We just finished presenting Capstone to the parents. I did fairly well, but I did forget a few points. Sometimes I would forget to say a quick fact and I wouldn’t want to go back because that would be weird. So I would just continue and no one would know. I think that this project really helped me learn, not only about tanks, but about engineering. It also helped me with public speaking which we will have to do in middle school. I also learned a few terms like, temper, explosive reactive armor, coax gun and bow gun.
I learned about how we can improve upon our designs without ever even examining a tank fully. I also found out some specific details about powerful tanks.
Capstone made me even more interested in how stuff works. I also think it’s interesting that it wasn’t that hard to find this information, but I didn’t really go into specifics.
This project was probably my favorite. This is because, we had a choice in what we learn and research. And, if we are spending a long period of time on a project, we should probably like it.
I think overall, this project was a great learning experience and if I have a research project in the future this experience will have helped me.
If you would like to see my presentation click on this video
I finally finished my script and even my slideshow! I think once I go over it I will start rehearsing.
When answering my question I had to start with finding resources. I found a few search terms, (and I’ll be honest I really hated this part). Some that really helped me were, “How are tanks built?”, “Design of military tanks”, and “Army tanks and the process of building them”. I had some trouble creating search terms, but eventually, after typing in my search terms I already made, I formed a few new questions. I then made search terms for those questions. And, this is how most of my search terms were formed.
I think I got a good amount of notes from YouTube videos, though there weren’t that many. I think most of the extremely helpful notes came from my interview. Probably because it’s almost like a personal article. I have everything I need answers to. I will be doing a Ted-Talk for my presentation. I really want to find a way to make it more interesting though. I think some people will get bored during the presentation. If I had to do a second presentation on tanks, I would probably do something about the different flaws and advancements over the years. Only because it is something that has really interested me.
I am really excited for my presentation. I hope I do well. I am not really good at public speaking, so I think this will definitely be hard for me. But I have help.
For Capstone we require at least one site visit. I probably wasn’t going to some military base, so I went to a museum called The Museum of American Armor. It was really helpful and I got something pretty cool too.
For my site visit, I brought two things to document my visit. A notepad and my phone. I took some notes and pictures, which will probably help in my presentation. For example, one thing I learned is, when a tank is shot or penetrated, the army will try and fix it. But, once burned, they won’t touch it. The reason being, When a tank is burned, the temper on the metal is gone and a bullet can easily penetrate the metal. I also learned that there is a tank (The M18 Hellcat), that uses an airplane engine. This was extremely interesting. I also found out everything -except the guns- on the tanks were functional in the museum.
Once I got some more research about tanks, the employee took me around to see different armored vehicles and some guns. At one exhibit, the employee gave me a bullet shell from World War II. It was a really cool artifact that I might incorporate into my presentation.
Overall, I think I learned a lot of new information. Before, I thought I wouldn’t get much new information, but I was very wrong.
In class, we are doing a graphic novel unit. We got to read graphic novels and make our own. It was really fun, but it was a long process.
First, I had to have an Idea. Since we only had a few weeks, I didn’t want something that would just keep on going. So I chose a groundhog that lives in the woods near our school for my character. Next I had to make a story and immediately I thought, villain and hero. But sometimes you can be your own hero and that’s what I wanted to do. So, I made a small problem over food. I had a story, now I needed a draft.I spent a lot of time on my draft, probably more than I needed to. But, eventually, I just did stick figures for my draft instead of detailed drawings, and brief pieces of text. Finally, it came to actually making the graphic novel. I had to really focus on this because, I am horrible at drawing. I can’t draw a good stick figure! But after I had feedback I got the hang of it.
I think my writing skills have improved through this project because, with a graphic novel I could’t put in all the details. I had to show emotions and actions through the illustrations. The writing is only dialogue. But, even with the problems, I think this project was fun because it was different. I got a practice at art, and I practiced writing a fictional story that is completely made up. My reading was a little different. It was hard at first switching from one format to another because I was used to the regular novel form. So as you would expect, I kind of got bored. But then, after finding the right type of story and books, I kind of liked it. Yes, there were a few books I didn’t like, but I got through them.
Right here is my graphic novel. If you cannot find it for some reason, you will find mine and a lot more here, http://blogs.scarsdaleschools.org/cboyer/graphic-novels/
For my Capstone interview, I contacted my uncle who knew a military engineer and gave him my questions. He forwarded my questions to the engineer. I was extremely satisfied with my answers.
I had around 8 pages of answers, and about 2 paragraphs per answer. I didn’t use all of the answers because I didn’t think they would be useful in my presentation. Once I actually got the answers, you might be thinking, “What would you do with them?”. Well, the same as any other research, take notes on it. I learned about the different engineering behind tanks, different types of armor and what the most common weaponry is. For example, I learned that the most common weapon type on tanks is, a Smoothbore gun. This is usually the main gun. I got a good amount of research and notes from the answers. I think they really helped me in finding more about the engineering of tanks, and I also got a few good search terms and links from it.
I thanked the engineer and I am very grateful that he took time out of his (probably extremely busy) work to answer my questions.
In school, we took a grade field trip to a Peruvian restaurant. Aside from a full stomach I learned how to order in Spanish and how to say polite things in Spanish. Some of the things we learned were:
Lomo Saltado –
Chicha Morada –
Está Rica – It is delicious
Está muy buena – The food is very good
Me pasas Por favor? – Pass me please.
That is just a few of the stuff we learned. The food at the restaurant was really delicious. I think my favorite was the Pollo Saltado. I think this trip was fun because it was almost like a break. Overall this trip was really exciting and it was an interesting learning experience.
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.