:45 it was time to explore the summit a little. Since there were so many kids at the summit some different university around Vancouver such as SFU and UBC had booths there that you could go and talk to some university representatives about different career options that are centred around technology. I went and visited SFU where they had an exhibit on AI or artificial Intelligence. AI is helpful when robots can teach languages, pick things up for seniors or find out information like Siri from Apple.  This seems like a growing computer science field that relies heavily on technology.


After we were done visiting the universities it was time to move on to the mentor part of the summit. So there were tables set up around the convention centre’s main ballroom. There would be a person sitting at each table and we would sit down at a table and that person would tell us about what they do for a living. My group had a woman ( insert name here ) that worked at life labs.  Lifelabs does medical tests for doctors to help figure out if patients are healthy or what is wrong with them. A group of my friends and I asked her some questions about what she does and we recorded the whole thing and made it into a podcast. I will link the podcast below.  Link to podcast.

It was approximately 12:00 and time to head to the main convention level where the public could visit. There were some very interesting exhibits up on the main level. My friend Kyle and I Saw a crowd of people standing around so like any normal human beings we went to go see what the commotion was about. We pulled up to a somewhat real looking mannequin. Kyle being the curious boy that he is asked what was going on and the man said that this was a robot that helps train nurses. He said that when he pushed this button a baby would come out of the robot. He asked for a volunteer to help deliver the baby and Kyle stepped right up. The instructor proceeded to instruct Kyle how to deliver the baby. And sure enough he did just that. Kyle left the summit that day a proud father. Sure enough days later a picture of Kyle delivering his baby shows up in the paper.

12:30 roles around and it is time for lunch.

1:00 and its time to sit down and listen down to some more talks. We listened to a wrestler talk about how he got to be a Canadian heavy height champ as well as his story that he said hopefully inspired us.. We had the option to go upstairs and explore a little more.

It was 2:00 and time to listen to the last speaker of the day. His name is Ryan Holmes, and he is the founder and CEO of HootsuiteHootsuite has a dashboard that helps organize people’s different types of social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+.  Twitter organizer for business. It is based in Vancouver and has 15 million users.  Ryan told a story where he won apple C2 computer except there was one problem. He lived on a farm in Vernon BC with no power. So his father took the computer to a computer store and had them rewire it so that it could run of jumper cables when he attached it to his car. He also told the story of his first business and how they were not big money makers. His points behind the two story’s is that you don’t need to have the best equipment or have the best job to make money you need experience when you are young. Ryan Holmes didn’t start Hootsuite until he was 31 and look at him now 10 years later and 600 million dollars richer.

We were asked to answer the driving question about how BC’s economy has been disrupted by the tech sector.  I think it has because there have been some amazing and successful tech companies from BC like Hootsuite that employ lots of people and sell lots of their products to people here.  This is a big change for BC from forestry and fishing.  My future career could be impacted by the tech industry because I’m sure I’ll be using technology in my job and I’ll have to be flexible because you never know what new jobs will be available thanks to technology like AI.  Just look at how technology has impacted high school and learning in PLP in the past few years.  It was a pretty interesting day.


World War 2

Alright so we are back and better than ever and this time I will be reviewing with you the latest installment in my grade 10 education experience. The last unit that we have just finished was about  World War 2. The unit that we did previously was the World War 1 unit so it was fitting that we did World War 2 next. If you would like to read my World War 1 Blog click HERE. Alright now back to World War 2, the project for this unit was to put together a website or a web page that would be based around a country during that time that we chose.

So our teacher Ms Maxwell sent out a Google survey at the beginning of the unit asking what three countries we would like to research during this unit. I picked Italy, Germany, and France in no particular order. After we sent in our preferences we were put in groups of three or four. Ms. Maxwell put me in a group with Alex and Mimi, and I would make up France.

Alright now that we had our groups we could start the project. But wait, first we had to learn a bit, as a class, about what really happened in World War 2. Ms.Maxwell taught us about significant battles such as the Blitz, Operation Barbarossa and the famous Battle of Dunkirk. As well as starting to do the project and simultaneously learning about what really went on in World War 2, we had to read a book about the War. I chose a New York Times bestseller called Unbroken. If you would like to read my book review click HERE. Also, somewhat of a side lesson to the World War 2 unit was that we learned how to properly use citations. For the website we had to learn how to properly citate websites, videos, and books.

One of the cool things that I like about PLP is the first hand encounters that you get when you are learning about a topic. An example of this is the memory project that we did in relation to the World War 2 unit. The memory project was a podcast that we had to create from a discussion that we had with a World War 2 veteran. A German World War 2 veteran named Helmut Lemke came to our class to discuss what the War was like for him. Our class got to ask some questions of Helmut and he gave some very interesting answers. As well, Helmut told a bunch of amazing stories such as his time on the Russian front. If you are interested in listening to his story about the Russian front feel free to listen below.

Now that we had all of the important background information, it was time to move on to the main aspect of this unit which was the website. My group and I started with a template of a website that we used from  Weebly which is a website creator. We played around with different versions of the template until we found one that we liked. We added all of the research information that we had done earlier in the unit. After we had proofread and finalized the website it was time to do everyone’s favourite PLP activity, critique our class mates’ work. We looked at other websites and gave some feedback on what we thought they could do to improve it. The feedback that we got was

After we had made some revisions to our websites, it was time to move on to the last stage of the unit. Our website consists of a Before German Occupation page, a During German Occupation page and an After German occupation page. This was presented to the entire class as well as District 44’s district administer Kathleen Barter. Overall I thought that this project was very informative and a great way to mix technology with learning and real life information. I applaud Ms.Maxwell for a great job designing and teaching us the project.

Click Here to view our website.

Science 10 electricity

So welcome back to another Spencer Laube blog post. In this edition of Spencer’s blog we will be talking about our latest project. The inquiry question for this project was how can we capture renewable energy from nature? To get into more detail the project was to create a working generator from scratch that would able to take different energy sources such as the sun or rushing water and change them into electricity.

One of the first things that we did was go on a field trip. This field trip was to the Mission hydro dam. The interesting thing about this dam is that it was turned into a museum so that school groups like us could come through and learn first hand how hydro electricity was made. It was very interesting to see the different steps that need to be taken in order to turn rushing or falling water into electrical energy that can be taken and sent to many different homes around the lower mainland.


Alright now back to the project. So after we got back from the field trip we were put into groups to create the generators. My group consisted of Ryan, Ruby and Claire. We set off to create our generator. We started to brainstorm the best type of renewable energy and in our opinion we thought that a water wheel would be the best. We came to this conclusion because of the consistency that the water wheel brings. If you were to use a solar panel as a source of electricity you would get half as much due to the sun not being out in the night.

So we set off to start building it. I asked our teacher Mr. Gross if he had any old meter sticks or wooden dowels and sure enough he did. So I took two wooden dowels that I had cut in half and stuck them together with ducktape. I did this 3 times so that we would have 6 arms. After we had 3 sets of 6 arms I taped them all together to make a wheel. I cut a piece of 2 inch pvc as a spacer and glued that to the wheel. After that I glued the entire assembly to a crank and that was our generator.

After we were done our generator it was time to create an infomercial for it. Our group decided to make it where two people were lost in the forest with no power or no way to find help. A super hero named electro boy came to the rescue to save our people in need. He brings them the generator to help them charge their phone so they can call for help.

So at the beginning of this unit our teacher Mr. Gross told us to create a mind map of what we know elite we started the unit. Here is the before unit mind map.

So when we had finished the unit the requirement was still the same. Create a mind map of what you know now that you have finished the electricity unit for Grade ten. Her it is.


In PLP Humanities 10 we have been studying World War Two and when it came time to set off for Spring Break for two weeks we were given the task to read a World War Two book of our choice. Well it was kind of our choice. We got to pick from , Code Name Verity , All The Light We Can Not See, and Unbroken . I read all the summaries for the books and ended up choosing Unbroken. Unbroken is an amazing nonfiction story about a man named Louis Zamperini and his struggle through the war. Here is the review that I wrote about the book. Enjoy.

Laura Hillenbrand found Louis ‘Louie’ Zamperini just in time. He was in his mid-80s when she worked with him to create this book and now, sadly, he has passed away. Louie has one of the most interesting war stories around. Unbroken is the story of perseverance, strength and forgiveness. You’ll be riveted by all the trials and tribulations our hero, Louie, goes through before he becomes an Olympic runner, then serves in WW2 and ends up in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.
The story starts in the United States with a nine year old Louie who loves to get in trouble. He steals from the corner store and one thing he always does consistently is outrun the police. In the book, Unbroken, Louie’s brother states “ that boy can run like the wind.” As a boy, Louie watches the runners at his brother’s track and field practices. One day his brother decides to make Louie try out for the track team. Louie runs his heart out and makes the team.

Ever since that day Louie trains and races. He beats the men’s high school record for the fastest mile. In fact Louie is so good that he tries out for the Olympics. As he is leaving, his brother Pete says to him “Louie, a moment of suffering is worth a lifetime of glory.” This sticks with Louie and it becomes the premise for how he lives his life. Louie goes to the Olympics to hopefully bring home gold. His entire family is listening to the big race over the radio. The race starts and Louie quickly drops to the back of the pack. For most of the race he stays there. The last lap comes around and Louie remembers what his brother told him before he left “a moment of suffering is worth a lifetime of glory”. Louie ends up finishing that race and breaking the world record for the fastest lap ever in that race.
Skip forward in time and Louie is over the Pacific Ocean in a B24 bomber on a search and rescue mission in WW2. The plane that Louie and his crew are flying is a parts plane and was put together with different parts from different airplanes. This doesn’t bode well for him and his crew. An hour into their search mission it all goes wrong. The left engine cuts out and then the right engine until they are coasting and the captain yells to brace for impact. They hit the water and Louie is stuck in the plane. He shimmies his way out and up to the surface. He finds the plane’s raft and helps two other survivors, Mac and Phil, into the raft. Time passes and they run out of food. Mac unfortunately succumbs to his injuries and passes away.

