Blogpost #4: Reflect & Make an Impact


Explain how it works/doesn’t work using scientific terminology

I was following my procedures with the guide of the youtube video by connecting the popsicle sticks together with cardboard and toothpicks. I was very confused when the method didn’t work. as soon as I started to test the prototype the connecting points detached. then, I thought of the idea to use nuts and bolts to connect the points. so I took off the pieces of cardboard and toothpicks, and put on the nuts and bolts. although the nuts and bolts were not the strongest ones they stayed on well enough for the prototype to work.

Explain the areas you were successful in the product/process

I think I was successful in learning from websites and videos and converting those ideas into a similar but different design. The changes I made helped my project become more durable than the designs I saw online. For example, when I noticed that the cardboard and toothpicks were not enough to hold the design together I chose to use nuts and bolts instead. Another example was when my design got stuck because of the hot glue. I decided to use pliers to take off chunks of the glue, just leaving little pieces of glue to keep the design together.

Explain the areas you need to improve in the product/process

In this project, I need to check if all the materials I need are available before I start making the project. Because when I was about to finish making the design I couldn’t find a suitable ball. The best one I could find was a tennis ball. It turned out that the ball was to heavy for my design and caused some of the popsicle sticks to crack. I did not have more time later on to find a more suitable ball, so now my design can work only with support on its’ sides from a platform or a person.

Explain the impact of this project on the environment and potential client/consumer.

My product is an elastic puncher made out of popsicle sticks, nuts and bolts, a tennis ball and plastic bottle caps. The popsicle sticks and plastic bottle caps were both originally reused and are able to be recycled. The nuts and bolts are reusable since they can be removed from the design any time and be used on something else. The tennis ball in my case will not be able to be reused since I have cut a slit in it, but if I was able to make an improved version I would not cut the slit because it was unnecessary to do. Therefore, my design does not harm the environment. My design is a toy and my client is my little sister, who is ten. From what I know, elementary school kids make similar versions of the toy I made. Therefore, I think my toy will be considerably safe for children and fun for them to play with.

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Blogpost #3: Create & Improve

Create prototypes:

I started from drilling three holes into each of the eight popsicle sticks.

Then, I put sticks through the holes in the middle and glued cardboard on the sides to keep them stable.

Later, I used the same method to connect the other holes on the popsicle sticks.


Test using criteria:

I started to test this prototype by closing and opening one of the ends.


It looked stable from the top, but it started to loosen and break from the side.

Optimize/refine design:

I figured that it would probably work better if I used nuts and bolts for the connecting points. So I tried my best to remove the already glued on cardboard pieces and replaced them with nuts and bolts.

my result,

Next, I used X-Acto knives to carve out thin slits in the bottlecaps, big enough to fit them onto one end of the popsicle sticks.


At first, I couldn’t find a usable ball because the only kind available in the lab was a Ping-Pong ball, which was too small to be used for my purpose. The next class I incidentally saw tennis balls in the science classroom. they seemed to me to be a better fit in this case, since they are bigger, bouncier and not very heavy. By cutting a slit on a tennis ball with a X-Acto knife I was able to connect the other end of the popsicle sticks with the ball. I secured the puncher by putting hot glue on the cracks where the popsicle sticks and the ball meet. Then another problem came. When the hot glue dried I tested the prototype again. The popsicle sticks got stuck and I wasn’t able to function the puncher. Then, I tried to find out what was stopping the puncher from functioning, it turned out that it was the glue making it stuck. I tried using a X-Acto knife, but it wasn’t strong enough to break through the thick layer of glue. I found a plier and started to use it, surprisingly big chunks of glue started to come off. At last, after I took off most of the glue, the prototype worked.

final product:


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Blogpost #2: Develop & Plan

I decided to make the elastic puncher instead of the dumbwaiter since I only have a limited amount of time, less than three classes. I have to make something that is more simple and has more pros than cons. Here is my plan:

Make a plan for time and check/bring materials

  • find all materials, day 1
  • start creating project, day 1-2
  • finish creating project, day 3
  • test and film product working, day 3
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Blogpost #1: Define and Inquire

What is the task (the 4 categories)?

