Across the Boards – Winter 2019 Feature

York Region District School Board

What is it Like to Live in Space?

This year, students from across York Region District School Board had the chance to find out what it’s like to live in space.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of YRDSB

Using micro:bits and carbon dioxide sensors, students in Grades 6 and 9 investigated environmental conditions in their classrooms, and compared their results with data collected from the International Space Station. They learned how to develop code to automatically collect data on carbon dioxide levels, temperature and humidity in the classroom, engaging with David Saint-Jacques, a Canadian astronaut aboard the ISS, through video and livestream events.

Once they had the data, students were challenged to improve one of the environmental conditions in their classroom. Many worked to reduce carbon dioxide levels by bringing in plants and investigating the processes of cellular respiration and photosynthesis.

This project was done in collaboration with Let’s Talk Science and Fair Chance Learning, who provided teachers from 20 different schools with technology, resources and professional learning.

3D Printing

When the robotics team needed a camera mount for their robots, the students designed and made one using a 3D printer.

Through an Ontario Centres of Excellence project, the Board is collaborating with InkSmith and integrating 3D modelling and prototyping into the curriculum at 10 schools. Projects like this one help to prepare students for a changing workforce and a world of rapid technological change.

Students are gaining valuable hands-on experience, learning how to design and develop prototypes using a 3D printer and use a design thinking approach to problem solving. Over the past year, students have used the printers to create drama club props, accessories for walkers, gaming controller stands and more.

Skills Challenges

In addition to this, hundreds of students across YRDSB are participating in
skills-related challenges that give them an opportunity to innovate, collaborate, problem-solve and apply and develop their technical skills. This includes elementary robotics challenges, cardboard boat races, transportation and carpentry events and the York Region Skills Challenge.

As one elementary school student at the Cardboard Boat Race event said, “I’m learning about the skilled trades more. I’m learning about how to work with my team better, how to construct a boat. It’s harder than it looks but it’s fun to work with your team.”

All YRDSB schools have been provided affiliation with Skills Canada-Ontario for the 2018-2019 school year, providing them with free access to Skills Canada-Ontario resources, activities and opportunities.

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