Days pass and when day 47 hits, a big ship pulls up to the raft. It is the Japanese. They take Louie and the other survivor, Phil, to a Japanese camp to beat information out of them. They take Louie to a prisoner of war camp just outside of Tokyo. The Japanese learn that Louie is an Olympian and they offer him a deal. If he reads a Japanese script on a radio broadcast to America, he can go home, otherwise he’ll be sent back to the POW camp. Louie doesn’t agree and is sent back to the camp. Later Louie and everyone at the camp move to work at a different camp. This is where Louie encounters the Bird who is a nasty Japanese prison guard. For example, the Bird tells Louie to hold up a heavy beam and if he is drops it he will be shot.

The war ends and the story of overcoming challenges continues as Louie struggles to get back into post war life as a husband and father. You should read the story to see how it all ends. As a reader, I found it satisfying to see how Louie eventually rises up to every challenge. I love to live by the same motto that Louie’s brother told him about: “A moment of suffering is worth a life time of glory. It’s hard to believe that this story is non-fiction because it is difficult to imagine living through these challenges and coming out alive. Hillenbrand, who also wrote the book, Sea Biscuit, does a good job in recounting Louie’s dramatic life events and describing how he overcomes the hardships. This is a must-read book for teens and adults of all ages and you’ll look at life differently when you’re finished.

2k18 DI Provincials (Final DI)

My career as a DI competitor has come to an end. It all started in December of 2015 or Grade 8 so this is the third year I’ve participated. Each year I’ve gained great experience and learned new skills and this year was no exception. I was part of a team that was put to the challenge of solving a major problem called Maze Craze. The idea behind Maze Craze was to design something that could recover two objects inside a maze and create a story to go along with it.

So if you are new to my blog or have just never heard of DI or Destination Imagination before then the last sentences won’t make sense. I will do a quick explanation of what DI is exactly.

Destination Imagination is like an education sports tournament basically. The idea is to put a team together of 2 to 7 people and then pick a set challenges out of several options. Your team has to think of an idea to solve this problem/challenge. After figuring out how to solve this problem your team integrates this solution into a skit and performs in front of judges. The judges evaluate your performance and your solution to the problem and give you an overall score. This score is put against other team scores and the team with the highest score wins the tournament. Oh wait there is one more part. There is a second part called an instant challenge which is where your team is given a problem/challenge on the spot and you have to solve the problem to the best of your ability.  There is a regional competition and then a provincial competition day.

So, my group this year consisted of 6 people, Calum, Sam, Isobel, Izzy, Kate and myself. Our challenge was Maze Craze. This challenge was to make something that would navigate a maze while making it to two different event squares and completing a task. For more info on my challenge, click on the Maze Craze blue word. So our team got to thinking about how we could solve the challenge and integrate it into a story. We thought that we would create an RC or remote control car from scratch and code it so that it would go through the maze by its self. This was a very ambitious idea.

The next thing that we had to think about was the story that we would present with the car we called the rover. We thought that the rover would be a bomb defusing robot that would defuse two bombs at the two different event squares. So then we came up the story that I would be at my 50th family reunion and that I would be telling a story of the first time I was on the NYPD bomb squad. We built a large storybook out of sheets of plywood hinged together and painted so we could turn the plywood like a page to go with different scenes of the skit.

Between the regional and provincial competitions our team did some upgrades / redesigning of some of are props / maze traveler. First off Sam and Calum redesigned the rover entirely by rebuilding it and making it stronger. They started by making the frame for the rover out of two 8 in long 2×4’s and putting them together. Than they put two servos ( motors) on the bottom of the rover. These servos would make the rover move backwards and forwards. To make the rover turn sharper they added one 360 degree wheel that makes sharp turns. We did some research on what an actual police bomb squad rover had that we could duplicate so we put lights on it. Lastly they souldered a homemade remote control to make the entire thing move and it was ready to go.

Izzy and I had the task of making an interesting prop that would make some sort of transformation. We brainstormed many ideas and came up with one that sounded good to the both of us. We ordered some cheap lights that came with a remote control. Then we took apart the lights and stuffed them inside an average sized balloon. Than we stuck that balloon into a even bigger balloon and blew them both up. During the performance, when Calum went to fix the rover he popped the balloon/bomb and dies.

Overall we did very well. We picked up the W in our challenge and instant challenge. I believe that we performed well in both of those tasks and made the appraisers believe that. Overall I was very satisfied with two wins as a way to go out as my final DI performance.

Please watch the video of our regional performance and the unexpected breakdown that we had to work around in this blue link below. Please disregard the videographer who was having too much fun. ( Simon )

I would like to thank Ms Willemse and Mr Hughes for putting me into Destination Imagination and Joanne the British Columbia Destination Imagination Rep for helping us get to where we are today.

Overall of these three years of doing Destination Imagination I have gained and learned a lot. DI has tought me to be a more creative person for example when it comes to finding the solution to the problem that the challenge asks you to solve as well as coming up with a story that suits your solution to the problem. I have learned to perform under pressure when it comes time to do and instant challenge and I have had more practice speaking in public. Dr.Mark A. Runco did a study on kids that participated in DI Vs kids that didn’t and here were his findings.

2k18 DI Regionals

What is DI?

So DI is back and better than ever. This year in DI, the regional tournament was different. It was different because it was hosted at Seycove Secondary, the home of PLP. So if you are new to my blog or have just never heard of DI or Destination Imagination before then the last sentences won’t make sense. I will do a quick explanation of what DI is exactly.

Destination Imagination is like an education sports tournament basically. The idea is to put a team together of 2 to 7 people and then pick a set challenges out of several options. Your team has to think of an idea to solve this problem/challenge. After figuring out how to solve this problem your team integrates this solution into a skit and performs in front of judges. The judges evaluate your performance and your solution  to the problem and give you an overall score. This score is put against other team scores and the team with the highest score wins the tournament. Oh wait there is one more part. There is a second part called an instant challenge which is where your team will be given a problem/challenge on the spot and you have to solve the problem to the best of your ability.


Maze Craze

Alright so now that you know what DI is it is time to get back on  track. So, yes DI regionals were hosted at Seycove. My group this year consisted of 6 people, CalumSamIsobelIzzyKate and myself. Our challenge was Maze Craze. This challenge was to make something that would navigate a maze while making it to two different event squares and completing a task. For more info on my challenge, click on the Maze Craze blue word. So our team got to thinking  about how we could solve the challenge and integrate it into a story. We thought that we would create an RC  or remote control car from scratch and code it so that it would go through the maze by its self. This was a very ambitious idea.

The next thing that we had to think about was the story that we would present with the car we called the rover. We thought that the rover would be a bomb defusing robot that would defuse two bombs at the two different event squares. So then we came up the story that I would be at my 50th family reunion and that I would be telling a story of the first time I was on the NYPD bomb squad.  We built a large storybook out of sheets of plywood hinged together and painted so we could turn the plywood like a page to go with different scenes of the skit.

Please watch the video of our performance and the unexpected breakdown that we had to work around in this blue link below.

Destination Imagination Regional Performance

As you can see after watching the video you can tell that the rover didn’t work to plan. What happened was that the one side of the car where the gears line up didn’t fit properly. It is all trial and error and these things happen when you are making something from scratch. While we were doing the performance and the rover stopped working it showed the judges our improv skills where we skipped the script and improvised to integrate the rover not working into the storyline. The good think is that we have another chance at Provincials to work on the rover and make it more reliable.  I had to leave later because I was part of the Seycove senior boys basketball team playing for the Howe Sound Championship.  Seycove won which was exciting but I missed the instant challenge but I rushed back to Seycove to help later in the day.

Overall it was a fun experience to host the 2018 Destination Imagination regional tournament and it was done well. It was a lot of work for the teachers so thanks to them and it made it a lot easier for us to not have to lug our supplies to Surrey. All of the Seycove teams have qualified for Provincials so let’s we how that goes.  We’re going to improve the robotic car and use better parts for the next competition.

Algebra Math Project 2018

The latest unit in math was on Algebra. The project for this unit was to find a partner and create a fun and interesting board game that uses algebra tiles to show how numbers and variables can be represented to demonstrate algebraic operations. The game had to expand, factor and complete the square for polynomial expressions.  I asked Kyle to be my partner for this project and we started by brainstorming ideas.

We looked at the criteria that Mr. Gross gave us in the iTunes U course and thought about how to make a great game that could incorporate all of the design criteria. It had to have rules, clear instructions, victory conditions and game pieces that were identifiable.  We also had to videotape us playing the game once it was done.

We thought that we would create a board game similar to Candyland. If you don’t know what Candyland is, I can explain that. Candyland is a board game where you move your character along a long path that swerves around the board. We thought that we would also incorporate the approach of the game Snakes and Ladders into our game. Every so often there would be a alternate path that would give you a shortcut to the next row of squares.

There are detailed instructions but generally speaking you start by placing your character on the start square and win by beating your opponent to the finish square. You roll dice to move along. This is where the game introduces algebra tiles. Each square on the board is either purple, yellow, or orange. You roll the dice and whatever coloured square you land on, you pick up the same coloured card.  For example, if the square was yellow you would pick up a yellow card and read the algebra tile question to the opposition. The opposition would have to use the algebra tiles provided and solve the question.   The game tiles are different sizes to represent the x tiles x squared tiles and the ones tiles.  Green was positive and red negative.  There is a timer and you have to answer the question before time runs out.  We designed our board, game pieces questions and answers.  We called it Simon’s Garden of Poly-Gnomials for a play on words for some fun and added a few Gnomes to the game.

