Choosing a Topic for Capstone

This week we began to talk about our capstone topics. Capstone is a big project you do in fifth grade about an interest you have. Most of us had already been thinking about our topics for a long time. I wanted to do Broadway casting. The problem was, two people cannot do the same thing and one of my best friends, Audrey, wanted to do it. I thought more about topics and what I was curious about.

After a lot of thinking I thought of something I had always wondered about; Dreams. Things like “How do dreams connect to your brain?” and “Why do you have dreams?”. Once my class all had their topics we began to come up with inquiry questions. We put post-its with questions on posters and graded our questions. Then today we helped each other improve our inquiry questions and started to write subquestions. My inquiry question will be:

“Why do humans have dreams and how do dreams connect to their brains and lives?”

My subquestions will be:

“Do your dreams have anything to do with what is going on in your life?”

“If you have a certain personality trait, will your dreams have anything to do with that personality trait?”

“Why do you only have dreams sometimes?”

“Does having a dream have anything to do with how deep you are sleeping?”

I have had so much fun with my capstone project so far, and I can’t wait to do more!

So B. It

In school my book club has been reading a book called So B. It by Sarah Weeks. It is about a girl named Heidi. Heidi’s mother has a mental disability so her neighbor, Bernie takes care of them.

One challenge Heidi faces is her mother’s disability. This is a challenge because Heidi’s childhood was affected by her mother’s disability. Bernie has agoraphobia. That means she is afraid to leave her house. Bernie and Heidi’s mother can’t drive Heidi to school so Heidi had to be homeschool. This meant she didn’t meet any kids her age. Heidi had to grow up too fast! She had to act grown up because if Heidi was upset, Heidi’s mother would throw a tantrum. When Heidi’s mother had tantrums she would hurt herself.

This affects how Heidi interacts with the world when Heidi began to lie. She wanted a different life so when people asked about her life she would lie. Once she sat with a woman named Alice on a bus. Alice asked about Heidi’s family. She told Alice she had a mother, a neighbor named Bernie and a grandma. Heidi then began to lie that her fake grandma knew Shirley Temple. She said Shirley Temple would come over and bake at their house. Heidi’s lie grew bigger and bigger until she had a completely different life.

Heidi barely knows anything about her mother so she makes list about her mother in her free time. She made a list of all the words her mother knows. Heidi also made a list of everything she knows about her mother. She knows almost nothing about her mother though. Heidi also made a list of questions she had about her mother. Heidi’s whole life revolves around her mother and her mother’s disability. I can’t imagine what Heidi is going through, and I think she is more patient then I would ever be.

Stop Motion Animation Pt. 3

At school Audrey, Samantha, Rehma and I have been working very hard on our stop motion project. Today we finally finished!! We finished first in the class. I think we finished first because when one of us got off track everybody else would yell at them until they calmed down. (We were VERY loud) We finished filming unusually quickly too. Overall we worked well together.

In our movie there is a boy and his friends send him a letter. The letter explains everything about the journey over to America. While the letter is being read out loud panel images slide in and show what the letter is saying. Our video is short but educational. I am very proud of it. Here it is:

A Long Walk to Water

In class we are reading a Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park. It is based on a true story about a boy during the Sudan War. We were asked to answer some questions about the book:

In A Long Walk to Water, one of the main themes is leadership. Some qualities of effective leadership are kindness, intelligence, bravery, persistence and confidence. Salva shows many of these qualities throughout the book. Salva is very persistent because he keeps walking even though it is tiring and difficult. Salva is intelligent when he didn’t cry or complain. This is intelligent because if he had cried or complained his group would have left him behind. Salva is brave because he left his friends and family behind and his uncle and best friend were killed but he just keeps on walking. He doesn’t know where he is going, he doesn’t know anybody but he just keeps on walking.

In the book, Salva says “Do things bit by bit, one step at a time.” Salva’s philosophy can help me in my life when I am playing sports. I go to the track sometimes with my dad. When I am running a long distance I can just tell myself one more step, one more step until the end. Perseverance is important because even when things get tough you will just keep on going. Salva was very persevered because he just kept walking. If Salva had stopped walking he may not be alive today. You can develop the ability to persevere by doing sports like soccer, track and field hockey because in these sports you have to keep moving the whole time. In soccer you have run and pass the ball for the whole game, in track you have to run long distances without stopping and in field hockey you have to run down the field and score goals. Perseverance is a very important quality to have because it can teach you many things.

Stop Motion Animation Pt. 2

Today we began to film. It didn’t really go as planned. Audrey, Samantha, Rehma and I thought that we would get a lot of filming done today but we were wrong. We spent a long time setting things up and gluing things back together. By the time we were all set up we only had half an hour left to film. We ended up having to start all over again. We got no filming done today.

Stop Motion Animation

In school we started a stop motion project. It is about immigration. Our topic is the Journey Over to America. For the past week, Samantha, Rehma, Audrey and I have prepared our sets and written our scripts so that today we could begin to film.

Rehma, Samantha, Audrey and I decided that our movie would be based on a letter that we had written with all of our research. We would have a voice over (reading the letter) and images will slide in to show what we are talking about. We made wood panels out of popsicle sticks and painted a pizza box green so we would have a green screen. We have been working very, very hard.

From Bryan Smith on Twitter

Rube Goldberg Pt. 7

With all of the takes Audrey, Samantha and I did we spent a LOT of time setting things up again. We sang, danced and took selfies while listening to music and setting up dominos and books. (We got a bit off track sometimes:) While we had a lot of fun we also talked (and argued a bit) about our project. We did a lot of our planning as we set things up too. Samantha, Audrey and I had a blast with this project!!!




Rube Goldberg Pt. 6

Of all our fails one of them was definitely the most disappointing. That’s because it wasn’t actually a fail. We got all the way to the end, but then, when the music didn’t play right away, we turned of the camera. As Audrey, Samantha and I were setting our project up again the music started playing!!!

We were using this kind of radio and it didn’t play right away because the radio used a CD. The CD had to get to the right song and them play it. It took a while. Now that I think about it, we should have tested this part a little bit more.

This photo is from


Rube Goldberg Pt. 5

For our Rube Goldberg project we have to film all of our takes until we get a success. It took Samantha, Audrey and me 101 takes until we got our success. Each take took a long time to set back up so we had to reconsider our steps a bit. We switched dominos with Jenga pieces and we made our book dominos shorter. This made it so we had less things to set up.

Along with taking things away we marked where things were supposed to go. We used green painters’ tape to mark where the string dominos sat. This way we wouldn’t have to test everything as much before we did our next take. It was extremely helpful and made everything so much faster!!

Before we did any takes we always tested the positions of everything. This way we wouldn’t get far into our Rube Goldberg and have it not work because a domino, book or marble was misplaced. Our testing involved trying a small part of our Rube Goldberg to make sure they worked and stopping them before they knocked down the next step. We found that this was very helpful because it made us much more consistent.


Rube Goldberg Pt.4

In our project there was one thing that stood out to Audrey, Samantha and me, just not in a good way… It was dominos. We regret putting dominos in our project because they were IMPOSSIBLE to set up. You would be almost done and then “whoops” all the dominos would fall again. We decided we would have to ditch the dominos.

To replace the dominos we used Jenga blocks. They were taller so you could place them farther apart, they were more balanced and they were SO much easier to set up. Samantha, Audrey and I were very happy with our decision. It taught us about problem solving and improved our project.