Capstone Share

Capstone is FINALLY over and I couldn’t be more relieved. We presented today and now, I’m extremely happy.

Capstone ended with a big Capstone share. In previous posts, I have told you about all the stuff that I did to start Capstone and carry it forward, such as decided what topic I’d do, which was Sparta, an Ancient Greek civilization, and getting a site visit. In a more recent post, I told all of you guys that I would be doing a TED talk to present my information, which is where I can talk for an unlimited amount of time. I also prepared my speech in which I would talk about my main inquiry question and all the sub-questions in which I gathered my research through.

My speech was one of the longest because I’d crammed tons on information in it. At the start it was 12 pages long but somehow, I cut it down to five. In fact, my final edits came the day before my share.

Even though I cut my script down, it was somehow still 11 minutes! And this was extremely long. That’s why I was practicing so much. When I was waiting for my mom to pick me up, I practiced. After dinner, I practiced. And I feel like all this practicing made me a little more stressed out, because I kept feeling how big Capstone was getting. I couldn’t even count how many nights I spent lying awake in bed, wishing for Capstone to end.

Finally, our dress rehearsal came. I was going in front of first graders. I was a bit upset with this because I would have to cut out a lot of my script here. I think it’s true when I say that no first grader would know or understand what Sparta was.

But then, the day of our share came. I was one of the last to go. The whole time others went, I was fidgeting. But soon, the teacher called my name. I slowly walked up to the big screen and started my presentation.

I really think that all my rehearsing helped me. I spoke in a loud clear voice. And since there were mostly grown-ups, I could tell they were interested in Sparta since it was an advanced topic. And for once, I was glad that I chose Sparta and not something easier.

One of the things I liked in this presentation was my voice. I was able to speak loudly. This was good because the room I was presenting in had AC and the AC was very loud. For some presentations, you couldn’t here a word people said  because of that. So at least the parents  could hear me the whole time. And my script was one of the things that made me the most proud. I cut out some things as I went on because I realized that I had already said that. This made my script shorter so I didn’t think people really got bored. Also, I knew my script well so I wasn’t looking down too much at my script. This let me improvise a bit and that got me a few laughs. Additionally, I felt like I spoke in a confident voice with intonation, so  I wasn’t just mumbling. The parents understood me which was good. Plus the confidence in my voice drove away the butterflies in my stomach up too a point so when I left the stage, I was smiling.

On the flip side, I didn’t like some things I did too. For example, since I didn’t look too much at my script, I forgot to turn the slide once, so it was embarrassing when I had to go back. Also, at one point in the beginning I stumbled on my line and it made me nervous because there were so many people looking up at me expecting me to go on. So that made me a bit scared especially since I did that in the beginning. But later, my confident voice drew the nerves away. And finally, I also didn’t like the fact that I went last. Since I went last, I had so much time to panic and brainstorm the things that could go wrong. I wish I’d gone first and got over it. But all in all, I feel like my sucesess outweighed my downfalls and I really did enjoy my moment up there in the spotlight.

To sum it up, Capstone was a fascinating project in which I learned the steps you must take to become a researcher.  I learned a lot, not only on my topic but on other ones as well. And even though it was filled with stress and tons of work, if I was given a chance to do Capstone again, I would go for it.

This is the link for my presentation. I hope you enjoy watching it!

Capstone: Working on the Final Product

Everything you do leads up to some sort of presentation, whether its presenting an idea to parents or talking to people about a new invention. Well, that’s what happened with Capstone, our end of the year project in fifth grade.

Okay, so by this point, we have chosen our topic, thought of a question to answer, completed an interview and site visit, finished all of our research and answered the question we asked in the beginning. Now, we are getting ready to present this.

I have decided to present my information through a TED-talk. We’ve been given three options on how to present our info; through a video, through an Ignite(where each slide is runs for fifteen seconds and through about ten slides, we talk about Capstone) and through a TED-talk(where we can talk for as long as I want). I’ve chosen to do a TED-talk because I’ve had so much information that I wanted to share.

