Technology: Circuits


For the past few days in class, we have been working on making switches. Basically, we have to make a circuit and light up a bulb, but we have to make switches to activate the circuit. Our task was to create three switches. In the end, we would connect wires to the conductive parts of the switch and use that to light up the bulb.

My first switch was the tall one with the tinfoil circle hanging down from it. It has blue string. In this switch, you activate it by pushing up the circle. The circle is covered with tinfoil and when that tinfoil touches the tinfoil at the top, electrons can pass through them allowing the circuit to be complete. This circuit was the most challenging to make because I needed to make sure that the two strings were of equal length so the circle wouldn’t be lopsided. In the end, my circle got a little lopsided but I was able to add weight on one side to balance the circle. Another problem was that one of the materials that I wanted to use, a rubber band, had run out so I had to make best with what I could do. Luckily though, the switch works perfectly fine. This one is probably my favorite because I think it’s the most complex.

My second switch is the one that has a stick hanging down. This activator has a roof which is only held up by one side. That side is covered in tinfoil. The roof has a stick hanging down from it. This activator is activated by pushing the stick onto the side. Since both are covered in tinfoil, which is a conductor, electrons will pass through. This switch wasn’t that hard to make, but in the beginning, I messed up and glued the stick too far away from the side, so I had to fix that. This was done with relative ease.

The last switch is covered completely in tinfoil. It looks a bit like a seesaw. This switch was probably the simplest to make. To activate it, I push one side of the seesaw down onto the tinfoil covered floor. The only thing difficult about this switch was coming up with the idea. Since it was my final one, I didn’t exactly know what to do, but my friend helped me think of an idea.

These are my three switches. Soon, we’re going to play a game to see how fast I can activate them. I think my switches will work, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens!

Technology: Nikola Tesla

A few days ago in class, we watched a movie about Nikola Tesla. Here  are some facts I learned about him.

Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American engineer and physicist who lived from 1856-1943. Tesla made dozens of breakthroughs in the production, transmission and application of electric power. He also invented the first alternating current (AC) motor and developed AC generation and transmission technology, among a few things.

Nikola Tesla was born in Smiljan, Croatia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1863, Tesla’s brother Daniel was killed in a riding accident. The shock of the loss unsettled Tesla, who reported seeing visions—the first signs of his lifelong mental illnesses.

Tesla studied math and physics at the Technical University of Graz and philosophy at the University of Prague. In 1882, he came up with the idea for a brushless AC motor and started making the first sketches of its rotating electromagnets.

Tesla arrived in New York in 1884. Soon after arriving, he was hired as an engineer at Thomas Edison’s Manhattan headquarters. Tesla worked there for a year and impressed Edison with his diligence. One day, Edison told Tesla he would pay $50,000 for an improved design for his DC dynamos. After months of experimentation, Tesla presented a solution and asked for the money. Edison demurred, saying, “Tesla, you don’t understand our American humor.” This caused Tesla to quit.

After an unsuccessful attempt to start his own Tesla Electric Light Company, Tesla found backers to support his research into alternating current. In 1888, he was invited to address the American Institute of Electrical Engineers on his work. His lecture caught the attention of George Westinghouse, the inventor who had launched the first AC power system near Boston.

Westinghouse hired Tesla, licensed the patents for his AC motor, and gave him his own lab. In the 1890s, Tesla invented electric oscillators, meters, improved lights and the high-voltage transformer known as the Tesla coil. He also experimented with X-rays, gave short-range demonstrations of radio communication, and piloted a radio-controlled boat around a pool in Madison Square Garden. Together, Tesla and Westinghouse lit the 1891 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and partnered with General Electric to install AC generators at Niagra Falls, creating the first modern power station.

In 1895, Tesla’s New York lab burned, destroying years’ worth of notes and equipment. He tried to get back up on his feet, but funds ran out. Tesla spent his last years feeding pigeons and claiming to communicate with them. Tesla died in his hotel room on January 7, 1943.

Tesla was a great engineer who created many things. The world wouldn’t be where it is today without him. Even though he may not have been recognized for his accomplishments in his time, we should definitely appreciate the things he did for us now.

Fun Fact: During the 1890s, the author Mark Twain struck up a friendship with inventor Nilola Tesla.

Technology: Self Driving Cars

For the past few days in tech, we’ve been learning about self driving cars. The cars that we have been talking about are the ones that don’t need a driver on the wheel. These cars are so advanced that they can steer themselves. Here are some facts that we learned.

