Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers

Today I set up math stations where the kids circulated around to take notes about the rules for adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers.  Afterwards they were given tiles (cut out from foam) to represent a variety of examples on a piece of laminated paper.  They also added their calculations and work on a number line with dry erase marker so that they could take turns trying all of the examples out.  It was nice to see them use the manipulatives and play with math!

Any teachers interested in my template (ONLY AVAILABLE IN FRENCH) please click HERE.

Si vous désirez obtenir une copie de cette leçon en français s'il vous plaît cliquez ici

Bad bugs

My husband has a bit of s green thumb and an obsession with hot peppers.   He ordered some of the hottest seeds in the world including the ghost pepper and carolina reaper.  He grew them from seed starting in January and they did well in our garden all summer.  Unfortunately our growing season is too short and so before the peppers could grow we had to take them inside. 

I have a beautiful class garden and have added two of our hot peppers to it to see if they will produce anything indoors.  Another problem we have is that bringing in an outdoor plant has brought in the bugs!!  Eeewwhh! 

We have learnt all about pesticides, bioaccumulation, and organic food and although it would be easier to just buy some kind of chemical to take care of the little "buggers" we don't want to put toxins on our food. 

So we quarantined the plant from the rest of the garden and used an old trick my mom taught me.  We sprayed the plant and the surrounding soil down with soapy water.  It seems to be working and hopefully with a few more applications we will be bug free.

I love when what I teach just happenes to pop up in real life!

More Hadfield

A local Edmonton writer shares "13 ways astronaut Chris Hadfield rocked our world".   These are great!

Listen live about  An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. It brings some of the experiences and lessons of his space travel to bear on how we live our daily lives on the third planet from the sun.

Chris Hadfield's book was released yesterday.  Keep posted for my thoughts! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jeremy Hansen, CSA, and Hadfield

Anyone who follows my blog knows that I am obsessed (in the intellectual-not-creepy-way) with Commander Chris Hadfield.  I, along with my children and students, have been so inspired by his story and insight into the universe.  Through everything I have read about him I have also learnt a lot about our own Canadian Space Agency and have to say that I am SO PROUD to be Canadian and have a world class space program.  

I have also learnt a lot about an up-and-coming Canadian astronaut, Jeremy Hansen.  He will be the keynote speaker at the ATA Science Council conference where I will be presenting about technology in the science classroom and some kitchen chemistry and lab ideas from Pinterest.  See more here.  I really hope I am able to meet him and finally introduce myself to the amazing people from the CSA.  I'm not sure if any of these people understand just how much their communications and interactions online have meant to me.  I am so excited about teaching science and sharing everything they have to offer with my students!

You can MEET JEREMY HANSEN at the Telus World of Science on Friday, November 15, 2013, 11:00 am to 12:30 pm and 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm  See HERE for more details.

So here are a few thing I've learnt about the CSA, Hansen and Hadfield!

CSA - Canadian Space Agency

The CSA mandate states that their purpose is "To promote the peaceful use and development of space, to advance the knowledge of space through science and to ensure that space science and technology provide social and economic benefits for Canadians.

Want to be an astronaut for the CSA when you grow up?  You had better get started and, as Hadfield says, make sure every decision in your life brings you closer to your goal.  Other career opportunities are available as well.  AMAZING!!

There are a lot of resources for teachers as well.  Love it!

Canada's major space contributions!!
Candarm - Canadian robotic arm on the ISS

Dextre - "The most sophisticated space robot ever built, Dextre is a space handyman with a mission: keep the International Space Station (ISS) ship-shape"

First Canadian in Space - October 5, 1984 - Marc Garneau

First Canadian Woman in Space - January 22, 1992 - Roberta Bondar 
First Canadian mission specialist, first Canadian to operate the Canadarm in orbit, and the only Canadian to ever board Mir (Russian Space Station).  First Canadian to do a spacewalk  to control the Candarm and command the ISS - Commander Chris Hadfield

More Canadian Space Flight History - OOOOHHHH CANADA!!

