Passion Project #6

This is a demonstration of the D’arce choke. The D’arce is very similar to the triangle choke previously shown in my other blog posts. However, the triangle is formed with the arms instead of the legs. The compression and leverage comes from walking the person’s arms and neck towards their body.



Passion Project Post #5

In this week’s video, I am demonstrating a submission called the triangle. It is a type of chokehold that strangles the opponent by trapping their neck and one arm between the legs in a configuration that is shaped like a triangle. This is a type of lateral vascular restraint that decreases the blood from the carotid artery to the brain.

My experience with video editing!

In the beginning of the semester, I was tasked to make a video that describes “who I am”and why I want to become a teacher. The activity was designed for us to reflect on how we came to be in the PDP program, some of our hopes, thoughts, and ideas about teaching, and questions we have about education, teaching and/or learning as we began the program.

I recorded various clips and photos using my Samsung Galaxy 5 neo cell phone. To edit the video, I used the “windows movie maker” program. I learned how to include voice overs, music, and special image affects.

Windows Movie maker allows for a variety of effects and transitions. The effects alter how the video clip appears. In my video I was able to control the brightness and add dramatic effects. The transition options allowed me to affect how one video clip or picture flows into another.


Passion Project Post #4

This week I am starting to post videos demonstrating common self-defense moves in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Over these two months, I have been learning common techniques in “sport” Jiu Jitsu. The techniques in sport Jiu Jitsu are complicated to describe to people who don’t practice the martial art. If I tried to demonstrate these moves, the audience watching the video would need a lot of background knowledge of the various positions. For every offensive move in BJJ there are dozens of counters moves.

By posting self defense videos, I can describe scenarios that people who are in danger might encounter. The following video describes a common submission called the armbar. The armbar is best executed from the “mount” position. From the mount, you render your opponent defenseless, as all of your weight is pressed onto your opponent’s hips. This is their center of gravity, and by sitting on their hips, you limit your opponent’s range of motion.

Passion Project Blog Post #3

It is reading break! I am in Campbell River, my hometown, visiting my family for a few days. In Campbell River, there is a martial arts gym called Pure Self Defense which offers classes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, kick boxing, karate, women’s self defense, and general fitness. I grew up training kick boxing at this gym and know a few of the instructors quite intimately. One of them has a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. His name is Spence Shaw. We went to high school together, and ever since I’ve known him, he’s been obsessed with BJJ. He lives and breathes this grappling sport and has competed in many tournaments, often placing gold.

While in Campbell River, I  attended a drop in BJJ class led by Spence to see how much I’ve improved. The moment I walked in the door, I locked eyes with Spence. He was sporting a blue gi with his brown belt tied around his waist. He immediately said “there’s no kickboxing right now, get lost!”. To his surprise, I told him that I was attending a drop in class led by some “dumb idiot”. Don’t worry, we are friends – this was just our usual banter.

The class was so much fun and extremely informative. It was a one hour session with the first twenty minutes dedicated to demonstrating two specific techniques, twenty minutes for the students to practice the technique with partners, and the last twenty minutes was allotted for free grappling and practice. Spence demonstrated two types of chokes: the d’arce and the anaconda. These moves are very hard to describe through a blog, so I will include them in my future video demonstrations.

Spence gave me some very good feedback on my BJJ progress. He suggested I attend more than one class a week. My knowledge and theory of the grappling is there, but my execution needs to be cleaner. He said this only comes with practice and an instructor who can give constant feedback. I appreciated Spence’s advice, but I retorted that the PDP program is too demanding for me to attend more than one class a week. He laughed and wished me luck on my journey to becoming a teacher.



Should we be testing in schools?

In early October, I was given the opportunity to create and administer a test for a grade 12 Chemistry class. This was an assignment given by my science methods professor. The purpose of the assignment was to gauge students’ knowledge of the content, given what they should know about chemistry from their previous Science 10 and Chemistry 11 class. The test was a mixture of multiple choice and written questions. We had to be mindful of the difficulty of the questions, varying them from easy, medium, to a few difficult ones. The outcome of this experience was very surprising.

This was my first taste at creating an assessment item for students. It was much more difficult than expected as the chemist inside of me thought “these kids are in chemistry 12, they should know a lot by now”. I reviewed the previous PLO’s for science 10 and Chemistry 11 to find content to include in my test. I could have just chosen random content from each PLO and made questions out of them, but I wanted to find out more about these students. Most of the questions were popular misconceptions in lower level Chemistry. I wanted to see if by Chemistry 12 if any misunderstandings were corrected. The rest of the questions were simple to boost their confidence.

