Thursday, March 23, 2017

Presentations Galore

Mid-March was a time of presentations and better weather.  There were four presentations to be exact and everyone was glad to see the end of the cold snap.  Let’s go ahead with the presentations.
ACTUA presenters
ACTUA is a [Canadian] charity that prepa[res] youth to be innovators and leaders by engaging them in exciting and accessible STEM experiences that build critical skills and confidence.”  (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.)  The charity operates in all provinces & territories, employs 1,000 undergraduate students each year, and has members in 33 universities & colleges.  They also have a team of 1,000 volunteers that deliver STEM workshops all over the country.  Two undergraduate students employed by ACTUA arrived in Arctic Bay to carry out workshops with the elementary, middle, & high school students.  Everyone was excited to see what they had to offer.
The undergrads gave the teaching staff a private workshop at our staff meetings.  They wanted to show us what our students would be working on.  I was mesmerized by the Ozobots, tiny toy robots that follow coloured lines you draw with markers.  The robots follow the lines by using photo sensor arrays.  Toys like these didn’t exist when I was in school.
Learning Web
The high school workshop was held in the afternoon on March 15.  Everyone gathered in the math & science classroom.  The ACTUA presenters introduced themselves and explained the workshop would focus on climate change & the importance of sea ice in the north.  The students got into a circle and played a learning web game.  Each student pair was given a card with information about animals in Canada’s northern waters.  Once they shared the information with the class, they threw a ball of string to another pair but kept a piece of the string.  At the end of the game, there was a web of white string criss-crossing the middle of the circle.  The web showed how all the animals are connected and important in the Arctic ecosystem.

The students liked the next activity, an experiment showing the difference between fresh water & salt water.  Two students poured fresh water & salt water into a clear plastic hyperrectangle.  The fresh water was coloured green and the salt water was coloured red.  A third student held a ruler in the middle, separating the two liquids.  When the ruler was removed, the fresh water moved to the top of the hyperrectangle and the salt water moved to the bottom.  The simple experiment was to show that salt water is heavier than fresh water.

The second half of the workshop saw the students measuring the temperatures of certain liquids in vials over a period of time.  The liquids were heated with large flood lights.  The experiment was about thermohaline circulation and how global warming can effect sea ice.  The students graphed their data and presented their results to the class.
Overall the workshop was okay, but I think the thermohaline circulation experiment needed to be more active.  I was hoping they would let the students play with the Ozobots but that wasn’t the case.  Those were reserved for the younger grades.
Kindergarten Winners.
Inuujaq School held its monthly attendance awards assembly on March 16.  K-12 students who attained perfect attendance for the month of February, were called up individually to receive a certificate. 

March 18, 2017
I took a break from work & cadets and drove up to the top of King George V Mountain on March 18.  There were clouds in the sky but not that many to block out the bright sun.  I followed the same trail I used last February but didn’t film my ascent with my GoPro cameras.  I parked my skidoo at the summit and walked over to the edges to take pictures of Arctic Bay, the airport, garbage dump, and surrounding landscapes.  I was hoping to film a plane landing, but no plane arrived.  Arctic Bay (the actual bay, not the community), was littered with snowdrifts, making the area appear as a vast frozen field of moguls and speedbumps.  I returned to the community after enjoying the scenery for some time.
Road between rocks.
Colby O'Donnell speaks to Inuujaq School students.
Colby O’Donnell, a Child and Youth Advocacy Specialist, visited Inuujaq School to talk to the Grades 9 – 12 students about Nunavut’s Representative for Children and Youth (NRCY).  He explained the roles of the NRCY, his specific duties in the organization, how the NRCY helps & represents Nunavut youth, and how students can get involved in the organization.  (Their website is well organized and does a great job of explaining everything you need to know). O’Donnell also gave out copies of “An Advocate Visits – The Comic Strip” that the NRCY produces, and English & Inuktitut posters of The Convention On The Rights Of The Child.
At the end of the presentation, O’Donnell answered questions from the audience and gave out his contact information.  The presentation was well-informed and I think the students were glad to hear there is an organization representing their interests. 

The last presentation for the month of March occurred on the 21st.  Corporal Bowskill of the RCMP, spoke to the Grades 9 – 12 students about the RCMP, its roles in the north & the rest of Canada, and what careers they have to offer to potential recruits.  He came prepared with a presentation, complete with pictures & recruitment videos.  The picture I liked was the map of Canada that displayed all the various divisions and detachment locations.  The students liked the recruitment videos.

Bowskill then focused his recruitment presentation on the annual summer Depot Youth Camp.  The Depot is the colloquial name for the RCMP Training Academy in Regina, Saskatchewan.  The week long summer camp is for youth 16 – 19 years of age who are interested in pursuing a career in the RCMP.  What was really beneficial was that a high school student in the audience attended the camp the previous summer.  Bowskill also happened to be there.  The two shared several stories of their time at the Depot to the delight of everyone present.  They talked about waking up early in the morning, eating in the mess hall, doing marching drill, and engaging in physical training.

Bowskill finished his presentation by reviewing the requirements one has to obtain before applying to the RCMP, the application & selection processes, and what to expect if your application is accepted.  He also left several application forms for the youth camp.


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