Major Jeremy Hansen
Read his biography to learn more.  "Major Hansen was selected in May 2009 as one of two members of the third Canadian Astronaut selection. He is one of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class. In 2011, Major Hansen graduated from Astronaut Candidate Training that included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in International Space Station systems, Extravehicular Activity (EVA), robotics, physiological training, T-38 flight training and water and wilderness survival training. Since his graduation, he is assigned as Crew Support Astronaut for Expedition 34/35." - CSA

He is part of a training program preparing for a variety of future endeavors, one of which may include space geology.  That's right studying rocks, earth, and more on the moon, asteroids, or maybe even mars!  See more about how he trained in the arctic and also in caves.  Both very hostile and stressful environments that will help him get ready for a multitude of space explorations.  Read more about it on the CSA website here.
Training in the acrtic
Training in caves
Hansen and Hadfield
Expedition 34/35 was the mission that Chris Hadfield commanded and as such the two Canucks worked closely together.

See here for how he worked as part of the support crew.

See his perspective of Commander Hadfiled's adventures in space here

One of Jeremy's observations about Chris Hadfield
"He really taught us that we live on 'Spaceship Earth.' We only have one of them and it's the only one we have the technology to live on right now and we have to take care of it and we have to take care of the people on it. And that's a pretty profound message, I think, for humanity." - J. Davison

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hadfield answered my question!

I submitted a question online and Chris Hadfield himself answered it for me!!  LOVE IT!!

Also listen live here to hear him read from his new book

Halloween Afternoon


Here is the plan for Thursday, October 31

My grade 7 classes will be part of a unique opportunity to use Skype in the Classroom.  At 10:45am we will learn all about Sea Turtles and marine ecology with the South Carolina Aquarium.  I love being able to bring a bit of the ocean to our land locked province!  See more here
Also here are some YouTube videos to get ready

As for the afternoon here is the plan!

At noon students can start getting ready with their costumes, eat a light lunch (snacks to come!), and have recess as normal.
By 1:10 - all classes in the gym, sitting in the assembly seating plan format.
1:10 - Mrs. Auch's drama class will perform skits.
1:30 - costume parade
1:45- 2:55 everyone back to their homerooms and we will have our snacks and watch a movie.

Please talk with your child on what you can bring. 
Snacks cannot continue: peanuts, any tree nuts, or nuts of any kind.

Please COMMENT BELOW with your name and let me know what your child can bring for a snack and remeber it does not have to be a large amount.  Just enough for all 19 kids to have a taste.


Veggie platter - RYAN
Cheese & crackers - OLIVIA

Sausage - 
Fruit plate - KAELEY
Juice / flavored waters -  
Madelyn (water) Cam (juice boxes)
Chips - DEVON

Halloween treats x 4 - 

  • Delaney  - brownies
  • Reagan - cupcakes
  •  Madelyn - Rice crispies
  • ________________
Napkins, plates and cups  Cameron 
  • Popcorn - Andrew 
  • ____________________ 
  • ____________________


Mme Merriman

Hadfield Book Tour

OCTOBER 25th, 2013

Chris Hadfield's book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, will be released next week!  I pre-ordered my copy as soon as humanly possible and can't wait to devour every page!  I am really looking forward to learning more about him and hope to share his inspirational story with my students.  I find his message of perseverance, hard work, and following your dreams so important, especially for my students and children.  I want them to know that every decision they make should be made while keeping their goals in mind and that if they always push their lives in that direction and dedicate themselves they can achieve anything!  One day I want to brag that the next great Canadian astronaut, CSA scientist, robotics engineer, entrepreneur, inventor, or medical researcher was one of my kids!  All of the great science lectures I have ever attended (Jane Goodall, David Suzuki, and Chris Hadfield) all said that we need to inspire that moment that sparks science in the mind of a child!  THIS is what I am meant to do!

