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Welcome to Science 2020

Friday, September 11, 2020

The outdoor science classroom at Senior Campus is ripe with beautiful raspberries, lots of grasshoppers and butterflies and best of all lots and lots of green space! Students in Cycles 3 have one and a half hours of science per week and, as much as possible, these classes will be held outside. Science time is organized into two forty-five minute sessions per week. As the year progresses, students will be using technological tools to enhance their science learning. Homework / Projects will be assigned via Google Classroom, this will be set up very soon.

Science is taught using place-based, experiential and environmental approaches as mandated by the Quebec Education Program. The three competencies for science and technology are strengthened and put into operation during hands-on labs and cooperative discussion. The three competencies of the QEP’s Science and Technology Program are:

1) To propose explanations for or solutions to scientific or technological problems.

2) To make the most of scientific and technological tools, objects and procedures.

3) To communicate in the languages used in science and technology.

We use the wonderful Senior Campus school grounds and surrounding parks in our explorations. We are fortunate at Willingdon to have parents with diverse academic and professional backgrounds who can act as science mentors in their field of expertise. In years’ past students enjoyed several parent-led science classes on physiotherapy, geology, urban forestry and physics. This year I encourage you to sign up as a science mentor. Please e-mail Dr. Kat if you are interested.

In Grade 5 the initial focus is on solving problems as a group by working on a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) project where their group is tasked with conceiving and building a marble machine during science class. Following that, the focus is on adaptation and the human body. Students in Grade 5 will participate in The Human Body Expo where they will mount a workshop and presentation on one part of the human body system for students in Grade One (if COVID permits there will be a 4-6pm expo for the families as well) this takes place in May. Spring will see an exploration of our freshwater ecology including a pond study while at camp Bout-en-Train (again if COVID permits). There will be several small projects assigned and class presentations, these will be well announced with both a handout and notification via both Google Classroom and Mozaik.

In Grade 6 the focus is on climate change, energy and ecology. Students learn about trees, their physiology, how to identify trees, the animals that are supported by trees, forest ecology and the role trees and plants play in the health of the planet. The water cycles and carbon cycles are explored in Grade 6 and the concept of the carbon footprint is introduced. Both renewable and non-renewable energy and energy conservation technologies and innovation will be explored as the students complete an energy, water and waste audit of the school building. In February (If COVID permits) the Grade 6 students will attend a high school Science Fair where they will be in charge of evaluating several projects after having been introduced to the scientific method in class. Students are also introduced to the water cycle. Water systems, water purification and sewage treatment are also explored along with international issues regarding access to clean water, ocean pollution and climate change’s effects on all of the above. Robotics and Coding will also be explored using EV3 Mindstorm and participating in Hour of Code activities. There will be several science projects assigned and class presentations, these will be well announced with both a handout and notification via both Google Classroom and Mozaik.

 

Assessment: the three competencies will be assessed throughout the year with equal weight given to the labs / experiments (work will be assessed both anecdotally and by evaluating the science notebook / lab write-ups) and to the end of unit assessments in class. A smaller portion of the assessment will include the take-home projects and assignments. It is expected that as the students learn to think critically and test their problem solving skills in Term 2 that their grade may be slightly lower than in Term One where they are working mostly on competencies 2&3 (generally the marks go up again in Term 3) please do not be alarmed by this but do feel free to communicate with me at any time. You can always communicate with me by e-mail: kusher@emsb.qc.ca please give me 24 hrs to respond on weekdays, 48hrs on weekends.

Please don’t forget to sign up as an Outdoor Classroom Science Volunteer and/or Science Mentor by sending me an e-mail.

Here’s to a great year together!

Dr. Kat
Kathleen Usher (BSc, BEd, PhD), science specialist

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