Here are the game rules:

Algebra tiles game rules

This project was a very interesting and informative way to teach someone about a topic such as algebra tiles. There is no better way to teach someone than to have them create a game. They have to figure out the rules, the questions and many other variables. I enjoyed this project and I would recommend it to another class.

Here is a video of Kyle and I playing the game


Science Chemistry Reaction Project

So in PLP Science 10 we have just finished up our unit for the second term. For the past term we have been studying and creating a project that is based on chemistry. At the beginning of the term we were given two different types of projects that we could choose for that unit. The first project was the chemical reaction project, the other choice was a chemistry video project. The reaction project was where you and your partner would design a chemical reaction to be used to identify the unknown composition of an object.  The second choice was the video project which consisted of creating a video that could be animated. This video was to explain how a chemical reaction would act like a character that you created.

I ended up choosing the reaction project. The inquiry question for this project was how can chemical reactions be used to identify the unknown composition of an object?  So the next day after Mr. Gross had taken all of our choices, we were assigned partners. Mr. Gross matched me with Mimi. Mimi and I brainstormed and a came up with the idea to test different water sources for how they would place on the PH scale. Another way to put it is that we were find the most acidic type of water source. We thought that this would be a great project because where we live you can walk out your door and access ocean, fresh, rain and tap water. Rain water, fresh water from a creek, ocean water and tap water would be our different water sources that we would test from. Now for the chemical reaction.

Here is a video of the litmus paper and chemical reactions

We thought that it would be best to test these 4 different water sources as many different ways as we could. So we thought about what scientists use to test the PH level and we had no clue. So we turned to the trusty old internet. We found after doing some research that there were three main ways to test the PH level in water. The first and easiest is to use litmas paper. Litmas paper is small strips of paper that you pour water on. These strips of paper turn different colours depending on the different acidity levels in the different waters. The second and most effective way that we found to see the most acidic type of water source is to use the chemical bromothymal blue. Bromothymal blue was poured into 4 different glasses filled with approximately 200 milligrams of the 4 different water sources. The colours of the waters changed depending on the acidity level. The last method was to do the same things as the bromothymal blue but with a different chemical called methyl orange. We put the methyl orange into 4 different glasses with the 4 different water sources.

Here are our findings.  Feel free to read about them

Water reaction science project

After waiting for a extended amount of time to see what the reaction was for the litmas paper and chemicals we observed our findings. We found that the bromothymal blue was the chemical reaction with the most noticeable difference between the different waters. We based our final conclusion on the bromothymal blue. We concluded that the rain water was the most acidic water that we had tested. Overall I had a lot of fun creating the experiment and executing it. I would definitely recommend this project to another class such as the Grade 9 PLP class.


At the beginning of the term we were told to create a mind map about everything we know about chemistry. Then after we had finished the project we were told to make another mind map and put down again what we know about chemistry. The difference is outstanding.

Prior to chemistry unit

After chemistry unit


Disruption Essay and Podcast

Disruption is defined as a disturbance or problem that interrupts an event, activity, or process. This can sound negative.  The driving question for this unit was “How has technology acted as a disruption throughout history?” This is more of a disruptive innovation which is an innovation that creates a new value or market network and disrupts the existing one.  This is more of a positive disruption.  That is one of the things I learned in this unit was that disruption can have positive outcomes and not always negative.  There were two major projects in this unit.  The first project was to do a podcast and the second was to do a synthesis essay about disruption.

The first project was based on California for the people who went on the PLP trip but unfortunately I had other commitments like basketball so I couldn’t participate this year.  If you would like to read what I did during the week the majority of the PLP cohort were away Click Here. The post talks about what was done at school but more interestingly what my trip was like to the famous Brentwood College for a basketball tournament.

The Disruption Podcast 

I was assigned a podcast to explain and further elaborate on a disruption within Seycove. I thought long and hard about what I wanted my topic to be. I ended up choosing the North Vancouver Basketball Academy. This year I joined the Competitive stream of the Academy and I played on the Jr and Sr  Seycove Basketball teams. I remember my older sister attending the Academy when it started a few years ago and her team won the Provincials last year so I wanted to learn more about it.

The North Vancouver Basketball Aademy was started at Seycove secondary by teachers and basketball coaches Mr. Darcy Grant and Mr. Geoff Russell. The two teachers noticed that there were a lot kids who loved to play basketball but there was no school that offered a program like this one.  They also wanted an attraction that would draw students to Seycove as well as stop them from leaving Seycove to pursue basketball somewhere else. I also interviewed Mr. Chris Ross who is a star on the Seycove senior boys basketball team and plays on the Provincial team for BC. Chris talked about how playing basketball in the Academy made him a better player by having the consistency that the Academy gave him.

Starting the Academy at Seycove was a disruption to the way a phys-ed sport was traditionally taught but it has gone well and been very popular.  I learned that if you have people interested in trying something and experts interested in offering it, things can work out well.  Basketball is a sport that has a lot of disruptions in it and everything can change in a minute depending on skills, strategies and fouls.

Here is a photo of Chris (bottom right)  and the rest of the Seycove Senior Basketball team after winning the Howe Sound Championship and defeating Collingwood.  Now it’s off to Provincials. Here is the podcast on the Basketball Academy.

The Essay

Another project in the Disruption Unit was the synthesis essay on the question ‘How has technology acted as a disruption through history’?  What is a synthesis Essay?  It is defined as an essay that explains a viewpoint about an idea, theme, or topic, and backs it up with several sources. The catch was that it was an in-class Essay and you could only write the essay in two separate blocks that were chosen by our teacher Ms. Emily Maxwell. The only thing that you could bring into these two classes was a single piece of paper with a bunch of quotes on them.  Before we tackled this, our teacher taught us the parts of a synthesis essay.  It has an introduction with a hook to catch the reader’s attention and the thesis which is my theory that I explain.  Then there are three paragraphs with a transition, topic sentence, supporting points and concluding sentence.  Then at the end there is the conclusion that restates the thesis.

I find it hard to write an essay in a short time so I tried to get well prepared.  I prepared a thesis which was ‘Technology has acted as a disruption throughout history by impacting education, business and communication.  I researched my points and found some quotes and practiced writing.  The quotes helped guide me a lot. We also had to tie in the book we read called Little Brother and I decided to tie it into my writing about how technology has disrupted business because businesses track customer data like  internet searches, loyalty points and social media.  This helps businesses but some people think it is a privacy issue.   The main character in Cory Doctorow’s book is worried about privacy with the Dept of Homeland Security so he and his friends communicate on an xnet instead of the internet.  Other people like his Dad think it’s good to monitor people if it finds terrorists.  There are two sides to every coin.

Here is the in-class essay on  technology disruption through history.  I learned a lot about earlier inventions before I was born like the railroad and it seems like they brought big changes just like the internet in the recent years.  I thought all my examples outside the book were positive but I guess some have negative impacts like transportation and pollution.

Disruption throughout history – in class Essay

Overall I really liked the SoCal project when I read about it in iTunes U and when the teachers told me right before I left for Brentwood that I wouldn’t be doing the same project, I was disappointed. But I made the best of it and found that there were some parts about the Silicon Valley and technology in the book we did.  In the end I got to practice my research, interviewing and essay skills for the podcast and essay. Thank you for reading my blog.

Disruption in and out of Seycove

While the majority of the PLP 10 cohort was in the sunny state of California I was in rainy Vancouver with four other PLP 10 students.   For me it wasn’t that bad because I had a trip of my own. While the California trip was in progress I was on Vancouver Island or in Mill Bay to be specific. The reason behind this trip was for the senior basketball team to play in a basketball tournament.  This tournament was hosted by arguably one of the the best university prep boarding schools in Canada, Brentwood College.  Playing basketball is about teamwork and training to achieve your own team’s goals while disrupting the opponent’s goals.


The trip was a four day trip with two travel days.  The first day we set off from Seycove in the morning and hopped on a ferry to the island. We got to the hotel and it was time to play. Our first game was against Brentwood. We lost that game by 15 but it was good experience.  Brentwood’s senior basketball team is ranked as the number one team in the province for its division and Seycove is ranked number five in the province.  The second game was an easy win against a unranked team. (unranked means not in the top 10 in BC). After that game we played a very competitive bowling match with our team that our coach had organized.  The games were close and we had a lot of fun. Day 3 came around and we had the final game of the tourney at noon.  This was another relatively easy game vs a unranked team in BC. That night we all went out to see a movie.

The last day came around and we had a really cool tour of Brentwood College.  Brentwood College is on a 77 acre oceanfront campus and it takes a tripartite approach so students participate in all three areas of academics, athletics and arts so the students can be very well-rounded students.  This is a private boarding school that costs $60,000 a year to go attend.  It has great facilities including a dozen tennis courts, four rugby fields, a sports complex, a health centre, arts centre, and the only indoor rowing facility in Canada (photo below):


The senior basketball trip was only 4 out of the 10 days that the PLP trip was going on. During the rest of the week, there were two more league games for senior basketball.  Our team won both games against STA and Elphinstone.  We had more basketball practices and I also had hockey practice and a hockey game.  I also did some basketball reffing for the Steve Nash league on both weekends.

When I returned home and back to school, I worked mostly on a podcast and my book assignment.   The podcast assignment was on disruption and more specifically, disruptive innovation that is a more positive disruption. Since we weren’t on the trip, we had to chose a Seycove topic. The topic that I chose was the Basketball Academy. The Basketball Academy was started by Seycove and although it has expanded, the Competitive Stream still operates at Seycove and the other Seycove location is Parkgate. I interviewed one of my friends and former basketball academy alumni and provincial player, Christopher Ross. I also interviewed one of the two cofounders of the Basketball Academy Mr. Darcy Grant, who is also an Athletic Director and teacher at Seycove.

