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June 2022 Science Department Update

The science department had another exciting year, providing many hands-on learning experiences. The grade nine science students spent time outside learning how the parts of our field ecosystem interact, building circuits, creating a social media post to describe the uses of LEDs in space and on Earth, and charting the motion of the stars. They learned about what it was like to be an astronaut and planned a mission to Mars, where they considered the costs and benefits of space exploration, and had their problem-solving skills put to the test as they had to deal with constraints and budget cuts. In addition, they used their understanding of sustainability to create photo journals offering ways to reduce their carbon footprints. 


In the grade 10 classes, students applied their understanding of anatomy and physiology while dissecting frogs. They also enjoyed a number of outdoor winter walks while discussing the climate – focusing on its changing nature and the ways that human actions impact our planet.


For our grade 11 students, the biology classes worked towards creating green spaces in their classrooms: growing beans, peas, basil, catnip, strawberries, an avocado tree, lemon trees, a fig tree and even a pineapple shrub! Many of the plants have now started to flower and the plan is to collect seeds in the coming weeks for use next school year. This will create a connection between future grade 11 biology students and their predecessors! They also studied how evolutionary factors can impact plants that grow outdoors in a Guerrilla Garden challenge by planting a single seed under what students determined to be “ideal conditions.” In chemistry students were able to explore chemical reactions and stoichiometric relationships through various lab activities, culminating in the course project utilizing the titration process. The environmental science course welcomed numerous guest speakers bringing real-life context to human health and Earth’s climate. Meanwhile, in our physics classes students explored the laws of motion using ticker tape, motion sensors, and video analysis.


Our senior students explored biotechnology in the biology classes as they engineered bacteria to produce specific colours and traits ultimately making artwork! They also operated a PCR machine and explored gel electrophoresis to learn about the different components of DNA. Grade 12 physics students conducted lab activities to explore circular and projectile motions as well as elastic and inelastic collisions. In the chemistry classes, students carried out experiments to determine the energy associated with chemical reactions and prepared presentations to explore the impact of changing factors on a system at equilibrium.

The science program at Markville was also enhanced by many beyond-the-classroom activities:

  • The Michael Smith Challenge from the University of British Columbia is a science contest open to grade 9 and 10 students. Aaron Yu, Tovi Ng, Shupeng Lin and Vinny Gu placed in the top 3% and Gordon Zeng and Jerry Xu placed in the top 1%.

  • The Chem13 News Contest held by the University of Waterloo. This year it was written by over 1300 students world-wide! Two of our students, Juliana Cao and Ming Gao scored in the top 135 of ALL writers, earning a special tile award. 

  • The Avogadro Chemistry Contest presented by the University of Waterloo was written by nearly 3700 students worldwide. Congratulations to Kevin Lin who earned the highest score at Markville SS out of our 27 writers.

  • The University of Waterloo's Sir Isaac Newton Physics Contest. Special congratulations go out to Ming Gao in Grade 12 who earned the top mark of Markville participants and placed within the 90th percentile amongst all contestants.

  • The University of Toronto's OAPT Physics Contest. Special congratulations go out to James Pu in Grade 10 who earned the top mark of Markville participants and placed within the 94th percentile amongst all contestants. 

  • Markville’s Ecoclub has once again applied for Platinum Ecoschools Status. Our school had three teams compete in the Envirothon this year and all advanced onto the Provincial competition! Our top team placed 5th out of 16 teams. Ecoclub participated in a community cleanup on May 27th after school.  Students worked hard to clean up Carlton Road, Raymerville Drive, and the Raymerville Woodlot. The club organized an Earth Day event during lunch on April 20th during which MSS students signed pledges, played environment themed games, and repurposed flyers as envelopes to contain wildflower seeds. All participants were given the chance to win environmentally friendly prizes!  

  • Markville's HOSA students performed very well at this year's Fall and Spring Leadership Conferences. Based on their results at the SLC, some students qualified for HOSA’s International Leadership Conference!

All of the teachers in the science department wish our students a safe and healthy summer, and a well deserved break. Of course, a special congratulations to all of this year’s grade 12 graduates!

December 2021 Science Department Update

With the start of another school year, Markville’s Science department is excited to have the opportunity to teach both our in-person and remote learning students. Our department is always trying to squeeze in as many labs, demonstrations, and kinesthetic learning experiences as possible.

As usual, our students are focusing on curriculum expectations and learning skills. However, the science program at Markville SS has always been enhanced by extra-curricular opportunities and beyond-the-classroom activities. Despite the current environment, these extra-engaging activities continue. Our grade 11 biology classes have learned from guest speakers about meat and plant-based food science technologies, and about our gut microbiome and how it influences our health and immunity, and they also completed a rat dissection. For the very first time, these students are also participating in the Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero collaborative inquiry in which our students are introduced to concepts of genetic engineering through the creation of Agar Art. Engineering students from the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science at Ryerson University led some of our grade 9s through a virtual scenario where a community was experiencing a blackout. The students had to use their knowledge of electric circuits to troubleshoot the situation and restore power to the community. Looking ahead, our grade 9 classes will be participating in the Climate-Hack-to-Action collaborative inquiry in which they use robotic solutions to solve real world environmental problems by developing computational thinking and coding skills through working with micro:bits. Our grade 10 students have heard from a transplant healthcare professional and recipient about organ transplants and donations, and the classes have also completed a frog dissection.

Teachers and students have organized extended-learning opportunities through HOSA and eco-club. Our HOSA students just recently competed in the HOSA Canada Fall Leadership Conference, and will be continuing their training for the Spring Leadership Conference. Our eco-club achieved platinum EcoSchool certification last year and are aiming for that again this year by completing various initiatives including: Take Me Outside day; planting/weeding day; collecting milk bags for mat weaving; and battery, white board marker, and toner cartridge recycling. In addition, the eco-club is running the aquaponics system inside one of our science classrooms and recently completed their GIS certification alongside the environmental SHSM students. 

As the year progresses, Markville’s science department will continue to provide our students with updated information regarding the UBC’s Michael Smith Challenge, the University of Toronto’s National Biology Competition, the University of Waterloo’s Chem 13 News and Avogadro Chemistry Contests, as well as the OAPT and SIN physics contests. Our teachers also continue to support the SHSM sectors of Environment and Health and Wellness.


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