The Explorer

For our last humanities project in eighth grade, my group and I created a magazine that displays the hidden beauties of China. We displayed this through articles, infographics, and images taken as we traveled through the large country ourselves. This was a long process with many struggles that occurred along the way. From this, I learned that all magazines you see, even the ones that seem most simple, take tons of time and effort finalize. From brainstorming to investigating to creating to editing, the process is hard to do well. Now, I can appreciate a well planned layout or exciting choice of color in any magazine. Overall, this project was fun and we came out with a solid product.

Polymer Journal #4


The polymer project has come to an end, and now I am going to reflect on the engineering design cycle. From the beginning of the project my group and I found it quite easy to define ideas and develop solutions because we were all very confident in our design goal and what we needed to accomplish. When we discussed ideas as a group, each person had an opportunity to state their opinion so we could quickly agree and move on, with room for improving suggestions along the way. After agreeing on an idea, it was just a matter of trial and error. Knowing our goal and how we planned on approaching it, we found it most time efficient to work independently and then share and discuss our results together. After every result we got, we immediately examined the pros and cons and then created an organized plan for the next class on how to improve. When what we planned wasn’t going our way, we effectively made on-the-spot decisions based on our cultivating knowledge, being sure to make note of every change we made. When thinking of ways to improve each prototype, we never just made one change and bet on it. Each time, we formed several branch prototypes to test. Two out of three were usually far from good, but with the failures came one improved prototype. This process is what led us to having a successful prototype by the end of the cycle.


Thinking back on the process, I realized that all the ideas we made at the beginning did not match our final result, because at first we were thinking based on the real-world problem we were given. By the end, we had to think about what we could do with the resources we had. Overall though, we met the criteria for the necessary properties we needed our polymer to have. It was great to see all the other groups’ work on the “Dream On” presentation day because it showed that everyone went through a challenging process but we all managed to make a product that was suitable by the end. It also taught me that the work you put in and how much you focus throughout the process will pay off and benefit you in the end. This project was overall successful and I learned a lot about engineering.

Here is a link to the infomercial we made for our final product; Goolop!

Kitteridge Finds His Way

Butterflies must go on their protracted metamorphic journey in order to become themselves. Indifferently, over any interval of time, people will transform and adapt to the situations they are placed in. During the rising action of Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, the conflictive character Henry Kitteridge changes and develops as his emotions counteract his own judgment.

As the story just begins to unfold, Henry is newly introduced to the darling Denise who works for him at the pharmacy he runs. Olive, Henry’s fatigued and despondent wife, is not so enthusiastic towards the bright young girl Henry speaks so highly of; “’[Denise] is the plainest child I have ever seen. With her pale coloring, why does she wear gray and beige?’ ‘I don’t know,’ [Henry] said, agreeably, as though he had wondered himself. He had not wondered” (Strout 12). Denise is a glimmer of shining sapphire that Henry longingly admires. In Henry’s sense, Olive is the brick wall between him and Denise, but he could never admit such thoughts to his wife.

As the plot thickens, Henry’s feelings change from those of desire to aggravation; “’Take the garbage out!’ Henry shouted one night… ‘It’s the only thing we ask you to do, and you can’t even manage that!’ ‘Stop shouting,’ Olive told him. ‘Do you think that makes you a man? How absolutely pathetic.’” (22). Henry is simply forced to realize that there is no way in which he can afford to turn around his life on account of a young woman who inspires him to do so. As he faces a reality that disappoints him, Henry releases anger in any place where it is excusable.

Within a short matter of time, the tables in Henry Kitteridge’s mind have turned completely; “’Olive,’ he says, and she turns. ‘You’re not going to leave me, are you?’” (29). Henry has overcome and let go of feelings of resentment towards Olive, as well as feelings of missing out on Denise. He has realized that he often takes Olive for granted, as a wife and as a mother to his children.

Just as the butterfly enters each stage of its transition, growing and evolving every step along the way, Henry has changed as he enters a new phase in his life. Eventually, he cultivates a new outlook on life which would not have been possible if he had not developed the way he had.

Polymer Journal #3

I used SlideSnack to incorporate my media. All pictures in the PowerPoint are my own.

