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Jacqueline Ross: integrating discovery into learning

Year: 2019 — Province: Ontario
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Jacqueline Ross

Science, grades 9–12
Thornlea Secondary School, Thornhill, Ontario

"Ms. Ross understands that talent is a human quality and something we all have to discover in people. She invests in human talent and builds on it by nurturing and inspiring staff and students to achieve their goals and full potential."
— Nominator

Jacqueline Ross, who is head of science at her school, came to the classroom after a career as a research assistant in the biotech and medical fields. Her passion for research is foundational to her work with students and she harnesses this passion to connect students to knowledge.

Teaching approach

Jacqueline seeks to foster creative and innovative minds that embrace the richness of the digital age to learn, keep pace and be competitive in a rapidly evolving world. She integrates discovery into learning, believing in its power to stimulate independence, reflection and collaboration.

STEM in the classroom

  • Harnesses hands-on projects so students can test their STEM and digital literacy skills: students researched, planned and designed an indoor hydroponics system, wrote the code to operate the robotic pollinator, created an app to collect data and produced a video to document their work.
  • Engages students with challenge-based learning: Grade 10 Science students imagine they are stranded in the wilderness and must design and build a solar oven; they test their models on a sunny day (the winner heats a marshmallow to the highest internal temperature).
  • Folds entrepreneurship, critical thinking and collaboration into STEM learning: Grade 9 Science students built models of an outdoor classroom, working with the Technological Design class to create technical drawings and 3D images of the structure; a local contractor and mechanical engineer provided professional support and feedback.
  • Introduces students to health sciences field: they take part in a hospital's alcohol and related youth trauma program; students who wish to study medicine, genetics and medical science beyond high school excel in international competition each year.

Outstanding achievements

  • Created school's Grade 12 Biotechnology course, including acquiring all the necessary lab equipment and forming a partnership with a nearby post-secondary school so students could use its lab facilities to carry out high-level research and analysis.
  • Created senior biology event for board's annual Science Olympics: students use biology knowledge and skills, as well as effective communications skills, to work collaboratively to complete a task.
  • Spearheads student involvement—for 15 years and counting—in the York Region Children's Water Festival, teaching children in grades 3 to 5 about the importance of conserving water.

Get in touch!

Thornlea Secondary School
8075 Bayview Avenue
Thornhill ON L3T 4N4

Twitter: @ThornleaSSYRDSB

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