Meadowridge Voices Blog


Uphill Hikes, University Fairs, and Museum Tours:
Classroom Without Walls Round-Up

Classroom Without Walls (CWOW) is a program which is aptly named: quite literally, we are extending the classroom beyond the normal confines of four walls and a strict timetable. Students delve into extended inquiry, real world application, and deeper exploration of curricular topics.


Grade 6 Evergreen Cultural Centre and Coquitlam Crunch
Interview with Mr. Kevin Kenndy

Where did you go?
We went to Evergreen Cultural Centre to participate in a puppetry and characterization workshop. We are doing a unit on short stories right now, so it was a fun way to explore characters and characterization. We also hiked the Coquitlam Crunch. The activity helps students meet Daily Physical Acitivity (DPA) goals, and can be a great bonding activity... even if they bond in the misery of such a long hike!

What did you do?
We played around with different styles of puppets and explored characterization by creating our own and giving them expression without using words. It was a combination of English and Drama elements. We also hiked the Coquitlam Crunch in 27-degree weather. The hike took about 90-minutes, a good precursor to the Grouse Grind students do in older grades

What was the group's favourite activity?
I'm sure the groups favourite activity was eating the popsicles brought by Ms. Hui (Mackenzie's mom). She met us in the parking lot of the Coquitlam Crunch, so it was a great way to finish the hike!

Best story from the day?
One story that stood out to me was one of our students who, on the way down, carried the pack of another student who was feeling sore. That meant he was carrying two packs – his own and his friends. When I realized what was happening, I told him I could carry the pack but he politely declined my offer and carried both. Good friend!

What one thing were students surprised to learn?
I think some students learned how non-verbal communication can be a really important element of characterization.


Grade 7 Beatty Biodiversity Museum
Interview with Ms. Darcie Hook

Where did you go?
We went to the Beatty Biodiversity Museum and the UBC Botanical Gardens. We went as an supplement to our Life Science unit as we are currently looking at ecosystems, biodiversity, adaptations, and evolution.

What did you do?
The students participated in an adaptations tour at the museum and got to look at different species and their adaptations and variations. At the botanical gardens, they participated in a tree top tour and they learned about the different biodiversity in the gardens and how different trees have adapted to life on the west coast.

What was the group's favourite activity?
The tree top walk in the gardens was the favourite.

Best story from the day?
There were some kids that really didn't like the heights during the tree walk, but they did it anyway. They took a risk and were glad they did it.

What one thing were students surprised to learn?
Some of the kids were surprised at how large eagles are.



Grade 8 Sea to Sky Gondola
Interview with Ms. Anne Bolyard

Where did you go?
We visited the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish. We went there to learn the First Nations' usage of local plants and trees found in the area, and students also spent time doing some design activities while learning about the construction of the gondola.

What did you do?
We rode the gondola up to the top and took two hikes around with First Nations guides. We also experienced the cantilevered view platform and the suspension bridge.

What was the group's favourite part of the day?
Riding to the top in the gondolas—to be able to experience the view from such a height and see the beauty of the area. You could see where the fresh water with the silt came from the glacier into the salt water of Howe Sound. It created an interesting pattern in the water.

What one thing were students surprised to learn?
All the medicinal properties of trees and shrubs in our area. Sap from certain trees can be used on a cut or wound to help it heal, for instance. Students were also surprised to learn that the suspension bridge can hold the weight of 28 trucks, and that the side cables are on the suspension bridge so that you are not propelled like a sling shot into the sky.



Grade 9 & 10 The Grouse Ground
Interview with Mr. Scott Spurgeon

Where did you go?
The Grouse Grind is a lower mainland tradition, and we are always surprised by how many of our students have never visit Grouse Mountain or attempted the Grind. It is a physical challenge, but not something that is unsurmountable; individuals can scale the challenge to doing it at their own personal pace. If there is a problem, there is help nearby and it is relatively easy to supervise a large group of students while giving them the freedom to go at their own pace.

What did you do?
Students went up the 2,830 steps that make up the Grouse Grind, from anywhere between a very speedy 38-minutes to a more casual two-and-a-half hours. Depending how long it took students to get to the top, there was time to check out the top of the mountain—students saw two grizzlies in a relatively large natural habitat, watched a short nature show at 'The Theatre in the Sky', and had a bit to eat while overlooking a beautiful view of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

What was the group's favourite activity?
I think most students would say their favorite part of the day was reaching the top and number two was likely sitting down to enjoy the poutine in the cafeteria after burning off a fair number of calories. The sense of accomplishment in finding rounding the bend and seeing the lodge is something that never gets old, whether you have done the Grind once or a couple hundred times.

Best story from the day?
If nothing else, I would say one of our students doing it in 38-minutes is very impressive. The Canucks have the rookies do this as part of training camp, and—while I don't think 38-minutes would win it amongst the rookies—it would still be fairly respectable. Most people who have done the Grind have never done it in under 40-minutes!

Another memory would be the drive home: you could literally hear a pin drop. Students were physically and mentally exhausted, but our students put in the effort and were determined.

What one thing were students surprised to learn?
I heard several students comment how quick it was to go down in the gondola, just seven or eight inutes I believe, after all the effort to climb up. I think many students were also surprised to learn that the world record for the Grind is 23 minutes and 48 seconds.



Grade 11 Canadian Universities Fair
Interview with Mr. Al Graveson

Where did you go?
We traveled to Southridge School to join a number of other independent schools at the Canadian Universities Event (CUE). CUE is a university fair where representatives from 45 of Canada's universities congregate to share information and answer questions about their programs, admission requirements, scholarships, and more.

What did you do?
Students were given a list of universities attending and some prompt questions ahead of time so that they could strategize their interactions with the university reps. Once at the fair, they were free to visit any of the universities to gather information, pick up view books, and maybe even collect a little swag.

What was the group's favourite part of the day?
I got chap-stick from Brock University. Sleeping on the bus.

What one thing were students surprised to learn?
I hadn't really considered schools outside of BC until I spoke to some Ontario schools that had really interesting programs.

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About Meadowridge

Learning to live well, with others and for others, in a just community.

Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12

International Baccalaureate Continuum World School, PYP, MYP, DP

Located in the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada on 27 acres in Maple Ridge

Challenging academic, inquiry-based curriculum, arts, athletics, experiential education

Founded in 1985 with an original enrolment of 85 students