In the last journal, I talked about the three prototypes we would make as well as how we would test them. At this point, I am gong to tell you how we have improved our prototypes since then. We tested the first three prototypes and found that Prototype 1 was incredibly slimy but had good potential with its stickiness. Prototype 2 did not pass our stickiness tests and it was too thick and messy to work with, although it had a good amount of elasticity. Prototype 3 had similar faults to Prototype 2 in that it was gloppy and left marks everywhere, not to mention its putrid glue smell. Considering these results, we decided to move forward with Prototype 1. In an effort to make the polymer less watery we tried adding 3g of solid cornstarch to the preexisting 15g of PVA Solution and 15mL of liquid starch. We called this polymer Prototype 4, and it lacked the stickiness we needed; so we created Prototype 5, which was just Prototype 4 but with 2.5g of glue added. Prototype 5 turned out to be slightly too slimy so we made a mixture of 3g glue and 4g solid cornstarch and added it to Prototype 5. We called this polymer Prototype 6, and it passed all of our tests; it was a clean, odorless polymer with just enough strength, elasticity, and stickiness to be a furniture protector. After confirming Prototype 6 as a final prototype, we looked back at Prototype 1 after it had been sitting in a sealed plastic bag for multiple days, and found that it had lost its undesirable moistness that had previously prevented it from sticking properly. We performed our tests on the new Prototype 1 and it proved itself a success! It was a long process with many blunders but they eventually led to two successful end products, one clear and one opaque. The only thing left to do now is to market our products!

Polymer Journal #2

At this point in the process of creating a polymer, my group and I have started developing solutions for our design problem. We already know what characteristics we are looking for; a polymer that is sticky, thick, sturdy, and clean, but now I will tell you how we are going to get those qualities in our polymer. We started by testing out four base polymers to find the one that would be easiest to work with. Oobleck was too unpredictable with its form, gloop was too fragile, and super slime was way too slimy, but boogers seemed to fit most of our requirements. The improvements we needed to make on the boogers were minimal and easy, so we decided to move forward with boogers as our base polymer. Those improvements included making the boogers more thick and clear in color. The way we would try to correct the of flaws of the boogers was by switching out its ingredients with ones that had did similar jobs so that the qualities of the polymer would be different from the original but not too far off.

We decided to make three initial prototypes based on the boogers. The make up of the boogers is glue and liquid starch. Since glue is similar to PVA solution and liquid starch is similar to solid cornstarch, we varyingly substituted those ingredients in each prototype. We designed Prototype 1 to have PVA solution and liquid starch, Prototype 2 to have glue and solid cornstarch, and Prototype 3 to have PVA Solution and solid cornstarch. In order to test each prototype, we would first record observations using the slime test, which would show us its smell, texture, rigidity and elasticity. Then, we would test each prototype by sticking it to the corner of our lab table to test its stickiness and overall effectiveness for our goal. Using this as a plan, I am positive we will be able to develop a successful polymer.

journal 2 mediaI created an infographic that shows the process of creating a polymer. In this journal entry I talk about the fourth, fifth, and sixth steps of the infographic above. This allows you to see where I am at in the process, what I have already done, and what I will do next.

Infographic Tool: Piktochart

A Drifting Comic

I chose to make three comic-like illustrations that correspond with three different quotes, each one identifying and explaining the introduction to a conflict. These conflicts sparked in the exposition of the realistic fiction novel Adrift by Julie Burtinshaw. I chose this form of multi-media because I feel that it quickly and simply breaks down the major problem for each conflicting situation. It allows you to easily see what the conflicts are, and as you continue to read down each column you can gain a more in-depth understanding of that conflict.

I used SlideSnack to incorporate my multi-media piece into this post.

