OE3: Outdoor Ecological & Experiential Education
The OE3 program at Odyssey Heights School for Girls is an engaging, real-life, curriculum-linked and essential learning experience. Students learn the majority of their science, geography, history, and art, as well as parts of their math, English, French, and technology curriculum on OE3 trips. The majority of the technology curriculum and about half of the arts curriculum is learned in OE3 "POGO" weeks (Project Or Going Out) dedicated to exploring one topic or project in depth.
For example, here are a few of the ways that OHS girls learn the five topics in grade nine academic science:
1) Sustainable Ecosystems (biology)
field studies during the day-long, zipline canopy tour of the Carolinian Forest at Long Point EcoAdventures;
hands on experience of sustainable agricultural ecosystems at our horse farm on the Oak Ridges Moraine,
field studies of aquatic ecosystems on their canoe trip to Algonquin Park;
bird migration, the effect of human activities on the health of bird populations, and genetic diversity at on a full day with Bird Studies Canada scientists at Long Point Ecoadventures;
2) Astronomy/The Study of the Universe (earth & space science)
two nights at the Long Point Observatory using the 16" telescope, then at least one night with binoculars and the naked eye on each of the seven other overnight trips;
students create 3D and/or digital models of space craft in the afternoon work periods and present it to the class during the two hour long Monday Morning Seminar;
In addition, "The Glass Universe" (about the ground breaking work women astronomers at Harvard in the 1800s), and "Hidden Figures" about the African-American women 'computers', scientists, and engineers, at NASA in the 20th C, are required reading in grade nine English*.
3) Atoms, Elements, and Compounds (chemistry)
yarn dying teaches girls about acids, bases, and mixtures - while making connections with both art and math;
building a fuel cell model car (oxygen and hydrogen make water) during Monday Morning Seminar;
states of matter and crystalline molecular structures by making quinzees (snow shelters) on their two winter trips.
4) The Characteristics of Electricity (physics),
using electrically conductive paint and circuit boards to create cool art projects with lights that turn on and off;
connecting wearable, programable light strips to costumes and props to use in dance, theater, and drama performances;
by seeing the importance of solar powered electric fencing for the safety of the horses at our farm.
5) Scientific Investigation Skills and Career Exploration
Students use scientific investigation skills for all the OE3 science lessons;
they meet scientists doing real field work while on OE3 trips;
scientists are invited in as guest speakers to Monday Morning Seminars;
reading "The Glass Universe", "Hidden Figures", and "Silent Spring" in grade nine English* shows OHS girls that women have been involved in ground breaking science careers for hundreds of years, and that they have made a major difference.
*Some of the reading for grade nine English is done outside in forests, at our horse farm, or around a campfire, as well as curled up on one of the comfy seating options in the Learning Communities. Most books are available as audiobooks and/or are text-to-speech enabled so our gifted students with dyslexia can focus on the content.
The first week of school is spent on a 6 day/5 night trip to long point ecoadventures.
long point ontario was the first unesco world biosphere reserve in canada. it's a key habitat for migrating birds.
January and february, the middle school LC girls go on two, 4night/3day winter trips. they stay at a lodge in january and spend a day making a quinzee snow hut by the lodge. Onthe last night in january they sleep out in the quinzee.
In february, the Junior school LC girls do the MSLC lodge trip, and the Middle School LC students rotate through backcountry dogsledding, snowshoeing, and xc skiing.
One of the Willowgrove goats saying hello. Everyone visits willowgrove in november for 3 days/2nights. The focus is fibre arts, first nations, astronomy, and ecology.
xc ski trails near the barn at Mansfield outdoor centre. everyone at Odyssey heights goes to mansfield oc in december. Activities include: xc skiing, first aid, survival skils, orienteering, morning barre (with our portable barres), shelter building, winter ecology, visual art, and of course cooking.
3 day/2 night Algonquin canoe trip in july - part of the 6 day, end of school year trip to algonquin for grades 6-10.
OE3 Trip Safety
Safety is our number one priority - both on OE3 trips and back in Toronto.
Odyssey Heights School for Girls meets or exceeds backcountry standard operating procedures for professional wilderness recreation guiding (not just the bare minimum at public school boards).