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Thousand Islands Secondary School Students Unveil Curiosity Carts at Aquatarium
Thousand Islands Secondary School Students Unveil Curiosity Carts at Aquatarium
Posted on 06/14/2024
Students pose next to their curiosity cart at the Aquatarium in Brockville.

June 14, 2024 (Brockville, ON) – Grade 7 students from Thousand Islands Secondary School (TISS) in partnership with the Aquatarium have developed three “Curiosity Carts” that will be used by the local aquarium and discovery centre.

The carts are pop-up exhibits that will allow staff and volunteers to share in-depth information with guests about some of the most popular attractions. They include fun, hands-on learning experiences for children in the form of bite-sized education and entertainment.

The UCDSB Real-World Learning Team has done work with the Aquatarium in the past and were eager to bring the Grade 7 class into the partnership.

For the students, the process started in November with a tour the facility. During their visit, they were introduced to the concept of curiosity carts and how they could be used to support the existing exhibits in the Aquatarium.

Taking their experience back to their classroom, the students set out to design and build carts of their own, brainstorming ideas that were relevant to the community of Brockville, the St. Lawrence River, and the existing Aquatarium exhibits.

“There was tons of collaboration, feedback, and working together to ensure that they felt comfortable with what they were going to showcase,” said Bridgette Dore-Buchanan, Manager of Education for the Aquatarium. “We now have a product that they can be proud to showcase. What a way to end the school year!”

Shannon Owsianicki, Grade 7 teacher at TISS was pleased with the work of her students and appreciative of the opportunity and partnership. “They did a great job for their first time, and we’re so proud of what they've come up with.”

“A big part of real-world learning and the outcome you hope for is that the kids actually take something from the process, having honed a skill that they didn't have before. Things they really haven't had a lot of opportunity to do in the classroom, and I do feel like they will take this learning with them going forward,” she added.

During the launch event, the students were excited to show off their projects to guests and visitors from local elementary schools. The projects were focused on local fish, the solar system, and a third inspired by the recent solar eclipse.

“We did a fishing project about common fish in the St. Lawrence,” said TISS Grade 7 student Rylan Hodge. “And we're also trying to teach the kids how to fish safely and do it properly,” added classmate Bentley Harris.

Their fishing game involved casting into a bin to catch laser-cut wooden fish, which proved to be both educational and engaging for the younger visitors. “There’s a point system based on how hard it is to catch that kind of fish. If you catch a bass you get 2 points, a pike you get 4, and a carp you get 6,” explained Hodge. “It’s exciting that we’re actually here, because now we actually get to present our project to the public.”

The solar system cart offers users a hands-on lesson on the placement of the planets of the solar system. “We were inspired by our visit, and saw some pictures online and just thought, oh my goodness, it would be cool if we did that,” said Grade 7 student Laylah-Rose Mills. “It's pretty cool to see what we thought of come to life and see people use it.”

The curiosity carts will be stationed at the Aquatarium until the end of June, and although they are designed to be used on their own, some excited students plan on returning to engage with visitors and answer questions related to the topic until the end of the month.

For media inquiries, please contact:

April Scott-Clarke
Manager of Communications
Upper Canada District School Board
[email protected]

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