My response to the ‘sex-ed’ curriculum by the current Ontario government

There was an announcement today in the news about the ‘sex-ed’ curriculum. Here is the letter that I have sent to the Minister of Education, her deputy minister and my local MPP. I would encourage people to learn about this – if you are happy with the Ontario Government decision I would ask if you have read the current curriculum document.
To the Honourable Lisa Thompson, Norm Miller and Sam Oosterhoff:

I have taught in Ontario for over 20 years. During that time I had the honour of teaching a number of students that are homosexual or transgender. A number of students also had parents that are homosexual or transgender. It is on behalf of these students and their families that I am writing this today.

I recognize that the Ontario Conservative Party pledged to revamp the ‘sex-ed’ curriculum. I do hope that you will consult with teachers and experts during this process in addition to parents – the consultation process that you value must be comprehensive. In the news today it was reported that Ontario will revert to the previous curriculum for health and phys-ed. Here are my concerns with that decision.

– The 2015 curriculum was designed to help reduce bullying for students that might not fit in because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. How will these students be protected?

– In the previous curriculum cyber bullying and sexting didn’t exist. These are issues that happen, how will students be taught strategies to avoid and prevent these issues?

– One of the controversial aspects of the 2015 curriculum is the use of proper names for body parts. This is standard in many provinces and other countries and helps to ensure that students are able to advocate for themselves and avoid being sexually assaulted. What is being done to keep our children safe?

I would ask that the Ontario Government either ensure that the current up to date curriculum is used until you introduce a new curriculum document that is best on research and best practices. If not, then I would ask that you address my three main concerns so that my students and children have a safe and healthy environment.
Thank you,
Ian McTavish, OCT



775 pro / redline motors

The 775 pro (or the Andymark knockoff the redline motor) is very useful. I plan to update this page with resources and information. To start off, here is a shield you can 3d print to protect the wires.

How First Robotics teams are structured

There are different ways to structure teams.  Here are some ways that stood out:

Robotics of Bound Brook & Ethicon
FRC Team 56

There are seven subteams:

  • Safety and Compliance
  • Strategic Planning & Logistics
  • Community Outreach
  • Branding
  • Team Development
  • Communications
  • Robot Development

I really like how they set a workstream and deliverables for each subteam.  Check out their full organization structure at

Team 3707 – Brighton TechnoDogs

They have two captains: Chief Engineer and Chief Executive Officer.  Here are their subteams:

  • Chief Engineer
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Electrical Engineering
    • Computer Engineering
  • Chief Executive Officer
    • Marketing
    • Communications

Their leadership structure is very formalized.  Really good handbook – check it out at

Heroes of Tomorrow Team 67

Not really information on their structure – they have a very complete team application process.  Well worth looking through!



Lego robot example #TLDSBFLL #fll @TLDSB

Sam, our build captain, created this Lego EV3 robot as an example of what a robot design for FLL could look like.  This is a pretty advanced robo so let’s go over it.  Almost all of the parts are from one EV3 kit – there are a few sensors from a second kit and a sensor from an old NXT kit.

Top view – notice the black gears on the right – you can add an attachment and power it using he drive motors.
Side view – note the motors are mounted vertically.
There are three light sensors – two from EV3 kits and one from an NXT kit – this allows for much better line following.

Bottom view – note that the gears allow you to hook up multiple attachments.

Learn From The Best – #FRC Engineering Notebooks

In 2013 our team made it to the quarter finals in Waterloo. We knew we were going to lose as two of our oponents were some of the best in the world.  The best part of thia situation. we got a close-up look at two of the best robots in the world.

610 2013 Engineering Notebook

2014 notebook

254 Notebooks

1114 Notebooks

148 Robowranglers