Yesterday we had a fascinating, fun and furry Human Library event: Ann Gunderson, a certified Nosework trainer, visited Saints with her two detection dogs, Keeper and Spring! Ann trains dogs, and humans, in the sport of odor detection, and she taught us all about how dogs use their sense of smell, how powerful their noses are, and how humans can harness this power for work and fun.
Some interesting facts we learned:
- Even though dog brains are smaller than human brains, the area devoted to processing smells is much, much larger than that of humans.
- If you dissolved a teaspoon of sugar in an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a dog would be able to smell it!
- Dogs are used for sniffing out not only illegal substances and weapons, but also invasive species such as mussels.
Here are some photos of the day. A big thank you to Ann, Keeper and Spring for sharing their knowledge with us!
Ann explains how dogs’ noses work
Keeper makes some friends
The boys are fascinated!
Keeper gets some loving
Ann describes how Nosework competitions are run
Keeper hunts for the odors hidden in the library
Today we welcomed our second Human Library guest of the year, Officer Chris Tang with the Vancouver Police Department. As soon as he showed up in full uniform, the behavior of both faculty and students improved immediately.
Officer Tang is with the Department’s identification unit, and he spoke to groups of boys about the process of securing a crime scene and collecting evidence. The boys learned about fingerprinting and the science behind identification. Officer Tang even let them try out the fingerprinting wand, a magnetic device to apply dust to items without smudging any prints, unlike a traditional brush. It was a fun and informative visit and we are so grateful that Officer Tang dropped by!
Discussing the photographs.
A fascinating hands-on visit!
Getting a closer look…
The magnetic wand for applying dust to prints. The metal components of the dust is attracted to the application end.
The Grade 2s are fascinated!
Grade 6s and 7s look at photographs from a crime scene involving forgeries and fraud.
Today was crazy, bonkers, bananas! First off, this morning was our Wonder Expo celebration day! Wonder Expo is our revamped Grade 7 science fair, which involves more structure, teacher input, and cross-curricular links. The boys have worked so hard this term on their experiments and innovations, so today was a time to celebrate, reflect and share their accomplishments.
A faucet with no-touch temperature controls
This umbrella captures rainwater
Bacteria can help clean up oil spills
Differences in perception of men’s and women’s products
A key questions for all Canadians?
Let them eat cake!
A simple solution for a coffee lid!
Intriguing but smelly: dog poop as a fuel source!
A computer-controlled fridge fan
Gum that cures heartburn! (The procedure involved eating a chili pepper, so I declined…)
…. and after the Wonder Expo wrapped up, we invited our March Human Library guest: Melanie Knight, a passionate and inspiring marine biologist and ocean educator! Melanie brought some tiny friends with her – sea stars, a crab, a sea urchin and a sea slug – and allowed the boys to gently touch each critter. Melanie will be back in April to kick off our Grade 4 and 5 collaborative project. She was an inspiration! Than you Melanie!
Today we welcomed Wendy Porter, an archeologist specializing in the Mayan civilization! Wendy brought a wealth of knowledge along with a variety of intriguing artifacts for the students to interact with, including cacao nibs, which the Maya used as currency. (We relaxed the “no eating in the Library” rule today.) She even anticipated the needs of quieter students by coming prepared with questions on cards that they could ask her.
Here are some fascinating facts we learned today:
– The word “shark” comes from the Maya fish god “xoc”
– Cacao was used as money
– Maya children were punished by being held over burning chili peppers!
– The ball used in the Mesoamerican ballgame weighed eight pounds!
Take a peek at the photos below:
Last Thursday we had a very special event take place in the Junior School library: the first “edition” of our Human Library project. The idea of this project is to invite interesting people with interesting stories to come into the school to act as human books! What that means is that students can sign these people out (just like a book) and have a conversation with them about pretty much anything that they would like.
Our first human book was a man named Clement Chou. Clement is a blind athlete who competes for the Canadian Junior National Team in a sport called goalball. He also is a volunteer for BC Blind Sports, plays the guitar, practices Iaido (a Japanese martial art), and is active in his church. Over the course of the day, Clement spoke to more than 100 students, including most of the Grade 1 and Grade 2 students.
Listening in to the conversations throughout the day, you would have heard many profound things. Some examples of the diverse questions that were asked included:
- How exactly do you drive?
- Do you like video games?
- When you buy something, how do you know that you’re getting charged correctly and not getting ripped off?
- Is it difficult to choose the clothes that you will wear for the day?
- How do you read the menu at a restaurant?
Clement was very patient and open, and said lots of things that were truly inspiring. “Blindness doesn’t affect me as much as people think. It doesn’t have to be a big deal; being blind doesn’t make you less of a person.” And in response to the this question from a Grade 6 student: “has your life been difficult without your vision?” Clement responded, “”There have been difficult patches . . . but everyone has those.”
It was an entirely unique experience for our students. We have had guest speakers address the whole school or individual classes before, but the boys rarely have an opportunity to interact one-to-one with someone for a casual but informative conversation.
We are sure that everyone who interacted with Clement came away much more informed and aware, and we’re sure looking forward to the next human books that we have come to visit!