Projects! Projects! Projects!

Over the winter break, I spent a lot of time reading, thinking, and hanging out with my kids doing projects. I also spent a great deal of time speaking with people throughout the world as to what they think a project is. What is a project?

Based on this line of inquiry, I started to comb various media outlets to get a sense of what people were doing in the world in terms of projects that might inspire Maples Met School learners. There is a huge difference between a project and an activity or hobby. Projects come from a place of questioning, of curiosity, and of purpose.

While we all know that great projects begin with a powerful essential question that questions our role within the universe, here are links to potential final products, resources, platforms, and other supports for our inquiry:

Preserving the History of a City


Why is it important to preserve the history of a city? 


Create a Student-run Newspaper

Newspapers are critical to any democracy, as they hold governments to account. Why not connect with other writers, artists, and thinkers to create your own press!

Create Your own Solar Panel






Create a Bike Generator!


Images of Winnipeg


The Winnipeg Free Press recently published a photo essay of aerial views of the Winnipeg. What parts of the city are missing? Why? What would you include? How could you use GIS to create maps of areas of Winnipeg that are ignored? What are important areas for youth?


50 Book Pledge


The 50 Book Pledge is an amazing way to motivate yourself and also share your research with people throughout the world. No matter what essential question you’re attacking, this is a greta way of creating a digital library.


Radical History Poster Project


The Graphic History Collective has launched a project called the Radical History Poster Project. This is a fantastic way for learners to use their artistic talents to think historically (The Big 6!) about Canada, Treaty 1, and what it means to live in Red River.


Manitoba Robot Games 2018


Take a crack at the Manitoba Robot Games!


Northern Hydroponic Project


Can Flying Machines Help Save Lives?



Create Work Benches for your School’s Fabrication Lab


Hint: We need these at the Met for great projects!


Lego Crane (Why not?)


Create an interactive Periodic Table!



CBC Nonfiction Prize


What a perfect final product for a project! (And you could take home some loot!)


Mennonite Central Committee Hygiene Kits


Design a New Arlington Bridge

Banning Plastic Bags


There is some recent support for banning plastic bags in Winnipeg. This might be a really cool, authentic, and impactful project to investigate!


Imagine Portage & Main


What should Portage and Main look like? Design it!


Create Your Own Zine!


Go underground and create a zine that reflects your manifesto!


Make your own Wind Turbine!


Aquaponics System


Lots of essential questions and tangents with this project!


What is History? Part 1

Desmond Morton with Governor General Johnston

Desmond Morton with Governor General Johnston

Throughout the year in Canadian History, Law, and Canada in the Contemporary World, we will be exploring an incredibly rigourous and difficult question: What is History? Over the past few thousand years in both the West and East, historians have been grappling with the how and why of history.

As such, as a learning community, we will be exploring this question together and we will try to offer new understandings as a group and as individuals. To do so properly, however, we will need to speak to elders and experts in the field and listen to what they have to say. Each week we will look at a text, listen to an historian, and/or look at alternative perceptions of history and the doing of history.

As we use Desmond Morton’s A Short History of Canada as our main text in this course (and because Dr. Morton is an SJR alum and Rhodes Scholar), we will seek his wisdom first. Last week, he emailed me his interpretation of history:

History is another word for “experience”  and experience is our best way to profit from the errors our ancestors made because they had not really understood what was happening. At the moment, this is most apparent in U.S. policy toward the Middle East.

When I “do” history, I try to move my mind back to the era I am considering and to read whatever survives or is available in writing from that era.  Our forebears lived in an environment of belief and custom that, in many ways, has changed out of recognition.  

Usually we have some understanding of why our contemporaries behave and react as they do because we are pressured by parents, teachers and other authority figures to behave in much the same way that they were taught. The young grow up in a world shaped by social media and forms of  technology that simply did not exist a generation ago.  If we look at the Great War of 1914-18, we must look back a full century, to a time no living human being can now remember directly. To know how and why our ancestors did what they did, we must do our best to understand them and their time.  Those who enjoy history welcome the chance to understand those strangers we call our forebears.

                                                                Desmond Morton, OC, CD, FRSC.

                                                                Hiram Mills Professor of History emeritus

                                                                McGill University

Now it’s your turn. Based on Dr. Morton’s insight here and the introduction to his book, what do you take from his understanding of history? Can you take it and further it? Spin it? I look forward to your thoughts and ideas.