For a TED-talk, we need some different slides with pictures. My topic was Sparta, an ancient Greek civilization, so you can probably guess how hard it was to find decent, appropriate pictures. It might seem easy, but it wasn’t. Finally, I found pictures of guys who were fighting for most of the slides. I was glad to be done with that.

What next? Well, now we have to present. I wrote a long speech to start with that was filled with boring facts, but I ended up cutting it down from 13 pages, to 7. That is something I am proud of. But now, I have to practice this script and even seven pages was too much. Every free minute,  I practice this script. Yet I still don’t feel prepared.

We started to present in front of the class. I thought I was well prepared. But I wasn’t. I stumbled through my lines and felt so many eyes staring at me. It was freaking me out. I could tell I wasn’t good with my script and I stopped wanting to present in front of the class.

You see, I don’t do well in front of crowds. And we were given only 3 weeks to practice. So I do everything I can to practice every moment I can. You can probably see how stressed out I was.

One of the problems was my pictures. The images on your slide are supposed to remind you things to share. But mine were literally just pictures of fighting. There was nothing to help and remind me. So, I had to go backwards. I put some text onto the boxes that told a bit of my story. I prayed it would help me.

So, feeling confident, I volunteered up to go in front of the class. I went up, feeling nervous. Halfway through my first slide, I tried to talk without my script. I was good for the first sentence  but then, I blanked out. Yet when I looked at the text on my script, it came back to me. I went through the presentation well, and I think I’ve gained back most of my confidence. Hopefully, this will aid me in my final presentation, like it did when I was presenting. Because if this doesn’t, I don’t know what will.

Capstone deadline is creeping up on us. In less than a week, I’ll be presenting. But I don’t think I’m scared anymore. I believe that if I keep practicing and doing things like I am, it’ll turn out to be okay. And soon, I’ll be presenting. Hopefully, it’ll be okay.


Capstone: Answering our Main Inquiry Question

Everything we’ve done in Capstone has led up too solely one thing. Answering our main inquiry question. Our site visit, interview and all the research we’ve done in between was just for this. And now, I’ve answered it.

We were required to write a really long essay for our Capstone share. My first one was 13 pages long! But I cut it down in my script, the essay that we would actually be reading. Below this is that.

Sparta was a warrior society that was based on loyalty to the state and physical and mental training. Physical fitness was needed to survive. Babies were abandoned if they weren’t fit enough, but if they survived that, life didn’t get much easier. Spartan men were trained from age 7 into incredible and fearless warriors who wear worth 6 regular men. Interestingly, it trained women too, which was unheard of at the time. Women were honored on Sparta which didn’t fare well with other city-states. Sparta had three classes. At the top were the Spartan citizens. Full citizens could vote and own slaves. Men and women had to pass a test to become a full citizen. If they didn’t, they went to another class, the perioeci, who were free but couldn’t vote. Finally, the lowest class was the Helots who were Spartan slaves. These were former citizens of Greece whose city-states Sparta conquered. The Helots outnumbered Spartans ten to one, but Spartans kept Helots in line by declaring war on them every fall and killing as many as they could. Sparta’s honor and pride lay in its armies and with every war won, its pride grew. Sparta won every battle it waged until the Battle of Leuctra, a war against Sparta and Thebes, which it lost. After that, its power started declining and Sparta’s empire crumbled and faded. Sparta was finally vanquished by the Romans who came to take over Greece and its empire was lost.

Did Sparta’s love for blood, war and theft come in the way of Greece’s harmony? How did Greece deal with this?

