All photos will be sold by silent auction during the SCC BBQ, Friday May 28th.
Designed as mini-inquiry project, the grade eight students at Dr. A.E. Perry School set out to discover exactly what makes them tick. We started our inquiry just as we should: by asking some good questions. Our goal was to initially find answers to the following questions:
1. How exactly does the heart muscle function?
2. How can doctors treat a sick heart?
3. How does one preform a heart transplant?
We began our research process by visiting the NOVA Online “Cut to the Heart” website to gain insight. Then we completed a virtual heart transplant, which students found both interesting and useful. Students who enjoyed the heart transplant software also opted to try a virtual hip and knee replacement!
With the students begging to learn more about the heart, a special field trip to the Saskatchewan Science Centre was arranged. There the students enthusiastically dissected and inspected pig hearts.
Students at Dr. A.E. Perry were treated to a special visitor as a result of their outstanding literacy skills. The grade seven and eight classes at Perry investigated Regina’s hot debate regarding plans to possibly construct a multi-million dollar dome stadium. Students reviewed media releases regarding the dome debate, putting together a persuasive writing piece. The students then posted their opinion pieces on our classroom blog sites and Mayor Fiacco took notice, eventually agreeing to visit the students in person to discuss the city’s plan for a new facility.
Students at MacNeil School also read the blogs and became interested in the issues. Therefore we made it possible for the MacNeil students to view Mayor Fiacco’s presentation by streaming it live via a secure, password protected, synchronous communication tool called Ustream. The MacNeil students also had the opportunity to participate in the discussion with the mayor by using a process called back-channeling, a relatively new instructional tool in K-12 education. Basically, a back-channel is an online conversation that takes place during a live presentation.
In many ways, our project challenges the traditional ways that instruction is delivered and resources and knowledge are shared. Learning can, and should be, authentic, meaningful, and networked.
The following is recount of the Mayoral visit prepared by a grade eight student at Dr. A.E. Perry School:
On Tuesday, November 10th the grade seven and eight students of Dr. A. E. Perry School received a visit from Pat Fiacco, mayor of Regina. His visit revolved around the topic of the proposed new dome and around the ways Regina is changing. Dr. Perry students weren’t the only to benefit from the visit though. The grade eight students from McNeil also took in Pat Fiacco’s inspiring words through Ustream, an online tool that allows video and audio streaming. This allowed them to watch the mayor speak but to also ask questions through the embedded chat feature.
Throughout the topics we discussed the main idea and discussion of interest was about Regina’s plans for a new dome. We were made aware though that the “dome” wasn’t only dome but an entertainment facility with the ability to be used for all sorts of cultural and sporting events, concerts, and trade shows. Mayor Fiacco argues that building a dome makes Regina a city of opportunity. He says it brings employment options, housing which can be built where Mosaic Stadium is now, and an opportunity to put Regina on the move.
A common question asked at our visit was where will spectators park? According to Mayor Fiacco, a multi-level parking structure could be constructed and a public transportation shuttle service might be created. This would allow the inner city to be less busy with spectators’ vehicles attending the facility but to also save the Earth by having quite a few people transported by one mode of transportation.
The construction of the new facility also brings more hotels and restaurants to our city. As today’s youth, we will find out more about our future in January 2010 when we receive back the feasibility study stating whether we can afford this entertainment facility and whether this facility will really cost its pre-determined $350 million dollars. This project is lead by the provincial government and I am sure that they’ll make the right decision for our city and do what is best for us.
Overall, the visit from the mayor was greatly appreciated. It was amazing how he cared about today’s youth’s opinions and found the time in his schedule to come talk with us. It showed us what putting our opinions on a blog can do and shows us that we never really know who is reading and taking an interest in our writing.
Submitted by Courtney, grade eight student, Dr. A.E. Perry School
As you are aware, the grade seven and eight classes have been getting together several times a week to work on technology-enhanced and inquiry learning projects. We spent the first few weeks learning about digital citizenship, educational blogging, and open source productivity tools. We are presently working in small groups to design brochures that could be distributed to tourists visiting the Olympic games in Vancouver.
We are also busy planning for an exciting inquiry-learning project based on the Holocaust and WW2. The unit of inquiry deals with the themes of genocide, intolerance, and warfare. We realize these are highly sensitive topics, but we are confident that our students are mature enough to handle the unit’s content, which is of course designed and selected with middle years students in mind. In the past, this unit has been very engaging, interesting, and meaningful for Dr. A.E. Perry students. Nevertheless we welcome your questions and concerns, so please feel free to contact us at any time.
We would also like to take this opportunity to invite you to participate in the delivery of the World War 2 and Holocaust inquiry. If you have resources or knowledge to share and would be willing to be a guest lecturer during the school day, please let us know. If you know someone else who would be interested in helping us, please let us know. Please note that it is not entirely necessary for a guest lecturer to visit us in person. We can use technology to help us bring visitors in virtually.
Mr. Van Dusen