Capstone #7- Cap Con!

On 6/20/17 we had our final Capstone share in front of parents. The day before, 6/19/17 we had a share in front of classes. I presented my Capstone in the auditorium.

But this is how the day went, first we made our entrance and parents took pictures and such. Then we sang our songs “Nothing More” by The Alternate Routes and we sang to the tune “Don’t you worry ’bout a thing” by Stevie Wonder but we made up our own lyrics with the other classes and with the help of Ms. Bescherer our music/chorus teacher. After we sang, we sat down and watched a slideshow of pictures with a picture of us in Kindergarten and a picture of us in 5th Grade. Then we sang the school song “We are the Future of the World” written and composed by my music teacher Ms. Bescherer. We met up with our parents and set up for Capstone. I had nothing to do in the auditorium so I got my business cards and handed them out with my friends who were also performing in the auditorium.

We finally started Capstone and we started with our first person Apollonia and she did her Capstone on Axolotls. Next it was me and if you didn’t know I  did my Capstone on Elephants. The third person was Corina and she did her Capstone on Giant Pandas. The fourth person is Ella and she did Genetics. Sam did his on Recording Studios, Abby did hers on the musical Hamilton, Nate did his on Solar Flares and lastly Lana did hers on Dreams. During I presented I noticed that I messed up some words. I was so embarrassed because I thought everyone would laugh but that didn’t happen.

I am happy with the outcome of my presentation and it was fun! I hope I can do it again.

Here is a link to my presentation. I hope you enjoy:



Capstone #6- Working on Final Project

After all of the research and answering questions, we finally get to work on our final product. We had to choose what type of presentation. The options we had were a video, Ignite, and a TEDtalk. When you do an video presentation, you can do a video or what ever but it has to be 5-6 minutes or lower. With an ignite, you have to have 12 slides with 15 seconds on each slide. With an ignite you only have three minutes to say everything. Lastly there is a TEDtalk. A TEDtalk is more of a freedom in my opinion. You get to have as many slides as you want and you don’t have to have a time limit on each slide. You also get 5-8 minutes to say whatever you want.

With these options I went for TEDtalk right away. One reason why I chose a TEDtalk is because we did a practice Ignite to see if we were comfortable. I don’t like it because of the time limit, while I was ending a slide, my 15 seconds were up and I had to say the ending quickly then jump on to a different topic. With an TEDtalk we can say anything we wanted between 5-8 minutes. Another reason why I chose a TEDtalk is because of the amount of information I had to say. My notes were four pages long. We also did a mini Capstone share. Only one person did an ignite, 17 TEDtalks, and seven videos.

I did a script for my TEDtalk. My script was easy but tough at the same time. I kept on getting more ideas and organized it on my script. But most of my script was based off of my essay and organizing it in a orderly manner was hard. The things in my script that were the most hard was the conclusion. I wanted my conclusion to be sorta like a P.S.A(Public Service Announcement) because my topic was elephants and how we can help them, but also clean.

After finishing my script I got onto making the slideshow. The slideshow was the easiest part. I could base that off of my script and the final was pretty good. Our final project which means our slideshow and script were due 6/12/17. On the same day and the next we presented all of our final presentations to our classmates and our teacher. I wanted to rehearse again and again so I don’t do anything wrong because I was nervous. Once it was my turn I hesitated a lot. After I finished I was relieved. I got some positive feedback and some negative. I am happy that I did well considering I hesitated but I liked the negative feedback too because now I can improve my presentation skills and when I present again, I will do better.

Capstone #5- Answering my Main Inquiry Question

On 6/5/17 I answered my Main Inquiry Question. That is the next step to our final project. If you don’t know what it is “How do threats that Asian and African Elephant encounter compare and how can humans improve their lives?”

We had to answer this in an essay format. At first I thought this was going to be really hard but then I realized that my sub questions would help me. But making this organized was a challenge. When I started my essay, I didn’t know how to organize it so shared a copy of a student she had’s essay. When I saw it I saw she had her essay, it was eight pages. But that included her Sub Questions Answers, so my format was my essay and my sub questions answers at the end. When we were working my friends saw my essay and said that my sub questions can’t be included in the essay. When it was my turn to meet with Ms. Edwards she said that my essay needed work. She told me where it needs work so I could fix it. After I fixed what needed to be fixed, I met with my teacher aide Ms. McShane. She said it was great. This is the final essay:

“When you think of elephants do you make a distinction between their country of origin?  For my Capstone project I did.  I wanted to find out if the threats African and Asian Elephants were the same or different and if different, how.  To be exact, my main inquiry question is, “How do the threats that African Elephant and Asian Elephant threats encounter compare and how can humans improve their lives?

