In class, we have a project called Passion Project. It’s where we research a topic of our choice. It’s basically a mini Capstone. For my topic, I chose the life of a Roman woman. I researched on various different websites, books, and even e-mailed a few college professors. I showed my research in a brief slideshow and while I presented, I talked off of my slides. Overall, I really liked this project and it was a great experience and I definitely learned a lot from my topic.
In class we are starting capstone. Capstone is a research project where we have a main inquiry question and sub-questions and do research based on that question. We present this research in any way that makes sense to us, however most people do a TED Talk about it.
For my capstone I am doing Army tanks (When I just wrote tanks, people thought I meant fish tanks. No it is not that.). My main inquiry question is, “What is the engineering behind an army tank and what are some possible improvements upon them as science improves?”. Both the question and topic took a long process to find. First, I had to find a topic. I had one, EXTREMELY broad topic. Engineering. Then I had to narrow it down. To do this, I stuck Post-its of different ideas for topics. Then, in class, we built one of our possible topics with our tinker totes. When we did this it got me to think more about my topics. This is how I decided on my topic.
I chose my question in a similar way at first. In class we put Post-its of different questions. Once we had done that, today we looked at that poster and got a rubric and formed a question based on 4 different levels to grade ourselves on. I had reached for a 4, yet I only got a 3. I have a few sub questions, my sub-questions are, “What makes tanks so powerful and durable?” “What advances in science can apply to tanks?” “Why are the shape and color the way they are?” and “What was the inspiration for a tank?” I think this project, (So far…) has been pretty successful.
In school we have been working on a project about immigration. This is a project where we can make our own short film with a group. At first I didn’t know if group work was a very good idea because, I expected there to be a lot of arguing. But, once we started working with our groups, it wasn’t so bad. We would argue a little, find a compromise, (This could take up a lot of our work time sometimes.) and get back to work. But, getting back to the point, there are a variety of categories that we can pick from. Like, The journey over, then and now, push and pull factors, arriving at Ellis Island, etc. My group picked the journey over to America. There were a lot of steps to make this film. It took a time span of about, 5 weeks. It didn’t seem to take that long though. But if you assign time spans to each step then it makes sense why it took that long. For example: First, we had to research about the topic we picked. (2 weeks) We could not have made an inaccurate film. If we had no reasearch it would undoubtedly be inaccurate. Secondly, we had to put our research in paragraph form to create a full answer, not just have it in notes. Our third step was to make a script, and build our set. (1 week) But, the script had to be based on our research. Though it wasn’t so bad, because we could make up some things, like the characters names, how they looked like and, how the characters felt. It gave the whole short film a sense of fact and fiction both. For set design we printed out panel images to slide in (as you’ll see in the video below), and we had to have a green screen and draw people. Our third step was to film the whole thing without audio. (1 week) It would have been too loud and too much of a hassle if we did film with audio. Our fourth step was to record our script, the audio (Same week). Once that was done, we had to put it all together in an iMovie. We added sound effects, like waves, a title and credits. (A few days) We also had to drop an image in because we had a green screen. We were the first group to finish. Probably because we had a short script and when we got off track the rest of the group would make sure we got on track again.
As you already know in class we are reading A Long Walk to Water. This blog post is about Salvas philosophy and perseverance.
Salva’s philosophy, to manage things ‘bit by bit, one step at a time’, could help me in life because it is basically saying don’t go too fast. In life, you don’t want to rush in anything. Whether you’re taking a test or just doing something hard. You should slow down and think about what you’re doing. You should think in pieces and steps. Here’s a way to describe this: Imagine that you and a friend were walking. You were walking to a candy store. It was very hot, and your friend wanted to get there first. So, he rushed ahead. While he bolted for the candy store you took your time. By the time you got there your friend was still panting and sweating like a maniac while you were cool and still got the same thing at the end, just in a better condition. Most people would probably pick the one where you still had your breath. If not, I don’t think you like this philosophy too much.
