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.

Immigration Project

Today, me and Arav just finished filming our stop motion film. It describes the immigrants in the early 20th century settling and trying to fit into the complex civilisation 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 on how poor people lived in the 1920s & 30s. Me and Arav 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 their was no point for 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 so far.

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.

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

Last week, me and my friend Marcello started our design for our Rube Goldberg project. A Rube Goldberg is a complicated machine related chain reaction that you use to complete a simple task. For example, if I want to pour water into a cup, I could knock down dominoes and then the dominoes hit a ball and then ball hits the tap switch and the tap runs water in the cup. A Rube Goldberg is like that except around 8x more complex. To build a machine like this you need to do the following: Create a design, list materials, experiment your design, build the full model, and finally, share it. Me and my friend have done the first three, and we still have to build our full model. Our model has 12 transfers of energy. This means that energy transfers into different things to make them move / rotate. I am worried that we will not have enough time but I hope we will make it before the deadline. The project is due at the end of January. We have two weeks to do this. I like this project and I am excited to share it. We have to figure out certain things but I am sure that my friend and I will know what to do.







On Tuesday, Dec. 5 we went on a trip to the New York Hall of Science in Queens. I was really excited when I first heard this and when I left in the permission slip, I was dancing around the classroom, (excuse me). We went on the bus trip which was boring, but when we went through the doors there was this mars rover waiting for us. The Cooper kids immediately went and started playing with it, but my group had to go upstairs. It was fine since we went up to the “sports” area. Inside, there was a pitching net that told you how many mph your fastball went, a surfing simulator, racing reaction time, and a wheelchair race. Downstairs, we heard people scream “EEWWW”, so that meant that meant some real science was going down. When it was time to go downstairs, we were introduced to a whole workshop filled with dispensers of smell. The worst one was the one of yeast. It said it was real, but I didn’t believe it. I think this because me and my mom were baking Swedish Christmas buns, and when the dough was yeasting, it was nothing like the smell at the museum. I think they try to do that because they wanted to gross us out . There was this hall of mirrors that was cool because there were mirrors that made us short midgets and another one that made us really tall. There was also an example of bubbles when we got to rim dish soap in metal rings to make huge bubbles. It was soo fun. The people at the bubbles were pugnacious to get  a spot on the line so I suggested not to go again. When we went home, I was very sad, so I plan to come here again sometime with my family.

Constitution Project

We are working on a Constitution Project. This is where we study People, Events, Places, Technology, Art, and documents of the Constitutional Period. We rolled die to pick which one we were doing. There was another dice that had Video, Design Something, Explain Everything, Social Media, Padlet, and a photonovel. I rolled and got technology and design something. There were choices and I chose the printing press.


Yesterday, I built the main parts of my printing press. The 10-inch thing was made of plywood with bolts and screws. First,  I sawed the wood with my dad. It was hard since the saw got stuck most of the time in the wood. The press works by the main bolt in the middle called a platen. There is a dowel that you press down so the main board presses ink on to the paper. Next, we drilled holes into the pieces. The first piece we had to have a 1-inch drill bit to drill not all the way down. This is the ink board were the platen ends. We screwed together most of it but we still need to screw the board.

Before Lunch #2

Today we finished our 2nd rocket design. There was some disagreement between us when we argued to decide which bottle to use, the short stubby one, or the long one we used last time. I voted for the long one since, 1, we were the highest with that bottle so I thought we should use it, 2, the nose cone did not fit onto the short one anyway. Then we glued the new wings on (they weren’t really new since we just traced the old wing shape onto the cardboard) and I beautifully glued the nose cone on. Jackpot!

Rocketry Launch #1

Today we launched our rockets. It was really fun since I got to actually set up the rocket on the launchpad for our group. It was pretty simple; since all, you needed to do was:

1 – Put the rocket filled with 200 ml of water on the rubber stopper. 2 – Secure the rocket by setting two flat metal bars above the plastic ring below the cap, then screwing them in place. 3 – Attach a bike pump to the cord connected to the stopper, pump to 90 psi, then pull the rope (but not without a proper countdown, of course)

The rocket should blast off in the air.


Our rocket group, J.E.X.L (the letters of our first names)’s rocket went 56.5 meters in the air. Here is how we found the exact measurement:

First, when we launched, a group of Clinometer Readers and Data Recorders were set 50 m of either side of the launchpad. The Clinometer Readers used clinometers (obviously) to measure the height of a stationary/moving object. When you point it at the height of the object, gravity points the arrow down at the measurements etched at the bottom, similar to a protractor. Also, there is a trigger that releases the arrow and keeps it in place. There are two people at each point, so there is an Angle 1 A and B, along with angle 2. The averages for both of them for our group were 45° and 53°. We drew a graph and aligned it with the meter chart next to it. But you are not done, you need to add the height average to the total, 1.5. I got 55, so 55m +1.5m =56.5!


The building of our rocket was tough since we went through a lot of mistakes. First, we mixed bottles, so we glued one of the cardboard wings before realized. Next, we mixed tapes, so our rocket was red when we wanted it to be pink. Finally, I did wrong measurements on the nose cone, so the 3d printed thing was 2-3 times bigger than our rocket. It was hard.


The type of science we are learning in physics. The first thing we did was study Isaac Newton and his laws in these booklets. The First law states that every object persists in its state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it. An example of this is when there is a stationary soccer ball that you kicked, the power of your foot is the outside force. The Second law states force equal to the change in momentum (mV) per change in time. For a constant mass, force equals mass times acceleration. For example, a car accelerates faster than a truck because the car has less mass. The third law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. An example of this is when you paddle a canoe, your force from the paddle pushes the water back, while it pushes you forward.


When we launched, our rocket got totally wrecked. When it landed, (since we were the highest, the rocket landed with more force, the bottle got totally crinkled up and one of the fins got loose. But before I mentioned we had a bigger nose cone, so a friend printed it on his 3d printer over the weekend. Around 30 minutes before the launch, we glued on the nose cone, and I was worried that it would come off. But when we checked it after the launch, it was perfectly stable.


My questions are:


How can we improve the rocket so it will have higher goals next time?


How can we compare this to real rocket launches?

Here are some media:






Home of the Brave

Gol is a cow, but Katherine Applegate (author of Home of The Brave) also uses her as a symbol. How does Gol represent Kek’s past, present, and possibly his future?  

Gol represents his past because Kek used to be a cow herder, they moved according to the sun. Gol can represent Kek’s present because Gol is old and weary like Kek feels. He feels old because he is only a child, to have gone through so much. Kek feels weary because of his travels. And Gol is alone, like Kek. He feels like he doesn’t belong, like the cow in the winter. Kek wanting to run away is similar to that. Gol represents his future because she is going into a new world, like Kek and his mom

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