Raincoast Field School - Winter 2015/2016 (Tofino)

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (March 17)
Ms. Seibel’s grade 1/2 class & Ms. Michaud/Mr. Clarke’s grade 2/3 class

Students worked with their buddies to do a sand experiment in the sun - after investigating sand from different parts of the beach under a magnifying glass, they tested it for the presence of living organisms like shell fragments. To test this, vinegar was added to the sand; in the presence of living organisms, the vinegar would react with the calcium carbonate in the shell fragments to create bubbles! Students found signs of living organisms in the higher tidal zones but not down close to the water. Nice teamwork, everyone!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (March 16)
Ms. Renard’s kindergarten class

Students have been learning all about the salmon lifecycle, and today they put their skills to the test to build their own salmon lifecycle in the sand! Some students made drawings while others got super creative and used eelgrass, rocks or sticks – one student even found a salmon-shaped rock!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (March 9)
Ms. Hovi’s grade 3/4 class
 
Students hunkered down in the woods and wrote what they love about living on the coast, including their favourite places and activities around Tofino. Then students got to see photos of different provinces and territories in Canada, dig out some adjectives to describe the photos, and guess which province/territory the photos came from! Next up: students in Ms. Hovi’s class will write a letter to students in another province to tell them about their home and ask about life in another part of our beautiful country.
 

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (March 8)
Ms. Burrow’s grade 1/2 class

Students have been learning all about cardinal directions and map reading, and today they made their own map of downtown Tofino! Students practiced using landmarks and cardinal directions to navigate and then added symbols to represent landmarks on their map. This student has a tree to represent the village green, a book about stars for the library, and an envelope for the post office.

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (March 3)
Ms. Hansen’s grade 6/7 class

After learning about biodiversity in the intertidal zone, students worked together to do a comparative study on the biodiversity in two different intertidal habitats; rocks on a steep incline vs. rocks on a gradual incline. Students learned research techniques like setting up transects and using quadrats, then after reviewing their species ID skills, they went to Tonquin to test out their hypotheses. Most students predicted that gradual inclines would yield more biodiversity – now we just have to wait until they compile their results and analyze their data to find out!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Feb 29)
Ms. Andujo’s Kindergarten/Grade 1 class

It was all sunshine and smiles today at Tonquin Beach! Students learned about beach ethics and intertidal zonation and then went on some coastal exploring missions!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Feb 25)
Mr. Grigg’s grade 4/5 class

The final stage of building a piece of art out of marine debris is underway! Students have nearly completed their masterpiece, and are getting ready to write about how the debris affects marine life. Students learned about all sorts of plastic that end up in the ocean; grocery bags, plastic rings, lighters, plastic shipping pellets (nurdles) and even microplastics! Students discussed which marine food these plastics might be confounded with, which sea creatures are most likely to get affected, how they are affected and how pollutants move around the trophic levels. Students even constructed their very own food web to show the interconnectedness of marine life. Oh and the view in today’s outdoor classroom wasn’t too bad either!

 


Raincoast Field school, Winter sessions (Feb 12)
Ms. Morris’s grade 5/6 class

Diversity of life is awesome! After learning about how scientists classify animals, students went for a dockside adventure to find marine invertebrates with different evolutionary lineages – sponges, sea squirts and bryozoans, to name a few. Then, after a plankton tow students used their microscope skills to discover the diversity of zooplankton – and how different larval marine invertebrates look from the adults that are growing on the dock!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions
Ms. Michaud’s grade 2/3 class & Ms. Seibel’s grade 1/2 class

Which natural item will float faster down a stream? This is the question that student scientists answered. After choosing their items, students created a hypothesis and tested it by dropping items in the stream and timing the transit time from point A to point B. Then class data was put together to draw final conclusions: leaves are faster than sticks…and pinecones were disqualified – because they sink!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Jan 29)
Mr. Grigg’s grade 4/5 class

