Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014 06:00 am
MCHS PACKs it in
Morinville students will be fixing drywall, performing Shakespeare and throwing judo-chops this Friday as the local high school embarks on an experiment in flexible scheduling.
Morinville Community High School students will get to set their own timetables this Friday as part of the school’s new PACK Day initiative.
PACK stands for Personal Achievement and Continuing Knowledge, explained principal Todd Eistetter. The initiative is a part of the provincial High School Redesign project, and is meant to give students more flexibility in how they learn.
It’s similar to the Flex block at Bellerose Composite except it lasts all day, Eistetter said.
“What other high-schools are doing with Flex is primarily remedial,” he continued. “What we have built in as well is a lot of new learning and new opportunities (students) wouldn’t usually have.”
This will be a three-week test run of PACK Day prior to its full rollout this fall, Eistetter said.
Students who log onto Power School this week will see a four-block schedule for Friday, Eistetter said.
Teachers met earlier this month to assign students to various mandatory remedial courses, Eistetter said. Grade 9 students will have two of these, while Grade 10 to 12 students will have one.
Students will be able to fill in the remaining spots on the schedule by picking from a list of about 60 options.
These include cooking, curling, quilting, chemistry, martial arts, three-on-three hockey, drywall repair, an all-day ski trip and “Drenglish” – an English/Drama hybrid where students will act out scenes from Shakespeare.
“Many of these sessions were ones students requested,” Eistetter said. Most courses will be free and run by volunteers, but a few (such as drywall repair) will charge fees for materials.
Eistetter said it has been a challenge to co-ordinate this initiative, as it has left teachers with less traditional teaching time to use. Still, PACK Day should give students the chance to focus on the courses they need to work on and explore subjects of interest.
“Hopefully, each student will find something that interests them.”
PACK Day will run March 14, March 21 and April 11 this term – the gap is due to spring break.
Visit www.mchs.gsacrd.ab.ca for details.
It’s 3.14159 (etc.) Day
Mathematicians around the world will celebrate with pie this Friday to commemorate one of the world’s most significant mathematical constants.
March 14 is known as International Pi Day. Created by American physicist Larry Shaw in 1987, the event celebrates the number known as p, which is used in many mathematical calculations.
Pi Day falls on March 14 because it’s the third month and the 14th day, which corresponds to the first three digits of pi.
Bellerose Composite will celebrate the day by selling slices of pie to raise funds for the St. Albert Food Bank, said Bill Willette, head of the school’s math department.
Willette said he has personally been celebrating Pi Day for about 20 years, and has a special pi-themed shirt ready to go for this week’s events. “Our whole world revolves around mathematics, so to celebrate a big number like that, why not?”
Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference over its diameter. It’s an irrational number, meaning that it yields an infinitely long string of numbers that never repeats when you try to calculate it.
That means pi contains every possible numeric combination. “If you wanted to, you could find the Lotto 6/49 winning numbers for this coming Wednesday somewhere in the written out digits of pi,” Willette said.
Pi itself is a vital part of the trigonometric equations used to measure motion, and sound, he continued. “Any engineer that designs anything needs pi.”
It can also be used to calculate the surface area of a pie, he added.
See exploratorium.edu/pi for more Pi Day ideas.