Student stories

Elmwood’s Celebration of Learning

  • date
  • May 18, 2016
Exhibition logo

The 2016 Exhibition Logo

thumb_IMG_4932_1024Celebration of Learning 2016 was amazing! At Elmwood, the Celebration of Learning is a day when all students share their year’s work with the community. For students in Grade 5 and 10, this means something extra special: Exhibition and the Personal Project.


Bianca S. explains how fossil fuels are extracted.

The Grade 5s had a blast completing their Exhibition projects. Their main topic for Exhibition was energy. All the girls in the fifth grade class studied a topic that connected to energy. All the teachers were so thrilled to see these information-packed projects and how we all worked so hard. When we were done all the editing, researching, writing, and practising we were ready to teach everybody else about what we had learned.


Emma F. shows off the set of nuclear energy trading cards she designed.


Everybody who listened to our presentations was so polite and interested. By the time Exhibition afternoon arrived, everyone was excited and only a little bit nervous. We want to give a huge thank you to all the teachers for guiding our way in the process of Exhibition! Everyone did so well. We learned a lot and had a lot of fun, too!

Read on to learn a little bit more about some of the Grade 5 Exhibition projects, and one of the Grade 10 Personal Projects that had us all wanting to learn more.


One of our classmates researched plastic. The questions that she was interested in answering were:


Michaela N. teaching Mr. Hodgins about plastic.

What is plastic made out of?
Why is plastic so popular?
Who invented plastic?
How can plastic end up in the ocean?
How many ways can we reuse plastic?
Where does the garbage truck take the garbage to?
How is plastic bad for the environment?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of plastic?
How can we prevent plastic from being a problem?
How bad is plastic for the environment?

Several Grade 5 students researched climate change, global warming, and greenhouse gases. Below is one student’s introduction to her Exhibition project.


Zafreen A. presenting to Junior School students.

Do you ever wonder what climate change is? I thought that climate change was an issue that was important because I had heard that earth was experiencing the impacts of climate change. I read an article online and I found out that there were many other effects of climate change than just earth warming. I was curious and wanted to learn more about it.
Climate change happens because of the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is when the sun’s rays enter the atmosphere, and only some of the heat rays leave the atmosphere. Due to greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, some of the heat waves get trapped in the atmosphere resulting in climate change.
Global warming can melt ice. The polar bears are starting to lose ice to hunt on. Climate change can even change weather patterns: dry places will get more droughts and tropical storms, and hurricanes will be more intense. Climate change also has a negative impact on human health. Did you know that climate change has some positive effects too? In some places it is now warmer in the winter, so there are fewer deaths resulting from the harsh winter climate. Climate change is better for the economies of Japan and Greenland because the growing season is longer. Without the greenhouse effect, Earth would be a lot colder and fewer animals and plants would be able to live.
The negatives outweigh the positives of climate change. To help stop climate change you can reduce your use of energy, reuse items so less methane is created, and recycle, so we do not need to cut down as many trees that already cannot absorb all of the current carbon dioxide that is already in the atmosphere. Climate change affects almost every place on earth all the time. We should all do our part and reduce our carbon footprint.

Another classmate of ours decided to take action by writing an e-mail to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook.

April 21, 2016

Dear Mr. Cook,

My name is Elena and I am a Grade Five student at Elmwood School in Ottawa, Canada.

I have a request for you from my Fifth Grade teacher and all my classmates here at Elmwood. Since you are chief operating officer of Apple, we wanted make a suggestion to improve your product. We use MacBooks at my school and we are doing a unit of inquiry on Energy and Sharing the Planet. My teacher has a computer cart in her classroom (one of several in the school, and we also have many iPads), and I had the idea that we should unplug all of the devices once they are fully charged because it wastes energy just to keep the little green light lit.

My teachers suggested that I ask you to consider making a change that would be good for all Apple products. Here is the idea: when a new version of the MacBook is developed, instead of having the red light on the plug turn green when it is charged, you could have it turn off so it does not waste as much energy as it does now. We are all really concerned about the usage of energies such as electricity and what is needed to create it.