Students are part way through their long-term project of building a piece of art out of marine debris, and during this field school session they got to meet the master and inspiration of this art project – Pete Clarkson! Students met him at the Tofino Botanical Gardens and visited the piece he built to commemorate the 2011 Japanese tsunami tragedy. Then it was off to Pete’s studio to see his current projects, and get some insight on his building tricks and techniques. A big thank you to Pete Clarkson for taking time out of his day to inspire Mr. Grigg's students!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Jan 29)
Ms. Morris’s grade 5/6 class

As part of their diversity of life unit, students in Ms. Morris’s class got to learn all about seaweed! Students went on a rainy-day beach mission to collect some photosynthetic beauties, and then created their own herbarium by pressing and labeling the seaweeds they collected.

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Jan 26)
Ms. Burrow’s grade 1/2 class

After learning about cardinal directions and how to navigate with a map, students set out into the school grounds for a navigation contest! Ten stations were set up around the school grounds, each one containing a navigation question and a clue to the next station. Students were speeding around the field from one station to the next and showed the strength of teamwork while finding their way.

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Jan 25)
Ms. Andujo’s K/1 class

Students have been learning all about techniques that animals use to survive the cold, and today they got to role-play animals’ winter behaviour with races and balancing contests. Students acted like shorebirds during a migration race, like trees during adaptation yoga, and like bats and worms during a hibernation challenge. Check out the students hibernating upside-down like bats!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Jan 20)
Ms. Hovi’s grade 3/4 class

Students in Ms. Hovi’s class are learning all about the scientific method right now, and today they became scientists! After a questioning and research period, students formed a hypothesis and designed an experiment to test the feeding rate in two different bird feeders. Then students went out into the school field to scope out a bird-rich area and set up the feeders. Over the course of the next 2 months, students will do weekly bird counts to assess the abundance and diversity of birds at each feeder.

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Jan 19)
Ms. Renard’s Kindergarten class

After going outside for weather observations and predictions, students assessed their outdoor preparedness for the day's conditions. They also determined the most important gear required to stay warm and dry in our dynamic weather conditions. Students put their newfound knowledge to the test to outfit their peers for either a west coast rainstorm or a day of freezing cold weather - nice work kindergarten students!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Dec 14)
Ms. Andujo’s Kindergarten/Grade 1 class

After learning about hibernation with Ms. Andujo, students got to use their observation skills and search for clues to find hidden bear cut-outs all over the school forest. Bears were hidden in nooks and crannies of the forest and under logs – perfect places for bears to hibernate.

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Dec 4)
Ms. Hansen’s grade 6/7 class

Students in Ms. Hansen’s class have started to learn about kingdoms of life and classification systems. During this Field School session, students went on a hunt through the forest to collect samples of mosses, fungi and lichen, to represent members of different kingdoms. Back in class, students checked out these awesome organisms under a microscope to discover all the neat features of these lesser-known kingdoms!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Dec  4)
Ms. Burrow’s grade 1/2 class

Students in Ms. Burrow’s class learned all about ecological communities and how species interact in the forest. They did team races to simulate mutualistic interactions and parasitic interactions. Then students went for a jaunt through the forest to find pairs of organisms that have a mutualistic relationship and help each other throughout life – and students got to draw parallels to how members of our social community help each other out!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Dec 2)
Mr. Grigg’s Grade 4/5 class

The short calm between the storms was impeccable timing for students to conduct a beach clean up at Long Beach! Students collected neat things like a truck tire, shoes and even a teddy bear! As a cleanup break, students reviewed their understanding of physics and experimented with driftwood levers to lift other students, and even Mr. Grigg! Once back in class, students quantified and sorted their debris and graphed their data. Soon they’ll be using the debris to build their very own Pete Clarkson-style sculpture! Nice work Mr. Grigg’s class!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Dec 1)
Ms. Seibel’s Grade 1/2 class

