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.

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:




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.

Water Filtration 2018

Today, we made water filters. It was really satisfying to see that we could filter filthy water into almost clean water.


We began studying this unit after reading a book called Saving Salila’s Turtle about this girl called Salila who lives near the Ganges River which is horribly polluted. When she comes to the river one day, she finds a turtle covered in boat oil crawling around on the beach. She immediately adopts this creature and takes it home. Her father doesn’t like the idea of keeping it but her mother, an environmental engineer, doesn’t mind. So, together they hatch a plan to build their own filter. They make enough water for the turtle to live in and the story has a happy ending.


First, we talked about what was polluting the Ganges, so we listed a bunch of things that could be polluting it. We named oil, people washing their clothes or bathing causing more soap oil to go into the water. We also named that storms could cause sticks and silt to get blown into the river, even though that wasn’t mentioned in the story, it was very likely. Another thing we named was maybe human waste was dumped into the river, and that maybe this is what is creating the brown color.


We then were assigned to actually build filters ourselves to solve the problems Salila had. On the first day of building, we tested out some of the ingredients of our final product. We split into groups, and each group was given a bottle of different types of contaminated water. There were three types. A was mixed with tea, B was mixed with soil, and C was mixed with cornstarch. I felt sorry for the C groups because the cornstarch was permanently dissolved in there. Only like, carbon filters could have separated those two. Thankfully, we got a B and started trying to filter out soil using different materials. Here is a table:


                                                               Particles:                                                              Color:

Materials No Kinda Yes! No Kinda Yes!
Screen Check  Check
Sand & Gravel  Check Check
Coffee Filter  Check  Check


We moved on to build our final filter. We were given goals to try to reach. Our teacher brought out 5 bottles filled with different types of water to compare against. There was 5, which was dirty contaminated water, 4, with a lighter color and fewer particles. 3 was even lighter and had fewer particles, 2 was almost clear with a tiny amount of particles, and 1 was perfectly clear and clean water.


I proposed to use a little berry strainer, but my group declined it. In the first design, we used the same upside-down bottle with the bottom cut off as before. We first put a dried out baby wipe on top to get the big particles, then below that, we had another baby wipe inside of 4 stacked coffee filters, then finally a bundled up mosquito screen. Our second design was similar, except instead of the baby wipe on top, we stretched out the screen. And instead of the screen on the bottom, we used sand and gravel. Here is how that went:


                                                                                   Contamination Level:

Design #       5       4       3       2       1!
1  Check
2  Check

With this design, we had very good results as you can see. I liked this unit very much and hope we will come back to studying it in Middle School!


Here are some photos:


Immigration Project

Today, Arav and I just finished filming our stop motion film. It describes the immigrants in the early 20th century settling and trying to fit into the complex civilization of New York at that time. It shows the immigrants living their life in New York, including their dining, working, and home experience. I have learned a lot about how poor people lived in the 1920s & 30s. Arav and I argued a lot. One example is that he wanted to start a new stop-motion movie for the second half and I just said that we should stay with the same movie since there was no point in it. We ended up having to stop filming and go do something else. Well, that was good filming time lost. I am happy for today because we completed the stop motion and the movie where you put together the clips with titles and audio. Since we couldn’t get speech bubbles in iMovie, we had to have volunteers to say the character parts. I like how successful we are,

A Long Walk to Water


In class we are reading Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park. We wonder on some questions about the main characters, and their traits.

What are the qualities of effective leadership? How does Salva demonstrate these quilities? Well, first you need to know that everybody trusts you and likes you and what you say. You need to have strength to stay at the top and also not to cry or fall behind because of a tragedy. Like Salva when he couldn’t find his parents. He cried and lagged behind. You need to be smart to know and identify what is ahead. Uncle Juir had this quality. When the group went into the land of the Atuan, he warned the group that there are lions. You need to protect whoever you’re leading and not to let them get out of your watch. You need to keep everyone together. Uncle Juir did not have this quality because Salva’s friend was dragged away by a lion under Uncle Juir’s nose.

How might Salva’s philosophy help you in life? If you look over something at its full length, you might get worried that you might not make it there. For example, if you do things at a smaller point of view, as Salva did in the desert, you don’t have to worry about it. You’ll think “Thats Easy!”, and you will do it again, and again until you reach whatever goal you have.

Why is perseverance so important? Perseverance is crucial to life because, without it, you can never get anything done if it is not on your first try. Reflecting on the book we used to read Home of the Brave by Catherine Applegate, Kek shows this by trying harder to make himself feel at home. Salva, shows this by the bit by bit strategies that I talked about earlier. When his uncle got murdered, he didn’t sit in a corner and cry, he tried harder and walked swifter and with more strength to try to be what uncle had been, the leader.

How can better develop the ability to persevere? Perseverance isn’t obtained, someone slowly develops it. One thing to strengthen your perseverance is try a challenge. When you fail at it, try again, and keep trying until you succeed. If you don’t have the ability to do that, then, try playing or doing something that you aren’t good at. Keep trying it, and you might get better at it.