6th Grade Tech – Post #6

It turns out we didn’t play the “Self-Driving Car” game this Friday. Instead, we made the switch that our projects are going to be connected to on a breadboard. For the switch, we used a breadboard, jumper cables, a battery, and an LED light. This is a breadboard:

In class, we learned about parallel and simple circuits. In a parallel circuit, if there are multiple lights, and one of them goes off, the rest of them stay on. In a simple circuit, if one light goes off, then the rest of them go off too. That’s because of how the switch is built. In a parallel circuit, the wires attached to each light are connected to the wires that are attached to the battery. And each wire that is attached to a light is separated from the other wires. That’s why if a wire attached to a light gets cut off, then that light will go off, but the others won’t. Here are some pictures of the three different switches all put together:

6th Grade Tech – Post #5

Mr. Calvert has assigned a new project. We’re supposed to make three different light switches, mostly made out of cardboard and tin foil. After we finish making these switches, we are going to play a game with them.

The game is called the “Self-Driving Car.” The only other thing that you need to play the game is a deck of playing cards. This is how to set it up: first, you have to divide the deck into two, the cards face-down. Then, you arrange the three switches in a horizontal line facing you. After that, you are all set to play.

This is how you play: first, you flip the first card of each half of the deck over. If the card on the left is red, and if the card on the right is black, then you turn on the switch on the left. If the card on the right is red, and the one on the left is black, then you turn on the switch on the right. Lastly, if both of the cards are red, then you turn on the switch in the middle. The goal is to test how fast you can operate it, without making any mistakes.

Tin foil is conductive, so the switch works by having one piece of it connected to a wire with positive charges and another piece connected to a wire with negative charges. Those wires are connected to the LED light, so when the two pieces of tin foil touch, it’ll make the light turn on. Our switches are due this Friday. I already finished all of them, luckily. Here are some pictures of my switches and me working on them…


6th Grade Tech – Post #4

Yesterday, we started to solder. It was so fun! I got to finish melting the metal, but I didn’t get the time to get my design off the double-sided tape.

And today, when I started to roll it off, guess what?! It broke! I think it was because I didn’t melt enough solder on those specific parts. Well, the good thing is that, it was possible to re-solder it. After I soldered it again, it broke AGAIN… which was very frustrating.

Then, for the third time, it finally came out great. I hope that the next designs I make won’t brake when I roll it off the tape. I’ve learned that I’ve got to wait a couple of minutes before taking it off and that it has to be done extremely carefully.

Here are some pictures…

This was before I soldered it:

This is when it broke the second time:

And this is how it turned out after the third try:

6th Grade Tech – Post #3

This week in tech, we have been working on our solder designs. We are supposed to make a circle with whatever design we want on the inside. I made a lighting bolt, so it looks like the Flash’s logo. We made a drawing of them on an app called Vectornator, and then we printed it out as a our sort-of blueprint. After that, we got the choice of using brass or silver as a our wire and then we started making the real thing.

At first, it was so frustrating because I didn’t know how to bend the wire in the shape of my design. So I had the idea of cutting the wire into pieces the same size as each line of the lighting bolt. I did this because when I solder it, all the pieces are going to stick together because of the heat and, hopefully, it’ll look like my design.

I think we begin to solder next week, so in the next post I’ll include some pictures on how it came out!

6th Grade Tech – Post #2

These past few days in class, Mr. Calvert has been teaching us what atoms are and how they work. Yesterday, he introduced us to the periodic table.

The periodic table seems very complicated! There are a LOT of elements. Anyway, I learned that an atom – which is incredibly small – is made up of even smaller pieces! Isn’t that crazy?! It’s made up of electrons, which are negative charges, protons, which are positive charges, and neutrons, which are neutral.

Neutrons and protons are in the center of the atom, which is called the nucleus. Outside of the nucleus are the electrons. If two protons are next to each other, they’ll kill each other because they’re both positive charges. So, neutrons keep protons from killing each other by being in between them.

I think that atoms are really cool. It’s amazing how everything is made up of something so small. Oh and fun fact: If a grapefruit was the size of the earth, we’d be able to see atoms the size of blueberries! That shows how small they are.

6th Grade Tech – Post #1

This is my first SMS post. It’s going to be about my quarterly period – Technology. Based on some of the pictures I’ve seen from last year it looks like we’ll be doing really cool projects. I’ll write all about them.

The thing that sort of worries me are the machines. We have to be extra careful in the classroom because when a machine is running and if someone else is fooling around, they could accidentally knock someone over who’s using one, and that person could get SERIOUSLY injured. There are other safety rules that we had to go over as well. Like, don’t leave a machine running while your not using it at the moment.

Mr. Calvert said that he wants us to have at least 10 blog posts by the end of the quarter. They can be reflections on our projects or something else that we did in the classroom.

Anyway, I’m really excited and I’m looking forward to writing more posts!

Working on My Final Product – Capstone Post #6

After a lot of hard work and a lot of editing, I finally finished making my TED-Talk presentation and memorized my script.