Bats were this Field School’s theme! Ms. Seibel’s class has been learning all about our nocturnal flying friends this month, and students got to play a ton of bat-themed games in the school’s ‘bat cave’. They played an echolocation game to understand the challenges of using this remarkable hunting technique. Then students learned all about bats’ lives by simulating roosting, swarming, hunting, hibernating and more batty behaviors!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Dec 1)
Ms. Hovi’s Grade 3/4 class

What do animals do during west coast storms? Adapt, hide, or thrive! During this crazy storm students learned about how animals adapt to adverse weather conditions by creating their own waterproofing, or settling into a dry nook. Students searched for appropriate storm habitat - a tougher task than it may seem! Then, while getting up close and personal with the mudflats, they learned about other animals that love this weather and thrive in it!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Nov 30)
Ms. Andujo’s Kindergarten/Grade 1 class

During this drastically changing weather day, students walked down to Eagle Aerie Gallery, taking note of signs of winter enroute. Students found snow, frost and leafless trees, then spotted some storm clouds rolling into town! Looks like winter has just about arrived! Once at the gallery, students had to choose their favourite piece of art and then create their very own painting based on the style they observed.

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Nov 27)
Mr. Clarke’s and Ms. Michaud’s Grade 2/3 class

After learning all about condensation, evaporation and precipitation in class, students discovered a crucial part of Tofino’s water cycle – the water tower! Along the way, students investigated the physics of water flow and the properties that enable this solvent to freeze and melt. Students also learned that the water that comes out of the tap is more than 4.5 billion years old - meaning it's the same water that was around during the time of the dinosaurs!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Nov 26)
Ms. Morris’s Grade 5/6 class

Learning about the diversity of life is so fun! Students are learning about all those awesome, mysterious organisms such as fungi, lichens, cyanobacteria, seaweeds, bryozoans, tunicates and sponges. What is their role? What is their story? Part one of diversity of life studies - fungi! Students learned about the ecological role of fungi, fungal diversity and reproduction, as well as techniques to identify a mushroom and make spore prints!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Nov 20)
Mr. Grigg’s Grade 4/5 class

After learning about marine debris, bioaccumulation and the impact of chemical pollution on plankton, students hunkered down to discover the huge diversity of plankton in our ocean. They found copepods, barnacle larvae, water fleas and even spotted some tiny phytoplankton - diatoms! Did you know that diatoms are filled with oils to compensate for their heavy siliceous skeleton? And when they get smashed ashore, the oils spread to contribute to the formation of sea foam! Thanks diatoms, for constantly providing amazement.

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Nov 20)
Ms. Renard’s Kindergarten class

Ms. Renard’s class is learning all about bears and hibernation so during their last Field School session, students got to use their observation skills and search for clues to find hidden Teddy bears all over the school forest. Bears were hidden in nooks and crannies of the forest and under logs – perfect places for bears to hibernate. Back in class, students put their math skills to the test; they measured and arranged the teddy bears from biggest to smallest. Awesome work Ms. Renard’s class!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Nov 18)
Tofino Students day-trip to Ahousaht

Ms. Morris’s Grade 5/6 class (Tofino)
Ms. Catherine’s Grade 5 class (Ahousaht)
Mr. Danny’s Grade 6 class (Ahousaht)

When students from Ahousaht and Tofino met for the first time, they were anxious and out of their element, but after some hesitation, conversation sparked between pairs of students from different communities, and common interests emerged. With new friends, students explored tidepools and hiked through the rainforest to a nearby beach.

The transition from morning to afternoon was remarkable. During their morning introduction students were hesitant, but when Tofino students began their journey back home, kids from both communities were begging for another chance to meet – next time in Tofino!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Nov 13)
Mr. Grigg’s grade 4/5 class

The rain let up for us while students investigated ocean pollution at 4th street dock. Students documented the abundance and diversity of marine debris, picking it up whenever possible. They also learned about non-visible pollution such as chemicals and pesticides, and the uptake of these chemicals by our low-trophic level friends – plankton! After a plankton tow, students learned about bioaccumulation in the marine food web and the ecological role of plankton in the marine ecosystem.