The Seycove Book

When I got back from Brentwood College, it was time to start the book project that I was given by my the teachers. This project was somewhat similar to the project that the PLP kids in California did. For the project, we were given a book template that outlined the research and write-up we would do for that day of the trip. There were 10 sections in the book with around 40 pages. (So 4 pages a day). I was gone from school for 4 days on the basketball trip so I was a little behind and had to catch up when I got back to class.

The book starts with a definition of disruption and some examples like Uber disrupting the cab industry.  There has been positive disruption at Seycove with programs like PLP, Basketball Academy and Flex time that have disrupted the traditional way of teaching.  For Day 1, I covered off our basketball tournament at Mill Bay and then moved into the Beach topic.  I chose the beach at Deep Cove.  I focused on what I do for my part-time job at Deep Cove Kayak which is to send people on an enjoyable kayak ride in beautiful Deep Cove.

The next day was all about animals and environment. I chose the squirrel as an example of a local animal.  Who knew that squirrels could be so disruptive to power wires but so helpful when they plant tree seeds?  I also had to find examples of where the environment is being disrupted. One of the examples that I chose was when forest fires burn hectares of forest to the ground.

The theme of Day 3 was World War 1. For this page we had to write a small description of the war and how it was disruptive to both Canada as well as people overseas.  We created an inspirational/ interview with a World War 1 veteran to represent a day in the life of a soldier. For the last part of World War 1, I researched a very important resource in World War 1. The tea bag played a major part in the hydration and nutrition of the soldiers on the battlefield.  I also found a video clip that did a great job of explaining how the war got started when countries started building their military and creating alliances and how disruptive it was.

Day 4 rolled around and the theme of the day was disruption of education. For this part of the book I started by coming up and researching three different forms of disruption to education such as virtual reality, collaboration devices like Google docs and artificial intelligence. These three disruptions are positive disruptions because you can learn more quickly. The next part of Day 4 was an interview with a teacher and how education is being disrupted. This interview really opened my eyes and showed the importance of community based learning and real world examples.  The next page was about educational change.  This page talked about a very contested but positive topic. This is known as Brown VS the Board of Education case. Linda Brown was an African American student who fought the Board of Education to stop segregation and be a part of a class that was open to everyone.

Day 5 was also about education. The beginning was about my research on High Tech High.  It doesn’t educate traditionally. The students work with technology, group projects and people from the community.   We were also asked to describe what I believe my ideal classroom would be. I included things like a technology centre, and a permanent Maker Workshop.  It would have lots of windows, light and food with space to work either by yourself or in a group.

Day 6 and the theme was disruption throughout Silicon Valley. I wrote about the iphone being the most disruptive Apple product because it was a fully functional mobile computer that you could use almost anywhere and it was the first smartphone with a virtual keyboard.  Google is a great example of disruption too.  Google’s search engine changed the way we access information quickly and more information was available to more people. Intel is also a great example with them inventing the world’s first commercial microchip.  I did some challenge pages here about how the Silicon Valley got started and it’s link to Stanford University and why the Silicon Valley is still successful today.

Day 7 started out about computer history and the start of the first commercial computers in Silicon Valley. The first modern computers started in the 1930’s when people like Walt Disney used equipment to make sound effects in a movie.  Then computers were used in WW Two to break Nazi codes and computers became very large in companies before getting smaller and moving into people’s homes.  The next section was about Ivy League schools. Ivy League schools are a group of eight schools in the north east United States. These schools are definitely considered some of the most prestigious schools in the world and they are all ranked in the top 15 schools in the world by US news and world report. Next, I did an interview with Ms. Findler about her post secondary education. I realized that there are a lot of different post secondary education options.

Day 8 was about North Vancouver and the disruption that tourism plays in our economy. I interview my friend and Seycove exchange student David from Germany. He talks about his time here and the memories he has made here.

Day 9 was all about Seycove. The first page was a walking tour  of Seycove and three disruptions with in it. The next page was about disruptions that Seycove exhibits within education.  I used PLP, flex time and the Basketball Academy as examples of good disruptions within Seycove because they offer changes and options from the traditional way of education.

Day 10 was a wrap up or conclusion of everything that I learned while doing this book. The biggest thing that I learned while doing this project is that disruption doesn’t have to be a bad thing and there are lots of examples of disruption have positive impacts on areas like education or technology.  It’s important to not get discouraged during disruption and disruption can help solve problems.  My final page was about me and I what I like to do.   Hope you have a chance to read my book and learn more about the positive sides of disruption.

Mid Presentation Of Learning

So it’s everyone’s favorite time of year again. It is time to present to my teachers and parents what I have accomplished so far this year and answer the driving question ‘How am I going to progress as a learner before the end of the school year?’  Let’s get started.

The War To End All Wars

First I will start off with the Humanities of my school career. In Humanities 10 this year we have learned a lot about history. The most impactful thing that I learned this term was during the ‘War to End all Wars” project which is better known as World War One. The assignment for World War One was to create a podcast to tell the story of a soldier who was in World War One.  We had to imagine what this soldier’s war story was and try to answer questions the listener might have. What happened to him? How do you think he felt? What did he learn? What was his outcome? I really enjoyed doing this assignment instead of just watching videos about World War One or reading about it in the text book. I got to know who my soldier was and what his personal life outside of the war was like. Since the focus of the Mpol is on opportunities for improvement I would say that for the World War One Project I would need to improve on my voice first off. Ms. Willemse sometimes states that I sound like I am I being held at gunpoint and told to make this podcast but this is not the case. I really enjoyed the project. Bottom line is that I have to improve the tone and enthusiasm of the voice that I use in my podcasts. I did many revisions and did make progress for this project.  Another opportunity that I could improve on is my script writing or just writing in general. I need to improve on turning facts into my own words. I need to turn these facts into sentences that flow and sound like I am saying them off the top of my head. I learned how to make my voice not sound like I am falling asleep as well as how to make my own music that would go into the background. I learned how to edit the podcast on GarageBand and how to export the file into Sound Cloud for the world to hear. Overall I think that this is a great way for someone to learn more about a war and I would definitely recommend this project for the grade nines next year.

What is the Golden Ratio

‘What is the Golden Ratio?’ I asked myself as I was assigned this project. I am going to be totally honest and say that I didn’t know anything about the Golden ratio or what it was but that all changed after I did this project. The project was to create a piece of art that would incorporate the Golden ratio or the Fibonacci code as well as define both of the terms. At school we recently acquired a 3D printer. I decided to try to make an art piece on the computer that would be three dimensional and relate to the Golden Ratio, the Golden Rectangle and have a Fibonacci swirl. After I drew the design on a piece of paper I used a 3D printing software called MakerBot Print. I took it to one of my teachers Mr. Hughes. Mr Hughes is also the keeper of the 3D printer.  We printed it but it took about 10 hours. In conclusion I learned a lot about the Fibonacci pattern as well as the golden ratio while doing this project and how they show up in nature, art and buildings. For Math,  I would say that I could improve upon writing down all my work. When I do calculations I find it a lot easier to do them mentally. I know that this is bad because when I get a question wrong I get no marks instead of showing my work and getting partial marks. This ties into the project because I had to show my math calculations.  I learned how the math works behind the ratio, golden rectangle and interesting patterns in nature for the Fibonacci code.  I learned how to make a 3D model in a 3D printing software as well as how to print a model. These are things I’ll use again in the future.

DNA and Genetics

This project was to record a radio or podcast to answer to the following question. ‘If two sets of identical twins get married and each couple has a child would the children be identical?’ This project happened to be a pattern project so I set off with my partner Sam and we started to create a script. The script started off by determining the definition of meiosis and mitosis. As well as meiosis and mitosis we used Punnet squares, pedigrees, genotypes and phenotype to help us come to our final answer to the question.  The answer to the question is identical twins born from both sets of parents will not be the same, because there’s a long list and combination of all the genotypes and phenotype that could differ for both families. In terms of opportunities where I could have improved, I would say that I could have made the podcast a lot more entertaining to grab the viewers off of their seats. Sam and I met the criteria and exceeded the expectations but if I was listening to the podcast I would be a little bored so I believe that I need to learn how to capture the audience more. Overall the genetics and DNA project was interesting and it helped improve my skills when writing a script, doing research as well as making a podcast.

Story Corps

So I am pretty sure that you know what the annual PLP Winter Exhibition is if you are a regular visitor of ‘Spencer Laube a Blog’. Every year in PLP, we as a cohort, have two exhibitions or ‘super bowls’ of the calendar year for PLP. This year the Grade 10 cohorts had a mission different from anything that we had set out to do before. The PLP 10 class collaborated with the PLP 12 class to find amazing stories and document them so they will never be forgotten. The Grade 12 class had a draft of sorts to decide which one of the grade 10’s they would work with. My partner turned out to be Jayden. I knew Jayden already because we play on the same senior basketball team. The Grade 10’s job in this project was to be the recorder as well as the editor for the podcast. The Grade 12’s side of the project was to be the producer or the DRI (directly responsible individual) of the project. The project was to create 3 podcasts that would later be turned into a series.


