Senior School Fall Maker Faire

The Senior School Maker Faire was held on November 30 and December 1 and featured over 40 projects from our Engineering 11, and our ADST 8 and 9 classes. 

At the start of the school year, our Engineering 11 students decided they would like to explore robotics as their primary area of focus. Many of the ADST 8 and 9 students also chose to use their independent projects to learn more about working with circuits and motors. Each project responded in a unique way to a challenge or a need selected by the student. In this interactive experience, you can see each of the student’s projects on display. Select the individual blue buttons to take you to a description of the project, learn about the design decision the students’ made, and what stage they are at in the design process.

The Maker Faire was a wonderful way to showcase the students’ creative thinking, problem solving, resilience, and hard work. We can’t wait to see how these projects progress over the remainder of the year. 

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Engineering 11
Our Engineering 11 students explored problems that could be solved using robotics. During each class, they document their progress by taking pictures and writing in their journals

Coco, Grade 11, started her exploration of robotics by building a prototype robot called “T-VEX”. She built it to learn about sensors and coding, specifically how to create an autonomous robot that can navigate a space without being controlled by a human. It is now the class pet. Coco has now taken what she has learned and is applying it to another robot, called “Megalodon”, that will tackle the problem of long voting lines. Coco, who is originally from Arizona, saw that there was a problem in Arizona with long voter wait times. She has begun programming a robot (using both the Vex robotics and Arduino systems) that will provide water and information in both English and Spanish to voters waiting in line. 

Grade 10 students Tania and Keisha are working on a motorized backpack to solve the problem of heavy student backpacks. They are designing a robot that carries books and school supplies and follows the user as they walk. Keisha is working on learning to code with sensors in Vex, while Tania has been working on designing and assembling the structure of the robot. 

Grade 10 students Joyce and Jasmine are looking for ways to combat student stress by designing a wearable heart rate monitor and “stress” app. Jasmine is working on the wristband that will read the user’s heart rate and send the data to the app. Joyce has been working on the app which will display alerts from the heart monitor. The app will also use data from an in-app survey to offer suggestions on how the student might cope with their stress, such as guided meditation or breathing exercises. They are currently at the prototyping stage and are working on sending the data from the heart monitor to the app.

Andrea, Grade 11, has come up with the concept for an “Insomnia Mattress”, which she plans to feature a built-in music player/Bluetooth speaker, a breathable hemp-infused top layer, and possibly deliver electrotherapy to help reduce pain. Like many of the students in the class, she is programming an Arudino board, a microcontroller that stores data.

Madeleine, Grade 10, is tackling the issue of drinking and driving with her breathalyzer/key lockbox concept. She envisions that this device would be used at gatherings where alcohol is served (she is targeting young adults). Attendees would drop their car keys into a box upon arrival, and would only be able to retrieve the keys if the attached breathalyzer gave the appropriate BAC reading (blood alcohol concentration). The device has two components. The first part is the breathalyzer with an alcohol sensor that sends data to an Arduino. This component needs to work with the key lockbox which has a “servo” motor that will rotate 90 degrees to open the box once a sensor is triggered. Madeleine is currently working with the Arduino microcontroller to use the data from the sensor to rotate the servo motor.  

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ADST 9
Grade 9 students Olivia, Rosi, and Hannah are working on “The Grand Gravy Express”. The wheels, motor, and battery pack for the “train” were taken from a remote control car, and is designed to make the passing of gravy at the dinner table a whole lot easier.

Kelly and Helena have designed a cat shelter/house that includes a motorized fan to help keep the cat cool. Liv and Lucy have designed a moving cat food dish with pieces of a remote control car that will help keep a cat active as they “work” for their food. 

Natalie, Skylar, and Emily have designed a motion-activated Halloween prop by repurposing the circuit and parts of an old toy car. The doll has an ultrasonic sensor that triggers the eyes to light up. Potential next steps in the design process would be adding sound effects or making the doll’s head turn.