Self driving cars will always follow the rules, so they’ll always follow the speed limit. That means that people won’t have to pay tickets anymore, since they won’t be breaking any rules. That could save people money. It also means that the police won’t have to waste time going around and making sure that everyone is under the speed limit, so they can do more valuable things, such as catch criminals.

Also, self-driving cars could help prevent accidents. In the beginning, when there aren’t too many of these cars on the road, the computers will have to be advanced enough to sense movement if, for example, another car swerves in front of it. But, when there are more self-driving cars, these cars could actually be able to communicate with each other so they could broadcast a message to the other cars if one crashed or if one has to do something.

Another pro for self-driving cars is that they could aid people will inabilities, such as the inability to see or hear. For people with inabilities, driving has to be really hard, but self-driving cars could change all of that. Not only would they make the roads safer, they could also help people with inabilities get around.

Sadly, no good thing comes without a con. Many people around America drive trucks or taxis for a living. In fact, in some communities, driving is the number one occupation. If self driving cars are approved for everyday use, all these people who drive to earn money will be out of jobs. The rate of people who are jobless will increase and that also means that there will be more competition for the jobs that are out there.

In addition, driver less cars will depend heavily on computers, since those will be the things that control them. This will make cars more vulnerable to hackers and other cyber threats. For example, is a self-driving car has a load of diamonds, a hacker could get in and have the car drive too a location where that hacker can steal these diamonds. Luckily though, this problem could be solved if guards were posted in these trucks. The guards could help keep people from reprogramming the car.

These are some of the things we learned in tech class about self-driving cars. Personally, I think that self-driving cars would be great for our society and I can’t wait till the future, when they’re actually on the road.

Technology: The Periodic Table

Recently, we learned a lot about the Periodic Table of Elements. The Periodic Table has all the known atoms that the world is made up of. Each atom has electrons, which have a negative charge, neutrons, which have a neutral charge, and protons, which have a positive charge. To learn more about atoms, go see one of my previous posts.

Anyway, the Periodic Table has different columns, which are called groups. The elements in each group have the same number of electrons in the outer orbital. Some names of groups are noble gasses or halogens.

If you pull up a chart with data on a certain atom, you’ll see that this chart has some numbers on it. These numbers are called the atomic mass of an atom and the atomic number. The atomic mass is the number of protons and neutrons in an atom. The atomic number is the number of protons in an atom.

There are two types of atoms; A neutral atom and an ion. A neutral atom is where the number of protons in an atom equal the number of electrons. An ion is when the number of protons does not equal the number of electrons in an atom. If there are more protons in an atom, that atom has a positive charge. If there are more electrons, the atom has a negative charge.

Below, I posted a picture of an atom that is labeled.

Technology: Circuits

Today in tech class we made a circuit. We were given a battery, some wires, a light bulb, and an switch. The goal was to use these items to make the light bulb light up.

It actually wasn’t as easy as it probably sounds. Since other classes had used the same wires before us, the ends of the wires were very stringy. This made our task harder since we had to wrap the ends of the wire around the screws in the light bulb, the battery, and the switch.

At first, I wasn’t able to do it. The wires wouldn’t twist around the screws and everything kept falling apart. So, I asked my friend for help. She held the items while I put the wires in and helped my screw in the nails. Thanks to her, when we flipped the switch, the light bulb lit up.

This light bulb lit up because electricity flows through a thin tungsten wire in the light bulb called the filament. The filament used in a bulb has a property called “resistance.” A filament has a lot of resistance to electricity. Therefore as a result of this, the filament heats up and starts glowing, converting electrical energy to light energy, which causes the bulb to light up.

Technology: The Smallest Movie Made

Today in tech, we watched a movie that was created by moving atoms. It was so cool! The characters were literally made out of atoms! It was mind blowing, especially when our tech teacher told us what this technology could help us do.

The atoms were moved with a device called the tunneling microscope. This device allowed a breakthrough because being able to move atoms is something that could benefit mankind.

Now before I go on, I need to explain something. In everyone’s phone. There are magnets. These magnets are really tiny and there are about a million atoms in them. The magnets in your phone store data. So, technically if the magnets get smaller nd more can fit in a phone, your data storage increases.

By being able to move atoms, scientists predict that they can change the number of atoms in these magnets from a million to twelve. That means that your phone will have a much bigger data storage.

Right now, your phone can carry two or three movies, right? Well, with these new magnets, your phone could just about carry every movie that was ever produced. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

If this happened, it would be a really big breakthrough for technology. I’m really excited to see what happens in the future!

