PVNC students, educators showcased during 4th annual Deep Learning Expo

Deep Learning Expo

May 20, 2020

There were the kindergarten students who persevered over COVID restrictions to organize a virtual dinosaur exhibit that they shared with other classrooms across the Board.

There was the Environmental Specialist High Skills Major Program class that brokered partnerships with various groups within the Board and the community to facilitate the construction of a new outdoor learning space at their secondary school.

There were other students who took a deep dive into the most environmentally sustainable shipping practices, who became history relic hunters in their community and who reached across the ocean to learn about deforestation in Cameroon.

These and many other Deep Learning success stories within our Board were showcased during the fourth annual PVNC Deep Learning Expo on April 28, 2021.

PVNC students and educators had the opportunity to showcase their exciting and innovative Deep Inquiry projects during the virtual event, which brought together deans and professors from several Canadian faculties of education.

University representatives from Ottawa, Brock, Ontario Tech, Sherbrooke, and Trent faculties of education were present, along with several other special guests such as a principal from the Netherlands.

“These educational leaders made time in their busy schedules to attend our event because they were eager to hear about many aspects of Deep Learning directly from our students,” learning consultant  Heather Michel said.

Director of Education Joan Carragher thanked the participating students and teachers for sharing their work.

“We want our students to participate in Deep Inquiry learning that is meaningful to them, to leverage technology, to create partnerships, and to come out with something that is personalized and differentiated, unique to you students,” she said. “You, the students who are here today, and the educators that are here to facilitate this, have really shown that this is the way students need to connect with their learning environments and make meaningful connections inside and outside the classroom.”


Here is a description of each Deep Learning Project that was shared at this year’s Deep Learning Expo:


Virtual Museum Exhibits

Ms. Gordanier’s Kindergarten students from St. Teresa CES in Peterborough were sad that they could not go on any real class trips this year. They used a Deep Learning approach to solve this problem and together the class decided that if they couldn’t go on a class trip, they would make their own virtual class trip. Destination? Dinosaur exhibit! Leveraging technology, the students researched, created, documented, and shared their very own virtual class trip to their dinosaur museum exhibit. Ms. Gordanier generously agreed to share information with other classes interested in doing the same.

History and Science In our Town

Mrs. Ferguson’s class from Notre Dame CES in Cobourg were issued a challenge: find relics from specific periods of history or natural manifestations of the intermediate science curriculum, right in their own town. The fascinating results of the hunt for historical relics included: documents, sculptures, and even abandoned factories. The search for science led to an exploration of water filtration systems, which then translated into an in-depth study of the water crisis being experienced in Ontario’s Indigenous communities. Upon learning about the serious nature of the crisis, these intermediate students were motivated to write letters to the Prime Minister of Canada.

Project Green

Mr. Morin’s class from St. Mary CES Grafton, began their Deep Learning project by learning about several environmental concerns prevalent in the media. The class broke into small groups, based on which environmental issue they wanted to explore in depth. Each group then had to create a slide-deck full of information about that issue. Also, students were challenged to come up with an action plan for addressing the chosen issue, along with a strategy for enlisting the help of the other classes in the school. All groups presented their plans to the class and the class voted on a plan to pursue as a group. The project chosen was about the accumulation of plastics in the ocean and the action plan involved issuing a challenge to all the other classes to see which class could pick up the most litter. This project was as much about leadership development as it was about the environment.

Outdoor Learning Spaces

A year and a half ago, an Environmental SHSM class from Holy Cross CSS in Peterborough was invited to collaborate with consultants from the Catholic Education Center in the creation of an outdoor learning space to be shared by students and staff. In consultation with local environmental experts from the organization Green Up and S.U.N. (Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods), students designed an outdoor classroom that would be a place for people to gather as well as a place that would exist in harmony with the environment. At this time, a Holy Cross Construction SHSM class is finishing the creation of the benches to be placed in our shared “Gathering Place”. Students from both classes have taken ownership of the research, planning and execution of all aspects of this multi-year project. One of the students involved expressed that he has a new appreciation for the amount of math needed to determine the length and slope of an accessible path leading from the buildings to the Gathering Place. Many hands make light work and it has been the hands of teachers Julia Taylor, Michael Halloran, and Chris Paige that supported (metaphorically) students in becoming the leaders needed to see this project through to completion.

A Global Endeavour

Students from Mrs. Langer’s class, members of the Saint Thomas Aquinas Virtual Catholic School, are worried about global warming and they partnered with a class in Cameroon, Africa, to learn more about what can be done. Our students were considering the causes of global warming that are commonly prevalent in Canada as well as in Cameroon, one such example being deforestation. Their next step was to learn what the citizens of Cameroon are doing to prevent further deforestation and Mrs. Langer’s students are considering whether or not those actions could also work in Canada.  Did we mention that Mrs. Langer’s students are in Grade 3? Deep Learning experiences teach all of us not to underestimate the power of motivated students, of any age.