The first podcast that we had to make was about our grade 12’s. I asked Jayden a question and I sat back and listened. Jayden ended up telling this great story about how he and his friends were down in Atlanta in a baseball tournament. They were hungry so they went to get something to eat and the rest of the story is told in the podcast linked below. The second podcast involved another interview but with a family member. I interviewed my sister and asked her a question. Her story was about the time she was on the starting line as her senior girls basketball team won Provincials last year. She talked about how much basketball really had a positive impact on her life and what she learned. The last podcast is where the exhibition came into play. For the exhibition we took over a classroom and transformed it from a boring old classroom to a living room type atmosphere. There were fewer rooms than groups so we had to double up. Jayden and I went with another group made up of Simon and Zakk. By the time people start to come into the exhibition, we had finished our magnificent room that we liked to call the ‘man cave’. While the exhibition was on Jayden’s job was to go and get people to interview. By the end of the night I had interviewed 3 people. Two of these people I already knew and one I hadn’t met before. First off I interviewed my friend, Sam’s dad, Curt. Curt had some great stories to tell about his childhood as well as Sam’s childhood. Curt talked about the time when he was a kid, he and his family traveled around eastern Canada in an RV. The cool thing is that Curt is taking his family on the same road trip this year. Next I talked to another one of my friend’s parents Julia. Julia is Adam’s mom Julia told the story of how she was in an airport in BC and she had to get down to Vancouver for work the next day but she couldn’t fly because of the really bad weather conditions. Julia along with two other strangers decided to rent a car and drive 5 hours in white-out conditions. In hindsight Julia said that it was not the best decision due to the danger of the situation. Lastly I interviewed Matty. Matty was one of my teachers friends. Matty told me about her childhood and growing up in Vancouver. After all the interviews were done it was time to choose one of them and make it into the final podcast. I ended up choosing Julia’s interview as the final podcast. When the project was all done and the lights were turned off I could really benefit from learning how to come up with better questions. When interviewing someone,  I learned that you have to find the question that suits them. You have to talk to the person first and find out what they like and try to get a glimpse into their lives. That is how I think I would be able to get a better story. If you ask a better question, you will be gifted with an amazing story that you will never forget. I thought that this was a really interesting and fun assignment to do. I thought that it was a cool experience to work with a student from an older grade on the same project and we showed great teamwork skills.  Everyone has a story to tell and by recording the stories, they can be remembered for generations and generations to come.



Overall I think these examples reflect my good work habits and my responsibility to strive for high quality work.  I achieve high quality work when I don’t rush too much so I try to complete work a day before the due date to leave time for proofreading.  To progress as a learner  I am going to continue to try and leave time for extra proofreading and get feedback for revisions whenever I can.  I will not just rely on spellcheck.  I will continue to ask questions about work to make sure I understand what to do so I know the requirements clearly.

A question I have for my teachers and parents is ‘How can I still be efficient while also producing high quality written or spoken work under time constraints?’

Overall I have enjoyed being in PLP 10 this year even though the class has had some bumps along the way. I have learned a lot about things that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I do believe that I learned two times more in PLP this term than I would learn in the normal stream in the timeframe.  I am looking forward to my favorite unit that I have ever been a part of which is called Disruption!

Winter story telling Exhibition

Every year in PLP, we as a cohort, have two exhibitions or ‘super bowls’ of the calendar year for PLP. This year the Grade 10 cohort had a mission different from anything that we had set out to do before. The PLP 10 class collaborated with the PLP 12 class to find amazing stories and document them so they will never be forgotten. The Grade 12 class had a draft of sorts to decide which one of the grade 10’s they wanted. My partener turned out to be Jayden. I knew Jayden already because we play on the same senior basketball team.

The Grade 10’s job in this project was to be the recorder as well as the editor for the podcast. The Grade 12’s side of the project was to be the producer or the DRI (directly responsible individual) of the project. The project was to create 3 podcasts that would later be turned into a series.

The first podcast that we had to make was about our grade 12’s. I asked Jayden a question and I sat back and listened. Jayden ended up telling this great story about how he and his friends were down in Atlanta in a baseball tournament. They were hungry so they went to get something to eat and the rest of the story is told in the podcast linked below.

The second podcast involved another interview but with a family member. I interviewed my sister and asked her a question. Her story was about the time she was on the starting line as her senior girls basketball team won Provincials last year. She talked about how much basketball really had a positive impact on her life and what she learned.

The last podcast is where the exhibition came into play. For the exhibition we took over a classroom and transformed it from a boring old classroom to a living room type atmosphere. There were fewer rooms than groups so we had to double up. Jayden and I went with another group who was made up of Simon and Zakk. By the time people start to come into the exhibition, we had finished our magnificent room that we liked to call the ‘man cave’. While the exhibition was on Jayden’s job was to go and get people to interview. By the end of the night I had interviewed 3 people. Two of these people I already knew and one I hadn’t met before.  First off I interviewed my friend Sam’s dad Curt. Curt had some great stories to tell about his childhood as well as sam’s childhood.  Curt talked about the time when he was a kid, he and his family travelled around eastern Canada in an RV. The cool thing is that Curt is taking his family on the same road trip this year. Next I talked to another one of my friends parents Julia.  Julia is Adam’s mom Julia told the story of how she was in an airport in BC and she had to get down to Vancouver for work the next day but she couldn’t fly because of the really bad weather conditions. Julia along with two other strangers decided to rent a car and drive 5 hours in white-out conditions. In hindsight Julia said that it was not the best decision due to the danger of the situation. Lastly I interviewed Matty. Matty was one of my teachers friends. Matty told me about her childhood and growing up in Vancouver. After all of the interviews were done it was time to choose one of them and make it into the final podcast. I ended up choosing Julia’s interview as the final podcast.

I thought that this was a really interesting and fun assignment to do. I thought that it was a cool experience to wrk with an older grad on the same project. Everyone has a story to tell and by recording the stories, they can be remembered for generations and generations to come.

Little Brother

In PLP 10 we were asked to read a book over the winter break. The book that was given to our class was called Little Brother. The book is set in present day and the main character is Marcus Yallow. Marcus is a 17 year old boy who lives in San Francisco. The idea behind the book is that there is a terrorist attack on the Bay Bridge in San Francisco and the transit system and many are dead.  The DHS has taken Marcus and his friends into custody on the theory that Marcus has committed this terrorist crime against his country. DHS stands for Department of Homeland Security.

Finally Marcus and a few of his friends are released by the DHS but one is still missing.  Marcus learns the DHS are spying on him so he uses echnology to try and stop it and to communicate with friends. They are fighting for their rights.  Marcus talks to a reporter and gets the DHS raided and his friend set free.

After the class had finished reading the book we were given a list of words housed in the book and we had to chose one word or one segment of words and research them. The word that I chose was Electronic Frontier Foundation.The word is mentioned in chaperer 6 and 17 on pages 96 and 247. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is an international non-profit rights group based in San Francisco, California. The foundation was formed in July, 1990 by John Gilmore, John Perry Barlow and Mitch Kapor to promote Internet civil rights. The EFF provides funds for legal defense in court. The EFF was formed when John Perry Barlow was visited by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the FBI for short. The FBI visited John in regards to the theft and distribution of the source code for a series of Macintosh ROMs. John felt that he was being treated unfairly by the FBI and their agents so after the agents left his house he went onto a website called The WELL and posted about the experience. Along with the book and research about EFF I had to relate EFF to the driving question for the unit that we are currently in. The question is How has technology acted as a disruption with its creation throughout history? Well the EFF is basically the disruption because the whole point of the organization is to stop harassment by the government through technology. The EFF is the disruption.

Overall while reading the book Little Brother, I learned a lot about technology,  the way people look at the government and privacy rights.  I would recommend the book Litle Brother to someone who is interested in futuristic technology books as well as spy mystery novels.



Sins of the City

While participating in this unit I gained a great understanding about the importance of equality, fairness and the rights of people.  I also learned about the historical significance of social injustice in Canada and Vancouver and its connection to modern day. We looked at the evolution of equality and fairness in Canadian society and concentrated on Vancouver’s Lower Mainland. We focused on investigating past injustices against human rights here and whether injustices are still going on today.  The driving question for this unit was “Through the emergence of Vancouver, was the experience the same for everyone?” I found that the experience wasn’t the same for everyone and some people were treated unfairly. Today, people are treated better but there are still some inequities like when people with disabilities try to come here.

Here are the steps we took for the project.  Our learning took place through group work, individual reading and assignments, in the classroom, with interviews, and out in the field.  We learned about the information from many angles, in the past and the present.  A key part of this project was to record, edit and create a podcast. Our podcast included conversations, interviews, and research.  The goal of the podcast was to research and teach others about a social issue in Vancouver that we were interested in.

The first step in creating our project was to embark on a field study that consisted of visiting the Museum of Vancouver.  The museum’s vision ‘is to inspire a socially connected, civically engaged city’ so it was a good place to go for our research. While we were at the museum we were told to pick a topic that we thought would interest us. After going through the entire museum and seeing all of the exhibits I came to a conclusion that I was most interested in a topic that has really affected Vancouver.  I chose the topic of immigration because so many people have immigrated here from other countries in the past 100 years.

The group that was put together for the immigration Podcast was created by our teacher, Ms.Emily Maxwell Our group consisted of me, Sydney, Reid as well as Claire. Once our team was set up, we set off to work. Our group split up the work and each researched a time period within the requirements. I chose to research the modern laws and requirements for immigrants to be accepted into Canada. I was surprised by the number of immigrants coming to Canada compared to the 1920-30 era because there are more people coming today. The reason why I was surprised was because of the number of requirements that you have to meet in order to enter the country today. While we were at the museum were assigned to make a behind the scenes video for the unit. So here is the video.

After we had all finished doing our research we set off to compile all of the research together and make a script for the podcast.  Ms. Maxwell recommended that we not make the script sound too serious and design it so we could add thoughts as we were recording it to make it sound less scripted. This advice really helped and it made the podcast sound a lot more natural.

We started to record the podcast. As we were recording we realized that the audio was not up to par so by the time we had finished the final draft we had done the recording three times. The best place that we found to record ended up being in a basement.  This was probably because it was so quiet and didn’t pick up minor background noises.