Below, I’m posting a video that shows how the movie was made. I’m also posting the movie in case anyone wants to watch it

Technology: Atoms Part 2

So I know I made a post about atoms earlier, but in class we did a little more on atoms so I felt the need to make a part 2. Since we will probably be learning a lot about atoms, I will write more posts about them accordingly. Today we focused on what atoms are made out of.

Atoms are made of electrons, protons, and neutrons. Protons have a positive charge, electrons have a negative charge, and neutrons have no electrical charge. Electrons fly above the nucleus in a cloud. The nucleus, the positively charged central core of an atom, consists of either 1 or more protons and, in most atoms, a certain amount of neutrons. These protons and neutrons provide the atom with its mass. Different types of atoms have a different number of protons. If you change the number of protons in an atom, it becomes a completely different type of atom. The number of protons in an atom also decide what place the atom has in the Periodic Table. For example, hydrogen, the first element, has 1 proton. On the other hand, the number of neutrons in an atom can be a little different from another atom with the same number of protons in it. For example, a nitrogen atom always has 7 protons, but can have 6, 7, 8 or more neutrons.

If you’re interested, here’s the video we watched in class. You can watch it for more information about atoms if you’d like.

Technology: Our Universe

Today in technology, we started to learn more about atoms and what they are. But, before we started to learn about atoms, we had to put our galaxy in scale. Here are some really interesting facts that I learned.

Voyager 1 was a space probe launched in 1977. It is currently the fastest man made object. Its max speed is 38,610 mph. In August 2012, Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft to cross into interstellar space.

At the center of the universe is a black hole, which has the same diameter as the orbit of Neptune and Neptune takes 200 years to orbit the sun. That’s how big a black hole is. Not even light can escape one because it’s so dense that it can suck up anything.

There 400 billion stars in our galaxy and, as estimated by the Hubble telescope in 2018, about 100 billion galaxies in the universe. The universe is always expanding though, so we can never know for sure. Our galaxy has a radius of 52,850 light years. A light year is the distance light can travel in a year, which is six trillion miles.

Since it takes light so long to reach Earth, if you look up at the night sky, you can see stars that exploded a long time ago. That means that the stars you see tonight might not be active in space right now. Isn’t that so cool?


Technology: Gilbert’s Experiment

In technology class, we learned about a scientist named Sir William Gilbert. He was Queen Elizabeth the First’s docter and lived in the 1600’s. He invented the word electricity and made many cool experiments.

Today in class we learned about one experiment that he did. In involved a closed jar with some tinfoil inside of it and a wire connected that tinfoil to a rod sticking out of the jar. It also involved a stick and a some wool.

First, you rubbed the stick and the wool together really fast. After a while, if you had rubbed the stick and the wool together for long enough, you would put the stick near the rod sticking out of the jar. Then, the tinfoil inside of the jar would move!

Apparently, Gilbert tried to explain why this had happened for years. My teacher explained it in a matter of minutes. When rubbed with fur, amber gains a resinous electricity. However, when glass is rubbed with silk, this lets glass gain a vitreous electricity. Electricity repels the same kind and attracts the opposite kind of electricity. Scientists thought that the friction actually created the electricity. They did not realize that an equal amount of opposite electricity remained on the fur or silk. Dr. William Gilbert, realized that a force was created, when a piece of amber was rubbed with wool and attracted light objects.

This was a very cool experiment in class and I hope to do more like this soon!



Technology: Atoms

So today during technology, we learned about atoms. Adams make up everything in the world, from cars, to TVs, to the new IPhone that everyone’s going crazy over. Atoms are so tiny that you can’t see them with the naked eye. The average atom is about one-tenth of a billionth of a meter across. But there isn’t just one type of atom, there are multiple. 118 have been discovered. These are called elements and can be found on the Periodic Table. Each element contains a different amount of protons. For example, all hydrogen atoms have 1 proton while all carbon atoms have 6 protons.

There are three parts to an atom. These three parts are protons, which have positive electrical charge, and are found together with neutrons, which have no electrical charge, in the nucleus of each atom. The nucleus is the positively charged central core of an atom, consisting of protons and neutrons and containing nearly all its mass. Negatively charged electrons orbit the nucleus.

Fun Fact: The word atom comes from the Greek word for ‘uncuttable’ or ‘undivided.’ For a very long time, people believed atoms were the fundamental “uncuttable” unit of matter.

Below I posted a video we watched in class. It will give more information about atoms.

Here’s a cheesy joke about atoms that I found on the internet

Q: Why should you never trust an atom?

A: They make up everything.