Thursday, 9 November 2017

Bucket Tower Challenge - What did we learn?

There has been a lot of emphasis on STEAM (or STEM) in education over the last couple of years. It is often highlight in media for educators and there is a lot literature to support implementing this is the classroom.  So what is STEAM and why all of the fuss?

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics and is aimed at equipping students in these particular subjects and their skill-sets. These skills are essential for preparation students to live and eventually work in our rapidly changing world.

Our school library currently has a whole "Makerspace" filled with amazing technology and materials to engage students in creative design and thinking. However, many teachers also provide opportunities for these type of activities right in the classroom as well.  The recent "Bucket Challenge" by some of the grade 5 students is an example of this.

For this challenge, students worked in teams of two and were asked to build a tower that would hold weight (pennies). A bucket (cup) needed to be suspended from the tower to hold this weight. They were given only the following supplies: 20 straws, 1 piece of string, one piece of masking tape (about 1 metre long) and one plastic cup with two holes punched in the sides.  They were allowed to use scissors as needed. Students followed the steps of the Engineering Design Process for this challenge. It included drawing an initial design plan, testing, solving problems and then re-designing.

So what did the students learn from this task.  We asked the students and they reflected on some important areas of growth.

  • There will always be a problem even if you think there won't be so use all of the materials to make it better.  
  • Squares (cubes) aren't very stable. 
  • Tape is key.  (Teacher: So why was it limited??)  Too make it more challenging.
  • You need to think and plan to make it stable.
  • You have to work together. It takes more than one person.
  • Your partner isn't always right!
  • Don't try to do it all yourself.
 Enjoy the videos showcasing the great ingenuity and engineering skills of the students. The winning structure held 154 pennies!

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Values, Influences, Peers

Last week, the grade 6 students began the Values, Influences, Peers (VIP) program offered by the Barrie City Police. This program is designed to educate the students on topics such as drugs, cyber bullying, alcohol and smoking and the legal consequences associated with these issues.  Each week, Officer Colin and Officer Jackie teach the students about one of these topics, using videos, handouts and stories from their profession to help students understand the topics and make good decisions. Questions are always welcomed and answered in an honest, age-appropriate manner. We are fortunate that they are willing to share their expertise and experience with us.


So why Grade 6??  At 11 years of age, students in grade 6 are approaching the legal age of 12 when they can officially be arrested and charged under the Young Offenders Act. Thankfully, for most students, this will never be a real concern!  However, students in grade 6 are becoming more independent and are approaching the age when they will be faced with some tough choices without a trusted adult at their side.  The health curriculum focuses on teaching students how to make healthy decisions and VIP complements these expectations. Finally, it is a great opportunity for the students to interact with police officers in a friendly, safe environment. It allows the students to view police officers as trusted adults in their community; people they would willingly approach for assistance. 

We are thankful that the Barrie Police are able to partner with us at Terry Fox ES in this way and look forward to the next month of learning together.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Terry Fox Run

Do you know why I put this picture here? This is the biggest roller coaster in the world. Would you ride this? It would take a lot of courage. Well, Terry Fox had even more courage. He almost ran across Canada. He probably thought people were never going to donate or know about him and what he was trying to do. Terry Fox ran from his home town Vancouver to Thunder Bay. He died on September 1, 1980. Terry Fox ran the Marathon of Hope (he ran for cancer).
Now would you ride this? Terry Fox did something a whole lot better. We should participate in the Terry Fox run because we are carrying on the Marathon of Hope and we are also carrying on Terry Fox´s dream. So run, run until your feet fall off. #Runwithyourdreams :)

Wednesday, 13 September 2017


Welcome to Grade 5 and 6 at Terry Fox Elementary School.  We hope that your child has had a great start to the year.

We appreciate that we can partner with you in the education of your child and hope that this webpage will be a small way in which you can feel connected to what is happening in the classroom and the school.

School may have changed from your days as a student. However, parents continue to play a key role in a child's learning. Here are a few ways in which you can help.

1. Encourage regular attendance and punctual arrival!  Arriving late or being absent means missed lessons, conversations and activities, often around key concepts. Students often feel behind when returning after an absence, so unless your child is ill, please make sure that they are at school.

2. Communication:  Stay in touch with your child's teacher. Please look at your child's agenda daily and use it as a quick and easy way to send a note. Also feel free to call your child's teacher at school if you would like a more detailed conversation.

3. Show an interest: Talk to your child about school and what they are learning.  Of course, they may give you a short answer such as, "Nothing", but don't give up.  Try asking open questions such as, "Tell me the best thing that happened at school today".

4. Encourage a growth mindset!  Applaud your child's "failures", as it means that they are learning and taking risks. Help them to focus on learning and not simply on getting a Level 4.

Thank you for working with us to make this a great year of learning!
The Grade 5 and 6 Teachers