As we were recording the podcast we obtained an interview from a Border Immigration officer named Alex. Alex was very helpful with all of our questions and helped us understand the laws surrounding modern immigration. This was good information for our podcast.  After we had finished all the recordings, the interview,  as well as the music that we made from scratch in Garage Band, we put the podcast up onto SoundCloud for the entire world to listen to. The last part of the podcast assignment was to email the podcast to our interviewee.  So Sydney sent the podcast by email to our interviewee and the podcast was a wrap.  We feel we produced an entertaining and informative podcast in our group. While we were doing the project we were also assigned to read a book. The book that we had to read in a group was called War Child. War Child is about a rapper that was a child solder when he was 11 in Africa. It is a good book and with out spoiling it I will leave it at that.

Through this podcast I learned a lot about immigrating to Canada. The main thing that I am taking away from this project is that not everyone was treated the same when it came to immigration. In the early 1900s, a lot of people were being sent back to where they came from after they had already spent their entire life savings on the trip to make it to Canada. This was often based on racial and cultural discrimination.  Today the immigration game has changed drastically and it is generally much more fair.  Even though there a lot of requirements to enter Canada like education and skills, more people are being allowed into Canada.


The final assignment for this unit was to make a 500-700 word essay about our topic. We each picked a topic within the podcast subject and wrote an essay about it. For my group we picked the topic of immigrants with disabilities. We were arguing that immigrant applicants with disabilities should be treated more fairly and the same way as all Canadians.  Right now some are rejected based on costs but they aren’t given the cost information to defend the decision.  Then the whole family has to leave the country even if some family members are well educated and could pay for extra costs.  This was based on a Global news investigation.  After we had each written an essay we compiled them into one letter that went to Terry Beech. He is a Canadian politician who was elected as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons of Canada to represent the federal electoral ward Burnaby North—Seymour.

Overall this project has helped me understand a very important topic that has been in the news a lot lately since so many people want to come to Canada.   I learned what it takes to become a Canadian citizen and it makes me appreciate being a Canadian citizen already.  My ancestors came over from the UK and Austria long time ago.  I learned about all of the immigrants trying to come to Canada who got turned away many years ago based on discrimination.  Lastly, I educated myself on what immigration is about so I can have a strong and informed opinion of what I think immigration should look like.

Golden Ratio Project

Have you heard of the Fibonacci pattern or the Golden Ratio?   I hadn’t but since we did this math project, I’ve learned a lot and now see these shapes around in nature and buildings.    The project we were given for Unit 2 had the inquiry question:  “How is math used in art to create patterns and appeal to our sense of aesthetics? The project goal was to create a work of art, music, architecture, or exposition of nature that uses the Golden Ratio or the Fibonacci pattern. The design criteria was to show the how the Golden Ratio was used in the project with calculations, a graphic overlay and a write-up.

First I started off by defining the Golden Ratio:

Next, I looked at the Fibonacci pattern:

Then I looked at how they are related and how you can get the swirl pattern

Here are a few examples and why people like them:

At school we recently got a 3D printer. I decided to try to make an art piece on the computer that would be three dimensional and relate to the Golden Rectangle and have a Fibonacci swirl. In 3D printing an object is created by laying down layer after layer of material until it is done. It takes a long time to print. It is different than taking material and cutting something out of it.

I drew all of my designs as well as all of the measurements on a piece of paper. This was a hard part of the project due to all of the math that had to done.

I wanted to show the squares in a 3D  and then have the Fibonacci swirl go through it. I used a 3D printing software called MakerBot Print. Mr Hughes, one of my teachers, is the keeper of the school 3D printer. I took the design to him and we printed it. It took about 10 hours to print the entire 3D model.  The first time the design didn’t work but luckily I could try a second time and it worked out.

After the printer was finished printing it was time to clear out the supports.

When you 3D print something you usually have to put all kinds of support on it. In my case there was actual more material that was used for supports than material used for the actual model. After I finished cutting out the extra material the model was done.

I made an Explain Everything presentation to present the research and the art for the project. Now I was ready to present to the class. The presentation is below.

In conclusion I learned a lot about the Fibonacci pattern as well as the Golden Ratio while doing this project and how they show up in nature, art and buildings. I now know how the math works behind the ratio, golden rectangle and interesting patterns in the Fibonacci numbers. I was lucky I could get experience in how to design a 3D model in a 3D printing software as well as how to print a model. This is all information I’ll use again at school or outside of school.

Mt Seymour


In PLP we were given a mini side project to research and film a part of Vancouver that we thought was interesting. I really like to be outdoors so I chose something that is very close to me. I chose Mt Seymour because I grew up spending a lot of time on this mountain and I live very close to the base of the mountain. This project happened to be a group project and I was in a group with SimonCalum and Reid.

This was a mini project so we only had a short time to do it. Simon and I went up to Seymour to try and shoot some video of the mountain. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t good and it was raining very heavily when we got up there.  Simon and I tried to get the best video that we could but the video quality wasn’t up to par. So Simon and I looked in our archive of videos that we had collected over the years when we were up there and used a lot of those videos. When it comes to videos it is important to break up the information with different shots. For example, I went looking for drone footage of Mt Seymour. Simon and I would have liked to have done our own drone footage but there was three factors that didn’t line up for that to happen. One of these factors was that the filming day that we had was not great in the weather aspect. Factor two was if you didn’t ask the establishment’s owners for their permission then technically it would be illegal. The last factor was that, at the time, we didn’t have access to a drone. So we took some great footage off the internet. Then it was time to start editing the video. When editing I always find that it will take double the planned time if not longer, so it is good to leave lots if time to finish it by the deadline.   This also helps if there are technical difficulties.

While doing this project I learned a lot about Mt Seymour. For example, did you know that Mt Seymour opened its doors in 1938 under the ownership of the Swedish emigrant, Harald Enqvist? Years later the government of British Columbia ended up buying the mountain from Harald. The government held ownership up until the mid 1980s when it was sold to the present owners, the Woods family. The Woods family made some upgrades in the 1980’s such as putting in the lodge chair as well as the Brockton chair. Lately the mystery chair lift was upgraded from a two seater to a faster four seater chair lift which was a great improvement. One of the biggest stories in the news about Mt Seymour was a tragic one. A highly decorated search and rescue volunteer, Tim Jones, passed away from a heart attack while up on the mountain. His contributions to saving lives and rescuing people on the North Shore was commendable and he left a great legacy.

Mt Seymour is an awesome mountain and I’ve enjoyed many hours of mountain biking, skiing and snowboarding on it.  Feel free to watch our video below.


DNA and Genetics Podcast

In Science, the first unit that the PLP science 10 class has been studying is DNA and genetics. Throughout this unit, we have been learning about meiosis, mitosis, homozygous, heterozygous and many more. We have been watching videos that help explain these science terms. These videos were created by Hank Green. You may not know him but you may have heard of his brother John Green. He is most famous for writing The Fault In Our Stars. Hank’s short YouTube videos are called Crash Course In Biology and they helped us understand these science terms such as mitosis. After we watched around 4-5 Crash Course In Biology videos, we moved on to the big project for this unit. This unit project was to create a podcast that would show our understanding of genetics and DNA as well as answer the question “ if two sets of identical twins get married (identical twin boys each marry identical twin girls) and each couple has a child, could the resulting children be identical? “ This project required us to work with partners. Sam was my partner. He and I started by creating a script for the podcast which was critiqued by a fellow classmate. We took the feedback into consideration and made changes that were necessary. Then we recorded the podcast and after we felt that it was at the level we wanted it to be, we handed it in. Later that week we played the podcast in front of the teacher and the class. Overall I was very happy with my mark on the podcast. I would say that this is a great project and I would recommend it because the script writing aspect shows your teacher that you understand the topic and you can explain/ teach it to others.

Workplace Safety

Workplace safety is a very important topic because there are over five thousand workers injured in the work place every year. These are not just broken arms and stitches but people it includes people breaking their backs and becoming paralyzed. So in PLP 10 we talked about some of the ways that you can get injured and how to prevent them. This part of the class that we call Maker time was split into two parts. We will start with part one.  We took a quiz that asked questions such as “Have you done a safety questionnaire for your job?” Some of the other questions were “Did you get any work training when you started?” After we finished the quiz we moved onto watching a video that told us four stories of how people got injured on the job. Some of the people had serious injures that could have been prevented if they had used common sense like not putting your hand near sharp objects. Other injuries were just some people not communicating very well for example, a person driving a forklift dropped something on a co-worker.  After hearing about the terrible things that happened to these people we moved on to the next section of part one which was to pick a workplace safety video from a local business. I chose Grouse Mountain and their safety video consisted of teaching the new employee how to use all of the work equipment and how long the training would take before you were qualified to use the equipment.

Now let’s move on to the second part of the work assignment. Part two consisted of three sections.   Let’s start with section one which consisted of copying answers from another page to show that you read the information and that you understood it. Section two was to help you understand that if you don’t feel safe in the work environment then you can refuse to continue to work there and you have to go talk to your supervisor.  Last but not least, section three looked at hazardous workplaces and we took notes on what the hazards were in these workplaces.  Some examples included leaving something combustible on a   cooktop surface, and climbing on a ladder while reaching too high to grab something. Overall I will take everything that I have learned and I will apply them to my Job and hopefully this will help me stay safe.

World War One

Bravery is defined as the state of having mental or moral strength to face danger, fear or difficulty. Bravery is just one of the words that comes to mind when I think of the heroic WW1 soldiers who risked their lives day in and day out to give us freedom in the country we call home.

For the past month our PLP cohort has been learning about the ‘war to end all wars’. This war is better known as World War One which meant it was the first time so many countries were fighting and the first time many new inventions were used and such mass casualties occured.  World War One was a very tragic time in the existence of mankind. After reading my blog and listening to my podcast you will have a glimpse of what happened during those tumultuous years.

