“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, ‘Morning, boys. How’s the water?’ And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, ‘What the hell is water?’



Course Outline

It is the goal of the Ethics and Religious Culture course to develop an awareness of our cultural diversity and to reflect upon and take actions that foster community life. At the core of the program is the acquisition of knowledge through the development of the subject specific competencies: Reflects on Ethical Questions, Demonstrates an Understanding of the Phenomenon of Religion, and Engages in Dialogue.

  • Students will reflect on the values and norms that the members of a given society or group adopt in order to guide or regulate their conduct. This reflection aims to develop a person’s moral sense, as well as express an individual’s autonomy and capacity for exercising critical judgment, in order to contribute to peaceful coexistence.

  • Students will also explore various religious cultures in order to promote an understanding of their main components in order to understand the contexts on which they were built.


Students will need:

  • Pencil.

  • Duo-Tang (provided).

  • Lined Paper.

Course Breakdown

  • Discussions - 30%

  • Quizzes - 10%

    • Tests in Ethics will evaluate both knowledge and the ability to perform analytical skills such as: logical critique of an ethical situation, defining terms, and making connections.

  • Sunday Dialogue Responses - 20%

    • Notebook tasks are to be done in students’ Duotangs. 

  • Classwork - 30%

    • Notebook tasks are to be done in students’ Duotangs. 

Assignments are done in class on handouts or in groups that do not require the use of the notebook. All work and assignments will be class-based. Students are required to see the teacher for missed work. Failure to do so will result in a mark of zero for the assignment.

Performance Expectations

You are in grade 11, act accordingly.


Dear Editor,

We now have a new member of the nuclear club, India. This should come as no surprise.

In 1995 India was denied the right to test nuclear weapons, and enter the nuclear race. Today, three years later, India has started to test anyway, which seems to me to be much more frightening.

If India has the technology, why need to prove it to the western world? They are basically telling the western countries that third-world countries are now capable of testing and building weapons of mass destruction. This seems to me to look like an unnecessary flex of political muscle and strikes me as a very dangerous and childish act.

Where will it end? Other political unstable countries will follow India’s example, and soon every middle-eastern country will be building and testing nuclear weapons.

If we do not stop India and similar countries, it may be too late, and we will all suffer the consequences. We have seen the horror of this weapon in the past; now we are seeing it again. The only answer is the abolition of all our weapons of mass destruction.

What is the point of possessing these weapons? In my opinion a world where everyone has weapons of mass destruction will not survive for long.







  • Garbage Patches

  • The Smog of the Sea

  • What are your thoughts on the idea that micro-plastics can move up the food chain from fish into people?

  • The film dispels the myth of a giant floating garbage patch and shows that we are dealing with a smog of micro-plastics. What do you think can be done as a next step or priority, in terms of the science of studying plastics in the world’s oceans?

  • What are some solutions and innovations to address the problem? What advice would you you give

    to people who want to make a difference?



  • In addition to this article, what factors have shaped your opinion on this political issue? (e.g., family, friends, the media, employment, personal experiences, social groups) 

  • What questions do you have about this issue? What more do you want to know? Where do you think you could go to find more information related to your questions? 



World Religions


Produce Study Notes for the World Religions TEST



  • The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media by Jose Van Dijck



  • Manufacturing Landscapes

  • Photographer Edward Burtynsky has established a great reputation for his beautifully composed pictures of what most people would consider the downfall of modern life - scarred mining landscapes, and piles of discarded computer boards. 

    His focus for the last number of years has been on China and how modernization and growing industrialization has affected the environment and the people involved.

    Jennifer Baichwal's compelling film documents Burtynsky in China taking photographs. She documents the massive manufacturing warehouses occupied by hundreds and hundreds of Chinese workers. Baichwal follows Burtynsky to the Three Gorges Dam Project, a construction that will be more than two kilometres in length. The film is both disturbing and fascinating. 

    Comment on the statement that the images portrayed look like war zones.

    • Compare and contrast the old and new houses of Shanghi. 

    • What are the reasons given for the development of the dam?

    • Describe the working conditions of the people shown in the film.

    • Discuss the negative and positive factors involved in manufacturing. 

    • How can manufacturing continue without exploiting people or the environment?

    • What is E-waste?

    • Why does the artist refuse to use a more political forum to make his statement?

    •  How are individuals affected by the demolition of their homes in order to construct a dam?

    • Comment on the following quotes:

      • “We are changing the nature of our planet. It is not just China but our world.”

      • “It is not a simple right or wrong. It requires a new way of thinking.”

      • “Everything that I’m doing is connected with what I am photographing.”


  • Fyre Festival



  • Freedom


  • The Great Degeneration by Niall Ferguson

  • Ferguson develops a very strong case to illustrate how the hollowing out of the rule of law, the deterioration of representative government into soft despotism, the increasingly crony-capitalist features of today’s market economies, and the ongoing implosion of civil society are now costing us dearly.(


  • What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell

  • 1. According to Steven Pinker's review in the New York Times, Gladwell's essays in What the Dog Saw have to do with "counterintuitive knowledge." In this book what findings, specifically, seem to subvert or turn common sense on its head?

    2. Another way in which Gladwell styles his essays is that he uses specific set pieces and and expands them into a wider inquiry. Consider some examples—say, ketchup or hair dye. Where else does Gladwell move from an initial focus on a narrow topic to the larger implications.

    3. Gladwell also uses the "straw man" method of persuasion. He begins with a premise that we easily accept (the straw man) then proceeds to knock it down. It leads to surprise, a sort of "wow, I never saw it that way!" What are some of the essays in which Gladwell uses the straw dog approach? Do you find it affective?

    4. Which essays did you most enjoy and why? Which surprised you the most?

    5. Gladwell has sometimes been described—in this and other works—as facile. In other words, he's been accused of reaching for easy conclusions that fit his overall view, while sometimes ignoring messy evidence that doesn't. Can you find any evidence that this is the case? Does Gladwell present a world that is too neatly wrapped? Or is he simply exploring anomalies where he finds them?

    Now for more a few specific questions:

    6. Why do we have one type of ketchup as opposed to multiple varieties of mustard?

    7. From the essay, "Blowing Up," talk about Taleb Nassim and his theory of markets and investment. Can his basic ideas be applied to other experiences or events?

    8. If by any chance you've read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, do Cesar Millan's dog training methods seem familiar...or completely different than what David Wroblewski wrote about in his novel?

    9. In "Open Secrets," how does Gladwell connect Enron, Watergate, prostate cancer research, and Osama Bin Laden— three seemingly disparate subjects? Do you agree with his assessment? What is the difference, according to Gladwell, between puzzles and mysteries? Is this just semantics...or is he reaching for something deeper?

    10. Talk about what Gladwell has to say about the accuracy of mammograms as a diagnostic tool.

    11. Do you accept Gladwell's argument about plagiarism in the essay, "Something Borrowed"?

    12. In "The Art of Failure," Gladwell discusses the difference between choking and panicking? How does he differentiate the two? Are they really mutually exclusive as he presents them? What do you think of his assessment of John F. Kennedy, Jr.'s plane crash? Is Gladwell's analysis glib... or has he hit on some buried structure of the human psyche?

    13. In his chapter about the Challenger explosion, do you agree with his assessment that "we don't really want the safest of all possible worlds"? Do you believe that any of the disasters in Part Two could have been foretold and prevented?

    14. In what way is criminal profiling not "a triumph of forensic analysis," but a "party trick"? Does Gladwell make his point?