Grade 5 STEAM: Making YHS More Accessible

The Grades 5s just completed a STEAM project where they were asked how they could make YHS more accessible for students and community members that use wheelchairs. They were tasked with designing an assistive technology while using the designing thinking framework.

Empathizing with the User
To learn more about what it might be like to use a wheelchair, the Grade 5 students surveyed the school to identify any barriers or challenges such as stairs, doors without automatic openers, and furniture that is not accessible. 

Next, they had the opportunity to interview Jenna from the Rick Hansen Foundation. Jenna talked about her experience at school as a child, barriers and challenges she faces today and how she has made her home more accessible with universal design.

Finally, students learned firsthand by using a wheelchair for an hour of a school day. 

Defining the Problem
After doing a survey of the school, meeting Jenna, and experiencing a part of the school day using a wheelchair, students were asked to identify a problem to solve. They used the recordings in their observations books to help identify trends and common problems. Students used strategies like ‘sticker voting’ and ‘pitch your idea’ to help determine the best idea to tackle. Once students picked their problem, they reframed their problem as “how might we…” question. 

Ideation
To find a solution to their problem, students had to work together to brainstorm multiple possibilities. They were encouraged to use the D School brainstorming rules including: share all of your ideas, build on each other’s suggestions, headline, include all ideas (even the silly ones),  and encourage your peers with positive talk. 

Prototyping
To create their solution, students started with rough prototyping, building with paper, cardboard or Lego. As students worked, ideas changed, transformed, and expanded. 

Rory and Garrett, from BCIT Redlab, came to speak to the students about their work designing assistive technologies. They worked with different groups to help them with design challenges in their prototypes. 

Throughout the prototyping process, students were encouraged to test, reflect, and modify their designs as needed. 

Jennifer Sharpe
TEAM Coordinator, Junior School

Grade 5 Parisian Café

On February 28th, a nice smell started to come all the way up to the Junior School. What was that? It came from Mira’s kitchen where Mme Céline was baking croissants. It was time for the “Café-Théâtre”, the famous Grade 5 French show that every family looks forward to!

The Grade 5 parents were invited to join their daughters in the Bentley Room, which was turned into a Parisian café with lovely accordion music playing in the background to set the mood. A team of waitresses were ready to serve food and drinks en français before the parents enjoyed watching a play in French called “Un frère pénible” (an annoying brother). It was so much fun for the girls to serve their parents and to see everyone socializing with a bit of French in the air! The girls then surprised their parents by singing “L’oiseau et l’enfant”, an award-winning song about how wonderful the world is. The singing was beautiful and the parents loved it. What a great show! It can’t get better than this beautiful performance. Well… it did! The girls had made a funny Kahoot quiz to test their parents’ French. Kahoot is an interactive and competitive quiz that we use in class for learning. You should have seen the families competing against each other and getting hooked on this game!

Thank you for all the Grade 5 students for making this show so memorable. Hard work always pays off.

Mme Céline