Sparta’s love for blood, war and theft did come in the way of Greece’s harmony. A lot, actually. Sparta declared wars on tons of people and states and enslaved many others up to a point were there were too many people too keep track of. In fact, part of Sparta’s downfall came because they had so many slaves and so many conquered nations that revolts constantly scared them and in the end, they just couldn’t control everyone. Sparta looted and killed whole cities at a time without any mercy. But leaders didn’t deal with this in any way. They all feared Sparta and were afraid that the Spartans would turn on them if they interfered. The Spartans had a lot of honor in what they did and if anyone insulted them, it was a full-scale war. It wouldn’t just be a civilized chat. All the other leaders knew that. Believe me, no one wanted the Spartans after them. Plus, no one could match the Spartan army in battle, so why bother trying? Also, as I said earlier, city-states in Greece didn’t really help each other too much unless they absolutely had too. Sure, everyone had allies of some kind, but if you were in trouble, your allies would help you, only if they knew that they wouldn’t be harmed in the process. It’s kind of selfish, but that’s the way things were back then. It still happens today, even though most don’t want to admit it. No one wants to rush into a battle that they know they will lose.

Did Sparta’s belief that they had to be rough to survive and how they trained/ treated citizens come in the way of other cities thoughts about Sparta? How did Sparta gain back their respect?

People always respect those who do well, especially because military was so important in Greece. So they were definitely respected, but not necessarily liked. For example, the Spartans had a training facility called the Agoge. The Agoge trained young men to become soldiers who used their minds and strength. The Agoge was very highly praised throughout Greece because everyone wants to be strong. Sparta was even generous and let men from Imperial families enter the Agoge if they were fit. But most of Greece didn’t see it this way. They didn’t like Sparta’s selective choosing and thought that all Sparta wanted was to keep the facility for itself, though it was Sparta’s to begin with. You can see how jealousy got in the way here and how the Agoge was respected, but people didn’t necessarily like it.

But one thing that the rest of Greece didn’t like was how much freedom Spartan women were given. Spartan women were trained to be as fit as men, which was unheard of. They were taught no manners and no grace so other leaders looked down upon Sparta for this belief and how rough they were with women. Sparta gained back their respect with how strong their men were. It was kind of like a scale. The women weighed down on Sparta’s reputation, but the men lifted it up in such a way, that no one could think too badly of Sparta. Of course, some people still thought badly of Sparta. In fact, these people believed that Sparta’s downfall came because it gave women too much say in its power. Of course, there are always people like that, who always think badly.

Did Sparta help Greece when it was fighting other armies? Did Greece help Sparta when it was fighting other armies? What were famous examples?

Sparta helped Greece when it was fighting other armies, partly because it had too. When someone was attacking Greece, everyone was requested(read; threatened) to come and help. Also, if Greece was conquered, Sparta would be too because, whoever independent Sparta was, it was a part of Greece. A famous example was the Persian War. Greece was greatly outnumbered, but they still won the war because of Sparta’s leadership. The Spartans lead their armies through a narrow pass in which it would be better to have less people in an army. Sparta advised Greece and miraculously it worked. That just goes to show that anything can happen. It also helped that the Spartan army was filled with such strong and brave men who were feared across the countryside. That was how Sparta gained its title as a military based society and how its power started to flourish, so you could say that Sparta was smart to aid Greece. Also, Spartans believed it to be an important honor to fall in battle, so they were eager to fight and die for the place that they called home. In fact, at one point in time, the Spartan government stated that only if a men died in battle would he get the honor of getting his name on his gravestone. That is why they helped Greece, because they wanted to aid their country, even when the country didn’t necessarily help them too much.

But Greece as a whole never really helped Sparta in battle because most of the time, Sparta fought its fellow city-states. There were times when it fought side by side with Greece, like when battling Romans or Egyptians. But when that happened every city-state in Greece had to help in fighting, so it wasn’t too special. Yet since most of the time Sparta fought other city-states, the whole of Greece couldn’t turn on that city-state. Of course, Sparta had its given allies who aided Sparta if it needed it, which they did a couple of times. For example, in the Peloponnesian War, when Sparta fought Athens, Sparta requested a little help while Athens did too. And when the roles were flipped, Sparta helped its allies though never as much as the allies helped them.

Did Sparta’s independence and power raise fears throughout Greece? How did leaders deal with this?

