Imagine this; You have an exhibition scheduled for a bit over week from today, and the teacher has just told you your topic. And what do you do? The only reasonable thing to do. Take all your free time to work on it, and start to stress out.
This was our class a few weeks ago.
A little over a month ago, our grade 8 class and 3 teachers headed down across the boarder to Oregon, USA. We went down there to learn about the coast, and we didn’t know it, but to get some inspiration for our exhibition. I learned a great deal about Oregon’s coastal life while we were down there. One thing that intrigued me was a shipwreck exhibit at an aquarium we visited.
So after we got back, we had a week to catch up on some work we had been doing down there. It wasn’t till we had 10 days before the exhibition that our teachers told us about our topic.
Our teacher sent out a new iTunes U course that told us our topic; the environment! We then made big mind maps about different parts of the environment. From there, we found three ideas we were interested in and made questions. My first drafts were;
1. Are aquariums beneficial to endangered species?
2. What can we do if the cities below sea level start to flood because of the melting ice caps?
3. Are reefs built on man made wreckages bad for the environment?
I sent them in, but the teacher told me to localize more. I also had to prove that there were artificial reefs in BC. So I did a quick google search and found one. Here are my second drafts;
1. Can aquariums and/or Zoos help endangered animals stay alive?
2. What can we do if Deep Cove starts to flood because of the melting ice caps?
3. Are reefs built on shipwrecks wreckages bad for the environment?
Ms. Willemse seemed to really like the shipwreck idea, so she told me to focus in it. Here’s my third draft;
Should we take out shipwrecks/underwater structures if there is already marine life living on it?
That didn’t cut it either. I got sent back what I pretty much used for my project;
Should older shipwrecks be removed if marine life has already begun life on it?
So I was the first one approved! I started my research, but didn’t have much time cause the bell rung for the end of the day.
Once we had got our ideas, we had to decide what we were gonna do for our presentation. We wrote that down, with what I would need to learn. Then the class had a critiquing gallery. The grade 11s also critiqued our ideas.
Next class, we planned out our schedule for the week. I made sure I planned for time to get everything I needed done, with extra just in case I needed it.
I spent the next few days learning everything I could about shipwreck habitats. Did you know that as soon as a ship sinks, it starts to become a habitat! I also had to have something to present at the exhibition. So I decided to make a model of a shipwreck habitat.
I made the ship out of a cardboard box I had lying around. Our group had an idea to make a ship out of tables, but that didn’t work.
Oh yeah, the groups. I should explain that.
Okay, so, we all couldn’t just make the room look however we wanted. We divided the room into 4 sections, with a group for each corner. Each group had approx. 5 people with similar topics. Our groups topics didn’t match overly well, but I was the DRI, so I had to figure it out. A DRI, or directly responsible individual, is responsible for the the entire group. We get blamed for any failure or success of anything to do with our groups project. Each corner had one.
Our groups sort-of ‘theme’ was invasive species. We divided the group into two parts. One table was going to be oceanic stuff, and the other land stuff. Robin, Luca, and Owen were on the land table, while Austin, Kiefer and I were on the ocean table. We were gonna have mine on a ship made of tables, but there weren’t enough tables. So we got plants for the land table. That was covered in a burlap sac. But the ocean Table was a bit more complicated. We covered the windows and wall in paper fish. Then we got green streamers. I might have gone a bit overboard with those. The table was had blue paper on it, so I attached streamers to the edges. I put it between the fish on the walls. And hung it from the ceiling. And draped it over one of my friends. We also had to cover the computer in blue paper (and streamers).
Okay, back to the ship making. The marine life is made of polymer clay. I also made a steering wheel, because of the ship table. That didn’t turn out, so I just held it during the exhibition.
On the day of the exhibition, I was all nerves. There was so much we still had to do. The grade 9s and 11s had to get all there stuff out of the room. I also had a costume to wear, and my science project group was going to present first. No one came when we were out there, but still.
At the exhibition, everyone was coming and going so much I sometimes had to run 3 stations. We pretty much told them about our project, answered questions, and the next people came. I got super hungry too, and there was no food. But it was a great experience. I learned of new people skills, and time management. It was fun!