Black Gold Regional Schools

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December 18, 2018

Grant helping shape learning experience for BGRD students

Caledonia Park School teacher Tessa Arends (top, right) with her grade 4 students

In energy-rich Alberta, there is no shortage of opportunities to get an up-close look at what powers our province. So, one Black Gold teacher is using those opportunities to complement her teachings, and receiving recognition for her efforts.

Tessa Arends is introducing her grade 4 students at Caledonia Park School to Alberta’s energy sources and the related professions. “Alberta’s energy sector relies on engineers and geologists,” she explains, “Students will have the opportunity to research a specific issue and immerse themselves in the role of a professional within the energy sector.”

The students are getting an authentic perspective through their contact with industry professionals and hands-on opportunities, such as a field trip to the Leduc #1 Museum and Energy Discovery Centre. These types of experiences are educationally enriching, but involve significant costs. That is where the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) comes in. Upon seeing Arends’ outline for the school year, the organization provided a $5,000 grant. Arends plans to use that money to help cover expenses such as busing for the field trip, support from educational coaches, robotics, and supplies.

The grant is Arends’ first in her teaching career, and she says it is affording her class a meaningful experience. “They are forming a deeper understanding of how our province is powered. Many students now have stronger connections with family members as they have discovered exactly what certain professionals do.”

In addition to their STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) research, Arends’ students are also employing art skills by documenting their discoveries in videos and on their individual websites. They will also share their findings with the public at the school’s annual Art and Science Show this school year.