Capstone #5: My Reflection

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

Capstone #4: Answering My Main Inquiry Question

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.


Capstone #3: Site Visit

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.

This is the bullet shell
This is part of the M18 Hellcat’s wheels
This is the entrance to the museum
This is the full M18 Hellcat


Capstone #1- Finding a Topic and Main Question

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 class we are doing a rocketry project. We build and design our own rockets. We work in groups of four. This is a little frustrating for me sometimes, because, I am used to building alone. So far, we have done/made, Inspiration boards, brainstormed ideas for our designs and made prototypes. I am surprised with all the freedom we have with this project. I have heard from different classes that say they have to use specific materials.

I’m proud of the ways we thought of materials and how we thought of ways to make the rocket fly higher. I’m also proud of how we included these ways when we were thinking about materials and shapes. I’m looking forward to putting everything together and building our rocket that we are determined to get high.

I already had an interest in rocketry and the fact that we got to do it in school made me ecstatic. At first I thought it was going to be sort of competitive but after watching the old rocketry video, I realized groups actually help other groups to make their rockets great. This rocketry unit has been super fun and I can’t wait to launch our rockets.

Inside of a Hard Drive

A month ago my dad was fixing his computer and he was about to throw away his hard drive and I asked him for it and he gave it to me. I opened it up with a screw driver and studied it with a magnifying glass. This is what it looks like.

Inside of a Hard Drive

I think the orange computer chip is transferring the data to the brown strip. Then, the  brown strip transfers the data to the little needle. I think the needle has a chip in it so it can transfer the data to the disc and both disc’s store the data.

The way people get their data back from their computer is, they unscrew the disc from the hard drive and put it in a new hard drive.

I think that is how a hard drive works. I am going to do research on it so that I can find out how a hard drive actually works.