Since the Ancient Greeks thought themselves as more loyal to their state and not to their country, Sparta’s independence wasn’t too out of place. Everyone was independent in some way. But Sparta’s power really threatened Greece. You see, before the Persian War, Sparta was regular and not exactly known for too many things. Sure, its army was known as great, but not as the fearless, strong warriors that we know them as today. Nothing near that. But after the Persian War, Sparta’s influence started to spread. Yet at that time, Sparta’s rival, Athens, was at the top of the chain. So Sparta declared war on Athens. Once Sparta won, it got its name as a fearless, warrior training society. This sudden rise to power scared some people, especially after Athens was destroyed to ruble. And no one likes people with too much power even though they   might fear or respect it in some way. That’s why most people left Sparta alone out of fear. So yes, Sparta’s power definitely raised fears across Greece and made people stay out of the way. But that’s also the same reason that no one wanted to deal with Sparta; because of their growing power. They didn’t want to be found on a battlefield filled with their own blood. And they couldn’t even depend on their own allies to help them because allies only help you up to a certain point. Other city-states saw Athens as something that Sparta left to say We can destroy you, just like we destroyed all of these guys. So they minded their own business and didn’t stop Sparta, unless Sparta insulted them, in which they would have to fight, like in the Battle of Leuctra when the Spartans insulted the Thebans and then they had a massive war, which Sparta eventually lost. But if that didn’t happen, people stayed out of Sparta’s way for the most part. That was the safest way.

Did Sparta depend too much on Greece and raise problems? How did other leaders deal with this?

This question was the opposite of the previous one and I never thought it would be useful. But I actually got some good information from it which helped me. Here it is:

Sparta didn’t depend on all of Greece because Greece wasn’t like the U.S.. They didn’t supply help to countries who needed it. But Sparta did depend on certain states at some point in time. For example, it requested help from allies occasionally, when it needed it, but that hardly counted because allies only helped if they could benefit from this too. But for the most part, Sparta only depended on certain people; the lowly slaves. When the Spartan men were at war, the women took care of most things, such as the country. But they could only do a certain number of things, because they had to take care of kids and make food. So they had Helots, the Spartan slaves. Helots were originally from different parts of Greece that Sparta conquered. They did everything such as cleaning the houses, watering plants, farming and cooking. Helots were treated like simple dirt and kicked around like  that too, but they were essential to Sparta’s success. The Spartans depended on them for a lot of things and the country was run on Helots to some extent because Spartan men and women refused to do the things that they did so Helots were important. Without them, the state would have too many problems to deal with while the men were at war. Even when Sparta was at peace, Helots still were important because they did so many things but while men were at war, the Helots were most valued for they did the most things. This never bothered any leaders because everyone had slaves in Greece so they couldn’t care less about the Spartan ones. This was regular behavior for those in Greece. And anyway, anyone who did complain aloud, although none ever did, was personally inviting Sparta to come and wage war on them, so obviously no one interfered, even if they wanted too.

All this research wasn’t for nothing. It was meant to answer my main inquiry question. For those of you who may not remember, it was ‘How did Sparta contribute to the successes and downfalls of the Ancient Greek Empire?’ And now, with all this research, I have finally figured it out.  Here are my answers;

Sparta was an important part of Greece. But important doesn’t always mean good. Sparta caused more than its fair share of problems, that’s for sure. But you can’t say that Sparta didn’t also help Greece, because it did. It did both.

Sparta contributed to the downfalls of Greece in many ways. I’m going to list them in the order that I think works.

