Students Cycle across Canada without Leaving their Classroom

Jun. 15, 2017

Grade 5 Spanish Bilingual students at Westgate School are recognizing Canada’s 150 by cycling across Canada, conducting research, and sharing along the way!

Two stationary bikes took up residence in Kim Sarsons’ classroom in April and the challenge of crossing the country from coast to coast in three months time began. This virtual journey started on April 3 by recognizing Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope, and it embarked from St. John’s Newfoundland.

Every ten minute “cyc-sesh” (cycle session) that a student rides is equivalent to five kilometers of the 5, 514 km coast to coast journey. A breakdown of time cycled is: 100 minutes = 50km (almost 2 hours), 1000 minutes = 500km (16.666 hours), and 10 000 minutes = 5000km (166.666 hours). In order to achieve their collective goal, students need to cycle a total of approximately 170 hours in order to cross Canada as the crow flies! All of this cycling happens throughout the day during lessons, activities, and independent reading blocks. The kilometers cycled are tracked on our “Cyc-o-mometer”, a large thermometer that highlights dates and distances at regular intervals. Senora Kim contributes kilometers as well by riding her real bike to and from school when the weather permits.

Students have been independently researching a variety of interesting topics inspired by the provinces they’ve cycled through and the ones that await them. Their diverse collection has been audio recorded and QR coded to create “Canada’s Digital Museum” for every Westgate School student, teacher and administrator to experience and enjoy.

Pairs of Museum Ambassadors from the class visited every classroom and the offices of our principal and assistant principal to invite them to visit and to explain what QR codes are. All that’s needed to listen and learn more about our incredible country is an iPad with a QR code reader app and a set of headphones. Part of the museum is also set aside for visitors to post their comments about their museum experiences. The Grade 5 students will soon add another element to their Digital Museum by finalizing a series of biographies about influential Canadians all presented in Spanish!

Our “Virtual Journey 150” has been an epic experience of endurance, learning and sharing within our school community and we hope to reach the west coast by the end of the school year!