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Student shines with Science Project

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Sparking interest and excellence with Differentiated Instruction (DI)

SCS students in Mr. Oates Grade 8 Science class recently started a unit on simple machines. Rather than starting out “teaching” the material, Mr. Oates began with a project that challenged students to design their own solution to a problem. Students were asked to imagine themselves as immigrants coming to the Canadian prairies in 1891. Facing an unfamiliar and harsh environment, the students/settlers were required to achieve a number of objectives in order to gain title to their land. Each student in the group choose one of the objectives as his/her challenge and then tried to use different simple machines to help make it happen.

Taite Seely was one of the students in class. As part of his group Taite chose to move the logs down the hillside and erect the cabin walls. To achieve this, he designed and constructed a wagon using K’nex. The wagon included five of the six simple machines, was human powered, and both transported and lifted the logs into place. He described how it worked, answered questions from his classmates and Mr. Oates, and had solutions to every potential problem. Mr. Oates thought he had caught Taite on how to slow the wagon down but Taite had a lever that pushed a wedge into the wheel, thereby stopping the wagon. During a later discussion Taite referred to his completed project as model 3.0. His first creation did not achieve what he wanted so he redesigned it and built a new one. The second version also came up short leading to another redesign and rebuild. This became the version he wanted.

Taite is a student who shares that he does not really like reading or writing, or speaking out in class. When asked about this project Taite stated that he really enjoyed the hands-on element of this project and the opportunity to learn new material in such a different manner. If possible, he would work in this manner all the time.

For Mr. Oates it was a great example of Differentiated Instruction at its finest. “Seeing Taite become excited about a project and, in turn, excel at it, is what we want for every student. Being able to engage Taite in a way that was meaningful for him is hugely rewarding … for Tate.” 

Impact of Budget 2015/16 Budget 2015/16