Expedition # 5- Ridgelines & Coastlines Outdoor Sampler Cohort

Words & Photos- Emily S.

Our fifth expedition day full of action and fun engaging experiences. We left school around 8am to go kayaking in Brentwood bay, we paddled into Todd inlet and saw a bunch of wildlife like jellyfish, starfish, and some of us even saw a seal. We also got a chance to think about the questions about the environment and how climate change is impacting our local region that we explored earlier that week in a grade meeting.

After paddling for more than 2 hours, we had lunch and took the bus to Bear Mountain where we went mountain biking for the rest of the day . We were split into 2 groups, experienced and less experienced so that everyone got a chance to learn something new and step out of their comfort zone, we explored new skills and had a lot of fun.


Expedition # 5 - Ridgelines & Coastlines Paddling and Hiking

Ridgelines & Coastlines - Paddling

Words from Alex R.

Today, me and my fellow kayakers experienced what it is like to go Whitewater Kayaking. It was an introductory day and our second time kayaking as a group, but it was definitely a blast. The surrounds were stunning, we got to go down some beginner rapids and some of us even got to go “swimming”, which sounds fun until your boat flips upside-down. Your “Holy Crap! Strap” is there for a reason, so when I flipped after going over a massive rock, I pulled it, ditched my boat, and drifted down the rapid. It’s really just a waterslide if you think of it with the right perspective. A few of us experienced the same panic that I did, but looking back it was just because the heat of the moment. The guides were very helpful in making sure everyone was safe and having fun.

There was one moment in particular, when about 3 kayakers, including myself, flipped on the same part of the river. My story was that my friend was headed into a bush and I was trying to see what was going on, then ended up flipping myself. I was stuck on the side of the river with someone else who had flipped. All we had was our two kayaks filled with water, and 1 paddle. One of the guides came to help us while another was with the majority of the group and the final guide was with someone who had flipped but was farther down the river bend. They were all calm, despite the time delay and after we had finally emptied our kayaks, the guide helping me let me use his paddle to go down the rapid that was left. The other student stuck with me drained his kayak of water, then also went down the remainder of the rapid.

The guide was left without a paddle, so another guide walked up his boat with my paddle that had drifted down, gave him the paddle, and finally made it to the rest of the group. We were way behind schedule and it had been a long day, but nobody was complaining and we finished off the day strong. We all learnt valuable kayaking skills, whether it was for Whitewater Kayaking or if it applied to Kayaking as a whole. We were lucky to have such friendly and enthusiastic guides, and the beautiful, sunny day, wasn’t so bad either. It was truly a day to remember.

Expedition # 5 - Alternative Energy Cohort

Words & photos - Dewi W.

We started off the day bright and early in the Art Room on the 3rd floor of Crofthall. We watched videos regarding Teslas, lithium batteries and super connectors. The videos explained the current progress in automated cars and the current upgrade in Tesla cars with Tesla Autopilot.

We then headed upstairs to continue building our wind turbines. After putting together the final pieces of the top of our turbine, we were done! But just before we got to actually putting the wind turbine atop the roof. We took a short break to the parking lot to see an actual Tesla Model X. An amazing feat of technology and the automation industry. After viewing and being within this phenomenal car, we took all of our pieces to the roof to begin construction. However, we didn’t quite get to see the turbines in full effect as we were missing a BB to allow the fins to spin. Then we went down to the science classroom to figure out the transfer of energy between the wind turbine and an actual battery that could hold the energy. Before we knew it, the day was over and many hopped in cars or walked over to the boarding house. All in all, it was a great day for renewable energy.

Expedition #5 - Who Am I? Exploring Cultural Roots Cohort

Words & Photos - Adrienne H.

As mentioned in our previous blogs, we did our DNA test during our second expedition day, finding out about our ancestry roots. We started our 5th expedition day by going on a trip around the world. Each one of us had the opportunity to take the others on a journey to where their ancestors are from using Google Earth VR in SMUS' glasserie. From Ecuador, Brazil, England to Africa and China. We went to some really cool places and got to see some monuments which we might not ever visit in real life. Everyone did their own research before the expedition day and shared their ancestors' stories while taking us around the world, it was definitely interesting to learn more about each other's culture as we all come from very different places. 

For the afternoon, we got a chance to plan meals for our pursuit week at the end of June. From planning to actually cook it ourselves, we learnt different cooking skills and more about cooking. This is very meaningful because we will cook our culture meals. We will get to eat food from different cultures made by each student, which we are all very looking forward to. Unfortunately, we were too keen to learn cooking that no photos were taken! 

Expedition # 5- Sport Analytics Cohort

Words & Photos - Liam E.