I hope that you consider this proposal. If you could, please, answer back to this email or to my teacher, Ms. Holmes, at and tell us if you would consider it.

Thank you,
Elena P.


HC simulator 1

Hannah C.’s Animal Captivity Simulator

The Grade 10 students began working on their Personal Projects at the end of Grade 9. Hannah C., a Grade 10 student who has spent the past year working on her MYP Personal Project, built a captivity simulator that drew a constant stream of students, teachers, and parents to her presentation. Student were seen and heard applauding her oral presentation, and again after stepping out of the simulator. Here is a synopsis of Hannah’s work:

The issue of animal rights is a constant and very prominent issue around the world. Cruelty against animals is a topic that I was new to, but passionate about from the day I discovered the issue. I did not want to shed more light on situations already illuminated, but rather wanted to bring light to issues in the shadows, especially those involving animal rights, as they are often ignored in favour of human rights.

I chose to research the topic mistreatment of animals in captivity. I was captivated by the documentary “Blackfish.” I was astounded by the conditions of animals in captivity around the world. I had very little experience within this field before starting the project. I was shown the documentary by my Grade 9 geography teacher, and since that class it has been an issue constantly hounding my sub-conscience. I had no understanding of the topic other than what I had seen in the film but I was determined to learn more about the issue of animal rights. To begin my research however, I found that it was necessary to have a guiding question.

I chose to answer the question: When is captivity acceptable among animals and under what conditions? This question can be and has been debated at many levels and in great depth. This is because no two animal enclosures are the same and there are many variables that must be considered when answering this question. Animals in captivity do educate the public through zoos, aquariums and research foundations, but whether this education is worth the lives of so many innocent animals is not clear. Also, what determines whether an animal is fit to live in captivity? Animals cannot speak for themselves so how can this be decided? There are so many different angles from which one can approach this question, which is what makes it a complex question with a complex answer.

Throughout this project I have learned that this is an issue that is happening globally. I don’t think that there’s anything I could do directly to completely eradicate this issue even in my local community. However, by informing people of the situation I am giving them information and the option to care about it. I think that I as a person should take action by spreading my knowledge to friends, family, and others. I have personally decided to boycott any zoos or aquariums that operate for profit, as I don’t believe that keeping an animal in a viewing tank, and taking away its rights for profit is acceptable. I think that the best thing I can do to help is to inform people of the mistreatment that occurs. I want to explain to my community that what we perceive as normal is in fact cruel. My greater goal is to eradicate for profit zoos and aquariums that are not essential to the preservation of the species, and to make sure that every animal is treated humanely. There are good organizations that keep animals captive for breeding, to preserve a species, or for medical purposes. The public should know about these organizations and support them instead. I would like to make sure that the public knows the difference between captivity for profit and captivity for the conservation of a species. With the help of the public, places such as Marine Land and Sea World can be shut down and foundations like the World Wildlife Foundation better supported. Instead of paying to see animals in cages we should be paying to see them in their natural habitats, to study them without intruding, and funding organizations that support the conservation of species.

Hannah C. Captivity Simulator

Hannah C. Captivity Simulator

The result of all of these idealistic goals and enlightenment was a captivity simulator. As humans, we are rarely caged, or even kept in one area for a long period of time. Because of this, our empathy towards animals in captivity is virtually non-existent. I was researching animals in captivity at the beginning of this project and I found many interesting statistics, but the numbers weren’t connecting to me at all, as I had no connection to them. As a result, I wanted to take the statistics and information that I had and put it into an experience that anyone could relate to, thus the creation of the captivity simulator. The goal of my simulator was to give humans a glimpse into the life of an animal in captivity. I also wanted to show the public that what we do to these animals is barbaric, and the only way I could think to convey this was through an experience that paralleled that of an animal in captivity.


Hannah’s was just one of the incredible Grade 10 Personal Projects that were on display at Elmwood’s Celebration of Learning.


Contributed by:
Olivia H., Geneviève L., and Samantha R., Grade 5
Hannah C., Grade 10

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