Robot Petting Zoo

3 Thoughts:

My biggest obstacle was actually making our parrot resemble a bird. At first, when asking other classmates and friends, most of them said it looked more like a fish or even a pineapple. We fixed this by adding a more parrot-like head as well as ribbon wings.

One piece of advice I would give a future student doing this project is pay more attention to the number of classes instead of weeks. You only have Design Technology twice in a 8-day rotation, and that doesn’t give you a huge number of classes to work. With all the breaks included, the presentation day will come a lot sooner than you think.

Overall, I think this product was successful because the little kids enjoyed it. Although some of them figured how the beak moved, they were still laughing and looked like they were having fun putting the little hats on its head and touching the ribbon wings and button body.

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Burn. Kill. Destroy.

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I was Born with Water on the Brain

In my multimedia, I created a found poem. I tried to make it resemble the book cover of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, which is also the book the poem is about. You can compare my poem to the actual cover below. It describes the protagonist, Arnold Spirit—or Junior, as everyone calls him— when he was younger.

Junior was not exactly the healthiest baby in the world when he was born. In addition to being born with a brain that did not function well, he also had too many teeth. His vision was also damaged due to the brain damage, so he had to wear thick spectacles at a very young age. Along with that, he also had serious seizures as a child. “But the thing was, I was having those seizures because I already had brain damage, so I was reopening wounds each time I seized. Yep, whenever I had a seizure, I was damaging my damage.” (Alexie, 3) Junior was skinny, but with big hands and feet that was not proportionate to the rest of his body. His head was also larger than average, and many kids liked to make fun of it. “Some kids called me Orbit. And other kids just called me Globe. The bullies would pick me up, spin me in circles, put their finger down on my skull, and say, ‘I want to go there.’” (3) In addition to that, he would also get bullied constantly because of his lisp. “And if you’re fourteen years old, like me, and you’re still stuttering and lisping, then you become the biggest retard in the world.” (4).

The one thing Junior enjoyed was drawing. More specifically, cartoons. He believed that drawing was a way of communicating with the world. Regardless of what language someone speaks, they will all understand. Art, including music and performance, is universal. In addition to that, Junior wishes to be rich and famous to rise up from the life of poverty he currently lives in. “Almost all of the rich and famous brown people are artists. They’re singers and actors and writers and dancers and directors and poets.” (5)

Quotes:

  • “I was born with water on the brain.” (1)
  • “My thinking and breathing and living engine slowed down and flooded.” (1)
  • “My brain was drowning in grease.” (2)
  • “I ended up having forty-two teeth.” (2)
  • “Ten more than usual. Ten more than normal. Ten teeth past human.” (2)
  • “I started wearing glasses when I was three. Like a three-year-old Indian grandpa.” (3)
  • “I draw all the time.” (5)
  • “I draw because words are too unpredictable. I draw because words are too limited.” (5)
  • “I draw because I want to talk to the world. And I want the world to pay attention to me.” (6)

Book cover for comparison:

Website Used:

Piktochart

Photo Citations:

  • “17.5’ Inch Indian Warrior Indio Wolf North Native American Statue Figure Figurine.” Amazon, Amazon, www.amazon.com/Indian-Warrior-Native-American-Figurine/dp/B00EJ3BH8S.
  • “9.5 Inch Cold Cast Bronze Native American Indian Riding Horse Statue – Southwestern – Decorative Objects And Figurines – by StealStreet.” Houzz, www.houzz.com/photos/12528087/95-Inch-Cold-Cast-Bronze-Native-American-Indian-Riding-Horse-Statue-contemporary-decorative-objects-and-figurines.
  • Gorman, Kayla. “And Then There Were None.” On Indian Figurines, 1 Jan. 1970, andthentherewerenoneagathachristie.blogspot.com/2010/04/on-indian-figurines.html.
  • “Indian Chief | Hobby Lobby | 216226.” Hobby Lobby, www.hobbylobby.com/Crafts-Hobbies/Hobbies-Collecting/Diorama-Figurines/Indian-Chief/p/39637.
  • “Indian Figures.” EBay, www.ebay.com/bhp/indian-figures.
  • http://st.hzcdn.com/simgs/c9e1c8b7037fb0c0_4-4458/contemporary-decorative-objects-and-figurines.jpg (EasyBib couldn’t create a citation)
  • https://www.amazon.com/Absolutely-True-Diary-Part-Time-Indian/dp/0316013692 (EasyBib couldn’t create a citation)
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The Rarest Indian in the World