Perseverance is important because life is not complete without it. You need to persevere to do something. If Einstein hadn’t persevered to find the Theory of Relativity, we wouldn’t even see the world the same way we do now. If the 13 colonies hadn’t persevered, The would still be a part of England! Sometimes you just have to persevere to survive. Salva is a great example of this. This is because he had to keep on going to get to Ethiopia and after that, Kenya. In the book, it states that to get to Kenya from Ethiopia it took 1 1/2 years. That takes A LOT of perseverance. This is a very important example because it shows the importance of perseverance very clearly.
You can better develop the ability to persevere by trying new things. You don’t go too big, just try something simple, like a new sport. Or maybe even go a little smaller and try learning about a new topic. This helps you develop the ability to persevere better because if it’s something you don’t like you can challenge yourself to follow through with your intentions. Then, even if you don’t like it, you have to try and keep on going. You have to keep on walking.
In class, we are reading a book called “A Long Walk to Water”. It has the views of two people Nya, who is a fake person but shows the view of an everyday girl who lives in Southern Sudan and is fighting for life walking to a far away pond two times a day to get water. Salva, a real child who is placed in the midst of the civil war between Southern Sudan and Northern Sudan. He is fighting for survival. Our teachers gave us a few questions to answer about the book these are two of them.
The qualities of effective leadership are when, the leader is brave. A leader who is filled with cowardice is not a good leader. This is because, a leader has to be someone who can protect innocent without hesitation. One who cannot do that, is not good because, a leader is at some points, a protector. This brings up another idea of, how people see a leader as. A leader is someone who has a effect on people. For example, If you have a bucket of water and a rock. If you pour the whole bucket of water on the rock at one time then, it has no effect on the rock. But, if you pour the water on to the rock, drop by drop, eventually it will have an impression made into it. This can be a good or bad impression. A good leader is the kind who goes drop by drop. Another quality of a good leader is being open minded. This means to examine a problem from all angles. Otherwise, the leader would be biased and that would not only make him unfair but at the same time it would make that person unlikeable. These are just a few qualities of leadership.
Salva demonstrates these qualities many times in the book. One time he was brave was when he went to give the suffering men water. This is an act of bravery because he’s willing to give up their main source of life (something they have little of) to strangers that he has never met. Bravery can come in all ways. Salva’s way was, sacrifice. One time he had an open mind was after uncle’s death. His death had made it to be so that no one looked after Salva. Faced with this problem, Salva kept his face up and said “They think I am weak and useless. There is no one left to help me. They are wrong and I will prove it.” He looked at the problem with pessimism and optimism. These are some ways Salva demonstrated these qualities. Further on in the book we will most likely fine more.
I think that this project not only tested our skills at designing, but it also tested our patience. To get to this finished product it took a long time and we had to keep on testing and modifying. It also tested how well we knew the design process because if you skipped just one step it could throw the whole process off. I think this was a good learning experience and I think that this project was very fun. Maybe if we had even more time then we could make these projects superb.
We FINALLY finished our Rube Goldberg! I’m so happy. We worked so hard on it and even after watching other people having to change their tasks we didn’t have to and that also made me happy. We have a finished Imovie that I will show you right there. I hope you like it. I’m just so proud of ourselves and my whole class because this wasn’t an easy project but sometimes you do need an extra challenge and this was definitely a fun challenge. If you made this, then after all this work, trust me, you would be proud too.
As we were building our Rube Goldberg we faced many challenges. Sometimes one of our steps wouldn’t work, or we couldn’t get something to stay put. This post will walk you through our challenges of building our Rube Goldberg.
Our first challenge was trying to actually focus. Now you might be thinking “What kind of a challenge is this?” But let me tell you, while with your friends your brain basically tells you “Have fun! Your with your friends no one cares about work.” And you have to make sure you tune that part of your brain out. The first few times, this was challenging for me and my partner, but as the days went on and the due date was coming closer, and closer, we got more focused. Eventually we did finish and we think it went great.
