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Personal Reflection – Semester 1


An Extremely Stiff Blog Post

stiff-blog-postIn the multimedia post I’ve created for the non-fiction book Stiff, by Mary Roach, I used many examples to show the central idea: You can help people – even after death – by donating your body to science. I found three quotes that perfectly matched this idea, so I marked them and wrote a description about why I thought it supported the idea. The book itself was about what would happen to your body if you donated it after death, and each chapter was a new example. The chapters had a wide variety, from doctors practicing surgery to human cadavers being eaten to prevent illnesses, and it was certainly interesting to read. I still can’t believe a book as intriguing as this exists.

Resources used: padlet.com.

Design Journal #4: Conclusion

img_9502During the Polymer Project, I’ve made a total of five prototypes, each with its own properties. The first one failed, because we combined gloop and superslime, but the two polymers don’t mix at all. The polymer ended up being bouncy, but it breaks extremely easily. The second one was bouncy. It didn’t stick to your hand, but on a flat surface, it would stay in shape. It broke easily, which wasn’t good, but it was reformable which was a major property our project needed. The third prototype was kind of reformable. and it didn’t stick to your fingers. However, it was not smooth at all, and extremely slimy. The texture ended up being very weird and uncomfortable to hold. The fourth was reformable, non-sticky, kind-of smooth and slimy, so it met all of our standards. It felt soft and squishy. The fifth prototype was reformable and didn’t stick to your finger, but it wasn’t that smooth and was quite slimy. The texture ended up being hard.

The best prototype for meeting our goal of making a bike grip softer and squishier was prototype 4. It was the most reformable, which means it will sink down if you press your fingers on it, but it will always bounce back to shape after a while. This is good because this means multiple people can use it at once. It wasn’t sticky, so when you remove your hands from the polymer, the polymer stays on the grip in one piece. It wasn’t completely smooth, but we realized none of the polymers were, so it didn’t matter that much. It also had a very nice texture – not too slimy or sticky, which made it very easy to squish and grip.

What I learned during this project was to use time more effectively, and rather then using the same recipe over and over again, only changing one tiny detail, I should’ve varied my ingredients more. This would’ve let me know what each type of polymer I designed did, and it would take a shorter time to design an actual polymer that fitted our needs. This would’ve saved our time by a lot. Thankfully, I learned to be braver and change more things in about the middle of the project, so I didn’t waste that much time.

Design Journal Entry #3: Physical Properties and How to Test it

Interviewee: 9th grader

Interviewer: Jane (me)

We changed our project from a reformable bike seat to bike handles, because making a bike seat wastes a lot of materials, and different people like different seats. The polymer needs to be soft, reformable, and quite solid. Our polymer needs to be soft enough to grip. The entire reason we’re doing this idea is because we think bike seats and handles are too hard and uncomfortable, so that is definitely one of the things we need. Also, it needs to be reformable, meaning it bounces back after we apply pressure on it. If the polymer molds the shape of you and hardens, it will be uncomfortable because it’s hard to get back into that exact same position. It also needs to be solid, which means it can not randomly drip off the side and will generally stay in the shape we leave it in.

I develop my prototypes by looking at the four main bases we’ve used before, and the chart that states the characteristics of each material. I thought gloop would be our best bet at making a grip/seat. It’s not too slimy, and not too hard. It’s the closest of the four textures to a comfortable grip. I absolutely love adding cornstarch to things because it turns substances from sticky and slimy to having the same bounciness but more thick. This helps our project tremendous amounts. I found out that glue is very sticky and unnecessary for our project, so I reduced the amount by half. I slowly played around with it, until I got to prototype 4, which is basically what I want, but still a bit too sticky, so I’ll have to change that.

Testing my product is quite easy, actually. To test for its softness, I wrapped my hand around it and saw whether or not it was easy to squeeze. This represents when it’s on the bike and we have to sit on it and hold it. If it’s too easy or hard to squeeze, chances are, on the bike handle it will will be too soft or hard. To test it’s reformability, I did the slow poke test to see if the polymer bounced back up. This property is actually based off of memory foam, which is a type of foam used in shoes to make it softer. It’s meant to be soft but also maintaining it’s original shape. To test for its solidity, I put it down on a paper plate for a period of time to see if it expands. This is actually hard to meet, because slime in general want to sink down. I decided that if I try a lot but still can’t find something that is generally solid, I’m going to alter it or completely get rid of that property.

Boxers’ Video Blogs

Secrets of the Universe

aristotle-2-secrets-of-the-universe-2-picIn the magazine cover for the novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, I’ve shown how the theme relates to the plot of the story. The theme of this story, obviously, is to accept yourself for who you are, because at first our protagonist, Ari, doesn’t accept himself, but then learns to, and we also learn through the eyes of him. The plot of this story is showed by the two quotes I’ve chosen. Ari is first ashamed of being gay but then learns that it’s okay. This clearly shows that the theme relates to the plot. I think the two quotes I used are well chosen because even though they are both located at the very end of the story, they correctly summarize the plot. Over a span of time, Ari understands more about himself, and comes to peace with it. He knows there is nothing he can do to change the fact that he’s gay.