Different cultures, races, traditions and more exist across the world. They may not understand each other completely and be conflicted, but we can all overcome those differences eventually with an open mind.  There are many themes throughout The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Perhaps the most constant and obvious one is the impact racial discrimination has on Indians, but the ideas of loss within the community and hope for a brighter future are equally as important. The protagonist of the story is Arnold Spirit, who everyone calls “Junior”. He was born with “water on the brain”, which basically means there was too much fluid in his skull when he was born. He also had a stutter for most of his pre-teen and even the first few teenage years, which caused most people to look down upon and mock him. Despite not being born the healthiest baby in the world, Junior had hope that he could rise up and live a better life than his parents and sister. He transfers to a new, very different school. That is where his story begins.

The first theme in the The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is racial discrimination and the impact it has on Indians. “And what’s more, our white dentist believed that Indians only felt half as much pain as white people did, so he only gave us half the Novocain.” (Alexie, 2) Thankfully, most people these days are not that clueless, especially doctors. But this shows how ignorant people can be—in this case—towards Indians. “After all, I was a reservation Indian, and no matter how geeky and weak I appeared to be, I was still a potential killer. So mostly they called me names. Lots of names.” (63) Junior wrote this about the jocks and other white male students at his new “white” high school. This shows how discrimination and racism isn’t always physical; it can be as common or simple as name calling but hurt just as much as a punch. “The guy who wrote the article says people care more about beautiful white girls than they do about everybody else on the planet. White girls are privileged. They’re damsels in distress.” (116) This piece of dialogue was spoken by Gordy, Junior’s friend from Reardan. He was explaining a news story where a white girl disappeared in Mexico, and everyone was devastated. But the article also said two hundred Mexican girls have disappeared in the exact same part of the country over the last three years, and nobody cared about that. This shows the inequality between white and Mexican girls at the time. Discrimination is present in countless forms of media, from To Kill a Mockingbird to The Hate U Give and even The Ugly Duckling. Though it is a children’s tale, the theme behind it is not too different to racism and discrimination in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, except towards poultry animals instead of Indians. In the beginning, the Ugly Duckling is, true to his name, very ugly. Everyone else sees him as someone strange or pathetic, simply because his is different. Because they were exposed to so little diversity, they made fun of this animal purely because he wasn’t what they were used to seeing. That is present in the real world today as well. People fail to open their minds and understand those with different looks, culture, or even simply who they are as an individual.

Another theme is loss, especially the deaths of family members or close friends and how they can bring you back to your cultural roots. “And I realized that, sure, Indians were drunk and sad and displaces and crazy and mean, but, dang, we knew how to laugh. When it comes to death, we know that laughter and tears are pretty much the same thing.” (166) Junior has been to forty-two funerals in his life, which is many times more than the average Reardan student. This particular funeral was for his grandmother, who he describes as “the rarest kind of Indian in the world” because she never drank a drop of alcohol. “Each funeral was a funeral for all of us. We lived and died together.” (166) Funerals are painful, like they are for everyone regardless of culture. However, because they are such a prominent part of Indian ethnicity, it also brings people together. For Junior, it allows him to connect back to his Indian roots, despite attending a “white” school. “And you know what the worst part is? The unhappy part? About 90 percent of the deaths have been because of alcohol.” (200) Throughout the story, Junior’s grandmother was not the only one who passed away. His sister, Mary, as well as good friend Eugene also, sadly, died. All three of these central deaths were correlated to alcohol in some way. His grandmother was killed by a drunk driver. His sister passed out drunk, and didn’t notice as her house caught on fire and burned down. Eugene was shot by one of his best friends, Bobby, while they were both completely drunk. Thankfully, I have never experienced any heavy deaths or losses in my life, so it is difficult to make a personal connection. One of my favorite books, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, also has themes about death and loss. It is not unhealthy to mourn for those who have passed on, Augustus Waters in Hazel Grace’s case, but you must not let that control your life. Even with a disease as incurable as cancer, you should still keep a fairly positive outlook and be thankful for those who care about you, like Hazel’s parents and friends.