Polymer Journal #1

Here are the answers to several questions based on starting the project for creating a synthetic polymer to solve a problem. Those questions include, what problem my polymer will solve, my target market audience, needs that will be met by creating my polymer, and the specific characteristics my polymer will have. The prompt my group was given was to create a polymer that protects or improves furniture in one way or another. We have decided that the goal of our polymer will be to prevent furniture from squeaking, sliding, and moving around on the floor. It may also be used to add a soft touch to sharp corners on tables and other items of furniture. The market audience we will target is mainly parents, specifically ones who stay at home most of the time. If they have pets or young children who may be moving furniture or getting hurt on sharp edges this polymer will attract them. Also, if they are staying at home most of the time, it will be easier for them to come across our ad on television during the day. The needs my polymer will meet including being able to hold the shape of anything so it can be stuck to all types of furniture legs, arms, and corners. It must be able to do its job without causing any squeaking noises, and it must be able to be moved from space to space without leaving marks anywhere. Some properties of this polymer will need to be that it is mostly invisible or see-through, malleable, and comes without odor or unwanted noise. The answers to these questions are what defines the problem and allows my group to successfully start our project.




Photo Sources:—glass-top.html


Growing Up in the Iranian Revolution: An Inside Look

Arman Mahdavi begins his series of four journal entries at the age of 15 as he grows up during the Iranian Revolution. It was a rough time for anyone in Iran during that period, but for Arman, writing about it relieved the stress.

Throughout the Iranian Revolution, some things changes while others stayed the same. One of the most prominent changes of the Iranian Revolution was their relationship with the U.S.A. When the Shah was put in power by the C.I.A., his relations with America were friendly, even though the people of Iran were fuming. Then, when Khomeini came to power he made the U.S. know of Iran’s hatred for them by composing the American Embassy Hostage Crisis. The crisis of course made the relationship between the two countries from then on extremely hostile and full of detestation. Another change that occurred when Khomeini came to power was that he took away the rights granted towards women by the Shah. When the Shah was in power, women had more freedom, but by the end of the revolution that was taken away, and they were forced to wear the veil again because that was the Muslim way of life. Even though the amount of women’s rights changed over time, females were never seen as equal to men. Therefore, one constant factor during the Revolution was that women in Iran stayed inferior to men. Speaking of Islamic beliefs, Iran was a monarchy until Khomeini rose to power and Iran was declared an Islamic Republic. Although Iran had not been titled an Islamic State before Khomeini consolidated power, Islam was always the official religion of Iran and what everyone believed in. Overall, many changes had to occur in this revolution to make a difference and make people’s lives better, but some things stayed the same all along making for a country with a rich culture and fascinating history.

I used SlideSnack to make the presentation.

Ping Pong Parabola?

final graph screenshot

Believe it or not, algebra can be found in tons of daily life situations. In the video above, I hit a ping pong ball with a paddle, and found that the path my ball took through the air made a parabolic motion which can be graphed and shown in a quadratic equation.

I used a computer application called LoggerPro to make this graph based on the video I took. The graphed showed me the quadratic equation formed from the parabola. Standard form for the quadratic formula is ax^2+bx+c. The equation developed from my information was -330.2x^2+203.4x+23.2. In the video, the “a” term represents the width of the shot and whether it travels upwards or downwards. Mathematically, the “a” term represents the width of the parabola and whether it is a positive or negative parabola. -330.2 is the “a” term for this parabola, so since the parabola is negative, in real life, the ball went upwards and then came back down creating a rainbow shaped motion instead of a U shaped motion. In real life, the “b” term represents the highest or lowest point the parabola reaches. In terms of math, the “b” term would help find the vertex of the parabola, either the maximum or minimum point of the parabola. 203.4 is the “b” term for this particular parabola which is the highest point in space the ping pong ball reached other wise known as the maximum in mathematics. We can find this vertex by using -b/2a to find the “x” value. -203.4/2(-330.2) is about 0.31 so we plug that in as “x” to the equation 330.2x^2+203.4x+23.2 to find the “y” value which is about 54.5. So now we know the vertex of the parabola is found at (0.31, 54.5). Lastly the “c” term in real life is how far from from the ground surface was the shot started at. In math, the “c” term is the  y-intercept or starting point for the graph. 23.2 is the “c” value so that is where the shot started above ground (or in this case the ping pong table) in cm. In math, this would be where the parabola meets with the y-axis. A restricted graph is one that has a definite beginning and end meaning that the values in the equation cannot be less than the start of the graph nor more than the end of the graph. Besides ping pong as a real world example of quadratics, some more include shooting a basketball, diving into a pool, and windshield wipers moving.