Grade 8 Robotics Design Challenge Day

The Gifted Enrichment program took our grade 8s to Orchard Park Secondary School for four days of robotics design challenges in early December. Orchard Park’s astoundingly successful competitive First Robotics Team 2056 is lead by Prime Minister’s Award winning teacher Stan Hunter.

 

Stan assembled a crew of Team 2056 volunteers to demonstrate their most recent robot which they built for the 2016 competition, and which won second place in a world-wide competition. In this design challenge, Team 2056’s robot had to drive over obstacles, pick up balls, shoot them into a target, and then scale a wall. Some of this was accomplished with a human operator, and some of it was automated by the robot itself. Our grade 8s were suitably impressed with the complexity of the 2056 machine.

For their challenge, the grade 8 students were grouped into small teams and given a Vex robot kit and a laptop computer loaded with Modkit. Vex is a modular system for building small robots that can move about on their own and make decisions based on sensor inputs. Modkit is the interface used to create the code or program that the brain of the robot uses check various sensors and activate a range of drive controls.

 

Our students chose one of three challenges for their design, all of which involved the construction and coding for a robot using at least two sensors inputs. There were Orchard Park students from grades 9 to 12 present to work with each group. On some days, we also had Orchard Park Team 2056 alumni who were now students at University of Waterloo’s Computer Science program. Mentorship between students was a high yield strategy at this maker space.


While not all of the student-built robots were able to complete the challenge, all of the students had a rich experience writing code that had to interact with inputs and outputs from the robot’s brain. Design thinking, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity were central to the experience of each student. Almost all of our grade 8 students indicated that they had never written code at the beginning of each day. By the end of every robotics day, all students had gained experience and confidence in a 21st Century technology through 21st Century teaching and learning.

Dear Parents, Students and Teachers,

 

We are looking forward to working with GRADE FIVE students over the next two weeks at Holbrook School.

5B January 11;

5C January 12;

5D January 13;

5E January 16;

5F January 17;

5A January 18

Please visit the Calendar at: http://gifted.commons.hwdsb.on.ca for future dates.

**IMPORTANT CHANGE: Please note that the location of this session is at HOLBROOK School (450 Sanitorium Rd.) – NOT at Dr.Davey School as originally scheduled. The classroom equipment at Dr. Davey school is not ready at this time.

In session TWO, we will be focusing on Leonardo daVinci as a learner in a variety of disciplines and his role in the community. Students will participate in a variety of activities that will address the following Big Ideas and Themes:

  • What is Excellence?  What is Gifted?
  • Who was daVinci? What is Enrichment?
  • What does it mean to be a self-directed learner?
  • How did daVinci impact the lives of others? What was his role in the community?

What can you do at home or at school?

The following are suggested prompts for conversations that may occur at home or at the home school prior to the this session. They will not be formally assessed on completion, however, prior knowledge may make them more comfortable on the topic.

  • What are some examples of daVinci as a Mathematician? How did daVinci become an Artist?
  • What does it mean to be self-directed? How are we responsible for our own learning?   
  • What supports are needed most to help us learn and excel in our areas of interest.

Community Kitchen – Please bring a favourite decaffeinated tea for our Kitchen

We will be enjoying TEA to celebrate our community, bring on discussion, and alleviate anxiety.  For more information about using Tea in a community, consider listening to this podcast which discusses Tea as a “foundational concept around which to structure a set of ancient teachings, principles, knowledge and wisdom to glean a broader truth about health, healing, community, the environment, life, life’s meaning and the unifying oneness – or undeniable interconnectedness of everything”. http://www.richroll.com/podcast/rrp-87-wude-on-zen-the-art-importance-of-living-tea/  

Please feel free to send an email if you would like to discuss this topic any further or have questions – Zoe Branigan Pipe (zbraniga@hwdsb.on.ca), Kristy Luker (kluker@hwdsb.on.ca) and Gerry Schaefer (gschaefe@hwdsb.on.ca)  Holbrook # 905 385 5369  http://gifted.commons.hwdsb.on.ca

Dealing with Adversity as a Journalist

During our second session in our Grade 6 Journalism program we addressed the big idea,

What role does Journalism play in Adversity?

Additionally, we discussed: How does Adversity impact attitude? Action? And Beliefs?

       Are there positive Outcomes of Adversity?

We started our day by reviewing as a group the various values of the First Nation Metis and Inuit People. During the course of our discussion today on the Dakota Pipeline Issue students were asked to reflect on how the values of Community Interaction and Silence & Listening played a role in the situation.

Students were given the opportunity to find research on the issue, while focusing on the importance of using reliable sources to report on.

The discussion on sources continued as students were asked to read articles and identify the data presented in the articles. As a group they identified that journalists use data in their writing to: add credibility, evoke emotion, to create a visual picture, to get the reader’s attention, to inform, to sway an opinion.

In the afternoon, we switched from talking about the Dakota Pipeline adversity, to discussing personal adversities and how people react differently to different adversities. We discussed the story of the potato, egg and tea bag and how each item reacts differently to the adversity of boiling water. We talked about some people get hard like an egg while others may get mushy like a potato. As a class, we additionally discussed how despite our reactions being real and valuable, that eventually we have to try and figure out how to move past an adversity and react like the tea bag that turns into something new and delicious. We discussed that this doesn’t happen immediately and in fact takes time to occur.

As a group we started to look at some of the positive things that have come out of the Dakota Pipeline situation ( communities coming together, the veterans lending their support, people become aware of environmental issues)

The students then had the remainder of the day to start blogging as journalists about adversity and the Dakota Pipeline. They were encouraged to address how they used data in their own blog to enhance their writing. In addition to written words, students were shown how videos and images can be used to enhance their blogs and inform their readers.

