Choosing a Main Inquiry Question and Sub Questions – Capstone Post #2

My class has just picked their main inquiry question and sub questions for their project!

After we had our topics ready we started thinking about our main inquiry question. We “pre-searched” (by pre-searching I mean learning a bit about our topic) on our topics to try and come up with ideas for our question. Once we had some ideas on what could be our question, we narrowed down to questions that we had in mind to the ones that really interested us. Finally I chose “What is a cochlear implant, and how does it work?” I chose that question because a lot of people don’t know what cochlear implants are. Most of my audience probably won’t know what they are. What I thought was challenging about choosing a main inquiry question was that I knew that I’d have to do a lot of research on this question. I really needed to chose a question that interested me because if it didn’t interest me, then everything about capstone would be boring. I learned that when I have to chose a question to research on for a project, it has to be one that gives you a lot of information.

After we chose our main inquiry question, my class “pre-searched” some more to come up with possible sub questions. We need to have five sub questions for the project and those sub questions needed to be related to our main inquiry question. After we had about nine sub questions in mind, we started to chose the ones that most interested us. I chose the five that interested me the most out of the ten that I had in mind. It was pretty challenging to choose these questions because, like I said before, these questions really needed to interest me. It was also hard to come up with sub questions because those questions needed to be ones that your sure can be answered by either a person, website, book, database, etc.

Choosing a Topic – Capstone Post #1

We just started Capstone! I am so excited. These past two weeks I have been thinking about what topic I wanted to do for my Capstone project. My class filled out an inquiry packet that helped us get good ideas on what we might want to do. Then we started narrowing down to some topics that really interested us.

A topic that really interests me is cochlear implants. It’s an incredible device that lets people who are deaf hear. Cochlear implants interest me because my brother was born deaf, and if it weren’t for that device, my brother would have been very different. He would have to do sign language and he would only be able to communicate with a limited amount of people who know sign language. I think that this device is amazing and it really makes an impact in deaf people’s lives.

I hope that I will learn a lot about cochlear implants through this process. I also hope that my final presentation will be amazing and that my audience will learn a LOT. I realized that by educating people about cochlear implants, I am helping people who have them because if people know what they are, the less different they will feel when they come across someone with cochlear implants. They’ll just treat them like anybody else. Which would make another impact on deaf people’s lives.

5th Grade Philadelphia Trip

Earlier this year, we had our Philadelphia trip. I decided to post this now, just like a few other posts because I never got to post them. Anyway, we went to Philadelphia to learn about the important things that happened there in the past. Like the Constitution. I really liked the trip. I thought it was really fun and exciting. Right now, I am going to tell you some things about it.

There was one annoying thing about the trip. We had to be at school at 5:45 a.m. to get on the bus at 6:00! I wasn’t sleepy though because I was too excited. One awesome thing was that the bus was a coach bus and we were allowed to use our phones on the ride there and back. In all of the places we visited, our teachers allowed us to take photos and videos with our phones. When we went to see the Constitution, we weren’t allowed to take pictures with flash because it could ruin the paper because of how old it is. I thought that the liberty bell was pretty cool. When I went there, I saw it for the first time. What surprised me though was that it was smaller than I had expected it to be. We saw a show too. When we were close to leaving, it started to rain really badly, so I got really wet. The bus ride back was longer than getting there and plus I was uncomfortable because of how wet I was which was really annoying! At least we got to use our phones though.

I suggest that you go to Philly one day. It was really fun and I think you’ll really enjoy it!

Adobe Spark

In class we have been working on a few things in Adobe Spark. There are four projects that we have been working on lately, an “Instagram Post”, “Video”, “Infographic”, and a “Newsletter”.

So far, I have liked using Adobe Spark. I think that it is very similar to iMovie and WeVideo. There are a lot of different things you can make in it. You can make posters, videos, slideshows, and many other things. It’s fun to make these things on this website because you can customize them with many different cool features. For example, you can put in music if you’re making a video, have a theme for different slides, put in media, colors for text, etc. At first, if you don’t know how to use the website, it tells you what to do and how to make and customize projects.

I suggest that you try Adobe Spark. I think you’ll really enjoy it.

Rube Goldberg – Post #7

This is my last Rube Goldberg post. Overall, I really enjoyed this project! The two things that I liked the most were testing out our machine and making the final video. I thought that testing out our machine was really fun because it was cool to watch it at work and to try to figure out what changes to make to failed attempts which would then lead to a successful one. Making the video was also fun because we got to experiment with a bunch of different features. Nick and I chose a very cool piece of music that we wanted and used the fading in and out feature which Mr. Casal taught us how to use in WeVideo last year.

I learned a lot from this project. One thing I learned were the different ways different objects react to something hitting them. Sometimes objects reacted in a way that I didn’t expect. For example, at first I didn’t expect a domino to knock down a cassette, but I realized that it was because the domino hit it at the top. If that domino hit the cassette at the bottom, it wouldn’t have knocked it down. Another thing I learned is that making small changes to the machine can make a huge difference. Maybe the most important thing I learned is that you have to be very patient to make a Rube Goldberg because it can take you A LOT of attempts to make it be successful. And trust me, sometimes you’ll get REALLY FRUSTRATED. Especially when you’re building a row of dominoes and then, all of a sudden, one of them falls, which causes ALL the rest to fall too. I suggest you test out the machine by parts. That’s what Nick and I did and it helped us out a lot. I think it was the reason the machine was successful on the second try. If you test out every part and change it until it’s perfect, then when you test your entire machine it’ll probably work in one of the first few attempts.