In school when you learn about a topics you don’t just jump right into the big project so I will give you some examples of the papers and assignment that we did to give us background information to prepare for it. One of the assignments that we did was to read a a paper that had been written about the new technology and transportation that been developed back then.  These advances caused a huge increase in casualties compared to other wars.  Light airplanes started carrying machine guns and u-boat submarines with periscopes torpedoed many Allied ships.  Airplane pilots had very dangerous jobs and usually only last three weeks before being shot down.  One of the most deadly new weapons was the use of chemical gas that killed many people.

Another assignment that we did was when we watched a short movie about what happened in the war week by week. This was a very interesting and captivating way to learn about something that happened so long ago and impacted so many people. After we watched this video we had to take notes and create a timeline of our own of the major events.  We also learned about the major battles that Canadian soldiers fought in.  The conditions were bad and they fought very bravely and it made Canada feel more independent and proud. Another early assignment was the “Why did World War One Start?” where you and a partner had to make a video or media presentation to explain the causes of World War One.   We created a news/documentary type of video. The scene is set where Simon and I are walking down a street explaining the many factors that led to World War One..and to cut to chase..there is no one definitive reason why World War One started but there were many different events that built up tension, weapons and alliances between countries until one pushed them over the edge. This one event was the assassination of the Archduke of Austria Archduke Franz Ferdinand

So after class did a lot of research it was time to start the big project for the unit. This was to create a podcast to help explain how the war changed the identity of Canada as a nation. One way that you could help explain this was the other requirement of this project which was to pick a World War 1 soldier and tell his story as part of the podcast. Our teacher, Ms. Emily Maxwell  gave us this site where you typed in a  first name or last name and then it would give you examples of World War 1 soldiers. I ended up picking Private James Peter Robertson of the 27th Winnipeg battlion.  If you listen to my podcast below, you will be able to learn so much about Private Robertson and the terrifying conditions that these soldiers had to live in. You will also learn what I learned about when creating this podcast.  Bravery like Private Robertson and other soldiers displayed had no boundaries.  Brotherhood and the sacrifices they made for each other and future generations were limitless and selfless.  The pride of protecting Canada’s freedom and values and putting Canada on the world stage will never be forgotten.

During World War 1, Canada evolved from a colony to an independent country,  It had established itself on the world stage by fighting bravely in battles with soldiers like Private Robertson.  Even on the home front back in Canada there were changes as women’s roles evolved when the men were away fighting.  When the war was over, there were debts to pay, injured soldiers to look after and families who had to carry on without their loved ones.  I hope that you will take a minute to realize how lucky you are. Wherever you are in the world people are fighting and giving up their lives to make this planet a better place. So I ask you what are you doing to make this planet a better place for the next generation. It is a thought-provoking question I ask myself after studying World War One.  I hope you gain insight into World War 1 from listening to my podcast.

Science Lab Safety

In Science class we just finished working on lab safety for our first unit. We learned about different hazards like chemicals, fires and injuries like cuts and burns.  We reviewed how to prevent accidents and where the safety equipment is in the classroom like the fire extinquisher, fire blanket, eye wash station, fire alarm and first aid kit.  We used a map of the class to show these things and learned how to use them and what to do during an accident.

The final project was to make a video that showed lab safety situations and lab safety knowledge. The criteria was to “create, edit and produce a film that is entertaining, concise, and clearly demonstrates lab safety.” My group had Kyle, Sam and myself.  The project required three safety situations so we wrote and filmed four examples to go above requirements.   We shot in the third person with a narrator along with the actors in the scenes.  We also made the video so that Sam would be the voice of Kyle and Sam would say everything Kyle would be thinking. We used these techniques to make it more interesting to the viewer and give more safety information to the audience.   After each safety situation, we added a text visual to the screen to emphasize that scene’s safety message. We added music, sound effects, lots of humour and physical stunts to keep the audience’s attention and highlight events.

We shot the scenes from many different angles and approaches (track, close-up, wide, slow motion, eye level, ground level,  character view, front and back of class,) to make it interesting and show different perspectives.  After each safety situation we faded to black as a divider between scenes and to give the viewer time to think about the message.

The first lab safety situation was the importance of wearing safety goggles to protect the eyes (even overtop of regular glasses).  The second was to show an accident if you wear your earbuds and listen to music in a science lab and aren’t aware of your surroundings.  The third was what to do if you get a burn from a flame. The fourth was showing how important it is to keep your lab area clean and tidy so students don’t trip.  I thought my slow motion fall over all the backpacks was a pretty good stunt move.  I thought the four examples were relevant because they are the most likely to happen in a high school science class setting.

Overall I think this was a great idea for a project to learn about science lab safety in the classroom.  Before we finalized the video we got teacher feedback to make sure we were doing a good job.  Next time I would ask a second time for feedback on our revisions to find out if we were missing anything.   Everyone in my group contributed equally and I thought we did a great job of meeting the requirement criteria in the rubric.  I have included the link to the video below so you can take a look.   I hope you like.


World War Einz

We are back at school and into the first Socials unit already. I am okay with it because I like learning about World War One. We have been learning all about it from the assassination of Franz Ferdinand to the increase in the production in arms. I will be telling you why I think the First World War started.

As a class we watched 3 videos that told us what happened in World War One week by week and I can tell you that there wasn’t a break in the action. I found that these videos were a great way to learn about the First World War. Overall I believe that there is no one reason that contributed to the start of the First World War but instead many different events that built up until a breaking point was reached and the “war to end all wars” started.

One of these many events was Germany beefing up their arms. Germany was very impressed by the navy fleet that Great Britain had and they wanted to make their own. They spent a lot of money to make a navy fleet that was better than Great Britain’s. As you would expect, this wasn’t welcomed by Great Britain. Back in the early 1900’s the increase in weapon technology was massive and there were new weapons being built everyday.

Another reason that World War One started was that there were really no good alliances between European countries. Countries were not really trusted by one another. Russia ended up sending troops into Serbia which is very close to Austria and it didn’t sit well with the Austrian government.

All of the European countries were on the verge of war and they were all trying to get on top of the hierarchy. They were all worried about losing their ranking and power within Europe.

As you can see I don’t believe that one act or reason amounted to World War One but many different events contributed to it. These are the reasons that I think World War One, “the war to end all wars” started. Below we were assigned to make a video to help tell the story of why we think World War One started. The idea behind the video is that Simon and I are in a truck driving along and I ask him why did World War One start? Then we start to tell a story on all the different reasons why World War One started. Enjoy. I will also be making some revisions to my video to make it even better. I will link draft one as well as draft two so you can watch it and see if what i did was better.

Camp Capilano

On September 7 we, as a PLP cohort, set off on a massive trip to Camp Capilano. This was a retreat of some sort. The point of us taking a trip at the beginning of the year was to try and bond together. The theme of Grade 10 PLP is audio/ podcasts. We were given the assignment to create a podcast that showed our identity. You would do this by using examples to support your point.

Before we did the big project, our teachers had some other things planned out for us to do. We were dropped off at the Capilano Dam. We were put into groups by throwing candy on the ground and whichever one you ended up taking would be the one that would decide which group you would belong to. I chose Starbursts and was put with the other students that chose Starbursts. We had to make a reality show introduction. Our video was called “Gone Wild”.  It is about different people meeting in a forest and trying to survive. After we were done with that we had our second challenge. We were assigned to walk/ run to Camp Capilano from the Dam. We had to find our way there since no one knew where it was or how to get there.

When we arrived at the camp, we ended up eating lunch and then we were given our third challenge which was to make the same kind of movie as before but instead of making a video, we had to make it by using only audio. This was a lot more challenging because you had to explain a lot more in the audio because you don’t have the video. We finished that and had time for some fun. There was a pool at the camp. We had a fun time.

The night came and it was time to step up and receive the big and final project. This project was to make a podcast about a event that showed your identity. You would have to use an example to prove why you thought it showed your identity. Sam, Simon and I thought about the time back in 9th grade where we started to build a trail in the forest behind my house and as we built it we started to notice how many people started to show up. Soon enough we had about 7-8 people at the trail every time we went. I will link the project below to show you. I thought Camp Capilano was a great time and would do it again

Smart Goals

So what are smart goals? Well the Internet says that “A S.M.A.R.T. goal is defined as one that is specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time- bound.” I think a smart goal is something you would like to achieve in the near future that relates to what you like or what you do on a daily basis. Our PLP cohort was asked to make three smart goals. The first goal had to be one that relates to your school life such as grades and attitude. The second one had to show your growth as a PLP learner. The last goal had to show your learning or progression outside of school. Experts believe that setting achieveable goals is a great way to live a healthy life. For example you can set a very common goal such as going on runs and working out more. There are two parts to smart goals. There is the goal and then there is the way you plan to achieve it. A smart goal could be that “I want to lose weight”. In that case I would have to say how I would do it.  For example I would say I should get up and get active by running, walking and working out. This plan would get people one step closer to achieving their goals.

Here are my smart goals and how I plan to achieve them:

Three different smart goals:

I wish to get an average of 89 percent in Science. This will be done by starting to study incrementally before I get word of a test.  I will also ask questions right away if I don’t understand something.

I wish to show more leadership towards leading projects by giving more ideas and taking charge and assigning roles.

I wish to have better stamina in terms of sports. I will do this by going on a run every second day. The run has to be at least 5 km long to achieve my goal. Here is an example of one I did yesterday:

So that is what I think smart goals are, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, realistic, timely, trackable. So now it’s your turn pick three smart goals of your own. It could be anything from exercise to wanting to relax more.




