The Global Maker Trend is Very Strong at Ecole Central Elementary

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By , June 27, 2017

Beautiful Maker learning chaos 🙂  Students were engaged with the play-based learning at their fingertips.

Experimenting with Rube Goldberg machines teaches about the trial and error nature of design thinking.

All the primary students of Ecole Central Elementary (School District 60) participated in Maker Way learning activities this last week of school.  In collaborative, multi-age groups, primary students were led by an intermediate grade helper to construct a Rube Goldberg machine.  A Rube Goldberg machine is a complex, multi-step chain reaction contraption used to do what is ordinarily a simple task.  For example, one Rube Goldberg machine saw a marble traverse down a curved vertical track to knock into a set of lined dominoes, to have the last domino push a toy car off the table into a balance set below, tipping the balance, causing it to fall, and finally, setting off a button that turned on a light!

Students designed, created, played with and remixed their Rube Goldberg machines.  Outside-the-box and logic and science-based thinking were encouraged.

Students used components previously gathered and organized by teachers into kits, but were also encouraged to exercise their creativity and find other components not included in the kits, such as fans, mouse traps, pins, etc.

Their machines had to have at least three transfers of energy and incorporate a working littleBits circuit.  (LittleBits are an award-winning educational tool that introduces concepts of electrical circuitry in a very accessible way.  To learn more about littleBits, please click here.)

All involved enjoyed themselves.  Ecole Central is looking forward to more Maker activities in the fall! Have a happy summer, everyone!

Northern Opportunities Receives an Award from The Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference

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By , June 16, 2017

The Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference awarded Northern Opportunities for its efforts.

Northern Opportunities logo

Northern Opportunities, a partnership group that School District 60 (Peace River North) is part of, received an award last week from The Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.  Delegates from across the country travelled to our school district to learn about the Northern Opportunities partnerships, a unique blend of industry and educational stakeholders.

The mission of Northern Opportunities is to build “a strong and vibrant workforce for northeast B.C.” by developing educational programs and opportunities that empower the young people of northeast B.C. to prepare and train for occupations locally so that when they enter the workforce, they are equipped to do so locally.  Students are “trained in the north to stay in the north.”

Other members of Northern Opportunities include: BC Hydro, BCIT, CNRL, Chalo School/Fort Nelson First Nation, Encana, the Ministry of Education, NENAS, NDIT, Northern Lights College, Shell, Spectra, and Peace River South and Fort Nelson School Districts (59 and 81, respectively).

To learn more about The Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference, please click here.

Annual Spark Conference for Women’s Leadership & Career Development

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By , June 1, 2017

The annual Spark Conference for women’s leadership and career development occurred last month at the Pomeroy Hotel and Conference Centre in Fort St. John. I had the pleasure of attending as an “Angel” attendee, representing career education for School District 60 (Peace River North).

Attendance at this event and events similar to this have shaped my vision for and execution of our district’s own young women’s career and leadership conference, which happened last week- Wednesday, May 24, at Northern Lights College. That event was called The Road Less Travelled.

Artwork by graphic designer, Bob Mack of Urban Systems; photography by Cassia Lawrence Photography

Credit: Cassia Lawrence Photography

The raising up of young women is important work. A regret I have about my attendance this year was that we didn’t have enough time to gather a group of young women from North Peace Secondary School or other district schools to join me as other fellow Angel attendees. In conversation with one of the members of the Spark steering committee, I learned that the conference would like to see more engagement from younger, school-aged women.

I often find that in this life, one never knows what opportunities might be available until one asks. The Angel sponsor program enables people who might not otherwise be able to attend the conference to put in an application in writing to have their conference fees sponsored by local industry leaders. A potential plan for next year would be to canvas local schools well before the conference to get high school aged young ladies to also put their names in for Angel sponsorship. We could then all attend together, representing School District 60.

(Thank you to Cassia Lawrence for permission to publish her photos on this site.)

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