Emily and Georgia built an automatic squirrel feeder working. The parts from the remote control car did not meet their needs, so they learned to use an Arduino with a servo that opens the slot for the squirrel food to come out.

Other Grade 9 projects include a customized chess set, jewelry box, headphone stand, egg cracker tool, convertible couch sleeve/laptop stand, massage roller, a lamp, and measuring cube.

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ADST 8
Our Grade 8 ADST students have been working on projects such as a paintbrush/pencil holder, laser cut combination lock, flute stand, LED book light, light-up chess piece, and a gumball machine.

See these projects and more in this interactive experience.

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History Trip: Germany & Poland

This spring break, some of our Grade 11 and 12 students are visiting Germany and Poland. The aim of this excursion is to support student learning of the history of modern Europe. Read the trip updates below:

DAY ONE 
Kathryn, Gr. 11
After three long flights, we finally landed in Berlin! We first stopped at the hotel to check in our bags, then left to sightsee for the day. We saw lots of famous buildings that were incredibly beautiful. Next, we went to the German History Museum and a huge chocolate store. Lastly, we climbed 267 steps to the top of a cathedral and saw an amazing citywide view. Overall, we had a great but busy, first day in Berlin!

DAY TWO
Megan, Gr. 11
The first thing we did in the morning was eat breakfast at the hotel. We had an awesome view over Berlin and the food was delicious! After breakfast, we visited the Holocaust memorial site which was such an incredibly powerful site with amazing architectural choices. The Holocaust memorial museum was full of personal stories and history. We got to read letters of families, reflect on the war, and our personal lives. We had a chance to get lunch after visiting the museum at a small cafe close to the Berlin wall.

After lunch, we walked to the Berlin wall and our teacher taught us a little bit more of the history behind it and how it would have affected our lives depending on which side of the wall we lived. Following the Berlin wall, we walked to Checkpoint Charlie and down to the train station to take a train to the Stasi Museum. There, we got to see the actual headquarters with a guided tour. They taught us about their technology and methods of spying. Our last stop of the day was the Bundestag, which is the German Parliament. We had a wonderful guided tour of the entire building, including where they do the actual voting. At the end of the tour, we went up to the garden rooftop which had a breathtaking view over the city. Finally, we got back on the train and picked up dinner at the train station and went back to the hotel.

DAY THREE
Julianne, Gr. 12
Good morning! We woke up still in Berlin and headed off to the Pergamon Museum, where we saw elegant antiquities, beautiful Islamic art, and fascinating historical objects from the Middle East. After that, we had a quick (but yummy) lunch near the train station and boarded at around 2:30 pm for our ride to Poznan. It was a very relaxing few hours on board the train, and most of us were able to catch up on a few hours of sleep or stayed awake to socialize or play games.

Once we arrived in Poland, we were introduced to Conrad, Chris, and Veronica (who will help us on our visits to the children later in the week) and were welcomed to Poznan with a warm dinner and a leisurely stroll through the magical town. After checking into our new hotel, we finished off the day by splitting off into two groups according to the children we would be visiting the next day, and wrapped their presents.

DAY FOUR
Jadyn, Gr. 11
After waking up early in Poznań, Poland, we split into two groups taking our luggage and presents with us to visit the kids. Our group visited Damian, Rafał, and Martyna, and we had a lot of fun playing games, getting to know each other, and drawing. We ate dinner pizza for dinner and celebrated Talia’s 17th birthday with cake in Bydgoszcz after wrapping presents.

DAY FIVE
Saphren, Gr. 11
After long car rides filled with scenic views from our window, we spent an excellent day visiting children and delivering presents. Although we had enjoyed our time with all three kids, we had an especially fun time with a 16-year-old boy, where we got to tour around his small town. After visiting the beautiful lake, which was just a five-minute walk from his home, we then walked to their local school, where we met many of his friends and other community members. At the school, the Yorkies spent over an hour playing in a fairly competitive, but incredibly fun match of volleyball against a few of their students. At the end of the day, we met up with the other group of girls who were visiting another group of children to have a tasty pizza dinner. We then settled at our local hotel in Gdansk, Poland and got ready for the next day.