Our second challenge was changing stuff around mid-build. We had to do this because, sometimes before you even try it you have a feeling something isn’t going to work and, the more you think about it, the more it seems like it won’t work. For example, our springboard. At first when we thought about it in our heads we thought it was going to be unique and awesome. But, we weren’t thinking of the actual mechanism. Once we built it, we ended up with a spring glued to a piece of cardboard and, we both knew it wasn’t going to work. This is just one example but there are so many more that it would take a VERY LONG blog post just to name a few.
Our third challenge was finding the right places to put things. This might sound weird but there is a definite struggle with this. Heres and example: We had a pulley. This pulley held very heavy things. Our original plan was to hang it up on the ceiling, but that DID NOT end well. We almost tore a hole in my ceiling. So ten we had to switch the place of the pulley and while we only switched the place of one thing, that one thing was very important. So as we switched that, we had to switch everything else around
These are only a few of our challenges but there are many more…
Today in class, we were filming for our immigration project. Our teacher said that it was more of a testing day and that it was ok if we didn’t get any filming done. So, my group was trying to find a good angle with the camera. We tried it up close, which didn’t work because then you could see even, the slightest smear on the characters. Then we tried far away. The problem with that is, that when we have the camera far away we have a broader view. So with that broader view, we could see the background behind it, (as in the lockers). So we decided we could put paper on the sides. We didn’t want green paper because, with a green screen the picture we have as a background would also spread to the sides. Eventually, we decided to put back paper o the sides. The reason being, that we didn’t want a color that would pop out and black, being so dark, is a perfect color because it wouldn’t pop out at all because, most of our pictures and backgrounds are black and white.
Once we figured that out I had to find out how to use the green screen. I figured out how just fine. But, it wouldn’t work. I tried making a folder of images on the desktop and once I tried to insert it into the app, it wouldn’t show up. So, as you do (hopefully) I asked for help. A kid in my class helped me and taught me how to insert the picture for the background and now, we are pretty much all set for filming. I do hope that we will be able to finish on time!
As I said in my last post, I intended to make 2 more blog posts. This post is to clear up our steps, share our changes in the plans, and explain in pictures what we are talking about. First I will clear up our plan (Look at the pictures below to help).
1-2 : Our first step was to have a robot push a car in the opposite direction of a springboard. On this springboard there are weights keeping the spring down, full of potential energy. These weights are attached by a thick string, to the car. When the car moves in the opposite direction of this springboard, it pulls the weights off with it.
3: The springboard that is now released has a ball on it. When the potential energy turns into kinetic energy the springs leaps up, throwing the soccer ball off.
4: This soccer ball, then hits a piece of wood that has a cup full of rocks balancing on top of it. “Why rocks?” you may ask. This is because we need a weight in the cup. This will be explained more in the next step.
5: The cup of rocks will fall. There are more weights, but, they are held on with velcro, ever so slightly, that even one push or tug of a heavy object will make it fall to the ground. This is where our cup of rocks come in. Once those rocks tug on the weight with velcro (they are attached by a string), the weight with velcro falls to the ground.
6: This weight just happens to be attached to a pulley. On the other end of the pulley is a few books. They were only held up because of the weight on the other side. Since this weight is no longer there, the books fall. This is not the end.
7: The books fall on a lever. A seesaw, basically. And when the books drop on one side the other side goes up.
8: This other side is wedged into a laptop screen, so then when the side goes up it opens the laptop screen.
Our changed plan:
An RC car pushes a wedge that is on a ramp.
This wedge is what is holding a plastic car from going down the ramp. The slightest push and the plastic car goes rolling down so when the wedge is pushed the car goes rolling down and pulls the weights with it.
3-8. Stay the same.
Why?: We decided the robot probably wouldn’t have enough power to push the car. This is because if the car is attached to the weights you have to add the weights weight and add that to the car. If you estimate that a small robot probably wouldn’t be able to push that car. But, an RC car is more powerful and, with the car on a ramp we also have the advantage of gravity, because it is easier to make it go down.