China’s Migrant Crisis

After this trimester-long Capstone Project, I have learned a great deal on my topic of Chinese Rural Migration. I have learned of its causes, its effects, and the psychology of the men and women that are the driving force behind migration. I believe that I have contributed to my surrounding community by presenting my video and spreading awareness on this topic. By teaching me about the pain that migrants struggle through to survive, this project has changed my beliefs and allowed me to accept the fact that not all people are born equal. Since we are in China, the majority of my community speaks Chinese, when engaging the community around me, one of the skills I had to draw on was my experience speaking the native tongue. One thing that I would like to change if I were to do this project again would be to create a better video/documentary. I would want the rising 8th graders this year to know that this project is reliant on independence and that if you merely listen to the teacher and don’t work in your own time, you cannot excel.

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The Catapult Cup

The Catapult Cup is a project within Algebra 1 where students can have a chance to demonstrate their knowledge of quadratic functions when modeling the arcs of the projectiles their catapults fire. Students must go through multiple trials to show their expertise in quadratics, as well as the design of the catapult.

This project has taught me many things, both about myself and about quadratics. One of the most difficult parts of the Catapult Cup was testing your catapult in order to find the right amount of power needed to hit a given target. This process was time-consuming, but eventually, my partner and I found an optimal distance at which to fire at a target. If I were to compete in a similar competition again, I would choose to actually make my catapult less powerful. This is because the more powerful a catapult is, the further it will fire, which increases the chance for deviation and makes the catapult less accurate. This project has broadened my understanding of quadratic functions, primarily by demonstrating how they can be useful and in what ways and contexts quadratics can be used.

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Polymer Project Design Journal #4

Prototype # 3, called the furniture fixer/panacea was most effective for meeting our goal because we desired a polymer that was moldable and strong, as well as sticky. All prototypes met our first set of criteria, but they had varying degrees of stickiness. The first didn’t stick to anything and the second stuck to anything it came in contact with, only the last one had the right stickiness. The hardest part of the entire process was getting our polymer to have the correct amount of stickiness, too little and it didn’t stick to the table, too much and it stuck to you and pulled off the table. I found the creation of polymers interesting, I was especially fascinated by how a few simple everyday ingredients could create new and unique polymers. On the practical side of things, I learned how to make a polymer and what polymers were. I also learned to keep trying and to never give up making your polymer.

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Polymer Project Design Journal #3

Our goal for our newly created polymer is for it to be able to become a common household product designed to fix and glue furniture and cover sharp edges, as well as put on the bottom of chair and table legs to stop them from screeching. The physical properties that we wish for our polymer to possess are stretchiness, stickiness, and for it to be easily molded. Our initial chemical combination for our polymer was a base of PVA solution, with solid cornstarch and guar gum added for solidified and elastic properties as well as borax. However, after realizing that it wasn’t sticky enough, we tried to replace the borax because it wasn’t sticky enough. Then, the polymer was too sticky, so we used a mixture to achieve an ideal stickiness balance. To test our prototypes for ideal properties, we will use a variety of methods. We will test its stickiness by trying to stick it onto a table and we will test its stretch using the pull test.