Design Journal Entry #2: Our Idea

polymer-j2My group’s polymer project will be a customizable bicycle seat. A lot of people have trouble adjusting to the seats our bikes come with, because they are hard and uncomfortable. Anyone with this problem can use our product. What you have to do is put a pretty thick layer of this polymer over your seat, and sit on it for a minute. Your body’s shape will be molded into the seat, so it will no longer feel uncomfortable and weird. Then, maybe you could put a layer of plastic wrap or something with the same basic components (so it’s thin, stretchable, etc) over the seat so it will be shielded against dirt and rain. Our polymer base will probably be stretch-tastic slime, because it is the only one that molds according to its environment. We have to change it a bit, though, because on the bikes it can’t be too slimy or sticky anything. I understand there are many bike seats that can be attached to your bike to suit your needs, but none of them are customized and will mold to your body.

Numbers of people can relate to the issue at hand, one being my very own mother.

ME: Why do you think your bike seat is uncomfortable?

Mom: It’s too hard, and the front of the seat is very sharp.

ME: How do you think this can be improved on?

Mom: Make the seat softer, thicker, and longer.

ME: Do you think having a customized seat by molding some polymers is going to help?

Mom: Yes! I think this will definitely help the problem!

As you can see from the interview above, my mom is a potential client and supports our project a lot.

Design Journal Entry #1: Synthetic Materials and Natural Resources

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-8-37-51-pmsay-thanksA polymer is many similar molecules (or monomers) bonded together. Polymers are made of synthetic materials, which are based off of natural resources. Natural resources are just like it sounds – a resource you can find in nature, or a resource made from elements of our world, for example minerals, water, plants, rubber, etc. Synthetic materials are something made chemically to forge a natural resource and make it better. A synthetic material is meant to meet your needs, so it’s easier and more convenient for you to use. If you want a waterproof material but you only have a normal, not waterproof material, you can synthesize it to make it meet your demands. For example, spandex is a type of synthetic material. Spandex was originally based off of natural rubber, but rubber isn’t that stretchy, so people have altered it and changed it to the spandex we use. In our world today, many people wear spandex shorts for sports, especially volleyball, or under dresses. Nylon is another example. It’s based off of silk and used to replace silk because it’s quite expensive. Nylon is used to make clothes or tires or packaging for food (because some nylon can block out oxygen and other gases so the food won’t be contaminated). Synthetic materials are made from natural resources that go through chemical change. The chemical changes are usually because of catalysts that will help the natural resource react.



Sources: https://www.reference.com/home-garden/examples-synthetic-materials-847a614af1c09216#





Aristotle Discovers the Secrets of Himself

A lot of incidents have to happen in order for two teenage guys to discover themselves. Benjamin Alire Sáenz, author of the novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, does an excellent job in writing exciting incidents that will force the main characters to make decisions that will later on prove to be a turning point in their lives.

Protagonist Aristotle, nicknamed Ari, knows little about himself and thinks he’s a heartless, selfish creature, until the day Dante almost got hit by a car: “[Ari] remember[ed] the car swerving around the corner… [he] woke up in a hospital room. Both of [his] legs were in a cast” (Sáenz 110). Ari didn’t even realize he saved Dante’s life. When his parents and Dante’s parents ask why he did it, he denies that he actually made the choice, and it was more of a reflex. Deep, deep down, though, he knew that it was his choice to save Dante’s life. This is a very dramatic incident, and it is only then when he started getting to know himself. The event forced him to make a decision – to save Dante or not. After no hesitation, he decided to save Dante. This really shows his character, and how he has a heart and just wants others to be safe and happy. Even though he acts like an uncaring teenager on the outside, he’s a very kind and selfless person, and that’s what really matters.

After that depressing incident, Dante’s father relocated to Chicago. That means 8 months that Ari and Dante have to be apart. Here, our very indecisive protagonist is faced with another challenge. Ari’s mom asks if he’s written back to Dante yet, and he replies with a simple “‘Not yet’” (180) and “I don’t need Dante” (183). Dante’s moved far away, and he writes to Ari once a week, obviously trying to keep in touch. Ari doesn’t reply at all, until far after along the story. The author doesn’t state why, but context clues suggest it’s because Ari’s still mad at Dante for being extra nice to him after the car crash accident. He feels like Dante wouldn’t be his friend if he didn’t save his life. Of course, that’s not true, but who knows what’s going on inside of Ari’s mind. Weeks and weeks of resentment go by, and he’s yet to answer the letter. This shows that Ari holds a lot of grudges and doesn’t forgive and forget. He’s the type of person who needs an actual apology (for something that probably isn’t even true) before he can move on. This is not a very good character trait, but it makes Ari more realistic and relatable.

I think I am dissimilar to Ari, because I’ve mostly never had to face difficult decisions in my life. Obviously, I know my personality, my likes and dislikes, my talents, but this is in no way similar to fighting your heart about if you’re gay in the 1980s, when people are extremely homophobic. My life has been pretty straightforward leading up to now, and the conflicts I’ve had to resolve are all very simple. For example, as of this moment, my struggle is if I should aim for an ‘Extending the Standards’ or not. Every struggle I have is either school, friendship, or family related. Compared to Ari’s dilemmas, my struggles as a 13 year old girl are nothing.

These two are not the only decisions Ari has to make to shape his future, but these are definitely two of the most important and most remembered ones. As the story goes on, we will travel with Ari and see how his character changes to become a more open and more forgiving person. Until then, we can just imagine.

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