Going Coastal


In the Performance Learning Program (PLP) we do a lot of learning outside of the walls of the school. This type of learning allows us to connect what we are doing to the real world, and is a lot more interesting, especially for people like me with ADHD. Most of the time our learning outside of the school building, called field studies, are just short trips or a day spent somewhere of interest. But once a year, we do an extended multi-day trip. For the Grade 8’s, that trip is to the Oregon Coast.

After crossing the border, we went to the Astoria Column which is 125 feet tall and decorated with pictures. The pictures loop around the column to tell a story and look like a ribbon with images wrapping up the column. In the gift shop you can buy wooden planes to fly off the top, but we brought our own. It was super windy that day and most of the planes didn’t go far, they just stared spinning. We continued down the coast as far as Yaquina Head, staying in Yurts for all but the last night.

One of the fun activities were going zip lining at High Life Adventures, which was fun and scary at the same time for me. This is how I demonstrated thinking about thinking. I knew what my fears were and I cheered other people on who did something that they didn’t expect they could do, like hanging limp in your harness.

We spent two days in the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center. At OSU I demonstrated questioning and posing problems  quite clearly when me and my team were racing crabs. Our task was that we had to have some sort of question about how fast the crabs would be ours was are crabs with all their limbs faster that crabs that are missing limbs. Our thinking for this one was maybe crabs with all their limbs have more weight making them slower or maybe crabs with more legs have more pushing power with more appendages, it turned out that the crabs with fewer legs were more shy to run if they didn’t have to.

Also at OSU we were able to make underwater ROVs. This was fun because we got to work in a group and then drive the ROV in a pool afterwards.  I demonstrated thinking interdependently during this project because I worked well with my group sharing ideas and listening to ideas from others. Our ROV worked out great in the end and we were all proud of the work that we put in to make such a cool machine. I learned a lot from working with my team because they shared ideas that I never would have thought of.

Next up on the trip were doing a quest at Yaquina Head, touring the Tilamook Cheese Factory, and visiting the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park.

The quest at Yaquina Head was one of my favourite activities because our group worked really well together to figure out the clues after a bumpy start. And the view at the end was amazing! In the first quest that we did I learned how to manage my impulsivity. When my team and I were trying to figure out where we needed to go instead of thinking things through, we decided to just jump right into the clues and we were running all over the place trying to figure out where all the clues were. As a result, we ended up missing a bunch of clues. I learned that instead of just jumping into something I should at least know what I need to do. I feel that me and my team were persistent the whole time, working through problems when we got stuck. We never got off task and we were the first team back. Even when my team was having trouble finding the actual geo cash at the end we didn’t give up and we eventually found it.

Yaquina Head Quest View

True to reputation, the food on the trip was awesome! From the flaming (literally) dishes at Nisa’s Thai Restaurant, to the arcade and entertainment at John’s Incredible Pizza, to my personal favourite, the Pig and the Pancake. The Pig and the Pancake was most people’s favourite. No one went hungry on this trip!

Over the trip, I was able to get to know a lot more of my classmates, and know a lot more about each of my classmates. Sharing yurts and long bus rides gives you plenty of time to talk to each other. You also get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Before we left I didn’t think I had much to learn about my fellow PLPers, but by the end of the trip I realized that I was wrong about that and I feel a lot closer to the people in my class. I think that is the second reason for the field studies.

I’m going to end my post with my Oregon Book and a photo gallery of some of my favourite things from going coastal.

  • Astoria Column
  • Depot Bay


Scimatics Tectonics Book Reflection

Hi again! Today I will be sharing my reflection on the tectonic plates project. In this project we had to create a book with 10 key concepts based on the topic, this book we had to share with grade 4-5 students.This project was fun for a number of reasons. My favourite was the fact that we could use Minecraft to help us create the images we used. I used Minecraft to help me create videos to help explain the different key concepts.

During this project I demonstrated 4 key concepts including: Evaluating, Questioning and Predicting, Big Idea, and Applying and Innovating.

I’m going to start by explaining the Big Idea of tectonic plates. Tectonic plates cover the earth and have cracks in them called plate boundaries that allow the plates to move. There are 3 types of movement: divergent which is the 2 plates separating, convergent which is the 2 plates colliding, and transverse which is 2 plates rubbing against each other. Each of these motions creates earthquakes that come in all different sizes ranging from ones that you can”t even feel to ones that will bring down buildings. Some earthquakes can even form tsunamis which are giant tidal waves that are able to bring down buildings. Mountain ranges and volcanoes are also formed by these movements.

We then had to make a book explaining tectonic plates to Grade 4/5 students. This is where I met the rest of the curricular competencies. I had to use evaluating, predicting, and questioning to figure out how to explain this concept to the Grade 4/5s. So we had to think about how we could write the book in such a way that they would be able to understand how the big idea of plate tectonics worked. We also had to predict what might intrigue them so their attention wouldn’t wander. On top of that, we had to put all of this into a book. So I decided that I should have a main character that they would like and that would help them understand. I chose to do a creature that lives underground since this book is about plate tectonics that are in the earth and under water. I decided to use my favourite burrower, the burrowing owl. I named him Benny because Benny the Burrowing Owl had a nice ring to it, and it would be easier to remember for them.

I used applying and innovating to create the book itself. I decided that the book needed to have pictures, but I was having trouble trying to draw the burrowing owl. Then our teacher said that we could use Minecraft to create the pictures. So I decided that this was the route that I wanted to take. I was also able to use something in the game called red stone which is like using machinery, and it helped me to explain certain movements since I was quite good at it. I’m quite happy with how these mini videos turned out in the book.

We then took a walk down to Cove Cliff Elementary to read our books. When we were done with reading the book, the grade 4/5s gave us feedback. The kid I was partnered with really liked that it took place in Minecraft, and he was able to understand the concepts of the book. I would say that was successful applying and innovating!

Here is the mind map we made for this unit showing our learning.


And here is me reading the book