NCDES Newsletter November 2013

Phone 635-7944 or 1-800-663-3865
Any Time, Any Place, Any Pace!

Elementary News

L Dorman pics 4learningWe have been testing a new online Math program, and my students seem to like it! This program is now available for students to use, instead of the paper modules. If students need more help with any concepts, let me know. I have links to videos that will help you.

Materials needed for Term 2 have been sent out. Please contact the school if you have not received them, or if there is anything else you need.

Image courtesy of L Dorman pics 4learning

Computer Science Education Week, December 9 – 15, 2013

Code: The New Literacy

In recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, December 9 -15 is Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek). Join North Coast Distance Education School and take part in an Hour of Code (a one hour introduction to computer science). Learn the basics to be a maker, creator, and innovator. For further information or to sign up, go to

Join NCDES and take part in an Hour of Code:

Or visit:

Anybody Can Learn:

We encourage you to join us!

Poetry Extravaganza

365::225 - The Dark HalfCreative Commons License Darren Kirby via Compfight

And, we have a winner!  Thank you to Sarah Peerless for sending us her poem called “One Life” (click link). This poem was inspired by a summer camp that she went to, for the Junior Canadian Rangers.

Are you Thinking about Participating in a Science Fair?

In the following wining essay submitted to the New York Times, a former NCDES Science student, Kiri Daust, talks about his interest in science and science fairs.

Essay submitted to Student STEM Contest in the New York Times (September 26, 2013). One of 11 winning essays:

On Glowing Pickles and Undiscovered Galaxies: Student STEM Contest Winners 

Step, step, step, BONK! Ouch—I’m sure that branch used to be way higher. I’m eight years old, walking along the trail to our creek—one that I’ve walked on everyday for about a year. I may be a bit of a klutz, but I would have remembered to duck under that branch—had I needed to duck under it. The fact is, I’m sure that it’s lower than it’s ever been before; I wonder…why????

And so began my interest in science. If I could sum up science in one word, it would be the word I ended the previous paragraph with: “why?”. And that “why”, the never having conclusive answers, never being able to fully say “because”, is what has kept my interest in science growing. The question “Why do tree branches move up and down? A mystery!” investigated why the branch had lowered to head-bonking height, and in Grade 3, became my first science fair project. I never figured out “why”, but I was hooked. Now in Grade 11, I’ve completed a science fair project every year since, and the amount that it has contributed toward my scientific mind and life is unimaginable. Science fair has taught me to appreciate the world through curiosity; it has taught me think analytically, and to use science to gain knowledge about the world. Understanding the magic of science and its incredible use in the real world, has also, I believe, hugely increased my interest in science at school. Until Grade 10, I was totally home-schooled, and I did all my science through projects. I have since taken physics and chemistry at school—and I love them.

I think that the best way to learn about science is to participate in science fair. It gives an idea about what science is actually about. Science is not about memorisation, or being able to understand very complicated formulae; science is about curiosity. And that one curious happening with the head-bonking branch, even though I never solved the puzzle, turned on my curiosity forever. Without it, I might never have wondered: why????????

Kiri participated and won a medal and scholarship in the Canada-Wide Science Fair in PEI in 2012, and he also participated in the Lethbridge Canada-Wide Science Fair in 2013 (the Pacific Northwest team of 4 came back with a silver and 2 bronzes, as well as 5 scholarships). Most exciting of all, Kiri will be going to the Taiwan International Science Fair in January! Furthermore, his latest project (on highbush cranberry rust) is going to be published. From all of us here at NCDES, congratulations, Kiri!

If you live in our region, you may want to start thinking about the Pacific Northwest Regional Science Fair in April 2014. Check it out!

Pacific Northwest Regional Science Fair 2014

Thank you to Karen Price for providing the following

Pacific Northwest Regional Science Fair information (click links):

Science Fair info 2014 
PNW Science Fair Brochure 2014

You may also want to check out:

Science Fair Foundation BC
Participate in a Science Fair from our October Newsletter

 Be a participant! 


Scratching the Surface of Computers

A few months back we had a quick look at Scratch. Scratch Programming Language LogoNow Computer Science Week (Dec 9th to 15th) is almost upon us and we hope that you will join us in taking part. Before then we should look at some of the other tools that can help us learn more about Computer Science (CS). Before we go any further though, lets just think why we might want to do this.

We live in a world where computers are everywhere. From smart phones to smart televisions, everyday items are getting smarter by the addition of computer technology. This trend is going to continue and requires computer literate people to get the most out of the technology. One great piece of news is that it is easier to develop your computer skills today than ever before, and with those skills you can do far more than before.

Scratch is a great place to start learning a little computer programming, but there are many other tools that you can use to learn about computers and how they work. Here are two articles with links to some of the better tools:

For beginners, and especially those of us who like visual results, Scratch is a good start. For those who have played with Scratch for a while, Alice is a logical and good next step. It uses 3D environments to teach programming and related topics, but it is easy to use. Unfortunately, it is a very large download and takes some time to setup, but it will provide many hours and days of fun and education.

Others may find the simplicity and speed of the web based PythonMonk to be useful. It provides a more traditional approach to programming, and doesn’t have the pretty bells and whistles of Alice or Scratch, but you can get started in a couple of minutes and should work on any system. Best of all, it’s easy to use and learn. You will also be learning a programming very widely used and professional programming language.

We hope you have fun playing with the tools mentioned and in these articles above. Learning about computers can be fun and you’ll become a better  and learning how to get more out of your computer. If you can, send us a link to your work; we’d love to see your wonderful work.


First Term Report Cards

Photo Credit: PNASH via Compfight cc

check mark

Report cards were sent out on Friday November 22, 2013. Please check to make sure you got yours. Feel free to contact NCDES if you have any questions or concerns, or would like to discuss your progress with your teacher.

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