Here is an “Instagram Post” that I made in Adobe Spark about my Rube Goldberg video on Mrs. Robert’s YouTube channel…

Rube Goldberg – Post #6

On Sunday, Nick and I finished building and recording our entire machine. It has 17 steps. We got a successful run on our SECOND try! It was awesome. When we just started working that day we replaced some steps. For example, we replaced the marble and cardboard tubes with a labyrinth and wooden maze that the marble goes through because we realized that taping the cardboard tubes to the wall wouldn’t work because the tape wouldn’t be strong enough to keep the tubes on the wall. We also took out the soda can and the two cars and swinging bar step. We replaced that because we realized that the swinging bar that gets pushed by the first car wasn’t strong enough to give the second car a good push. Also, we decided to replace the car hitting the books because every time it did, the book would fall backwards because the car was hitting it on the bottom. A final step we replaced was the books at the end that push the soccer ball into the goal. We replaced that because we wanted to get to put in a cool domino part with one domino going on a loop-the-loop and other dominoes on this little thing that has like a wave shape. We really like the dominoes falling.

We also made an important change to the phone step. When the phone received the call from the computer, the word “Mami” appeared on the screen (which is mom in Spanish), so we thought it would be funny to change the name of the caller to “Rube Goldberg”. My dad was there filming and had the idea of putting voiceover when the computer calls so that the people watching our video will hear what’s on the phone’s screen.

When we finished building our machine, my heart was racing. I was so excited and at the same time nervous. Would we get it to work? How many tries would it take? It didn’t work on the first try, but it got pretty far. Nick and I were SUPER frustrated because it was two steps away from working all the way! The step that failed were the mini dominoes hitting the bigger ones. The mini dominoes weren’t strong enough to knock down the bigger dominoes so we figured we had to replace them with the bigger ones. We made that change and… IT WORKED. We couldn’t believe it worked on the SECOND attempt. Nick and I were celebrating like crazy!

 

Rube Goldberg – Post #5

This is my 5th Rube Goldberg post. Nick and I have started building our machine this week. We tested some parts and found that it’s very challenging to get things to work. We have been working very hard and have had a lot of failures. Sometimes when we were setting up the dominoes, one domino would accidentally fall and knock down ALL the rest which was REALLY frustrating! Other times, the dominoes would be too close to each other, so when we started the machine they wouldn’t fall the way we want them to and that attempt would fail. We realized the dominoes have to be placed about 3/4 of an inch apart from each other to fall the right way. We also think we might need to replace the cardboard tubes that go taped to the wall with something more stable, or replace that step for something else.

Next time we meet, on Saturday, we will continue working on the step with the computer calling the phone and try to finish the design and start filming the entire machine at work. Last time we tried the phone step, the ramp was either too steep or not steep enough. The phone either would get stuck and not move down when called or slide down right away when we put it on the ramp. I hope we get a successful run this weekend. We really want to finish it!

Here are a few videos…

Video #1

Video #2

Video #3

Video #4

Rube Goldberg – Post #4

Yesterday in class, we had a sketch museum. We rotated around the classroom looking at other groups’ sketches and writing on post-its what we think they can work on and what we really liked about them. I really enjoyed seeing other people’s work. A lot of people had at least one simple machine in their sketch. Most people used an inclined plane. Inclined planes are probably the easiest simple machine to use in a Rube Goldberg, so that’s probably why a lot of groups are using it. I also saw that most of the groups used dominoes. Maybe it’s because dominoes falling is a pretty cool effect. They fall fast and make a kind of original sound.

I saw one sketch that had a step similar to one of ours, which is probably our most complicated step. That step is to make a computer call a phone by making something hit the enter button on the computer. The phone’s vibration makes it slide down a mini ramp and knock down dominoes which then set off something else. The other group’s Rube Goldberg starts out by them calling a phone which vibrates down a ramp and sets off something else. I thought the sketch museum was great and I really want to see how everyone’s machines turn out.

Rube Goldberg – Post #2

This is my second Rube Goldberg post. We’ve made a lot more progress with Nick! We’re almost done with our sketches. The first days of brainstorming our plan were the most challenging. It’s hard figuring out what materials to use and if they’ll give us the result we want them to do. We’ve thought of using pulleys which we think would add complexity, but decided not to because we don’t know how to build them. Instead of a pulley, we are thinking of putting a swinging bar that’s on a track which pushes a toy car. Luckily, the links included in Google Drive for this project were very helpful and found some inspiration. Also, we’ve done some more research individually and got together outside of school to work on this project and find some more ideas for our machine.

Rube Goldberg – Post #1

For this Rube Goldberg project, I am working with Nick, and we are going to make our machine push a soccer ball into a net under five minutes. We’ve been planning on how we are going to make it, and luckily we’ve made some progress! At first Nick and I decided we were going to make our machine turn off the lights, but then we changed our minds because we both like soccer and we thought the soccer ball idea would be more fun. We’ve been brainstorming on the steps together at school and working on our sketches separately. Right now we have eight steps figured out, but we would like to make it more complicated so that it’s more interesting to watch. What we know for sure is that we want to use several balls that get progressively bigger ending with a soccer ball. We also want to use dominoes because we like the way they fall and the cool sound they make. I hope our machine will be successful!