First off, Sparta caused a lot of wars. In fact, after its war with Athens, Sparta introduced the point and meaning of a civil war to the rest of Greece. The Peloponnesian War, with Athens, was extremely big because it marked Athens’ end. Athens had been really influential in Greece. It was almost a complete package because it had naval strength, meaning strength in fighting in sea. Athens also introduced many new terms and philosophical thoughts to the rest of Greece. So when it was nearly destroyed, that really shocked Greece. Also, as the victors, Sparta gave its message of power through that war. Since the Peloponnesian War was so big, lots of other city-states started thinking about doing this with their enemies, which started lons of battles. Everyone started fighting big battles and Greece’s battlefields became soaked with blood and bodies. It definitely gave people in Greece a big headache. All because of Sparta. Additionally, tons of money was spent in these wars while rebuilding. Money was scarce after Sparta wiped out city-states, most of it having been spent on the war that had just occurred. So all the extra money that had to be spent in rebuilding and making new things to help the city-state go on devastated the city even more. And all the people who died in the war that had previously happened were mourning too. They had to take on the task of giving burials and consoling others who’s loved ones had died. All because of the war that just happened. So that definitely hurt Greece.

Also, Helots, Spartan slaves, were fellow Greeks who got conquered from lands nearby Sparta. And everytime Sparta conquered more territories, it enslaved the people who were living there, so they all became Helots. Sparta enslaved its fellow Greek countrymen! And in Sparta, since there were so many Helots, killing them wasn’t a crime, it was just said to be something that would help the state progress. Every autumn, Sparta declared war on the poor Helots and tried to kill as many as they could, just so that the numbers would be smaller and to keep the Helots in line. So that didn’t help Greece because Sparta was enslaving and killed the slaves living there. Would you like it if you knew that your neighbors were enslaved and could potentially be killed? That’s how some of Greece probably felt. But the thing about this was that lots of people had slaves all over Greece and it was common to do this, so this problem wasn’t as big as some other things that Sparta did, even though there was a lot of killing involved. Yet I’m sure the Helots thought of it as a problem that Sparta had created.

In addition to all this, Sparta also destroyed many cities, such as Athens. Before the Peloponnesian War that Athens and Sparta had, Athens had made many new discoveries about life and erected breathtaking monuments, such as the Parthenon which used to hold a detailed statue of Athena, goddess of warfare and the useful arts. But after the Peloponnesian War, it was vanquished and forced to bow down to the Spartans. The whole city had been obliterated because of the war and simply left alone. Though some new things were probably made after that and life still carried on, Athens glory was gone. One guy might have stumbled upon a rare plant that forever changed life if Athens hadn’t been destroyed. No one knows what could have happened. And that was just with one city. There were probably many more city-states that Sparta vanquished, though less famous such as the places were Spartan slaves originated from. Those might have made something too if Sparta hadn’t enslaved the. Plus, with all the rebuilding that had to be done after these cities had been destroyed, a lot of money had been spent. That could have been spent on something else if Sparta hadn’t come. So I would probably say that Sparta didn’t help Greece by destroying all these cities.

On the flip side, Sparta helped Greece by being a great general or leader in big wars, such as the Persian War. Since Sparta had trained kids from age 7 to use their strength and mind solely for war, all of these men helped Greece, not only with strategizing. Just the fact that there were so many amazing and breathtaking soldiers that were at Greece’s disposal was a great help. Because no matter how smart you are, you can’t win a battle without strong and fit soldiers. And you could also say that if you only have fit soldiers who don’t use their mind at all, you’ll also lose a battle. To win things like this, you have to be both strong and smart about wars. And while some city-states were smart and others were fit, not a lot were strong and fit. And none were as strong and fit as Sparta was. So Sparta definitely helped Greece during wars. Without Sparta, Greece would not have won. They would have lost, big time.
Sparta also helped Greece by training young men in its Agoge, the facility camp. As I said earlier, though Spartans were picky about who they let in, they still let others into the Agoge. And the Agoge was what transformed scrawny little boys who couldn’t stay on horses properly into the valiant young men who rode happily into battle with beautiful shining armor that could be seen from miles away. So, even though Sparta was really selective, they still let in some people which others should have been grateful for. Now, scattered across Greece, there were amazing, Spartan-like men who probably made amazing generals and helped to serve their city-state in tons of ways. Though people may have been upset since not many men got the honor of going into the Agoge, you cannot say that none went in because a lot of people did. So the fact that Sparta trained all these young boys into fine soldiers aided Greece a lot.

