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Student learning explodes in Chemainus

Kayla Carlson (left) and Rachel Bocking display a candy- and cola-fueled volcano eruption during Chemainus High’s May 1 school-wide Student Learning Showcase of art, drama, music, and other inventive skills tapping pupils’ interests. - Peter W. Rusland
Kayla Carlson (left) and Rachel Bocking display a candy- and cola-fueled volcano eruption during Chemainus High’s May 1 school-wide Student Learning Showcase of art, drama, music, and other inventive skills tapping pupils’ interests.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland

A volcano fueled by cola and candy erupts.

Sherlock Holmes faces pistol, point blank.

About 350 origami birds are folded.

A Swedish hang drum is cut from an old propane tank.

These artistic projects and many others decorated Chemainus Secondary School's Student Learning Showcase last week as Grade 8 to 12 pupils eagerly explored their talents and potentials.

The day of work was dotted with displays throughout the school where students evaluated classmates' unique efforts.

"It's good because you get to see what others think of you (work), and maybe you can take something good to expand your knowledge," said Grace Stephen, playing housemaid Theresa in ChemSS's June production of Sherlock Holmes.

A 12-minute taste of that play launched Friday's Showcase that stoked drama teacher Shellie Trimble.

"This is a new thing for us — I'm excited; it gives kids an opportunity to pursue areas of interest that may not fit into a block.

"We wanted to try it and see if it works."

The creative array impressed origami artist Moka Shimatani.

"It's good because we may have another idea for (fellow students)," she said, cradling her bowl of paper birds.

In the backyard, Kayla Carlson and Rachel Bocking were busy showing how volcanoes blow.

"Candies have pores on the outside that react with coke, to release CO2 by creating a reaction," Bocking explained.

Carlson called the Showcase "an inquiry project for the school and the whole community."

"We're in block four and chose a project we're interested in — we just always had an interest in volcanoes, and put our hands to work."

Dalton Louie said "It's a good idea to get fresh ideas on projects instead of having to do similar projects over and over."

Hang-drum maker Elizabeth Stoker said the working session was "a wonderful use of people's interests, and to integrate it into a learning environment is great."

Nearby, Camille Bourcier was showing the enamel-metal jewelry she made based on band logos.

"I got to follow my interests and look into the jewelry process, and different techniques.

"Everyone gets more fun out of school by following their interests — I could imagine myself following this (jewelry making) after (leaving) school; there's a feeling of pride when you complete a project."

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