Does this dialogue sound familiar...?
Parent: “What did you do at school today?”
At W.J. Mouat, we are lifting the veil of what happens at school through our weekly Spotlight on Learning series and our yearly Celebrations of Learning, which demonstrate both the intellectual and human/ social nature of learning. Check out the 58 different contributions!
For example, in Chemistry 12 and Psychology 12, students answered, “How do organic molecules affect mental health, society and me?” in a cross-curricular unit of study.
The teacher(s) were asked to describe the learning parameters. We then task the students with combining skill sets to answer the inquiry question. Neurotransmitters (organic molecules) are brain chemicals that directly affect mental health. The two classes were introduced to concepts of organic chemistry using epinephrine as an example. Chemistry students were introduced to how neurotransmitters function in the brain, while this served as a review for the psychology students. Students choose a neurotransmitter or group of neurotransmitters as a focus to link organic molecules in their brain to mental health. The cross-curricular nature of this project allowed for students to make bigger connections. For example, neurotransmitters have a 3-D structure, which can affect how they bind to receptors in the synapse. Students were able to study molecules found inside their bodies, their effect, and strategies to help increase or decrease their concentration levels to have a positive effect on their mental health. As teachers, we loved how students could connect learning across two subject areas and how teachers were able to learn from each other.
Students were asked to reflect on this learning experience.
For example, "During the initial semester, I had the opportunity to take part in Psychology 12 and Chemistry 12, gaining valuable experience in both subjects. As our final project, the two classes collaborated and created an assignment that would allow us to use our knowledge from both Psychology 12 and Chemistry 12. It involved us to critically analyze and investigate the connections between the two courses. If we look at Psychology 12, it covers different disorders and how the imbalance of neurotransmitters/homeostasis can cause that. Perfectly aligning with objectives from Chemistry 12, we learned how our body creates those imbalances. Throughout the project, I loved making connections, and I truly felt accomplished when I could apply my understanding. Although I had to work on two projects, as there was one for each class, they both focused on different aspects, and I could add to each one accordingly with my understanding. I was also grateful for the people in my group as they were all understanding, and we all could easily have a discussion on the topic, giving our perspectives along with thoughts and opinions. Finally, the support of my teachers was greatly appreciated as they guided us in the right direction when we had any questions or concerns. Overall, I am pleased with the outcome of this project and had an amazing experience!"
LINDA POLLASTRETTI, PRINCIPAL
W. J. Mouat Secondary