For the first part of this question, I found that the threats African and Asian Elephants both face have a common element: humans.

To begin, the top three threats that African Elephants face are all connected to humans; humans kill them for their ivory, to acquire the land occupied by the elephants, and retaliation for damaging farmers’ fields.

Humans have been killing elephants for a long time.  For some of you who do not know what ivory is, it is a hard, white material can be found in elephant tusks. Ivory is also found in other animals that have horns such as narwhals, rhinos and walruses. But the ivory in those animals aren’t like elephants. Elephant ivory has a particular texture, softness, and its lack of a tough outer coating of enamel. Humans find ivory valuable because they use it to carve, for jewelry, for ancient traditions, piano keys, and billiards balls.

Another way humans have been killing African Elephants is by acquiring the land occupied by elephants. This is a big threat to elephants because humans are taking over these habitats for their own uses such as buildings, construction, and farms. People have realized this issue and they are trying to protect elephants by making sanctuaries. You can donate to these sanctuaries to buy more elephants from zoos for sanctuaries.

The last way humans killed African Elephants are that these gentle creatures are being killed for trespassing onto farms to get food. This is a really bad situation. What can farmers do to help? You can plant crops elephants don’t like and somewhere out of reach, you can grow other crops.

Similarly, the top three threats that Asian Elephants are also connected to humans.  In Asia, elephants are also harmed for their ivory. Another threat occurs when elephants are captured and held in captivity to be used for religious reasons, entertainment, and labor.  A third threat is a result of starving when humans take over their habitats for their own use.  

Asian Elephants being held in captivity is a bad thing. Using these gentle animals for religious reasons, entertainment, and labor. You might be wondering how do Asian Elephants get killed by these things? Capturing elephants could lead to bad things such as depression.  One reason why elephants can be depressed is that they miss their herd(family). Another reason that elephants are depressed is that when elephants daydream during labor and  entertainment, humans smack the elephants with whips to stay on track.

The last threat that Asian Elephants is similar to a threat African Elephants, habitat loss. Habitat loss is a big threat to Asian Elephants as well as African. Humans take over their land so they starve. This is gruesome behavior. Taking land away for humans homes, villages, or even farms.

We can stop all of this madness. We can improve the lives of these gentle creatures in so many ways. There are nine main “Wildlife Conservation Groups” that help these elephants. They are:

  1.  The International Anti-Poaching Foundation
  2. World Wildlife Fund
  3. Wildlife Conservation Society
  4. Chengeta Wildlife
  5. The WILD Foundation
  6. The Humane Society of the United States
  7. Ol Pejeta Conservancy
  8. Kerulos Center
  9. Save the Elephants

These foundations are good because they all have sanctuaries for elephants in Asia and in Africa and are building more. I met with the CEO of the Kerulos Center, Dr. Gay A. Bradshaw who told me about how I can make a difference and about elephants. She told me how in sanctuaries they have park rangers to guard these precious animals. You can also donate to these foundations and adopt an elephant. When you donate the money goes towards buying elephants from zoos.  

Other ways that you can help save elephants are raising awareness of the problem.  Some ways that you can help raise awareness towards elephants are creating petitions to the government, using social media to promote the importance of protecting elephants, becoming a volunteer online by donating money, and making flyers, and posting literature outside your public library. A company called “Ivory Ella” is a company that makes clothes, and 10% of their profit goes to elephant conservation groups. If you click the link it will tell you about how this started and what they do to help.

In conclusion these threats can be fixed if everyone can help. These things have been realized but people don’t care and gradually the elephant population is going down. In 1997 there were 1.3 Million African Elephants and Asian Elephants. There are now about 450,000 – 700,000 African Elephants and between 35,000 – 40,000 Asian Elephants. Today, people can learn these threats and help elephants.”

This what I will be talking about during my TEDTalk. I hope my talk is good.

