A project by grade 6 students from the Downtown Vocal Music Academy (DVMA) about Ontario’s electricity system created currents at the recent TIFF Bell Lightbox DigiPlayspace exhibition.
TIFF describes DigiPlaySpace
as “an interactive exhibition [made up of] installations, learning-centric games, mobile apps, creative tools and production activities, all designed by acclaimed children’s artists from around the world.” The event encourages students to learn about the world around them through discovery, and that’s exactly what DVMA students accomplished.
On the closing weekend of the exhibition, the group from DVMA showed off their work at the community table. The students created a model of Ontario’s electricity system in collaboration with Andy Forest from SteamLabs
. They used recycled materials to create models of the four main energy sources for Ontario (wind, hydroelectric, nuclear and natural gas).
The students also used an online design program, Tinkercad, to design and print the models of the energy consumers (Businesses, Factories, Homes, Agriculture and Public Transit). After they designed the buildings, the students printed them using a 3D printer.
“This was a fantastic opportunity for my students,” said teacher Abby Pierce. “The whole project was very student centered with the students choosing which aspect of the model on which they would like to work.”
The model they created was connected to a computer interface, which had
access to real-time electricity use data, and this data was shown visually on the model by different coloured LED lights, with the lights changing each time different data is accessed. “The students could show visually how much of each type of power is being used at a specific time, and make inferences as to why certain sources of power are being used and others not,” said Pierce. “For example,
[in February] we used much more natural gas power than hydroelectric because Niagara Falls was not flowing well due to the extreme cold.”
The students were excited to share their work through the DigiPlayspace exhibition at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. "It was cool to present a project that I worked on at the DigiPlayspace,” said Sabika G. “I was nervous at first but I gained confidence over time."
Teagan F agreed. “When I first got there I was really nervous about speaking to people I didn't know,” he said. “As I kept explaining I became more comfortable and people were interested so I showed them the website."
Classmate Joel M called the experience amazing. “I saw a lot of enthusiasm from everyone; maybe the energy from the project was powering us up as well!"