In July a soccer team from Thailand got stuck in a cave after their game. They were exploring in the cave, when a monsoon struck outside. Inside the cave it was pitch black. Our task was to design a flashlight that was waterproof. We had to use the materials that are local to the people in Thailand. All we could use were PVC pipes, wires, a switch, a battery, and an LED light. First we needed to map out our design on a diagram. It had to be drawn to scale. Once we got the diagram approved, we could saw our PVC pipes to fit our design. The sawing was hard because the saw kept getting stuck in the pipe. As we each finished, we could make holes in the pipe. The holes were for the switch and light. That was pretty easy because the drill press did all the work. Finally we soldered the wires to the battery, the switch, and the light. That was the final step.
In class we are learning about atoms. An atoms is broken up into protons, neutrons and electrons. Atoms have a nucleus made of the neutrons and protons. The nucleus is really hard to brake. Around the nucleus are the electrons, they orbit around the nucleus. An atom is tiny the amount of atoms in a grapefruit is equal to the amount of blueberries that fill the world. Then if you make one blueberry the size of a NFL football stadium only then will you see the nucleus.
Yesterday I learned a lot about the safety rules in technology. In technology we use a lot of different tools that can be dangerous so we have to follow safety precautions. One of them is to slow down and think before we act. Another one is to tie back hair, but that does not apply to me. I think it is really important to protect your eyes. Anything can happen so you have to be prepared.
Yesterday I had my final Capstone presentation. After we had our moving up ceremony, we were ready to present to the parents. When I got to school in the morning, I saw that I was presenting first in the computer lab and that made me very nervous.
Once I got the room, I did not understand what was happening because all the parents were talking and I was just standing by the screen. Finally Senor Johnson got there attention and it was time for me to start. I felt nervous, but at the same time, I felt that I really knew my script and that I had prepared well for my presentation.
When I started everyone became quiet and was focused on my presentation. During the presentation, I felt confident and I remembered what I planned to say. I kept looking at Asher’s dad because he was smiling and right in front of me. Now reflecting on my presentation, I thought I did a really good job. I learned that practicing a speech a lot of times helps you because you know what to do if make a mistake. Practice also made me feel more comfortable in front of a group. I was really happy I went first because I could enjoy all the other presentations after I finished!
After we wrote our main inquiry essays, we needed to make our presentations to share to our parents and the rest of the school. For our presentations we could either do an ignite or a TED Talk. At first I wanted to do an Ignite because I liked the idea of being done after three minutes. I changed my mind because the Ignite doesn’t give enough time to share all the things I learned about social media. The TED Talk is more flexible and if I were to fumble, it would be easier to get back on track. First, I had to write my script. I wrote out what I was going to say for each slide. I had to tweak my script a lot because I was not really sure about what I wanted to say before I got started. After I finished my script I started my presentation. The pictures in my slideshow related to the things in my script. My slideshow is about six minutes long. Now all I need to do is practice for my presentation. I’m glad I chose to do a TED Talk instead of an Ignite.
For my Capstone project my main inquiry question was,” How can teens and tweens maximize their social media experience?” I did a lot research using my sub questions, which eventually helped me answer my main inquiry question. Once I finished my research, I had to write an essay that would answer my question. Here is my essay:
Is social media a big part of your life? If yes, you probably know social media can be a good place for you. It keeps you connected with your friends and is a positive place for kids. What you might not know is that social media can can be a very negative place if you don’t use it well. In fact, according to ABC News 50% of teens say they are victims of cyberbullying. After research I thought of three of the main ways kids can maximize their social media experience. One, try to lift up the social media community with your social media posts. Two, think before you post. Three, remember why you are using social media.
When you are using social media have you ever tried to make yourself look cooler or have tried to make your life seem better than it really is? If you have, you are not the only one. A lot people want to impress, or try to get likes on their posts. For example they are posting the things that are the best parts of their life. It is like they are trying to make a highlight reel of their life. It is not the best way to post because it does not lift anyone up. It just makes the people going through the hard parts of their lives feel worse. According to Psycom.net depression levels for teens went up 3.6% percent since 2005. That is only one year after Facebook came out. Since then all the famous social media platforms were made. Another example is on the Scarsdale Moms Facebook chat. A person was telling everyone her son’s grades. They were really good and one person got mad and was making mean comments. In the end she was the one that looked bad.
My second reason to show how kids can maximize their social media experience is to think before you post. Too many people are hurting their lives and their family’s lives because they do not take the time to think “Is what I am posting okay? Would I want everyone to see this post?” Recently there have been some top draft prospects in the NFL, such as Josh Allen. Josh Allen was a quarterback from the University of Wyoming. A lot of people thought he would be the number one pick in 2018 draft. Instead he fell to the seventh pick. This happened because in high school he made some racist comments on social media. A lot of people started to doubt his decision making off the football fields. Another reason why you should think before you post is that what you post does not only affect you. It affects the people around you. So if I made a post that said that I made the select soccer team and our team is amazing,
how do you think it would make your friend that didn’t make it feel? Probably not so good. These are the reasons why you need to think before you hit the post button.