Although I heard Chris speak and sing with the Bare Naked Ladies at the ETown convention, and it was truly fantastic, it is my dream to one day meet him.  I don't care if it takes me another year or ten, but some day I'd love to tell him in person just how much he has fuelled my passion for science and STEM education.  I'd like to thank him for all the joy and science he has brought into all of our lives.  

I was hoping to go to his book signing when it came through town but unfortunately Edmonton is not on his list of stops.  He will be in Calgary November 19th-20th and then back to his home town of Sarnia on November 23rd.  I am hoping if we can convince Random House Canada to add Edmonton somewhere in between.  

Please help me by contacting Random House Canada through social media and promote the idea!  We will never know if it is possible until we try!
See more here
Twitter -
Google+ -

For more information on the book or to order your own copy please see

"Chris offers readers extraordinary stories from his life as an astronaut, and shows how to make the impossible a reality."

OCTOBER 28th, 2013


Hadfield Halloween II

Check it out!!  I am on CBC Canada AND Macleans's website with my hubby!  Chris Hadfield asked people via Twitter to send in pictures of their Halloween costumes and I made the cut!  I am up against some pretty adorable kids but it is nice to know he's seen my face!

See the original post here

See all Hadfield Posts here



My husband is CSA ground control and I try my best to rock the 'stash Hadfield style!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Class garden

Our class garden and Earth Boxes are growing really well and brings so much life into our room!  I love it!  We also planted some pots with food scraps to show asexual reproduction and some of them have also grown really well.  Yum!  Finally our CD case garden labs are doing great and the kids have chosen their own variables to see how they change growth (light, water, nutrients, etc).  Results TBA!

See more about planting out Earthboxes here

See more about the Earthbox project here

Things I Love

Just a few treasures I found online

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fun at the zoo

We had a great day at the zoo today learning all about endangered species.   Our guide was excellent and we even got to touch a chinchilla,  skink, and armadillo!  We also got to see the peregrine falcon and learn about yesterday's lesson on bioaccumulation.   Thank you to Joe for coming with us!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hadfield Halloween

Last night for the school Halloween dance I came as Chris Hadfield and my husband was CSA ground control.  Sweet!

I tweeted the photos and got a reply from the CSA and Commander Hadfield himself!!!  We are one step closer!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chris Hadfield Virtual School Day!

Today our entire school participated in the Chris Hadfield Virtual Classroom with the National Film Board.  It was awesome!!   Thank you to Mr. Morin for his tech help and all of the teachers for allowing this event to take place and disrupt our school schedule.  Thank you to the NFB and Commander Hadfield himself for providing such a unique opportunity.  
We are truly inspired.

See the NFB Space School site  for more details

Here are a few notes I took that included so many words of wisdom and Hadfield's great outlook on life.  I've paraphrased it as best I could.   He answered a variety of questions from students all over Canada.  Unfortunately our questions were not accepted but we had fun listening anyways!  I was really impressed about how personal Chris Hadfield made each interaction.  He addressed each student by name and had something to say about each part of Canada they lived in.  Class act.  Thank you Commander Hadfield!

 "You get strong in the gym but thin in the kitchen.  Take care of your body."

Pollution from space looks like a film of grey or fog over the city.  Most of the world is still pristine.  You see an unblemished natural world and then you see a part infested with people like a termite mound.  Most of the world is clean and it give us hope.
"Every good decision you make inspires everyone else"

The most concerning impact on the environment is water.  Only a fraction of the water on earth is fresh water.   Without water we are done.  The great lakes water levels have never been lower.  What are the long term symptoms and impacts on fresh water?  Conserve!

Planets and stars look a little bit different from space.  Earth looks significantly different because we are looking at it from orbit and the ISS is very close to the world.  Planets look about the same.  Because there is no atmosphere in the way the stars don't twinkle and are perfect points of light.  If you went outside on a clear night far away from the city it will look as close to that as possible.     