The Sports Analytic cohort had another exciting Expedition Day, We started it off by learning about wearable tech that pro athletes use to train and analyze performances. We did this with Strength and Conditioning coach for Rugby Canada Mike Deasy. With the wearable technology we were able to analyze multiple statistics about our speed, power, explosiveness and endurance. We measured these statistics by playing a couple games to get us warm and running 40 yard dashes. Shoutout to Theo Young for getting the highest max speed during the session!

After Collecting the data we compared it with each other and pro athletes and discussed how this data could be useful in professional sports. After lunch we got a lesson on multiple advanced techniques for Microsoft Excel by Mr. Takel to create interactive diagrams for teams and athletes to use for their best advantages. The lesson will help the boys greatly for our final project during the pursuit week where we will analyze game tape, mark the statistics and make infographics to help create an advantage for SMUS coaches and athletes.

Expedition # 5 - Student-Athlete Experience Cohort

Words & Photos - Bella K.

On the student athlete cohort we practiced leadership skills at the junior school and all took part in teaching three small groups of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders. In the first half of the day we planned our lessons in smaller groups of 2 or 3 people and then fit a short training session into our day. My group decided to teach basketball skills including dribbling, passing, and shooting.

In the second half of the day we traveled to the Junior School and put all of our planning into action and actually taught the students. It was definitely not as easy as I was expecting. The groups varied so much that we learned that you can't have a set lesson plan and you have to be able to quickly adapt to your class ability and interest to keep them engaged. Overall it was a really fun experience and it was interesting to have a new perspective on being the teacher rather than the student. 

Expedition #5 - Ceramics & Glass Fusion Cohort

Words & Photos - Nancy C.

This was our second time coming to this factory, but it was our first time creating those clay crafts by ourselves, we were all really excited for creating our own pieces. When we first arrived at the factory, we were familiar with all the materials and how do those tools work as we went there before, the teacher demonstrated the process of creating the ceramics and explained how should we place our hands in order to form the shape we wanted them to be. Everyone in our cohort creates a few special and unique ceramics, some of us formed a bowl and some of us created small containers.

We started getting materials and tools we needed to the pottery wheel machine, we started of with throwing the clay downwards at the bottom of the wheel machine, moisturizing the clay with water using our both hands. After the clay is set in the middle of the plate, we started spinning the plate by using our half sole to press the pedal and increased the speed of spinning, we applied force our heels to decrease the speed of spinning. By controlling the pedal, we could form the shape we wanted, even though it was harder than I thought, but I still made it! The process was tough, I was close to forming the shape I wanted but ended up applying too much force at last and destroyed my piece. I had to go over the procedure all over again, from a pile of clay, to the shape I wanted it to be. It was fun during the process, enjoying the success at the end of this cohort looking at the ceramics I created.

Expedition #5 - Music Writing & Production

Words & Photos - Caroline Luo

The May 6th Expedition was a very fun and creative day! For the first hour, we were asked to come up with some little loops for the main chords of the entire songwriting sessions. My friend Lucy and I brainstormed and came up with quite a few pretty loops. I was amazed by Rick’s beautiful E flat major tunes and so was Devon. As a result, we decided to work as a group to come up with some lyrics and some other parts of the song such as pre-chorus, chorus, and bridge. All three groups came up with some catchy melodies and lyrics. We had a very productive morning.

After lunch, we had our special guest Justin, who worked with us in the studio last time to teach us how to use the music production DAW called Logic Pro X. Logic Pro X is such a useful tool when it comes to music production. It’s easy to get started because it doesn’t require much musical knowledge. Then he helped us record our original songs for each group. I love each one of the song that was created! Afterwards, we discussed about our plans for the experiential week. We can’t wait to have the opportunity to work in a real studio and to have our own songs produced!


Expedition # 5 - Fashion Design & Industry

Words & Photos- Emma S.

The Fashion and Industry cohort was very cool and super helpful on our fourth expedition day. We started the day by completing our projects from our last expedition days. After we prepared our sewing machines, we went to fabric Island to choose our fabric for our end projects. 

After everyone got their fabric and some nice accessories for the projects, we went back to school and started sharing our ideas with our teachers. Some of our group members started to cut their fabric for their new clothes while the rest of our group finished their last project. You could see a smile on everyone’s faces when we began sewing. We also talked a lot about our expedition week, and everyone was very excited. We planned what we were going to do and how we were going to do it. At the end of our class, we watched three videos and learned how we can help save our environment by reducing the production of clothes, resulting in less waste


Expedition #5 - Giddy Up! Leadership Through Ranching

Words & Photos from Julia M.

For our fifth and final expedition day, we were super excited to get back to the horses. We split into two groups in the morning and headed off for our day. The drive was long we but we were eager to get started. Through the day we were going to go on a two hour trail ride at Alpine Stables and then head back to Spiritgate Farm where we spent our third exhibition day. In the morning, my group started off at Alpine Stables where we quickly saddle off headed into the trails of Cobble Hill Mountain. Our guide led us up the north side of the mountain as the horses easily navigated the steep terrain. Being immersed in the quiet nature was very rewarding for the group. We were able to experience a little bit of what our end-of-year trip is going to be like.