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Why would fear the truth? The truth is undeniable, unquestionable, absolute, after all, it is true. However, despite its apparent absurdity, this theme has been developed and built upon within the modern classic, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
Fahrenheit 451 tells the story of Guy Montag, a fireman in a near-future dystopia that starts fires instead of stopping them, burning any house that holds books. His society has completely eradicated the consumption of classical literature, swapping books out for a mindless pastime called the “parlor walls”, a metaphorical representation of television and mass media, that Montag’s wife has become addicted to. Refusing to care for a sick Montag in order to stay in the parlor, valuing the people shown on screen as family while neglecting her own. “‘Will you turn the parlor off?’ he asked. ‘That’s my family.’” (23) This quote illustrates that the majority of people within this society has been disconnected from the real world, opting for an easy life absorbed within the parlor walls over facing the harsh truths of reality.
The people within Montag’s society still go to school, but the schools do not teach people apparent truths. “‘Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of non-combustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information.’” (29) Instead of meaningful content, schools are designed to make people feel like they know things, without actually learning real and important issues.
“Remember, the firemen are rarely necessary, the public itself stopped reading of its own accord.” (41) The society that Montag does not bask in ignorance of books because of the firemen, the people of society gave up reading willingly, simply because they disliked the content within such literature. The theme that people fear the truth is not only implied in the society of Fahrenheit 451, it is explicitly stated by Captain Beatty, Montag’s captain at the fire department, when Montag is entering a phase of uncertainty in the firemen and with his society as a whole. Captain Beatty is a captain that, despite his job, has extraordinary literary knowledge, which is his basis in trying to convince Montag to trust the firemen. “‘Colored people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it. Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Bum the book. Serenity, Montag. Peace, Montag.’” (Bradbury, 27)
The phenomenon in which people fear harsh truths is not independent to Fahrenheit 451, in fact, there have been many cases in the history of our world where people have willingly given up proven truths in favor of ego-gratifying illusions. When mathematicians such as Galileo had proven that the earth revolved around the earth, many people, including the entirety of the Catholic Church, refuted his findings. When Charles Darwin proposed his famous evolution theory, of which we are descendants from primates, many that considered themselves ‘intellectuals’ were horrified and shunned him.
The truth is undeniable, unquestionable, and absolute; however, there are many in the world that fear truths and therefore seek to repress them. Fahrenheit 451 is a book with many interconnecting themes and messages woven by Ray Bradbury, and the fear of truth is simply one of them. One that I hope pushes you to ask, “what truths do I fear?”

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Polymer Project – Design Journal #2

Our goal for our newly created polymer is for it to be able to become a common household product designed to fix and glue furniture and cover sharp edges, as well as put on the bottom of chair and table legs to stop them from screeching. Our target audience will cover a wide range of people, as anyone that owns furniture will be able to use it. Anyone that needs to cover sharp edges, fill in a crack, or want their furniture to stop making screeching noises will be in need of this product.

There are many qualities that we want our polymer to maintain. We want the durable and kneadable texture of Gloop, as our polymer will need to conform to the shapes of the furniture. We want the stretchiness of the Stretch-Tastic slime for the same reason. Finally, we need our polymer to stick to the furniture it covers, but dry quickly, a combination of qualities found in both Gloop and Super-Slime.

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Polymer Project – Design Journal #1

Polymers are substances that have a molecular structure consisting of numerous similar units bonded together, these similar units are individually called monomers. Polymerization is the process that monomers go through to form a polymer. Natural resources are materials that come directly from nature, such as wood pulp and petroleum. There are also examples of polymers that exist in nature, such as wool and cotton. Synthetic materials are substances that have been chemically processed and synthesized by humans, such as rayon and nylon. Rayon comes from cellulose, which is a form of processed wood pulp, Rayon can be found in numerous places, such as towels, blankets, and apparel. Nylon comes from petrochemicals, which are refined from petroleum. Nylon is a chief material in parachutes, as well as in ropes and also apparel.


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Archway Through Time

Through the archway,
A land lost in antiquity.
In these harsh lands,
It reigns supreme,
Soaring walls of stone,
Built by a great emperor,
To fend off an ancient enemy.

Even in the vast expanse of space,
It is visible,
In its stoic and ancient glory.
It penetrates the landscape,
Over soaring mountains and into the sea.
A structure of primordial power.
In a land lost in antiquity,
Framed within the archway,
The Archway through Time

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Down the Snow Covered Track – a Found Poem

“In April 1992, a young man from a well-to-do East Coast family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. Four months later his decomposed body was found by a party of moose hunters.”(Krakauer,1) Into the Wild by John Krakauer tells the story of Chris Mccandless, a young man doing well in life who unexpectedly donated all his money to charity and hitchhiked across the United States. Within this novel, John Krakauer recounts Chris’s misadventures which eventually led him to Alaska. All the while analyzing what led such an externally placid and successful man to march into the Alaskan wilderness. Krakauer extensively interviewed many of Chris’s acquaintances during his trips and managed to glean a relatively clear view of Chris’s personality. A defining aspect of Chris’s personality was his determined and stubborn self. Gallien, the man who last saw Chris as a hitchhiker disappear into the Alaskan woods, tried to scare Chris out of leaving with stories of bears and deaths within the woods. “But he wouldn’t give an inch. He had an answer for everything I threw at him.”(7) This was the aspect that I attempted to focus on within this found poem.

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The Journal of the Syrian War

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