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Nov 6)
Ms. Seibel’s grade 1/2 class

Mushroom hunting and rain go best together! Students explored the trails to find a huge diversity of mushrooms – chanterelles, hedgehogs, orange-peel fungus, boletes, club fungi, Cortinarius, Mycenas, and so many more! Once back in class, students practiced making observations and using scientific language while describing mushrooms, made spore prints and tasted some pan-fried winter chanterelles. Yum!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Nov 5)
Ms. Hansen’s grade 6/7 class
 
Nature Photojournalism Day 1. Students geared up with cameras and notebooks to document their learning at Thornton Creek Hatchery. They learned about salmon’s role in the ecosystem, reproductive success in the hatchery, and interactions between salmon and other creatures around Thornton Creek. Students even got to hold some salmon eggs! The goal was to record information about the hatchery and capture key functions of the facility with their cameras, so that back in class they have the tools to compose their first Field School-related report. We can’t wait to read their articles and see all their photos!
 
 
 
 

Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Nov 4)
Ms. Michaud & Mr. Clarke’s grade 2/3 class

How are rocks formed? What do mushrooms do in the forest? Why does salal grow so thick? These are just a few inquiries that came from students after they tuned into their five senses to investigate the natural world. Guided by a scavenger hunt, students looked, smelled, tasted, listened and touched different things in the rainforest, while using those senses to characterize the biotic and abiotic factors they found. The end of the trail led to an ocean lookout, where students worked together to spot some exciting sea creatures!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Oct 28)
Ms. Morris’s Grade 5/6 class with Ms. Renard’s Kindergarten class

Big Buddy-Little Buddy Scavenger Hunt

Big Buddies in Ms. Morris’s class led a scavenger hunt with their Little Buddies in Ms. Renard’s class. They found all sorts of treasures in the rainforest, from slimy mushrooms, to local birds, to nurse log habitats. After learning all about the brain with Ms. Morris, Big Buddies were in charge of teaching their Little Buddies newly learned facts about the rainforest, and proved how much easier it is for the brain to retain information when you have to teach it! In the meantime, Little Buddies had to determine whether the forest items they found were alive or not - and they did a great job classifying things! As for Ms. Morris’s class, they were remarkable leaders and teachers. Nice work everyone!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Oct 21)
Ms. Hovi’s Grade 3/4 class

Ms. Hovi’s class has now been studying wolves for several weeks, and they got to role-play wolf behaviour during this Field School session! While blindfolded, the students used scent to find members of their ‘wolf-pack’. Then they simulated wolf response to the abundance of essential resources - including responding to surprise elements like human-made landscapes. Lastly was a predator-prey interactions game in the forest - the students were able to understand the power of a wolf pack and their interactions with other species by enacting wolves, their prey and their predators.

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Oct 20)
Ms. Burrow’s Grade 1/2 class

Magnifying glasses and spider data sheets in hand, the students in Ms. Burrow’s class hit the trails for a spider hunt! The students made a group hypothesis to predict which forest microhabitat would be the most populated by spiders, then searched for our 8-legged friends in soil, gravel, grass, bushes, and trees. Turns out the grass and bushes have the highest spider-occupancy! The students also applied their in-class knowledge of spiders to spot different types of spider webs. Nice work Ms. Burrow’s class!

 


Raincoast Field School, Winter Sessions (Oct 19)
Ms. Andujo’s K/1 class

Winter Raincoast Field School has officially begun and that means it’s time for micro-adventures! This morning Ms. Andujo’s class went outside for a colour scavenger hunt; each student’s goal was to find something in the rainforest to represent one of the colours in their holding tray. They got to learn about the changing colours of the leaves, the abundance of seasonal berries and the rarity of certain colours in the natural world. Nice work everyone!