In summary, we wanted the students to leave understanding that as journalists and writers that they may have to encounter and write about various hardships and adversities that may happen in our world. We may all have different reactions to these events and may be impacted differently. Our role as journalists is to not only provide our readers with the data of events, but to help tell the stories of the people of the world.

Welcome to the NEW Enrichment and Innovation Centre

We are very pleased to announce that we have opened a second Enrichment and Innovation Centre.

Register for our Special Holiday

Open House!

 

When? Wednesday December 21st

Where? Dr. Davey School, Room 220

Time?  2:30 – 5:30

 

REGISTRATION LINK

 

This centre is located at Dr. Davey School in downtown Hamilton and will be used to support Special Education students who are deemed Gifted according to HWDSB criteria.

 

HWDSB continues to expand the services offered to Gifted students both at the school and classroom level, as well as through an extended outreach and intervention at the Enrichment and Innovation Centre.

 

All Gifted students who are part of the Enrichment Intervention Program will be invited to attend the Dr. Davey site throughout the school year.

 

 

Meeting our new daVinci kids!

During the last few weeks we have had the privilege of meeting and greeting our new grade 5 Enrichment students, our 2016/2017 daVinci Kids. Last year, in grade 4, these students were identified by the Board as being Intellectually Gifted. This week was their first opportunity to visit the Centre. They arrived bright eyed and nervous and stared in wonderment at the Enrichment & Innovation Centre. This was not the class they were expecting. Many had never visited the Centre before and were anticipating desks in groups or rows and bulletin boards filled with information. They were not anticipating a kitchen space, a living room, a Makerspace etc. . .

living-room

 

Our classroom space is further explained in the following blog posts by educators Kristy Luker and Zoe Branigan -Pipe

http://kristyluker.blogspot.ca/2016/02/our-learning-environment-its-not-just.html

http://pipedreams-education.ca/2016/10/11/the-kitchen-table/

We spent the morning getting students logged onto their personal blogs and developing an email list for their class to stay in contact with one another. Research indicates that Gifted students benefit from having conversations with other Gifted students. Although some schools may send multiple students in the same grade to the Centre, we have many schools where children come on their own. It is important that as we attempt to push their thinking and take students out of their comfort zones for learning, that we emphasize the importance of a learning community and work towards building an environment where everyone feels free to take risks and make mistakes.

Additionally, students broke into small groups and were led in teacher facilitated discussions regarding: How does it feel to be gifted? What does it mean to be gifted? and, Have you noticed anyone treating you differently since you found out you were Gifted? These discussions assist students in gaining a further understanding of themselves and their classmates

Our afternoon was spent exploring the Centre through the Passport to Innovation. Here is a link if you would like to see what activities it contained.  Link  g5-guitar-knitting-2This portion of the day was a self directed way for students to delve into the various disciplines that will be further explored during their Grade Five year as “DaVinci Kids”.  We wanted students to see DaVinci as a Mathematician, an Engineer, an Artist, a Scientist, a Botanist, an Inventor and as a Writer, while learning a little more about the opportunities that exist in our Centre. g5-puzzle-circuits-2

Time flew by!  Students reluctantly packed up their activities before they headed home. The activities and tools that students had a chance to look at during Session 1 (Makey Makey, Circuit scribes, snap circuits, pencil drawings, zen tangles, 3D Designing & Printing, French Knitting, tangram challenges etc. . . ) will be further explored throughout the remainder of the Grade 5 year as we continue to discuss the various skills and talents of daVinci.  We look forward to continuing to explore in more depth during Session Two DaVinci as an Artist.

aria

What a wonderful start to a new year with a fabulous group of students! We look forward to working with them and watching them grow as the progress through the Enrichment Program over the next four years before high school.

Grade Seven Gifted Students “Gifted Outreach” Conference

Students Present for City Council to Advocate for Urban Chickens. A project designed and facilitate at the Redeemer GO Conference

Students Present for City Council to Advocate for Urban Chickens. A project designed and facilitate at the Redeemer GO Conference

Over the past number of years, the Department of Education at Redeemer University College has partnered with the team at the Enrichment and Innovation Centre – Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, as well as teachers from the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic School Board to offer a Gifted Outreach Conference.  This conference has been a great benefit to teacher candidates at Redeemer as they gain valuable teaching experience working with children who have been identified as gifted.

Trip forms will be sent to students at there home schools during week of November 23.
When: December 19th
Where: Redeemer College –

             Address: 777 Garner Rd E, Ancaster, ON L9K 1J4
             Phone:(905) 648-2131
Time: Drop -Off -> 9:30 am at Front Doors (teachers will be waiting)
          Pick -up -> 2:00 pm at Front Doors
Contact Person: Zoe Branigan-Pipe @zbraniga@hwdsb.on.ca
                          Kristy Luker @kluker@hwdsb.on.ca
What the teacher candidates at Redeemer offer the students is a day of collaboration and investigation into important issues.  Our themes have ranged from tackling real-world technical problems (fixing drywall, weaving and sewing), using democratic procedures to bring important local issues to the attention of Hamilton City Council, to an exploration of First Nations Culture and History.
This year, we plan to focus on the United Nations Goals for Sustainable Development, a very important area that we think Grade 7 and 8 students have much to contribute to. We are looking forward to once again welcoming students from Hamilton area schools to discuss and consider solutions to the important issues identified by the United Nations.  We are always so very impressed with these wonderful students and the support their teachers provide them and us.
We look forward to seeing everyone on December 19.