15 teachers and their classrooms are invited to take part in an exciting new learning opportunity in partnership with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). This holistic program combines professional development for teachers, with a cross-curricular program for students in grades 4-8. With curriculum connections to science, social studies, geography, language and mathematics, students will use a variety of skills to create solutions to best achieve both the social and environmental objectives.


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Program Components


Professional Development

Teachers receive two days of PD in Integrative Thinking and Innovation to support student creative problem solving.


Field Trip

Classess will visit Tommy Thompson Park to build their understanding of the challenge.


Real-Life Problem Solving

Students will solve a challenge for Tommy Thompson Park using Integrative Thinking. Recommendations will be presented at a Showcase.


Tommy Thompson Park Challenge


Students will be tasked with acting as consultants to the team at Tommy Thompson Park. Tommy Thompson Park is located on the Leslie Street Spit. It is an urban wilderness with opportunities for light recreational uses. The park has specific rules which aim to create, enhance, restore and protect the natural features of the manmade landscape while providing recreational opportunities for all. The main objectives of the staff and the park are to:

  1. Preserve significant species;
  2. Protect environmentally significant areas;
  3. Enhance aquatic and terrestrial habitats; and
  4. Enhance public recreation opportunities.

When open to the public on evenings, weekends and holidays, people use the roads and paths for biking, running and walking.  There are rules in place to help people use the park in harmony with the wildlife. However, rules are frequently broken. For example, the speed limit of the park is 20 km/h and cyclists exceed that limit on a regular basis. Other rules that are often broken are:

  • No dogs, e-bikes, no drones, no skating, no fires, no camping
  • Removing anything from the park is not permitted. This includes: plants, plant parts, sediment, bricks, wildlife in any form etc.
  • Staying on the trail

This behaviour negatively impacts the wildlife and its growth. Not all guests follow the rules, which puts people and nature at odds.

How might we help the TRCA design Tommy Thompson Park for all?

Curriculum Links

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Dates and Fee for PD

Friday, September 21st 8:30am to 3:30pm 

Saturday, September 22nd 9am to 12pm 


Fee for the professional development is $395 + HST. This includes all materials, a light breakfast and lunch.

Dates and Fee for Class Trip to Tommy Thompson Park

The class trip to Tommy Thompson Park is $420 + HST and is organized with the TRCA directly. Dates for the trip are reserved on a first-come-first-serve basis. Available dates are:

September 28th 

October 3rd, 4th, 12th, 15th, 18th, 19th, 22nd and 23rd. 


Professional Development in September and class trip are taking place outside at Tommy Thompson Park. All areas are accessible. There is walking involved, though driving in the park can be accommodated. 

December check-in location is TBD. It will be happening at a TRCA indoor site. 

Who can participate in this learning experience?

Any classroom teacher from Grades 4-8, and one class.


What is included in the total fee?

  • 2.5 days of professional learning (1.5 days in September and 0.5 days in February and May)
  • A class visit to Tommy Thompson Park
  • Check-ins with TRCA staff and I-Think staff
  • Participation in the student celebration in January
  • Teacher Debrief in May


What will the professional learning encompass?

The first day and a half of professional learning will take place at Tommy Thompson Park.  Teachers will learn the theory of Integrative Thinking and gain practice using some of the tools of Integrative Thinking to broaden student approaches to problem-solving and help students seek out new perspectives when faced with challenges.

The 0.5 day in February will be with teachers building comfort with problem based learning so that they can identify a challenge within their school community connected to environmental stewardship.  The 0.5 day in May will be a teacher debrief session.


What will occur during the field trip at Tommy Thompson Park?

Teachers and students will have the opportunity to explore and learn about the history and evolution of Tommy Thompson Park with TRCA instructors.  Classes will see the diverse biological communities including some unique vegetation and wetland communities.  The park is an important stopover point for migrating birds, butterflies and other insects.


How will students be introduced to their challenge?

Students will be introduced to challenge in two ways. Before the trip to Tommy Thompson Park, you will have a video resource to show students that introduces the challenge. Then, once at Tommy Thompson Park students will be issued the challenge and have the opportunity to ask questions.