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:

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:


Rube Goldberg #3

When we finished our Rube Goldberg, I reflected upon how hard we worked just for a cup of vinegar to go into the baking soda. The cardboard tubes, the ending task argument, the pin problem, phew! I can’t even list how many. When I saw the video, I was a little disappointed that Marcello didn’t catch the main part of the machine in the video. I know it wasn’t on purpose because he had a hard time getting down the stairs with the machine in his way, but still, I am a little nervous when we are going to show the video tomorrow. I am excited on my part since the bloopers at the end were very funny. Well, hope all goes well.


Here is the video:

Rube Goldberg #2

We just completed building our Rube Goldberg. We had many Debates [arguments] about what we should do when filming and what not, and I am excited. All we need to do is 1. Take pictures of our design, 2. Complete the task successfully, and 3. Is to make our video. I am considerably worried that we can’t make this in time but Marcello suggested that we ask our teacher for an extra day to complete it. I honestly think that we might fail but I got my hopes up in the last few days. We first had arguments about wherever to make our Rube Goldberg unique or not, I was on the unique side sine I wanted ours to stand out among the other projects. In the end, I was a combination of both. we had many unique tubes and a simple task [pouring baking soda in vinegar] but we also had balls and dominoes and what not. I am happy that we have a good completed task but I am still worried about the filming. We had another argument about the introduction. We planed to make another Introduction but I thought that the other one was fine. He said that we should explain the whole Rube in video on every trial, but I said that we already had an introduction that explained everything that came before all the tries, so we wound’t have to explain it again. But we are going to complete this today.


This year we have done rocketry! When my teacher first said it, I was very optimistic about it. Then we got shuffled and put in groups. We named our group J.E.X.L after the first letter in each of our names. We thought that it would be a sort of N.A.S.A. sort of thing. Then for homework, we had to bring in ideas and pictures for the inspiration board. It was really fun when we printed out pictures of different rockets and rocket launches. Also for homework, we got to study Isaac Newton and his laws of motion to help us better understand the physics behind the rockets. Then we glued and designed our Inspiration Boards. It looked nice with the frilly cuts and the different colors. But the important part was that it inspired us on what to do when building and launching. Now, we are bringing in materials to build them and I am in charge of cardboard. It will be so fun to launch!