In the afternoon, we drove over to Spiritgate Farm and reunited with our best friend, Hoover. The farm had changed locations since the last time that we were there and Michelle, the owner, showed us around and we explored the new farm for a bit. We started our activities with splitting into two groups of three where we would start to work with the horses. Our task was to lead the horse, with just commands and cookie incentives, down a long path with the goal of crossing a bridge over water at the end. The first horse we worked with, Solstice, was a bit stubborn and apparently full, explaining why she didn’t want the treats. We then switched horses and started working with Ginger. She was much bigger than Solstice and immediately came to greet us. The three of us worked really well together and were successful in guiding Ginger across the bridge. She had not yet crossed the bridge as this was a newer home, definitely an added bonus for us. We then switched groups and were spectators to the second group as they also guided Ginger across the bridge. This activity was very rewarding for us, a feeling shared by the group, as we sat down with Michelle to reflect on it.

Next, we moved our conversation to where we started off and then Michelle educated us and led a discussion on environmental and sustainability issues. The most interesting part was definitely when she made plants sing. This sounds a little crazy but can be easily explained. According to Michelle, there is a group in Northern Italy studying the vibrational energy signals that run through plants, similar to humans. They have developed a machine that can transmit these signals and synthesize them into musical notes. We were all fascinated by this, this being something never seen before by any of us. Overall, we experienced new things, learned plenty and went home feeling accomplished and inspired. Now, onto our next adventure!


Expedition #5- "Time, Talent & Money"- Service & Philanthropy Cohort

Words & Photos - Akhil P.

Our Expedition day was one filled with many perspectives and two very different ways of tackling the big problem of food. Our first stop of the day was The Mustard Seed warehouse, where we were given a tour of their vast facilities. They were well stocked and seemed to get donations from Thrifty’s and other supermarkets as a large chunk of their intake. I was particularly interested in a seemingly endless supply of non-branded grapefruit soda, of which I was told they had in excess of 1600 litres. I was put on mushroom bagging duty, and the name says it all. I portioned mushrooms into paper bags and put them in a large basket. I was then assigned to box flattening, as all the produce donations they receive come in large quantities and as a result usually come with boxes. After about an hour we all convened on a final task before we left. We were to sort bread into “past the expiry date” and “still fresh”. We went through maybe four or five large garbage bins of bread and only ended up with maybe five or six packages of hot dog and kaiser buns that were still good. Unfortunately, the rest we were not allowed to send out to the grocery front on Queens St. so we had to throw it out. It was eye-opening to see how much food is wasted, and we only went through only a fraction of what that warehouse received for the day.

The second half of the day we looked at the opposite when we “greened” our thumbs at Shelbourne Street Kitchen. We were introduced to Tree and David. We were immediately tasked with clearing the area and were given the plans for the day. We were to clear out the small sand pit next to the house to make way for some tomato plants. While I helped clear rocks and occasionally shovel out sand, my task was a little different. Tree introduced me to Ivy, and the effects it can have on plants and infrastructure. My job for the day was clearing the ivy and foliage out of a corner of the yard and making it a clean little corner to store our new found buckets of sand. We learned about small scale farming and how it can be more impactful, which was an interesting paradigm shift from what we did in the morning. Overall, I would call the day a success and an interesting view at multiple perspectives of the same problem. Thanks to Mr. Cook, Ms. Bateman, and Ms. Parker for organizing!

Expedition #5- Yoga, Pilates & Mindfulness Cohort

Words & Photos from Grace M.


Todays Expedition day was filled with new learning opportunities, reflection, and fun. The day started with learning how to cook and mindfulness. But first we all had a discussion about our relationship with food and our reasons for picking this cohort. I personally feel opening up myself and listening to my peers open up about themselves helped us bond and get to know each other better. We made a very delicious homemade lunch of quinoa with spinach salad, a stir fry type dish, and hummus. I learned a lot about food and how to trust my instinct when taste testing, cutting vegetables properly, and had fun while doing it. We also talked about how cooking is actually a form of meditation. Cooking requires you to think only in the present moment and to focus. Overall the morning was a ton of fun.

After lunch, we went downtown to Amethyst Dance and Fitness to take a aerial yoga class. I was very excited to try this type of yoga because I had never before. I really enjoyed the class, but I learned how incredibly inflexible I am. But trying new poses and watching everyone attempt to go upside down was very entertaining. We finished with stretching and savasana. I left class feeling very calm and relaxed, and I’m sure everyone else felt the same. I think this expedition day was one of my favourites because I got to open up and learn more about my peers and I also got to try a fun new type of yoga!