  1. Design and make a toy that converts energy
  2. Design and create a device that transfers energy
  3. Take a renewable energy source & convert it to electrical energy
  4. Design and make a device that can be used to learn physics

Idea #1 (category 2):

I am thinking about making a dumbwaiter to attach onto bunk beds. I had this idea because I sleep in the bottom bunk of a bunk bed with my sister on the top bunk, and she always asks me to bring things to her. after deciding on the idea, the first thing that came to my head was a food elevator.

I found two kinds of dumbwaiters:

this design has four supporting columns that form a box around the actual platform.

this design is more simple by making two columns shorter and only covering the platform.

I like the second design better. since there is only a limited space in my bedroom, and the dumbwaiter I will be making will not be embedded in a wall.
by making a dumbwaiter there are also some things I have to consider, for example:
how do I make the dumbwaiter safe in a limited space?
how do I make a smaller version while still including the essential elements of a dumbwaiter?

here are some inspiring links I looked at:


  • Useful


  • Hard to make, take more time
  • Needs lots of materials

Idea #2 (category 1):

My other idea was inspired by a classmate and my teacher to make a toy gun. Unfortunately, the idea did not work because students are not able to make weapons. The idea of making a gun led me to another idea, which I saw on YouTube. The idea was to make an elastic puncher.

Here are two pictures of how the puncher works, from the video

The YouTube video link


  • easy to make, takes less time
  • simple materials
  • clearly shows energy transfer


  • easy to break, if badly made
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Capstone Video

During the Capstone Project I learned there are more than one side of China’s poverty. Everyone might mean well at the start, but people have different goals. After interviewing beggars Emily and I gave them money as supporting the community. The interviews have let me realize not all impoverished people are unsatisfied, and most of them are satisfied with their economic status. The interviews have also improved my communication skills with local Chinese citizens. If I could redo the Capstone Project I would try to create a story on poverty to make the video more interesting. Future eight graders should spend quality time planning and use high quality cameras to film original clips.

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cata 2

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Inner Beauty

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld is a well-known dystopian fiction book that includes ideas of both outer and inner beauty from the current world. Different from most other dystopian fiction, Uglies is all about how appearance can influence a society. Being pretty is the only thing everyone wants until the perception of beauty is changed. “Make me pretty” (406, Westerfeld) the three words are what can change a life forever. It is a choice for Tally Youngblood, the main character if she wants her outer or inner beauty more, because the government is prepared to destroy the other.


“For someone who wants to be a pretty, you’re always such a sight.” (291). From a typical ugly, to a smoky spy, and finally into a pretty, Tally had been exposed to the different sides of things. A pretty face along with a controlled mind is what Tally’s society wants and has enough of. The old buildings in the background represent our world, where the most important thing is not a pretty face but a working mind. The smoke, a community similar to our society, appreciates not only a pretty appearance but also inner beauty. There is more than one kind of beauty.

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Polymer Project Journal #4

Prototype Observations Strengths for this Prototype Limitations for this Prototype
Super slime Was clear and stretchy Easily shaped Not strong or dense enough
Prototype 2 White, blue after food coloring Strong and dense Not stretchy enough
snowphish White, green after food coloring Strong, dense, stretchy Hard when dried

Prototype # 3, called snowphish, was most effective for meeting our goal because it is stretchy, dense and strong.

  1. Start with the snowphish recipe.
  2. 40ml white glue
  3. 30ml PVA glue
  4. 20g corn starch
  5. 10ml borax
  6. sprinkle guar gum


I learned a lot during the process, but there are always ways to improve the product. Something challenging is finding out how to improve. It is still interesting to me how a few materials added together could make a useful polymer product. I now know how to come up with ideas for a useful product, different ways to improve on the same thing, comparing strengths and weaknesses and finally deciding on the best product.

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Polymer Project Journal #3

My goal is to make polymer pencil grabbers that are moldable and can be adjusted according to an individual’s hand.

Physical Properties we will include:

  • stringy
  • non-stick
  • hard
  • dense

First add any ingredient that can result in the physical properties we want to include. This way we will have an idea of how much of each ingredient we should add for our second prototype.

Second, we will record the effectiveness and determine what amount of each ingredient to add for prototype two.

Third, make prototype two and determine if the trials are enough to make the product we are looking for. If not there will be more trials repeating the steps above.

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Polymer Project Journal #1

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