My third and final way kids can maximize their social media experience is to remember why you are using it. For example if every time you are using social media and it is not benefiting you in any way, just stop using it. What I mean is why use social media if all it is doing is wasting your time and making you feel worse about yourself. Tali Horowitz, an expert on the social media field, works at Common Sense. She said,” If it doesn’t make you feel good, take a break.” Also social media was not made so you could hurt the digital community with negativity. Use social media the right way.
In conclusion, if you can, incorporate these tips into the way you use social media. Social media will be a great tool for you. Remember, social media was not made specifically for you, so you need to use it the right way for you. How will you use social media?
Yesterday I had my Capstone site visit! I went to the Common Sense New York office. I was having a hard time finding a site visit for my project. I was planning to set up a site visit at the Twitter headquarters, but the contact Mr. Casal had said that it would not work for me to come. I was starting to panic a little bit, but then Tali Horowitz from Common Sense agreed to an interview and also said that I could come to her office for a site visit!
After I set up the interview and site visit, my dad agreed to take me to New York City. On Tuesday, I had to miss half a day of school. That morning I got dressed up and rode the 9:14 AM train to Grand Central. My dad and I had some time so we went to a tennis shop. We just looked around for a bit to pass the time and then we went over to the Common Sense office. The office was located on the second floor of the First Republic Bank at 56th Street and Madison Avenue. The space was donated because Common Sense is non-profit organization. The main head quarters for Common Sense is in San Fransisco, California.
When I walked in, I saw the meeting room where Ms. Horowitz was finishing her meeting. After she finished, she gave me a tour and showed me where the other employees work, her office and the meeting room. Three people are full-time employees, but other people come in to meet in the office. The organization had pamphlets on different subjects. Ms. Horowitz gave me one on virtual realty and the risks to kids.
Overall I had a great time and learned a lot!
Today I had my Capstone interview in New York City! I interviewed Tali Horowitz. She is a friend of my computer teacher, Mr. Casal. Ms. Horowitz works at a non-profit organization named, Common Sense. They help kids, parents and teachers use the Internet appropriately. She started working with Common Sense in 2010. Her role in the organization is the Education Director. She gives talks about digital citizenship to help people have good character on the Internet.
When I was going to meet her, I was really excited because I had researched a lot about the things she works on. At the same time I was really nervous because it was the first interview I ever done. When I arrived at her office, she was finishing up a meeting. I waited for a little bit until she was ready. I looked over my question while I waited. Here are my questions:
- What made you interested in helping kids and parents use the Internet safely? How did you start working at Common Sense and what is your role?
- What are some of the biggest challenges you and your organization have faced recently?
- What are some of the changes you see happening in social media?
- How has social media been affected by President Trump’s use of social media?
- What do you think are the biggest risks for kids on social media?
- Do you feel differently about the various social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchap)? Are there sites that are better or worse kids?
- What should parents be doing to keep their kids safe on social media?
- If you could change anything about the way kids use social media, what would you change?
- How do you think social media will change over the next five to ten years?
- I am going to present my project to my classmates, what are the three top social media tips you would want me to share?
I was surprised by some of her answers. When she answered question three, she started talking about President Trump, which was my question five. I did not expect her to bring up President Trump on her own. She said that right now, we are in a particular time where the president is not showing a lot of respect on social media. He also is not showing a good example to kids on how to use social media. When kids see the President of the United States saying whatever he wants and not getting punished, kids don’t learn that it is not an okay way to act.
I learned that Common Sense puts a lot of hard work into keeping kids using the Internet the right way. They also work directly with the big social media companies to discuss features to help kids, like making the sites less addictive or allowing kids to take down posts that were mistakes.
Overall I had a great time at my interview and I learned a lot! I am really thankful to both Mr. Casal and Ms. Horowitz for taking the time to help me with my 5th grade Capstone project.
Today my grade went to Ellis island! We had to get to school at 7:00am. The bus ride was about 1 and a half hours. When we arrived our grade went through security. Then rode a ferry to the island. After we ate snack we explored the lobby and had a tour guide talk to us about the experience at Ellis Island. After we looked at some exhibits, we watched a movie. It was pretty interesting. Later in the afternoon before we were going to leave we went to look for family members that might have pasted through. Finally we took the ferry past he Statue of Liberty and went to the buses.
Today our class went to a Peruvian restaurant for a Spanish field trip. The name of the restaurant is Pollo a La Brasa Misti Restaurant. The food was very good we had Pollo Saltado, Lomo Saltado, Tallarin Saltado de Carne, Pescado and Chicha Morada. My favorite food was the Tallarin Saltado de Carne because the steak and noodle were very good. I liked everything except for the Chicha Morada because it had too much lime and cinnamon. Other people liked the drink. Overall I thought it was awesome!