Learning Freedom



-by Carly DeBoice   (Connect Charter School Student-teacher Alumni and Substitute Teacher) Occasionally, how students articulate an idea is much more eloquent than that of the teacher. So, I’ll use their words to help me explain the concept they coined today, “Learning Freedom.”
 This arose out of a request for each class to nominate two students to join a team who will help visitors during the upcoming Innovate West conference. Choosing a few students can be a tricky task for teachers. To find a handful of students who were genuinely up for the task, students were asked answer the following question, … Continue reading Learning Freedom



Underwater ROV Elective

This term we offered students in grade 6 and 7 an Underwater ROV elective. In this elective students design, build and test an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle, or ROV. ROVs are used for a variety of reasons, including marine biology research, military applications, underwater archeological exploration and more. Students used PVC pipe, wires, 12 volt DC motors, batteries and other supplies to construct their ROV. Propellers were designed in Google Sketch Up and printed on our MakerBot 3D printer. In the end we found a propeller design online and printed several to provide students the best chance for success on … Continue reading Underwater ROV Elective

Property of Air Demonstrations, Grade 6

-by Erin Couillard, Lisa Nelson, Carolyn Armstrong and Carly DeBoice For our Aerodynamics and Flight unit this year, we decided to begin with students gaining an understanding of the properties of air, as outlined by the Alberta Program of Studies. To do this, students would be paired with a peer and assigned a property of air to investigate. They would then choose a demonstration that best explains/proves that specific property of air. To begin with, we chose a small demonstration to do for them. This had two purposes. First, to construct a criteria around what an effective science demonstration looks … Continue reading Property of Air Demonstrations, Grade 6

Co-Constructing Criteria in Mathematics

Erin Couillard and Carolyn ArmstrongGrade 6 Math/ScienceNot two weeks into this school year, my math teaching partner, Carolyn Armstrong, and I were lamenting the disarray and disorganization of student math journals. We commented to each other that the work that some of the students were producing was very disorganized, diagrams were drawn without rulers, answers were buried deep within the work and we were finding it hard to get a good sense of the student’s overall understanding of the problem. I had the good fortune of attending a two-day Anne Davies workshop in Canmore last week and she reinforced the importance … Continue reading Co-Constructing Criteria in Mathematics

The Blue Wood Project

-by Carolyn Armstrong, Grade 6 Math/Science*originally posted in February 2012 Objective: Students work as true scientists through rigorous scientific exploration and experimentation. The Project in a Nutshell: Test and compare the water absorbency of yellow (healthy) pine and blue (fungus-stained) pine wood. How it came to be: One our parents approached me about taking on a special project that was brought to her attention through a fellow member of ABEC: Alberta Building Envelope Council. The Council focuses on the building envelope, which basically means keeping the outside out and the inside in. The idea is not necessarily to look for … Continue reading The Blue Wood Project

CSS Podcasts: Assessing Website Credibility

Grades: 6-9 Subject: All As part of our Collaboration and Outreach Program, the Calgary Science School is creating and sharing podcasts and PDF handouts of inquiry-based lessons designed by our teachers. We encourage feedback, comments and dialogue on the materials we publish. This podcast contains one approach to assessing website credibility by introducing three criteria for students to use when conducting internet research projects. These materials on website credibility were designed by The Critical Thinking Consortium, and are shared here with their permission. Here’s the accompanying PDF of the handouts. You can download the PDF by clicking on the download … Continue reading CSS Podcasts: Assessing Website Credibility

Grade 6 Government Novel Study

Jody Pereverzoff~ Grade 6 HumanitiesOne of the most meaningful experiences I had this year was when a student came up to me to discuss a quote he found in his novel, The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis. He was curious to find out more about the Burqa and whether or not wearing it took away ones equality and freedom of choice. He took it upon himself to dig further and seek multiple perspectives on this topic so that he could communicate these perspectives on his blog. Seeing this level of engagement and curiosity in my students made me excited to share … Continue reading Grade 6 Government Novel Study

CSS/RVSD Collaborative Planning

Greg Neil ~ Grade 6 Math/Science I signed up for the Environmental Planning Institute in order to have the opportunity to collaborate with teachers from other schools.  After five years of teaching at the Calgary Science School, I craved the opportunity to see what was happening in other classrooms and how other teachers approached inquiry-based learning.  During the tours of RVSD schools, I was immediately impressed with the way teachers approached student learning through rich questions that connected to numerous areas of the curriculum.  The inquiry questions I develop with my own students are often more directly connected to a … Continue reading CSS/RVSD Collaborative Planning

Grade 6 Wind Tunnel: Air and Aerodynamics

John Cadman & Greg Neil~ Grade 6 Math/ Science Teachers Calgary Science School This is a design for an open ended wind tunnel. This means the fan pushes air into the tunnel instead of pulling it out the end. Assembled it is 4ft long, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet high. Our hope in building this tunnel as we did was that in future it would require no tools to re-assemble. This design is a larger version of a tunnel original built by Louis Cheng at CSS using an old computer fan. How it works in the classroom: The challenge to … Continue reading Grade 6 Wind Tunnel: Air and Aerodynamics

Grade 6 Dragon’s Den Style Elective

What Can U-Create?Chris Dittman Ms. Pereverzoff’s grade 6/7 U-Create elective is all about students taking an idea and creating a product, service or app that can be taken to the marketplace. This term, students were presented with the Re-Useable Material Challenge. Essentially, students were asked to think outside the box and create and represent a product idea using specific, recycled materials. Taking recycled cardboard, string, glue, tape, paint and recycled paper, students had the opportunity to create a product or a representation or model of a product idea. The final product idea didn’t have to necessarily include the aforementioned materials. … Continue reading Grade 6 Dragon’s Den Style Elective