The final theme is how having enough hope and perseverance can let you accomplish almost anything. “Seriously, I know my mother and father had their dreams when they were kids. They dreamed about being something other than poor, but they never got the chance to be anything because nobody paid attention to their dreams.” (11) Hope is important, but having people who support you is even more needed. Everyone has dreams, but because they either don’t have the resources or, like his parents, have nobody who supports them, their dreams wash away over the years. “You can’t give up. You won’t give up. You threw that book in my face because somewhere inside you refuse to give up.” (43) Perseverance is also imperative along with hope. If you have a dream, you cannot give it up, no matter what. This line was spoken by Mr. P, one of Junior’s teachers from Wellpinit, his “Indian” school. He was also a crucial reason why Junior moved to Reardan. “‘You always thought you were better than me,’ he yelled. ‘No, no, I don’t think I’m better than anybody. I think I’m worse than everybody else.’ ‘Why are you leaving?’ ‘I have to go. I’m going to die if I don’t leave.’” (52) No matter how much hope you have, there will always be someone dragging you down. In Junior’s case, it is his best friend, Rowdy. This must have been very difficult for him, because Rowdy is one of, or maybe even the most important person in his life, and he is angered by his dreams. But Junior knows that as time passes, Rowdy will understand. He did not let one person go against his dreams and cause him to give up. A famous person in history also had a life that was fueled by hope and perseverance— Alexander Hamilton. Growing up poor on the Caribbean island of Nevis, Hamilton refused to live a despondent life even after his father left and mother died. When a terrible hurricane struck his hometown, he took his chance and wrote an incredibly detailed account of the disaster to his father. It was then published in the Royal Danish-American Gazette, and impressed many rich community leaders. They then decided to send Hamilton to the North American colonies to pursue his education. Thus, Alexander Hamilton rose up from his lowly circumstances and became one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is one of the best books I have ever read. It evoked many emotions from me that I thought ink on paper could never do. The themes included are also valuable. They include the impact discrimination and racism have on Indians, how death can bring you back to your cultural roots, and that you can do almost anything if you have enough hope and perseverance. As stated before, Junior says his grandmother is “the rarest kind of Indian in the world”. However, I feel like Junior is as well. No Indian has ever left Wellpinit school, especially to transfer to a “white” school like Reardan. Junior was poor, but he never gave up. I think that makes him the rarest Indian in the world too, along with his grandmother. To readers, always remember to be open-minded to different people, mourn over loss but do not let it control your life, and also have hope and follow your dreams, no matter how unlikely they seem.

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The More I Love, the More He Hateth Me

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Sweet Home Alabama

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The Protein Story

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Leonardo da Vinci

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It’s a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird

If I asked anyone for an incident of human injustice, whether the slaughter of an innocent person or prejudice against a race, they could give me at least one. But, they most likely would not know where a mockingbird could possibly come in. That is what I will explain. There are many different examples of conflict in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, such as discrimination against the colored people, Scout—the protagonist of the story—against her schoolteacher, Miss Caroline, and the internal conflict Scout has with herself.

A consistent theme throughout To Kill a Mockingbird is the discrimination against the colored race. “‘It ain’t right, Atticus,’ said Jem. ‘No son, it’s not right.’” (Lee, 248) This exchange of dialogue is spoken by Jem and his father, Atticus. Atticus, a lawyer, had just finished arguing a case   ng a colored man, and lost. This shows that some people believed in fairness and equality over others, but the majority of people at the time still prejudiced the black race. “Tom Robinson’s a colored man, Jem. No jury in this part of the world’s going to say, ‘We think you’re guilty, but not very,’ on a charge like that. It was either a straight acquittal or nothing.” (250) This is a continuation of their discussion on the trial. Atticus alludes that it was hopeless for him to try to defend Tom Robinson. Even if he was not guilty, he still would lose simply because he was black. “In our courts, when it’s a white man’s world against a black man’s, the white man always wins. They’re ugly, but those are the facts of life.” Even though some aspects of racism still exist today, it makes me very glad that we have evolved so much. In places I am familiar with, such as the United States of America, courts will never guarantee wins for the white race when facing the black race. Instead, the innocent side will win regardless of their skin color. Because To Kill a Mockingbird is historical fiction, all the events are more or less accurate. Set in the 1930s, discrimination against colored people were at a high point. People even used the phrase “last hired and first fired” towards blacks. It was during the Great Depression too, so jobs were even harder to find in the first place. At the time, a black man could be charged for highly inappropriate sexual advances for just making eye contact with a white woman. Many African Americans were also lynched. Lynching meant to kill someone by hanging because of an alleged offense, with or without a trial. It was a horrible and unjust procedure, but at the time it seemed reasonable because of discrimination and prejudice.