Another way Sparta helped Greece was with the reputation factors. In the ancient times, Greece was given the title as a conqueror. It took over so many other ancient civilizations and made so many bow down to them. This couldn’t have been done without Sparta. You see, because people feared Sparta, they also feared Greece. They also feared Greece because Sparta would always aid Greece if it needed help. After the Persians defeat, others who wanted to take over Greece might have thought about the Spartans. The thought of these stunning men would make warriors tremble in their shoes and run for safety. So other civilizations thought twice before barrelling through Greece shouting war cries. Though this didn’t stop the bravest, most determined civilizations, such as Rome, it did stop the other, less brave ones. This would help Greece because, though they may win the battle, lives would always be lost and every man was worth something. Who knows, maybe if the Spartans hadn’t scared a small civilization away, a now famous architect might have died in a war while fighting a small civilization. Then what would have been done?

These are my reasons for how Sparta both helped and didn’t help Greece’s civilization. No one could say that Sparta was a complete burden and no one could say that it was a complete lift up either. That’s because it was part of both.

But I think that Sparta should be known as a success to the empire of Greece because the ways that Sparta helped outweigh the ways that it didn’t help. Creating such amazing soldiers helped Greece a lot more than Sparta was given credit for. And the generals that Sparta made were essential to Greece’s success.

This is my main inquiry question. All the research I did is over here in this long essay. I’m proud of it and I don’t think that it could get too much better from here.

Capstone: Interview

Capstone’s end is rapidly approaching and soon, we will start presenting our information that we have learned. But before we could end, there were two things that stood in our way; the interview and site visit. Luckily now, I’ve done both of those and I can relax.

The interview and site visit are too requirements to complete Capstone. We have to meet someone who knows about our topics that we picked and visit a place about it too. For my site visit, I chose to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But that’s another story.

I’m not going to lie, I was really worried about my interview. I was doing Sparta, which was an Ancient Greece civilization and I decided to interview a teacher, Mr. Salmon from my old school who taught Greek history in sixth grade. But while the idea came quick, arranging the interview was the hard part.

I sent Mr. Salmon an email which told him everything about what I needed his help with. Sadly, he was out for a sometime so I had to wait a week for him to respond. The whole time, I was fretting that he would say no or that we wouldn’t be able to get together.

Finally, he sent me an email saying that he could interview me. I breathed a sigh of relief and was so happy. So I sent him another email which asked him the date and time and place of the interview, but he was coaching a softball team so I had to wait another week for a response. Finally. Mr. Salmon asked me for my number so he could interview him over the phone at Greenville, my old school.

But my problems still weren’t over. Mr. Salmon got a surprise meeting at the last moment and had to cancel. I was really nervous and the deadline for our interview was creeping up on me. All I wanted was for this interview to be over.

We arranged to meet on Friday, May 26 at Greenville school. But, surprise surprise, something else popped up.

You see, Mr. Salmon was able to see me at Greenville because that was where he worked. But then another meeting popped up and he had to switch to Seely Place, the other school in the district I used to go too. The worst part was, his meeting came up so suddenly, that my mom didn’t find out till she picked me up. And my school ends at 3:10, while Greenville ends at 3:00. So Mr. Salmon scheduled our meeting for 3:15, five minutes after my school day ended. I probably would have made it, except that I forgot my instrument at school so I wasted ten minutes running to fo and get it.

My mother and I raced to catch Mr. Salmon but we reached Seely place at 3:30, fifteen minutes after the interview was supposed to happen, I was so nervous that he wouldn’t be there and that he would have left.

We ran outside and I saw the Mr. Salmon’s car backing out slowly from his parking spot. He was about to leave! Luckily he spotted me. I was so happy that this interview would finally happen and that I could get it over with,

The interview went well. I was nervous that Mr. Salmon wouldn’t be able to answer the questions, but he did and well. One of the responses he gave that shocked me was when he told me that Sparta probably respected Athens, its rival state because enemies are enemies for a reason, usually because they are both great. If they’re both great, the must respect something about each other.