Capstone #4- Site Visit

For my Capstone project we also needed to do a site visit. At first I thought a site visit was when you visit a website. But that wasn’t the case. I actually had to go somewhere and then it made more sense. I did some research and found that the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington D.C has elephants. When I googled google maps to see how far the distance is, it said it was 5 hours! I was surprised but shocked at the same time. I was sad also because I knew my parents weren’t willing to drive me to Washington D.C. and because their wasn’t any zoo with elephants in them.

When I met with Ms. Edwards, I asked her where I should go for my site visit. We started researching on  where I should go and then I thought of the Bronx Zoo. Then I searched if they have any elephants. Unfortunately when I went through the animals they didn’t have elephants. Then Ms. Edwards told me an idea that my friend Corina did. She said I can do a Elephant Cam. An Elephant Cam is a live stream of a habitat in a zoo to see the activity of an animal. What I did to record this was to take a picture. I don’t have a phone so what I did was screenshot it. It has really fun taking pictures of  elephants.

Capstone #3- Interview with Dr. Gay Bradshaw

On 5/22/17 at 2:30 pm I had a interview with an elephant behaviorist, and her name is Gay A. Bradshaw. For the interview we tried Skyping but it didn’t work for some reason so I couldn’t see her. But that didn’t stop me. We got to question number two and something happened on Skype so it hung up. We tried again and she said it was best for us to finish the rest of the questions on call, so that was what we did. I also audio recorded it so that it was much more easier than taking notes. I asked Dr. Bradshaw 10 questions relating to my topic about elephants, so these are my 10 questions,

  1. Why are you so passionate about elephants?
  2. How do threats to elephants make you feel?
  3. How do the threats that African and Asian elephants face differ?
  4. How does The Kerulos Center help stop elephant abuse?
  5. Do you collaborate with any other wildlife conservation group to help elephants? If so what are their names?
  6. How have the number of elephants changed since people have been interested in helping to save them?
  7. Does the government also spend money on helping elephants?
  8. How does elephant poaching affect the economy?
  9. Do current laws adequately deter poachers?  How can laws be improved?
  10. What can kids do to help elephants?

When Dr. Bradshaw gave me the answer to these questions, she gave me detailed responses, and I used some of her responses for my information. She was also very nice about giving her time to a fifth-grader answering my questions. Some things that she told me about elephants were in her own opinion. For example she doesn’t call wildlife conservation groups in their names, she calls them “Wildlife Self Determination”. The reason why she calls them this is because “Conservation has its own notion of humans doing something in preserving their animals and other wildlife are sentimental beings.” It was fascinating on how she thought of a different perspective on wildlife conservation groups. She also told me that her center is opening up a center for bulls (male elephants) in Georgia.

I also learned about more stuff that I couldn’t find on the internet. One thing that I learned from her is the difference of Asian Elephant threats and African Elephant threats, and it was also really fun meeting her even though I couldn’t see her. I hope I can meet and talk to her again about elephants. Either way this experience was fun because I actually interviewed someone for the first time and I can’t believe she could answer all of my questions. If you want to hear my interview here is the link:

This is the person I interviewed

Capstone #2- Choosing a Main Inquiry Question and Sub Questions

We started doing our inquiry question and sub questions and I was really stuck. The inquiry question was the hardest part of Capstone. It took me 3 days to think about and then Ms. Edwards met with me about my inquiry question. My inquiry question is “How do threats that African elephants and Asian elephants encounter compare and how can humans improve their lives?” I am pretty proud of my question and think there will be a lot of researching to do. We started our sub questions on Monday and we worked on them throughout the week. So far I have 6 questions and I think that it is a pretty fair amount. These are my questions:

1.What threats are Asian elephants facing?

2.What threats are African elephants facing?

3.What wildlife conservation groups are working on behalf of elephants? What are they doing to help?

4.How can awareness be raised to help elephants? What can I do to help elephants?

5.Why is ivory so important to make merchandise?

6.When did poaching and threats to elephants start?

Capstone #1- Choosing A Topic

My class is working on the biggest project of the year called Capstone. We first have to choose a topic that we are really passionate about and want to learn more about. I have been choosing between a lot of things though. Two out of the five topics I chose were contestants. The first one was about aquariums and how they affect marine life. When I asked some of my friends if it was good, they said I should change it. I wasn’t to sure if I wanted to change it because I know a little bit about it. But when I met with Ms. Edwards she thought that I should consider changing it. I chose my second one which was about elephants instead and I think that I chose a good topic.