Expedition #5 - School Grounds Coffee Company

Words & Photos from Jessica C.

As the pursuit trip is approaching, School Grounds Coffee was getting ready to launch our business into SMUS community. On this Expedition day, we divided into three teams: the marketing team, the baking team, and the production team. The goals of the Marketing team were to determine the price of each product we are going to sell, create an Instagram account for online advertising, and prepare the materials in assembly to publicize our business. On the other side, the baking team decided to make donuts and enjoyed our new deep fryer. Lastly, the producing team roasted amazing coffee beans and packed them into new packages.

At the end of the day, our production was very successful and exciting. A logo design has been finalized, an Instagram account has been created, and a slide for the presentation in the assembly were done by the marketing team. They also drew and put up posters for the selling station that we carried out at the end of the day. The baking team baked 75 delicious donuts which later on sold out in 20 minutes. The producing team brought in their production of light, dark roasted and French dark coffee beans that were well packaged, which also sold out by the end of the day. Our Instagram account has more than a hundred followers. Overall, our first day of business looked pretty successful and we had lots of fun.

Expedition #5- One Wild & Precious Life: Creative Writing & Visual Art

Words & Photos - Ariel Khoo

Today we took a 40 minute bus ride down to Metchosin - a beautiful countryside-looking area away from the city. Our group spent the morning soaking in the golden sun on a terrace, tanning and chatting away happily as we engaged in our first activity: drawing outlines of nature around us while experimenting with the various types of markers we were provided with. We then cut up the drawings and rearranged them into an abstract collage on a larger piece of paper, incorporating a drawing of our shoe to make our mark on the artwork.

After a relaxing lunch break in the sunshine, we headed indoors to start the writing component of the day. Mr Dewar brought a stack of old magazines with him, which we used to pick out random words and phrases, before piecing them together and creating a set of completely new lines. By the end of the afternoon, we had our own paragraphs/mini poems crafted using our findings from the magazines, unique abstract drawings, as well as newly acquired tans/burns!


Expedition #5 - Bee's & Peas Please Cohort

Words & Photos from Nicola Y.

Our fifth Expedition was a sunny day. First of all, we went to the SMUS Community Garden for building the beehive. Before this Expedition Day, we had already finished making the deep hive body and Ms. Marti helped us making some of the frames for the beehive. After that, we went to Mr. Klenz’s garden. We were trying to clean the worms on the apple tree. Some people were using their hands, some people were using the water pipe and shot the worms down. It was a fun experience! In the beginning of our activity, we have planted some garlic and other vegetables. We could see how healthy and strong the plants were. Then we separated into few groups. We did some weeding, planting, cooking respectively. After we finished all the work, we met our sweet bees which we bought last time. They were all vivacious and cute. Finally, we had our delicious lunch that cooked by the teachers and some of the students.

After lunch, we went to Jim’s farm again. We put on our bee suits and gloves, ready for welcoming our bees. We set up the beehive and released the bees out. We put the frames which had the bees on top in the beehive and we let them adapted to their new home. We met a lot of different animals this time, for instance, two sibling sheep, two large cows, a gecko which tail has been cut off and so on. They were all impress us. And then, we moved the natural fertilizer and weeding. At last, everyone had a cup of natural apple juice to end our works. We said goodbye to our bees and wish them have a great lives in their new home. We look forward to connecting again in June for our Pursuit trip.

Expedition #4 - Ridgelines & Coastlines Sampler Cohort

Words & Photos from Jimmy F.


Our fourth Expedition kicked off super fun right away. We started off putting up tents and learning skills related to camping that we will be using during our pursuit trip at the end of the year. This lead us to start planning our trip including things like costs of each activity as well as location and food. After this we went back outside and started to make food using only a few ingredients. I guess my groups’ food must have been really not great (The look on Mr. Anderson’s face said it all).

After this we had our lunch break and then headed off to Crystal pool to learn kayak skills . In this we learned how to go upside down underwater and get out etc. These rolling skills will be required when we make the transition to the real water situations in the spring! It was a very exciting day in the cohort and I look forward to building our skills through the rest of the year.





Expedition #4 - Fashion Design & Industry Cohort

Words & Photos from Sage A.

The Fashion Design and Industry cohort was very excited to gather again to continue working on our design projects. Each student in the cohort has been building up their skills and designing and sewing their own unique piece of clothing- we even got to choose our own fabrics!

During Expedition four, our cohort was very lucky to be able to work with Rosemary Abram, who we welcomed in from a local college. She is truly an expert, and each one of us were allowed some time with her to share ideas and get some assistance with our clothing designs. Once Rosemary delivered some instruction, we were able to experiment with what we learned on our own pieces. I really valued this part of the day, as I enjoy getting fully into my own project. We are building up our skills through the year, and will leave with an ability to design and make our own clothes…very cool!