Another example of conflict is the disagreement and arguments Scout has with her schoolteacher, Miss Caroline. Miss Caroline told me to tell my father not to teach me any more, it would interfere with my reading.” (19) On Scout’s first day of first grade, her teacher tells her not to learn outside of school. Maybe it made sense at that time, but today, I cannot name a single student who does not take classes outside of school. Learning with your teachers at school is crucial, but it can be helpful to strengthen some subjects and concepts or try to understand them better with a tutor. “It’s best to begin reading with a fresh mind. You tell him I’ll take over from here and try to undo the damage-” (19) I do not understand what message Miss Caroline is supposed to be giving in this piece of dialogue. Why is it better to begin reading with a “fresh mind”? What is a “fresh mind”? Perhaps, she means to only begin learning to read in the first grade. I personally disagree, and think that it can be better to have some experience beforehand. “We don’t write in the first grade, we print. You won’t learn to write until you’re in the third grade.” (21) Writing is definitely more difficult than printing, and also a harder skill to learn. My advice to Miss Caroline would be to allow first graders who already know how to write to learn a little more writing to prepare them for higher grades, while those who do not know can work more on their printing. In the book Matilda, intelligence is also looked down upon, especially by her parents. I personally think that is very strange. There are a few differences, though. In Matilda by Roald Dahl, Miss Honey is a brilliant teacher compared to Miss Caroline. It is Matilda’s parents who do not believe their daughter has the smarts. Matilda is a genius, with an academic level that is beyond her age like Scout, but in both books there are people trying to push that down and tells them that it will impact her academics and education negatively.

The final example of conflict is the internal conflict Scout has with herself. “I drew a bead on him, remembered what Atticus had said, then dropped my fists and walked away, ‘Scout’s a cow-ward!’ ringing in my ears. It was the first time I ever walked away from a fight.” (87) By here, I feel like Scout has already grown a bit from how she was at the very beginning. Her father had taught her more about empathy and trying to see things from different points of views, and she knows how to control herself better. “‘You don’t care what happens to him,’ I said. ‘You just send him on to get shot at when all he was doin’ was standin’ up for you.’” (120) Something Scout regularly has trouble understanding is why her father seemingly lets everyone push him around. Atticus scolds her for fighting even when she was only trying to defend him. She also believes he has the best shot out of everyone in Maycomb, and fails to grasp the reason why her father never uses that skill. “Who was the ‘her’ they were talking about? My heart sank: me.” (155) Scout may seem like a tough, smart, perhaps even tomboyish young girl, but underneath that strong appearance, she does doubt herself at times. She wants to defend her father yet simultaneously make him proud, and tries to gain a better understanding of the world around her as well. In the example, she does not actually know who the adults were talking about, but immediately assumes that it is her. I feel that I, like Scout, also have internal conflict with myself. Scout’s main conflict is getting angry at those who make fun of or badmouth her father, and she often has trouble controlling herself from arguing or fighting with those who do. Although others usually do not speak badly of the people I care about, they more often insult some things I like or that I am a fan of. This sometimes makes me annoyed or angry, and I try very hard to control myself and not yell at them. I use my words more than fists when arguing, and I probably wouldn’t even be able to throw a good punch, but words can be very powerful too.

The title of the book, To Kill a Mockingbird, is a metaphor. I find it quite interesting and very fitting. Atticus Finch—an ironic name, as a finch is a kind of songbird—says “…remember, it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” (103), on which Miss Maudie adds “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” (103). My interpretation of this is the mockingbird is Tom Robinson. He didn’t do anything wrong, but the court still punished him just because of his race. The metaphor is for innocence and human justice. It is also obviously where the title comes from. There are many examples of conflict To Kill a Mockingbird, with the main ones being discrimination against the African-American race in the 1930s, Scout against Miss Caroline, and the internal conflict Scout has against herself. On a final note, always remember it is a sin to kill a mockingbird.

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Am I a Renaissance Humanist?

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