Capstone Presentation and Reflection

When I woke up on Tuesday, you can’t really say that I was nervous. I was around nervous x 15 x 10 to the 38th power. I was like this because way in the morning before the capstone presentation, there was this ceremony called the moving up ceremony. This was when we sang in front of all the parents and showed that we were “moving up to middle school”. I was playing piano as the precessional and I was playing a really hard piece that I only learned two days ago and it was a bit shaky. This combined with the factor that I was presenting an unprepared presentation. Then I figured out that “Oh wow, I am presenting first as well.” Let’s just say that It was not a great scenario. I was thinking that all this work and progress is going to be broken down into some twitching words and uncoordinated slides. Capstone has been really fun. experience for me and I hope we get to do something like this again in middle school. I learned a very crucial thing in this project: You should never slack off if you think a project is long term, for it is not. You had to every da to make the project your best, but I skipped most days, and I payed at the end for working the hardest I ever worked at the end. I vow that I shall never repeat this behavior in a project ever again.

Half of my nervousness retreated when I played the peice well with only one mistake. I recieved a wooping crowd and I was enormously relieved. There was still a huge wall ahead of me on the road to relaxation. This was my Capstone Presentation. I had not memorized my script, but my dad said it was okay as long as you don’t stare at your note cards the whole time. I strategy I used while presenting my presentation was that l Iooked at the back wall instead of the people. Unfortunatly, my presentation was 11 min long. It was wierd since it felt like it was done in 2 seconds. Even stranger, my teacher told me that I did agreat job. Turns out, I did do a great job since many people including my parents siad the same thing. My parents are honest, so when they said I did good, I believe them. Hope we get to do something like this in middle school, but for now, summer here we come.

Answering Main Inquiry Question Part 2

I finally know the second part of my main question! Pathogen!! Types of pathogen include bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. These things can trigger your immune system immediately. Here is an explanation of all the pathogens:

Bacteria attack and digest tissue for themselves so they can have something to eat. Bacteria are scavengers, so they want to take as much as they can before the immune response destroys them. Bacterial diseases include strep throat, tetanus, Lyme disease and meningitis. Cavities are also just sugar-loving bacteria that eat away at your teeth. Viruses are a bit different. They invade cells and occupy them, so the virus gets all the nutrients they need to survive. They use the cell to multiply so when the cell dies each virus goes for another cell, multiplying even more. If a virus finds itself outside a warm cushy body, like on a door handle, it dies almost instantly because it doesn’t have any organisms to invade. Viral diseases include the chicken pox, Ebola, and HIV. Over 200 viruses are responsible for what we call the “common cold”. Parasites are also scavengers but are usually a little larger than bacteria. They feed on the tissue of the host organism and lay their eggs inside the bloodstream to reproduce. Protozoa are also Parasites, except they don’t lay eggs. Drinking dirty water is a common way to get a parasite infection. Common parasite infections include Giardia, tapeworm, hookworm and roundworm infections.

Answering Main Inquiry Question Part 1

I have a huge lead in my research today. I already knew what the answer was to one part of my question from the start, but the other part I am still finalizing. My main question is: What are the threats to the human body and how does it protect itself? How does it protect itself is the immune system, that is obvious, but the other part I am still questioning. For my presentation, I am planning on making a brief explanation of organs and cells and whatnot, but I am not going to do this for the whole presentation. In the meat and through the end of the script, I am going to be diving incredibly deep into the immune system and explain how most funcions work and why. I think it is annoying that we have to be presenting for 1st graders becuase my topic is incredibly complicated and I don’t want to stop and have to define normal person terms in little kid language like “cells are the legos of your body”. I hate doing that becuase it interrupts the proffesionism of the presentation. Other peope are doing “dogs” and they can just roll their presentation beggining through end with no stops to define, meanwhile I have to explain phagocytosis to first graders. I wish they would sort the presentations from least complicated to most copllicated, so they can save the most complicated for adults, and save the least complicated for the kids. So talking researchwise, It is going well. I learned that not only phagocytes can kill pathogens, but normal cells can release enzymes called cytokins that can break down the pathogen, so they can eliminate them too. I am hoping to learn the second part of my question tommorow, so I can start writing my script.

Capstone Site Visit

Yesterday, My Mom and I traveled to a Rheumatologist’s office. It took us a while to find her office since the address was a huge building with multiple offices and businesses. When my mom and I finally found a door to the doctor’s offices, there was a phone box with buttons on it and you were supposed to press the button that matched the doctor you were calling. We looked at the sheet and the Rheumatologist was P3. There was no P3 button on the box. It turns out there was another door on the opposite side of the building and it had a phone box with P3 on it. The thing is, it didn’t have a sheet with the phone box, so we had to had went to the other door to learn the button for the Rheumatologist. That was such a bad system. Once we were inside, me and my Mom found her and she told us to wait inside a room until her patient comes. She showed us some Rheumatology text books on what immune diseases you can have. There was this immune disease where your immune system attack your arteries, causing them to inflame and swell. The blood has to push hard to get through these lumps that forms inside the arteries. She said that once she had a patient with that disease thats blood clogged and stopped. He passed away, she said, and he was only 26. Then after that, she invited me in. The patient was a Hispanic House maid. She had come in with complaints of pain in her hands and shoulders and knees. The Rheumatologist asked her around 20 questions of what diseases and symptoms she had before. She paused and said to me that she was asking all these questions to eliminate the thousands diseases and reasons that this could be caused by. When she finished the questions, she asked her to get onto the patient chair. The Rheumatologist did multiple tests on her and she let me listen to her heart through the stethoscope. She calculated that she had osteoarthritis, the old persons arthritis. This disease is caused by the bones rubbing together, destroying the cartilage, the soft stuff in between joints so that isn’t painful to move. I hope my capstone will benefit from this visit.


