Caleb – How are video games affecting our bodies today? (Genius Hour – 2014)

Caleb started out thinking about How are video games made and how do they function — the answers came right off the bat and the teacher had said that questions shouldn’t be answered quickly. So, he decided to find a deeper question. He always wondered how games make his eyes hurt and so he thought it would be a good topic to look at information about effects on the body.

How can video games have great uses?

  • may improve hand eye coordination
  • problem solving skills
  • mind’s ability to process information……..But games can also cause lack of exercise, obesity, problems with performance at school and friendships and can cause violent activity in real life. Games can be addictive.

Caleb shared information learned from a TEDx talk about engagement with games.
Wanting a game + Like the game = engagement
 There are all sorts of games available in different places — over 100 people could be buying games every day. Advertisements make us be interested in games and want them – but it doesn’t mean its a good game. Need to want it and like it in order to be engaged.

Neurogenesis: Games can help the brain develop

Lingering questions:
How DO games affect the eyes? (Caleb)
What should we base our purchases on so that we can avoid being tricked into buying a poor game that was advertised well? (Elise)

How does Neurogensis work?

Why would someone play soccer on a game when they can be outside playing the game for real? (Julia)










Isabel – What really goes on behind the scenes in musicals? (Genius Hour Oct. 2014)

Isabel shared so much about what is involved in making a musical, drawing on her experiences in the audience at professional musicals, her involvement in our school musicals and also community theatre. She also used some video and print sources that shed light on behind the scenes.

What happened behind the scenes of movies – Isabel discovered that she already knew most of the information and she hit a few brick walls. Instead, Isabel decided go into musicals instead because she felt that she could generate some deeper questions. Musicals are a whole lot of work! The behind the scenes people

Isabel created a diarama with props to help illustrate the elements of a creating a musical:

  • painting sets
  • lighting
  • fog
  • props
  • special effects
  • costumes
  • hair
  • make-up

Writers, composers, musicians, conductors, chorus singers…..choreographers, dancers……Makes the production truly COME ALIVE!

Sometimes elements are developed but then the director changes direction and everything has to be redone!!!

Special effects are usually a trick of the eye!

  • secret doors and compartments on the stage
  • special springy things and electric lifts that bring people out of the walls or sets
  • special hallways behind stage that allows people to do scene changes and movement more easily — can look magical but it’s just
  • lighting — can create a mood and develop a character (green light for scary witch)

Stage makeup  stays on better  than regular makeup, and you can be all covered in makeup, which makes you very hot under the bright lights. Wigs are fun, and also make actors hot. Sometimes actors will even dye their hair to match their wig! Costumes can also be very large and bulky — which again adds to the heat

Isabel connected to the acting we recently saw from Big Kid Entertainment — large movement is important so people can see from all parts of the audience.

A production is a BIG TEAM EFFORT


backbone — directors, stage crew, backstage (sets, costumes, hair, makeup, props, lighting)

Child actors: very stressful for them! Young to have such pressure because all actors can make or break a show!


I wonder how child actors can do all of this since they are so young? (Matt)



Greg – Who is Zlatan Abrahamovich? (Genius Hour – Oct. 2014)

Greg shared with us important information about Zlatan Abrahamovich:

  • background information – born in Sweden
  • important winning goals
  • famous goals (he scored 6 goals from the half way line on the field!)
  • position on the football field (European soccer)
  • 15 million Euros per year
  • current team: Paris St. German (PSG)
  • trick shots that he is famous for
  • hobbies – fishing

Greg shared a video with an amazing goal by Abrahamovich!

(Photos to follow!)

Additional wonderings:

  • What are some of the traditions for jersey numbers and why are there such traditions?
  • I wonder about ballet and pro soccer (Elise)


Elise – How is nuclear fission possible, & how has it affected the world? (Genius Hour – Oct. 2014)



Elise began her presentation explaining how fission is possible (lots of potential energy in those bond between atoms!) and explained how nuclear energy has affected so many areas of life.

Nuclear fission/energy has contributed to many parts of life and history: from energy uses, to nuclear medicine and  atomic bombs (lengthy WWII discussion, eventually leading to relevant information sharing and connections by many students). A great many questions came up, which could easily lead to anyone’s next Passion Project (politics, moral responsibilities of using weapons & science, after effects of radiation, Allied forces vs Germany/Italy/Japan, Remembrance Day – contributions of Canadian soldiers).



Glen – Could you have survived WWII as a British civilian in Britain? (Genius Hour – Oct. 2014)

Glen provided us with information about the lives of British civilians in Britain during WWII.

He shared with us lists of Rations: what sorts of foods and supplies were available to regular people (all people, regardless of their position or wealth within the country had the same rations available to them). Glen brought physical examples of meat, sugar, and “butter” to show us what the amounts allowed per person per week actually looked like. Glen also taught us about the experiences of civilians in large cities like London (e.g. bombing) and how many children and their mothers were sent to country homes/farms to be safe, away from the big cities (and to help work on the farms as the majority of young male workers were sent away as soldiers, doctors, etc.)

In the end, some students in our class answered that they felt they could handle the stresses of war & being in a city that was bombed, or being in the country away from their families, and the stresses of having less to eat and less choices. Other students felt that it would all be a terrible hardship and very hard to bear.

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