Some of the questions I asked him were;

  1. What do you think Sparta should be known for? I used this answer as a good intro in my speech about Sparta, when I introduced it.
  2. How do you think Sparta helped Greece in the Persian Wars? Instead of telling me what most of the websites did(which was Sparta was a great leader) he said that Sparta’s army helped a lot too.
  3. Which allies did Sparta use? Mr. Salmon told me that Sparta didn’t like to be allied but he gave me the names of some allies, such as Thebes.

I got tons of new information out of this but I’m still so  glad that this interview is done with. I hope I never have to do it again. It is way too stressful.

Me and the teacher I interviewed, after this interview

Capstone: Site Visit

Our Capstone research is coming to an end! Soon we will go on to presenting and then it’ll be done! But there are two important things that we have to do before we finish our research; the site visit and interview.

The site visit and the interview are ways to help you gather extra research on your topic that you are doing. They are requirements to complete Capstone properly.

I think that the site visit and interview are the most stressful parts of Capstone. For my site visit, I had to search through tons of places, finally decided upon the perfect one and for my interview, I had to email a lot of people and had to wait for a long time for a response.

When I first heard about this, I was a bit nervous because my topic was Sparta, an Ancient Greece civilization so I didn’t know where to go for my site visit. But my teacher suggested a museum or a restaurant. I looked at a lot of museums but nowhere was too close by and related to my topic. It was a bit stressful when I was searching, but finally I found the perfect place to go. I decided upon the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I talked to my parents and they thought that the MET would be a great place to visit. At first I was nervous that they’d forget and I’d never go, but that didn’t happen. My family was really helpful with this and they took me on a weekend to NYC.

The minute I came into the Greek section, I started to second-guess my thoughts on coming to the MET. Sparta was a warrior society, not an artistic one. There were about two artworks that even mentioned the word ‘Sparta,’ in them. It’s rival state, Athens, was an artsy one though. So I learned more about Athens and its decline of power, through it learning a bit about Sparta.

But the main thing about our site visit is to take pictures. So I photographed armor and vases that had war scenes on them. There were a lot, so tons of pictures were taken. I also found some maps that gave me nice ideas of Spartan territories and information about the Athens-Spartan rivalry. I learned that Sparta’s victory in its battle of Athens completely devastated Athens. I also learned what types of armor warriors used and why. Fun fact: Armor was heavy so it made it hard to walk and you couldn’t flee. Instead it only gave protection. This was because Spartans didn’t believe in running away from battle.

I came to the museum not expecting to get too much, but I got a lot of information. The best part was, though, that I got to explore other exhibits like the Chinese one which I’ve always loved. So I’d definitely say that my visit to the MET was a success.


These are examples of the armor that I saw.

This is me at the museum.

These are examples of the vases I saw.

This is what I learned about Athens during my visit to the MET.

Capstone: Main Inquiry and Sub-Questions

The second part of Capstone has begun! But it wasn’t as easy as it would seem. We had to conference with our teachers, deal with rejected ideas and think up of questions from scratch! But that was only the start of it.

For my main question, I chose to do research on if the Spartans helped build up the Greek empire or just made more problems along the way, or if they did both and how. The question I wanted to research at the start was to see why Spartans were always portrayed as vicious and brutal characters and if this was even true. If this was my main question, my sub-questions would have been to learn about schooling and to see if the subjects that kids were taught made them like that, or if it was their geological place in the world. My second choice was the question that I actually chose. When I conferenced with Mrs. Cooper, she said that my first choice might have been a bit too broad, but she said that my second question would be nice. So that’s the one I chose to research.

In truth, I was a bit disappointed with what Mrs. Cooper said because I was really looking forward to my first choice. But when I started to think of sub-questions, I realized that this new question was definitely better.