Here are some pictures:

Graphic Novel Reflection

Two days ago, we finished our Graphic Novel reading unit with Mr. Deberry. I published my own official graphic novel called Into the Mist. It is about a monster that lives in the woods. mine was by far the scariest thing in the class. I thought back to the project and I realized that writing a graphic novel is so much harder than I expected. Since my graphic novel was so realistic,  mine took around 2x longer than everyone else’s. Maybe not as long as Alex though, since he looked like a tv show. When I drew, I thought it was a little annoying because if you drew the main character amazing in one panel and you messed up and drew the main character bad in the second panel then it is going to look really horrible unless you draw the main character perfectly in every single panel, which is going to take a long time for me. If you only give someone a week to draw a graphic novel I think they’re going to get a little stressed out. I wanted my novel to be scary because everyone else was doing those happy topics. I wanted to pack a punch into mine so it would be a bit interesting. I don’t want the teacher to pretend it was good. After that, it would be stuffed into my overflowing art projects shelf at home and then I would find a few years later and say, “oh. . ., it was the graphic novel I wrote a few years ago. Yeah, it really was terrible”.

I dont want that to happen. I really worked and tried my best at drawing this project. I want it to be remembered. Right now, I am taking pictures of each page and putting them in a slideshow. I hope this works out well, because I spent a lot of my time into this.


Here is my Graphic Novel:




Casptone Interview

Yesterday, My mom and I interviewed Monassa, Rehma’s Mom, who is a rheumatologist. She treats patients with an autoimmune problem. An autoimmune disease is when white blood cells and neutrophils start attacking the body’s own tissue. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an example of this. Cells release certain enzymes that break down the cartilage and ligaments in between the bones, causing movement at the joints painful. Another autoimmune disease is Lupus. This is the same except the cells target vital organs and healthy tissue. This can cause damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver.

We started off with a few scientifical questions. Since we couldn’t find an immunologist, she was the other option. We had to skip some questions since they had to do with immunology so she couldn’t answer them. The interview went on for 27 min. Rehma and I had to wait for an hour for our parents to stop talking. My mom and I went home in the rain with a lot of information.

Capstone Topic and Questions

Capstone is a research project where you study something that you have chosen over a course of 2 months and then you share your research through a TED Talk or


The first topic for Capstone that I wanted to study was Chemistry. My mom didn’t want to do this because she was afraid that I might “blow up the house”. Why would I do that!! We argued so I decided to do my second choice, Human anatomy. Today I generated my main research question.  My first Idea for my question was “How does the human body work and what are the threats to it?” I showed it to my teacher this question and she said it was too broad, and that how were you supposed to explain every single part of the human body just in a slideshow? I decided to take her advice to expand upon what is dangerous to the human body. So, I changed it to “What are the threats to the human body and how does it protect itself?” Both my question partners said it was a 4. We have this grading system for Inquiry Questions. A 1 is a question that is answered in one word. A 2 is a slightly broader question that is answered in a sentence. A 3 is a question that is not too small but not too broad either. A 4 is an absolutely perfect question that takes a long time  There is a grade for Research Questions, and 4 is the best with an answer that spans your whole capstone project.

It took a while to brainstorm some of my subquestions. They are, What are the different systems in the human body?What role does mucus play? What is the difference between Voluntary and Involuntary actions? Why do we breathe? What is the process from the brain to the limb or body part when we move? What happens to the body when we sleep? How are medicines produced? How do doctors research cures for diseases? How long is a typical surgery? What is inside a cell?

For my final product, I am thinking of making diagram of the different systems in the human body and how it defends itself.

Social Issues Blog Erik

In our book club, we are reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio. We are thinking about the challenges the characters face and how their challenges affect them.

August faces many challenges. He has a facial birth defect and it’s a challenge for him every day to try and tell people that he is a normal person. He often bullied or left out in school, and he is judged on how he looks. These challenges prevent him from making that many friends. Soon, with all the people bullying him, he starts regretting that he had gone to school in the first place. He thinks that he doesn’t have any real friends because Principal Tushman assigned people to be his friends but he actually has real friends. The kids who bully him at school affected him to change his costume at the last second so he wouldn’t be picked on. The way that people treat him has made him when he was younger,  to wear an astronaut helmet to prevent any looks or sideways glances. He stopped wearing it only because he lost it. I think that if he didn’t lose it, he would have kept wearing it. August acts differently both when he is with people and when he is alone. When he is with people, it depends who he is with. If he is with his family and friends, he acts completely normal. If he is with people like Julian, he tries to avoid them the best he can. When August is alone, he thinks about himself more and his mind wanders to where it makes him scared, sad and angry.