It seems like writing a multiple-choice exam is much easier than designing one. Coming up with the questions was simple, but coming up with the a-d options was somewhat difficult. I didn’t want the options to be too obviously wrong or too similar to the correct answer. It took a bit more time than expected. The written section was very easy to write up as these questions were open ended. I didn’t have to be so specific. For example, one question was “How is the mole used in Chemistry? You can use analogies and other means to justify your answer.”

On the day I administered the test, I gave clear instructions on how to answer the questions and what topics were on the test. I told them that the test was not for marks and anonymous. They had 15-20 minutes to complete the test and had to hand it in once they were finished.

To my amazement, the students were extremely anxious to write the test. Even though their names weren’t going to be on the test and it wasn’t for marks, the students were very unsettled. Some students were spotted cheating off one another. Others were flipping through the pages in panic and anxiously shaking their legs. Some students handed in the test very quickly without answering any of the written questions, while most the students needed extra time to ensure they answered all the questions to the best of their ability.

Since the students didn’t have the opportunity to prep for the test, and more specifically, prepping for the exact questions, it seemed to trigger panic. It puts into question: are we testing students for knowledge or are we testing for progress and grades? The questions on the test came straight from the previous PLO’s. I expected them to at least get all the simple questions correct.

This experience informs my future teaching as I am unsure how I feel about testing. The anxiety it puts on students definitely hinders their ability to fully represent their understanding. The results of the test showed half the students understood “basic” Chemistry. Most students still had misconceptions about basic chemistry. I am sure if I allowed the students to demonstrate their understanding through a take home assignment the results would have been much better. Perhaps having a group discussion to stimulate their previous knowledge would have surfaced what the class previously knew about Chemistry.

Why learn about Chemical Reactions?


Without chemical reactions, nothing on Earth would exist. In fact, nothing in the entire universe would exist. Everything from the complicated actions that occur in our bodies to the processes that form our atmosphere involve countless chemical reactions. Studying chemical reactions allow us to understand and explain how the natural world functions. They allow you to breathe, turn the food you eat into fuel, make fireworks explode, and so much more.

With an understanding of chemical reactions, you will be able to make informed decisions in your environment. The process of human breathing and burning fuel are the same chemical reaction, whereby organic material is burned in the presence of oxygen to produce energy. This process is called combustion. Knowing about combustions could ultimately save your life one day, if say, an unexpected fire occurred. Most people would try to combat the fire directly. But you, knowing the basics of combustions reactions can critically think of ways to remove the oxygen from the environment. This allows for more avenues for dealing with situations.

Reactions in nature are more simple than people generally think, and can be applied in innovative ways.  To gain an appreciation for chemical reactions, one needs to realize that reactions occur in isolated, simple steps. For example, water can be formed from the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen gas. That’s it. Its as simple as pouring milk into a bowl of grains to give cereal. But after discovering this simple reaction in nature, scientists harnessed its use for creating rocket fuel, as this reaction was discovered to produced tons of energy. Without understanding this specific way that water is produced, we could have never made it to the moon.

While chemical reactions are a beautiful topic to learn, studies have shown that students go into this topic with some misconceptions (Stavridou & Solomonidou, 2007). There tends to be confusion between the differences of physical and chemical change. A physical change, like boiling water, involves the change of a molecule’s state from one phase (water) to another (vapour). A chemical reaction involves the rearrangement of atoms in molecules to form different molecules.

This misconception is mostly due to the varying life experiences that each student brings to the classroom . The construction of the chemical reaction concept needs to nurtured intimately so students can critically think about these natural processes. This role falls onto the teacher. Does it make sense that chemical reactions are taught mostly using textbooks and dry lectures? Just as chemical reactions are alive and all around us, we need to learn them in this manner. Whether it’s doing an experiment or watching something spectacular occur in your daily life, chemical reactions are inescapable. The fact that we can organize these events using simple language, symbols, and a little bit of math is so beautiful.

Lastly, it’s your social responsibly to be educated about chemical reactions. We know that the ozone layer is made up in the atmosphere from the reaction of atmospheric oxygen and solar radiation. The ozone layer protects the earth from high levels of UV radiation from the sun. But when this ozone layer is depleted, holes start forming in the atmosphere where high levels of UV radiation penetrates the Earth and causes damage to the environment. This depletion was discovered in the 1980’s by many groups of scientists.  And the cause of these holes? The chemical reaction of compounds called CFC’s (chlorofluoro carbons) with the ozone layer. CFC’s were used in refrigerants and aerosol propellants, but after their harmful properties were discovered, they were banned worldwide. Understanding chemical reactions allow you to think critically of the things you use in your daily life and how it could potentially impact the environment.


When you realize that physical changes are just the movement of molecules, and chemical changes are the transformation of molecules, you have essentially solved how everything in the world works. The only thing you have left to learn is how many of these almost infinite processes you’re willing to fit in your brain.