Hands on Learning in the Trades at John McCrae SS

A group of students gathered around surveying equipment.

A new program is being offered at John McCrae to help students looking to get into the skilled trades.

The course started by math teacher Sean Mikkelborg, supports students in college pathway programming to learn about the math necessary for them to succeed in various post secondary opportunities – especially construction related. 

It is a one high school credit course which is offered to grade 12 students who are looking to apply for a college program. Students put into practice geometry, trigonometry, and fractions, and learn to produce and interpret drawings – which they will use later in actual projects.

From the start of the school year students have been in the classroom learning math skills and have now taken their learning outside to find the elevation of land.

On October 16, the students spent the period outside at Mowat Farm Park, taking the skills they learned in class and put it to good use.

“We are doing surveys finding different elevation points on the field,” said Liam Floyd, who is a grade 12 student in the course.

He was interested in taking the course because he would like to get involved in the skilled trades in the future, and it’s in his blood.

“My grandpa did it, my dad is in it too, it’s in my blood,” he said.

Three students and a teacher using surveying equipment in a field.

Other students shared similar sentiments, and all say they have enjoyed the course so far. They say the math has been a good refresher and they are now excited to be out of the classroom learning hands on.

“I have been kind of interested in the construction field and doing hands on work for pretty much my whole life, so I just thought this course would help me gain some more experience and explore my options a lot more.”

Student Kyle Fillon

“I have been kind of interested in the construction field and doing hands on work for pretty much my whole life, so I just thought this course would help me gain some more experience and explore my options a lot more,” said student Kyle Fillon.

“I am very interested in planning and I am trying to go to university for environmental planning,” said Fillon’s friend Isaiah Butts. “There is a lot of career potentials straight out of high school with doing this and that is an opportunity to make money right out of high school.”

The students will be out doing surveying for the next few weeks, and that will include geodetic elevations, tools and equipment, as well as field work.

After that the students will be doing estimating, calculating the costs and materials needed on site, as well as using an architectural ruler.

Capital Site Development has been generous to pay for the rental equipment which has come from Rob at Cooper rental. If any of the students excel in the course, Capital Site Development is open to the idea of hiring some of the students on this summer.

Mikkelborg is designing learning with authentic experiences for students that he is hopeful will support their future endeavours, whatever those may be.

Two students measuring wooden stakes.

**This article appeared in a slightly different draft in Councillor Jan Harder’s October 18th “E-News Blast”. Thank you to guest writer Charlie Senack – charlie.senack@ottawa.ca – for his continued coverage of powerful learning in the OCDSB.

For more information about the Trades and Tech in the OCDSB, please contact Greg Hicks at the board office. To learn more about OYAP (Youth Apprenticeship), please contact Conor Kehoe.

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