For my sub-questions, I wanted to see how Sparta helped or didn’t help Greece’s empire. But I wanted 6 sub-questions. After my first four, I had a big writer’s block. This was because I wanted good questions, not easy ones. And I wanted questions that would relate to my topic in a good way, not just bad ones that would be bumps in a road.

Soon, I got 6 questions. But there were still problems! Most questions I thought up of started with ‘did.’ My teacher said that these would be too easy to answer, even though I totally disagreed! I loved all my questions. So I had to reword just about all of them, which made me really angry and just felt pointless to me.

In the end, this was what my whole main inquiry question and sub questions chart looked like;



How did Sparta contribute to the the successes and downfall of the Greek empire?


Sub Questions            
Sub Question #1 What is/was Sparta and where was it, how strong was its armies, what rules/beliefs were important to them and what was Sparta’s code of honor?
Sub Question #2 Did Sparta’s love for war, blood and theft come in the way of Greece’s harmony and cause unwanted problems? How did important Greek leaders feel about this?
Sub Question #3 Did the Spartan belief that they had to be rough to survive come in the way of other cities thoughts and lead to some cities looking down on Sparta for this? Did Sparta gain back their respect in other ways
Sub Question #4 Did the strength of the Spartan army aid Greece when fighting foreign armies? Did it ever not or did it ever not aid to the full ability? (Famous examples)

Bonus: And did Greece help Sparta right back when it needed help in battling armies?

Sub Question #5 Did Sparta’s independence raise fears about the fact that Sparta might split up from Greece or rage war on the country? How did leaders deal with this?


Sub Question #6 Did Sparta depend too much on Greece and cause problems in how the country was run? How did leaders deal with this?


I was really proud of this chart. A lot of work had gone into making it into what it was.

My favorite questions were the last two. They were opposites, and it would be one or the other. I kind of liked that, because I could compare and contrast, and no matter what, one of the questions would turn out to be true.

The hardest question was the first one. Mrs. Cooper told me to add that one because no one knew what Sparta was. But I thought it was a bad sub-question. For a long time, the question remained, ‘What was Sparta.’ Then I added the rest and the stuff about the army and I started to like the question. Before, it was boring. Then, I made it interesting. I’m happy I did that.

My easiest sub-question was the second one. I knew Sparta was a country known for its strength, so it obviously waged wars with other countries. So all I did was think about it and then form it into a sub-question.

I liked all my sub-questions, I didn’t dislike any. So my sub-questions were a success, though there were some challenges. And my main inquiry question was also a success. So, overall, I enjoyed this process. The question finding was fun. I hope that the rest of Capstone is fun too.


Choosing a Topic

Capstone is something that all the fifth graders at Heathcote School complete. In this, a student chooses a topic he/she is interested in and then researches a question relating to the topic. Capstone involves interviews, sight visits and 6-8 weeks of continuous toil and research.

For me, choosing the topic was fairly simple. Ever since third grade, when I read the Percy Jackson series, I have been interested in Ancient Greece. I pride myself on knowing many of their gods which I learned from different books. But I didn’t know too much about life as a Greek citizen. So I wanted to learn about that. Yet when I talked to my teacher about this, she said it was a bit broad so I decided to research Sparta, an ancient Greek state known for its strength and army, which was said to never question orders.

Mrs. Cooper, my teacher had us answer a question sheet which could help us find our topic, such as what field trips we would like to go on or what books we liked to read. For me, this was a bit pointless as I already knew what I wanted to do. But the questions asked about certain areas of expertise and what we enjoyed studying about. What was interesting though, was that I changed my second choice after answering the questions from horses to the Ancient Incas. I realized that the Ancient Incas were an interesting civilization and it might be fun to research how scientists recovered their remnants and crafted together hypotheses from those.

The only thing I am worried about with my topic, Greece, is that I might get a bit bored if I read the really long novels about every little detail in Greece. Also, there are tons of different sights in which different information is displayed. I might get confused if every source says something different.

Other than that, I am excited for Capstone. I really think that Ancient Greece will be an interesting topic to study.