Earth's accuracy from maps is a tough one. Imagine peeling an orange and trying to make it flat.  You just can't.  So maps of the world aren't round and world isn't flat.     From space direct image above a certain part of the world is "flat" and the same as maps but if you look further away (north, south etc)  the world become exaggerated and magnified because of the curve of the earth.

When is it bedtime on the ISS?  The ISS goes around the earth 16 times a day.  16 sunrises and sunsets a day make it hard to have a concept of time.  The ISS chose to make it's time to be same as London, England. Half way between Houston and Moscow.  So you just go into your sleeping area, zip up your sleeping bag and without windows there is no light.  You just relax.  It is like floating in a beautifully warm swimming pool.  Totally relaxed.  I slept wonderfully in space

In space there is no fridge or oven.  Space food is packaged freeze-dried food you re-hydrate.  It will last for years but isn't that tasty.  I didn't become an astronaut for the food.  Because there is no gravity your sinuses do not drain and so your nose is stuffed and food is hard to taste.  The best meal was the shrimp cocktail because of the spicy horseradish in the sauce.  It was a decongestant. (LOL!)

There is no running water so when you brush your teeth you swallow the toothpaste and all and chase it with some water.  You also take sponge baths and so you can get clean with a very small amount of water.

It is important to have psychological support.  Some included being able to phone and email family, movies, books, etc.  Was it hard being away from your family on the ISS?  Chris has lived all over the world (including Cold Lake where I used to work!) and even though he misses his family and missed them when he was on the ISS he is used to it.  His children live all over the world as well and so they have a sky site they keep open and chat whenever they can.

There are over 200 experiments being performed on the ISS.  The one he focused on was researching a way to analyse blood using a machine the size if a microwave.  It is a new Canadian invention that can be used on the ISS but also in remote places in the world.

In regards to the cost of the Canadian space program Chris said he did his research and found that for every thousand dollars we spend 240 $ on healthcare and only 3 cents for astronaut program.  Do we need to spend more or spend less?  It is worth it understand our health from the ISS and here on earth.  It is important to invest in our space program because right now being an astronaut  when you grow up is possible in Canada and if it wasn't out great young minds would move to other countries.

How do you settle arguments or personal conflict on the ISS?  After 21 years as an astronaut he has never been asked that.  You are stuck together small space and so the best solution is prevention.  They all have worked for years together in advance and try to anticipate any problems.  It is easy to fight when someone doesn't listen.  So learn how to listen to what, why and how someone is saying something and figure out the problem and don't let your emotions get in the way.

Being an astronaut on the ISS is a dream come true.   Realizing that dream is a joyful feeling. 

Your body naturally atrophies in space.  We work out two hours a day on the ISS.  When we get back to earth we have lost some muscle and heart strength.  Two weeks of exercising helped me feel almost normal.  It too me four months to be able to run.  It will take a full year to get bone density back.
Keep making decisions every day that move your life along the direction of the thing you want.  It will take a while.  Always  your dreams in mind.

Hadfield has been a musician his whole life and his family is musical.  Music is fundamental and has been around since before recorded history.  It is hard to make a living but fun.  He has always tried to include music in his  life.  It adds texture and humanity to what is going on.  Helps balance out your life.

What are you going to do now?   He asks himself this daily.   He wants to continue to do things to make him proud of his life.  Help others.  Something worthwhile.   Educating.  Being university professor.  Tech consultant.  Help influence Canada.  Run for red cross or Influence people in TV for life choices and environmental issues.  Lots of goals.  I want to be able to say  "This was a good decade!"

Friday, October 11, 2013

Flower Power

We had a lot of fun last week building flowers!  The kids had to bring in supplies and in two periods build a flower and label all of the parts.  It is always a great way to learn and brightens up our classroom!