Meadowridge Voices Blog

Classroom Without Walls Round-Up

Hikes, Aquarium Adventures, and Inquiries into Ecology

Grade 6 Buntzen Lake Hike
Interview with Mr. Drew Currie

Where did you go?
The Grade 6 students went to Buntzen Lake – a large recreational area just north of Port Moody. This was the first time we did this hike with this age group. We went there because of its uniqueness to the development of our OE3 program. Buntzen Lake is an important part of the early hydroelectric construction in the early 1900's. Below this lake is the large hydro building in Indian Arm which the students paddle past on the Grade 10 WWOW trip. The trip was a PHE and social studies trip as it not only challenges the students physically, but it educates them in day hike preparedness, about the lush flora in the area, and they are educated about the numerous trees that are visibly struck by lightning.

What did you do?
The students hiked the 8.8km trail around Buntzen Lake. The first part was a shorter portion, only about 3km of fairly flat trail. Following a lunch on the beach at the opposite end of the lake, the students hiked the remaining 5.8km of variable trail conditions (i.e. more elevation gain, loose rock, etc.)

What was the group's favourite part of the day?
I think just being outside. They got a chance to spend their school day outside and hiking in the wilderness. For a lot of them, it was a relatively new experience and they understood the implications of not bringing enough water or proper food. But I would say their favourite part was seeing the parking lot at the end of the hike. (ha-ha)

Best story from the day.
I think the most interesting part of the trip was when the students realized that geese are not afraid of humans. As we sat on the beach eating lunch, the geese realized that food was present. As they started to come up onto shore, students (with food in their hands) started to run at them to scare them off. The geese did not move and just kept advancing on the students. If they ran with the food, the geese would follow. It was quite humorous to watch, especially after warning them of the implications of having food around these aggressive birds.

What one thing were students surprised to learn?
I think, because this hike was a bit different from what they are used to, they were surprised by the rationing of their supplies. I informed them of the structure of the hike and told them to preserve water and bring enough snacks. Sure enough, some only brought tiny water bottles and A+W lunches, soon realizing that both of those were not good ideas. Packing for a day hike, although it sounds so simple, can actually be quite challenging, especially if you have little to no information about the adventure at hand.

Grade 8 Vancouver Aquarium Adventure
Interview with Miss Payne

Where did you go?
We went to the Vancouver Aquarium with a focus on perspectives. Our question for the day was "You learned about the environmental impact of the Columbian Exchange. Can you see evidence of that in the Vancouver Aquarium? What changes do we still feel the effects of today?"

What did you do?
Students set-out to answer our guiding question by visiting different exhibits and sketching, reflecting and answering questions in a guide. Students answered questions like "How are penguins at risk from climate change?" and "What challenges might explorers have faced in a new climate?"

What was the group's favourite part of the day?
"The otters! It was so fun to watch them swim and play!" Daphne L.
"The outside part of the Aquarium was my favourite because I have never seen those types of animals in real life." Carrera S.
"I really enjoyed the jellyfish area because it was the best place to take lots of pictures, and it was really fun." Erin X.
"I liked how we had a lot of free time to look at whatever we want." Carina L.
"My favourite part was when we saw a person dive into a pond of fish." Rohan G.

Best story from the day?
"The worst (hungriest) part was when a crow swooped down and stole my chicken strip right off my plate! I was devastated." Erin X.

What one thing were students surprised to learn?
"If one thing changes, it affects the whole ecosystem! It will be very hard to fix. I know more about why we need to save these animals." Linda Z.

Grade 9 Boundary Bay Investigation
Interview with Ms. Deepti Rajeev

Where did you go?
We went to Boundary Bay Regional Park in Tsawwassen. The Grade 9 Science class is currently learning about ecology. Boundary Bay is a very special place as it allows us to study the adaptations of organisms in the grassland, sand dunes, and intertidal ecosystems.

What did you do?
We explored three different ecosystems. Students learned to identify the animals and plants found in the intertidal areas and the adaptations they had to survive in that environment. For instance, they learned the importance of clams to the First Peoples and dug up some clams as they waded through the eel grass bed. They identified invertebrates like ghost shrimp, crabs, hermit crabs, snails, and fish. They learned about Japanese eel grass and other invasive species that inhabit the area and how they got there. They then walked along the grassland ecosystem and learned how to identify birds. We saw bald eagles, sea gulls, red breasted blackbirds among other birds. We even saw a couple of garter snakes slithering away. It was cool to see the differences in the male and female red breasted blackbird and their mating behaviours. Last but not the least they learnt to identify some local plants and the harsh environment they are subjected to.

What was the group's favourite part of the day?
I think the students were both surprised and excited to see the black widow spider. They live under logs in the beach and we had an opportunity to see several.

Best story from the day.
Many students had never been out to Boundary Bay Regional Park and what stood out for me was to see them learn about the different ecosystems and the adaptations of the animals and plants by actually viewing them in their natural environment. We saw a sea gull swoop down to the water, pick up a clam, fly away and drop it on the rocks to break the shell.

What one thing were students surprised to learn?
The students were really surprised to learn that Boundary Bay was a very unique area both geographically and the fact that it had several different ecosystems.

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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