After I answered my sub questions and main inquiry question, I started working on my script. The first script that I made was way to long, so I kept having to shorten it until it was perfect. I also re-read it a lot to make sure everything made sense. Once I thought my script was good, I exchanged scripts with a partner and we read each others to make sure there were no mistakes. After that I met with Ms. Robert to make the final edits.

Making my presentation was really fun! Every slide has images that relates to the topic I’m talking about at that point. While I was making it, I kept editing to where things were placed because I knew that a lot of people were going to see it, so I wanted to make it as good as possible.

Memorizing my script wasn’t that hard. It took a couple of days, but it wasn’t really challenging. After a lot of practice reading my script over and over again, I knew it like the back of my hand.

I really hope that people will like my presentation. Can’t wait for CapCon!

Answering My Main Inquiry Question – Capstone Post #5

After a lot of researching, I finally got the answer to my main inquiry question which was, “What is a cochlear implant, and how does it work?”

To get the answer, I looked at a lot of articles, websites, books, videos, a site visit and an interview. The things that helped out the most though were the site visit and the interview. Dr. William Shapiro answered my questions very clearly and well and so did Tara.

One of the things that I learned which I though was pretty interesting was that in the 60’s and early 70’s there were single channel cochlear implants. There was one electrode in the cochlea and every time you spoke to the patient, that electrode would be stimulated and it would stimulate the auditory nerve.

During the research process I printed out the articles that I was reading online so I could underline the important parts that helped me out a lot. After underlining I would take the important information and put it into my research journal. In my research journal, I would make graphic organizers to organize my information, like charts, venn diagrams, lists, etc.

To organize my information I also used a few note sheets. Everyone in my class had to do at least one note sheet for each sub question that they have. Basically, what the note sheet made you do was pick an important part of a resource that you’re using and then make it into your own words. Then, you’d have to write an idea that you grew from the source. That made me used to changing important information into my own words.

To keep track of my resources I made a document in google drive for links that led to websites, articles, and videos. I also made a list of the books that I used.

I thought that answering my main inquiry question was NOT easy. It took a lot of hard work and it takes time. You can’t just rush through the research phase because you have to make sure that the information that you gather is true. You also have to make sure that you gather enough information to answer your questions in a way that makes sense.

Colored Sugar and Liquid – Science Experiment

Today at school, my class and Ms. Boyer’s class switched rooms for a quick lesson. Ms. Boyer taught science and Ms. Robert taught math.

For the lesson, we did some experimenting with colored sugar and three liquids. We conducted three experiments. For each one, we combined colored sugar with either vinegar, oil, or water. Before the experiments, we made a hypothesis for each one. A hypothesis is the “science version” of an educated guess, kind of like an estimation. My group got to do only two experiments because we ran out of time. We chose to combine colored sugar with vinegar first and then oil. In both the experiments, my group’s hypothesis was confirmed!

For our first experiment, our hypothesis was, “If you combine one teaspoon of colored sugar and twenty-five milliliters of vinegar, then the vinegar will dissolve the sugar and it’ll turn green because of the vinegar’s acidity.” When we conducted the experiment, that’s what happened. The vinegar dissolved the sugar and turned green, which shows that our hypothesis was right. One thing my group noticed, though, was that it took a lot of mixing for the sugar to dissolve completely.

In our second experiment, our hypothesis was, “If we combine one teaspoon of colored sugar and twenty-five milliliters of oil, then the oil will reject the sugar because sugar and water mix and oil rejects water.” And again, when we conducted the experiment, that’s what happened. The oil rejected the sugar and the oil also turned green when the sugar was combined. One thing that my group noticed was that the sugar sank to the bottom because it was denser than the oil.

I thought that conducting these experiments was very fun because whenever my group made a hypothesis, I really wanted to see how the experiment would turn out and whether we would be right. I hope we have another lesson of MESSY SCIENCE!

Site Visit – Capstone Post #4

For my site visit, I went to observe a speech and auditory therapy session at Listening Partners. People that get cochlear implants need this kind of therapy after the surgery. If they are very young and don’t know how to speak yet, they need the speech therapy because they need to hear a word more times to learn it. And even if they already know how to speak when they get it, they still need the auditory therapy to teach their brain how to hear with the implant.

Before the session started, I asked Tara Gallagher, a therapist, a few questions and I learned a lot from her. Then I watched her work with a four year old girl who has cochlear implants in both of her ears.

First they worked on her speech by playing “Go Fish”with cards that had pictures on them. Go Fish is a card game in which each player, taking turns, asks an opponent for a particular card and is told to “go fish” from the deck (grab another card), if the opponent doesn’t have the card you asked for. The person who ends up with the least cards wins. The girl did great.

Afterwards, Tara worked on her listening skills. She asked the girl to complete certain tasks on a worksheet following two and three step directions like, “can you please color the bear that’s about to jump, green?” It’s not as easy as it sounds but the girl did great again!

I really enjoyed observing this therapy session and I thought that it was very interesting. I really learned a lot!