What Makes Canada Great

The point of this blog post is to explain what I think is the greatest moment in Canadian history. I think that is a really hard question to answer, because Canada is an amazing country withe so many great moments. But I will try anyway. So these past couple of months we have learned about the CPR and general Canadian history. So I am well educated around this subject. So let’s start off with the question what do I think is the greatest moment in Canadian history? My simple answer is I think that the greatest moment is the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Before the CPR Canada was in pieces, it was’t the strong nation that we know so well. It was divided into the Oregon Territory, the North-Western Territory, Rupert’s land, Upper and Lower Canada. and The Maritimes. The railway connected all of these divided areas, most importantly was one of the big factors for the Oregon Territory to join the growing nation of Canada, rather than becoming it’s own nation or joining the U.S. The last reason would have to be that the CPR connected a lot of different cultures together to be come friends. This was good because of all the new trade options that they were presented with. This led to a lot of the residence living better than the were before. Overall I believe that the CPR was a great big positive for the this country.


Transitional Presentation Of Learning

Hello there parents and teachers.   My name is Spencer Laube but you probably already know that. Today I will be showing you my learning over the year,  what I have enjoyed and hope you enjoy hearing about.  Basically, I’m going to explain why I feel I am ready to advance to grade 10.

There are 194 days in a school year for the average teen and I tried to make the best of all of those 194 days. I will be reflecting on 4 subjects over these 194 days. Lets start with Humanities. Humanities is a mix of Socials and English. So in Humanities I would have to say that one of my favourite projects this year  would have to be What Draws Us To Imaginary Worlds.


I researched the topic and used a Disney ride called the Matterhorn as an example.  I then made a video to explain it.  I had a lot of fun doing this project because I love to make and edit movies.  I improved my planning, research and writing skills because I had to research the content and then write the script to be in line with the photos and video.  There are so many historical facts about this ride such as when it was made and why. I think this project showed the quality of my work and my work ethic.  My first draft was on time and I kept revising it to make it the best quality possible.  Now I have a better understanding of why imaginary worlds are so popular.   Feel free to go watch my video down below.

So that was the Humanities portion of this blog post and now we are going to move on to the Scimatics. Scimitacs is a mix of two classes, science and math. I will talk about the cell city project for science first and then the math monster project for math.

Cell city

The cell city was a project where you would create a city that would parts that would represent functions of a cell. So for example the nucleus of the cell (the brains) would be the mayors office and the city limits was the cell wall and the warehouse was the vacuole.  Since we can’t usually see cells, this helped me understand how a cell is structured and how it functions. I could visualize it better when I compared it to a city.

Overall I had a interesting time making this project because I thought that it was a hard one with all of the planning we had to do to lay it out and then a whole pile of colouring.  This took me a solid day to do and I am proud of this project because of the mark of 90% that got on it.  I think it is an example of my work ethic and quality of work.

Now let’s move on to math. I’d like to talk about the Math Monster project and the Game of Life.

Math Monster


The math monster was also part of the Frankenstuffie project.  We could make a monster out of any kind of material. I ended up using lego to make this monster. This tied into math because after we made this monster we had to take measurements to figure out the area and perimeter of it. The math monster fits into Frankinstuffie project because the math monster had to play the bad guy or the antagonist in the story. Overall I had a great time making this character in my franked stuffy story. I liked this project a lot because it blended math and humanities which is one of the hardest subjects to blend.

Honourable mention should also go to the Game of Life.  I really enjoyed working out the budgets based on my job and adjusting my plan based on the surprise updates in life.  I learned to get a good education with a well-paid job, make good decisions and save for the unexpected.

Next is Maker time and the exciting Blue Sky project.

Blue Sky

Blue Sky is one of the most coveted projects of the year and I really had fun working on this year’s project.   So year, I was not alone since I partnered with Adam. This time Adam and I built a desk to help students focus on their homework and be more productive.  We researched all about different ways that help kids focus on the work at hand. For example things that help students focus is to have music playing (built in stereo and speakers), water and food (fridge), clean air (plant), timer to set short deadlines, good light (spot and diffused LED, foot bands on the chair and a standing section.   I think I showed teamwork skills and a good work ethic because we both cooperated and worked hard and worked well together.  We took responsibility for finishing the project ahead of time and made a great quality product.  

So on June 15 we plp had our big exhibition night.  Adam and I brought in our desk with its focus and productivity tools and we made sure there were labels and explanations for them.  The only thing I would do differently is that we thought the desk would fit into our van to bring it to the school but it didn’t quite fit so we had to be walked down almost a km.  We were part of the teen group at the exhibition. The night went smooth and Adam and I shared the talking and explaining everyone. Overall I had a great time at the plp exhibition night and I am looking forward to the one next year.


Overall through these last 194 days, I have learned about a lot of subjects like history, science and math. My knowledge of these topics has grown and I have grown in my reading and writing and math skills.  For areas of improvement, I think that would have to be my proofreading and attention to detail when I do things fast, especially longer writing.  I have also learned a lot about my self by doing interesting projects like People at My Table (example Branson, Einstein, Jobs) and I am what I eat.

I do think I have a good attitude and work ethic.  I did all my assignments even if it took me a long time. I was happy to do revisions if something needed improving that I didn’t realize.   Even though something may be hard, I want to do a good job.  I like school and the people at school and that makes learning more fun.   Another example of my good work ethic is my blogs. I have tried to keep up with all of my blogs and i really enjoy doing them. Here is a quote related to my blog from last week. “Spencer is the most on top of his blogs in plp 9” Mr Hughes.  I was really proud to hear that and it’s a good example to show how I’m ready for Grade 10.

blue sky 2017

Blue sky is one of the most coveted projects of the year and it personally it is one of my favourites. This is the second year I have had experience doing Blue Sky projects and it is fun.  So this time around I was not alone, I partnered with my friend Adam and we built a desk of sorts. It is a desk to help students focus on their homework or the task at hand.  We researched things that were recommended to help improve focus like nice music (stereo/speakers), food and water (fridge), good lighting (LED & spot), timer to set short deadlines, foot exercise bands and a standing section amongst others.

So on June 15 we plp had our big exhibition night. We call this the blue sky exhibition. Adam and I brought in our desk with notes that explained the focus tools and features for the desk.  Adam and I were part of the teen group at the exhibition. This means that anyone that has a project that appeals to there demographic would. The demographics were babys, teens, pets and seniors. We had to carry the desk down the road to the school because it didn’t fit in the van but once it was there, the night went smoothly.  Adam and I shared making the desk and then talking and explaining it to everyone.  People were impressed at the quality of the desk and the little features that make a difference.

Overall I had a great time at the plp exhibition night and I am looking forward to the next one next year.

3D printer

So today, June 13 2017, we as a seycove plp cohort got a 3D printer and I, Spencer Laube got to use it first so I made a GoPro mount for my GoPro. The reason why I made this is because it was fun to do.  Also  the real case for a GoPro is 65 dollars and if I can get it for free and I think everyone would. Here is a picture of the case.

Update June 17 2017:  It is my birthday and I went biking with the case and the go pro. I crashed and broke the case and cracked my helmet. It is okay.  I just know that it isn’t strong enough to take big impacts.


What Do I Carry With Me

This assignment was to create a presentation that would explain what things you carry wth you on a regular basis. The twist to the project was that the things you carry didn’t have to be physical. They could also be mental. For example I chose my experiences because I carry them with me wherever I go because they make me a better person and it helps me to have different skills in life.

In total there are 10 things that I carry with me.  There are 3 that are physical and there are 7 that are mental. I will start with the physical things. I used a different type of presentation because in the beginning I had my title get pushed to the top and stay there and at the end it dropped back in place. It was fun to learn how to use magic move. I carry my iPhone with me because I use it everyday whether it is for calling people or to occupy myself.  I use it a lot. The second thing that I carry with me is something that really carries me.  It is my bike. I love to ride my bike whether it be to a place or ride it where it is supposed to be ridden which is down the mountain. Anonther reason why I like to ride my bike is because I don’t really like to walk. Another thing that I carry is money. I carry money with me because it is what the world runs on and money is a sign of success for me. So that is all of the physical things that I carry with me. Now we will move on to the mental things. Like I said the biggest mental thing that I carry with me is my experience because they make me a better person and it helps me with different skills in life. Another thing is my family. I chose my family because I love them and they love me so I can carry them with me where ever I go. One other thing is my learning. This is what most kids do 5 out of the 7 days of the week at school and it is what most students spend the first 24 years of their life doing. Another thing that I carry with me is my energy. This is how everyone observes me and how I spend my day. Another one of the things that I value a lot is all of the sports I play. I give the sports I play a lot of credit for the person that I am today. I believe sports has helped me in all areas of my life. I carry my attitude with me because it is how I live my day and I would be a different person without it.  Finally I carry my friends with me because they are the people that I have a lot of great memories with. I hope you have enjoyed me talk about the things that I carry with me on a regular basis.

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Where will my future take me

As well as making an iMovie I will be talking about some other things i did in this section in health and career.

To start I had to make this timeline of my life from the day I was born to the day I made it. I used different events in my life that made a big impact in my life for example the day I was born, first day in school, broke my wrist, and first time riding a bike.

Another thing that we did as part of this project is that we had to write 100- 150 words that that describe what we think is a gift in terms of a gift in a sport. So this guy said that a gift wasn’t something that you were born with you but that you have to work for it and I totally agree. It goes from what you are good at it to a talent to a gift. You have to earn things in life and gifts are just the same no different.

Lastly My Fairy Tale iMovie. This was one of the funniest iMovies I have made this year. I got to use some of the older photos that I had and I got to use all different kinds of technology to make this video. Some of the requirements were that you had to show who will you be, what will you be doing in your future and
how your past lead you to this future. I tried to show these things in the best way I could and I hope you like to. Feel free to watch it and enjoy.