DAY SIX
Taylor T., Gr. 12
Today we are in Gdansk and Malbork. We had breakfast in the hotel and headed out to Malbork Castle. This fortified monastery is a UNESCO world heritage site and the largest castle surviving castle in the world, used by the Teutonic Knights. Following this, we went to Westerplatte, the peninsula site of the first battle in the Polish invasion during WWII. After, we went to the Museum of the Second World War, where we were given a thorough and in-depth examination of WWII from its beginnings to its conclusion, and lasting its impacts. After this, we went to dinner which was attended by one of the wish children and her family who we had visited the day before and really connected with. Then we went for a brief walk in the dark around the Gdansk Old Town area and went back to the hotel to wrap presents for the next day’s visits.

DAY SEVEN
Hannah, Gr. 11
Today we began our day in Gdansk and drove to three different children’s homes, making our way to Warsaw. Each of these children have varying terminal illnesses, making visiting them both emotional and rewarding. The first young boy was very shy at first, but was extremely excited by the gifts and warmed up by playing games with us. The next little girl constantly had a smile on her face. She gasped each time she opened a present and was overjoyed to solve a puzzle with us after. Finally, the last little boy we visited was a checkers champ and beat Mr. Cropley in a hard-fought game. All of these visits were so unique and really immersed me into the Polish culture. We have now arrived in Warsaw and are excited for the days ahead!

DAY EIGHT
Taylor S., Gr. 11
We all slept in a bit today which was nice, and our first stop was a military cemetery. While we were there we learned a bit about the Katyn Massacre and details about the people that were buried at this cemetery. Next, we went to the Warsaw Uprising Museum where there was a guided tour. The museum was really nice and there were a lot of authentic props that helped our learning. For lunch, we went to a big mall and also got a bit of free-time to shop as well. Our final destination was this Invisible Exhibition where it was pitch black, and we had to use our listening skills along with our sense of touch to move around which was an incredible experience. Our guide was also blind, so we experienced (almost) the same thing as her. For dinner, we went to a really fancy Italian restaurant where there was a lot of pizza and pasta, then went back to the hotel for an early night.

DAY TEN
Talia, Gr.12
We woke up and ate an incredible breakfast at the Radisson Blu Hotel. We then went for a nice morning walk down through the Jewish quarter of Krakow to the old synagogue where we explored the gothic architecture of an old Jewish worshipping sight. A guide then took us on a tour of old Krakow where we learned of the Nazis use of the old castle as well as the prevention of the destruction of the ancient city. We then broke off into groups for some individual exploration and lunch. We visited the beautiful church in the centre of the old town square which was extravagantly decorated with colourful stained glass and gold. We ended the day with a warm dinner together and retired to our rooms after a long day of walking.

DAY ELEVEN
Matteya, Gr. 11
We woke up early to pack our suitcases and depart from the hotel, but not before a wonderful breakfast. We’d booked a coach bus for our long drives to Auschwitz and Wieliczka, which we loaded our luggage into before boarding. We drove for about two hours and arrived at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. There, we walked through the camp with an English-speaking tour guide. This was very emotional and every one of us learned much about the suffering of the prisoners, all of it shocking and terribly impactful. I dare say it is something we will never forget. From there, we drove to another section of the camp, much of which had been destroyed, before a quick lunch at a nearby restaurant. We drove to Wieliczka, where we went on an underground tour through some incredible salt mines, something very important to Poland’s heritage and full of interesting tales and information. The Salt Mines are on the UNESCO World Heritage list. From there, we turned back into the city and had some free time in a mall connected to the train station for some shopping, rest, and bonding time. It was there we boarded a sleeper train with six to a room, which while a bit cramped, once sorted, became cozy and a fun experience.