I never dreamed about success. I worked for it. -Estee Lauder

Category: Grade 4 (page 1 of 2)

Project Space Race Reflection

     Some important ideas investors took away from our pitch was what our space company’s mission was, and how we were going to achieve it. In our pitch, we showed the investors our website and explained to them in detail about who we were, what our mission statement was, and details of our mission like the timeline and our individual roles in the project. This way, investors would know what they were investing in. I don’t think the investors were very surprised or confused about anything in our pitch because they didn’t react that way. Sometimes they had a few questions and we would always answer that, but some investors said we would answer their questions before they even asked them. I think sometimes when an investor has a question that they will ask us to help decided whether or not they want to invest in a company. So maybe during our pitch, when an investor asks us an important question and we give them our answer, that might have helped them decide to invest in our space company. All the investors that we pitched our idea to was pretty open and interested about our idea, so I don’t think they weren’t not interested in us. But to make our space company stand out, we would have to make sure we capture their attention with a hook, and explain our company’s mission to them in a way that wasn’t boring. Although I think our pitch went really well, I think we could have improved on the transition between one person speaking to the next so that our pitch flowed more and investors could follow along more easily. 


Driving Question Response:

Some interesting things I learned in the unit Project Space Race is the Space Race. The Space Race was related to the ongoing Cold War between the US and Soviet Union, and these countries were competing to see who would be able to achieve and dominate more of the space industry. This helped me learn and understand a lot more interesting things that we talked about in this unit. For example, we read a book called “Maggot Moon” for a book discussion in this unit. It was about a boy who lived in the Soviet Union, and what that was like for him. He then discovers something that the government is hiding from them and has to uncover the mystery. Both this book and background information that we learned prior to reading it has helped me further my understanding of the Space Race, and what it was like for both countries. Another thing learning about the Space Race helped me understand is how the outcome of this competition shaped the way the space industry is today. In the modern world, the largest space companies are all in the US, and this is partly because the US ultimately won the Space Race. This helps me and my group because by learning about how the Space Race affected the space industry today and about “Old and New Space”, we can help build our own space company with ventures that investors will be interested in.

Before Project Space Race, I didn’t know a lot of things about the Cold War, or the Space Race. But after this unit I now know that the Cold War was the tension between the US, Soviet Union, and their allies after World War II. The Space Race was the competition these countries had to see who would achieve more and dominate the space industry. At first, the Soviet Union was in the lead, sending spacecrafts into orbit and animals into space. This was because they used technology for missiles to build their spacecraft, and it spread fear among people in America. However, the US ultimately won the Space Race because they were able to send the first man onto the moon. Another way that my thinking has changed was deciding the mission for our Space Company. Throughout this project, we had to complete tasks where we would have to focus and write about something, for example a rover that is sent to Mars. For these tasks, I would always just write about my “default planet”, which was Mars. I thought that Mars would be as interesting as it gets, because scientists are exploring signs of life and its’ habitability. I never thought to further explore any other planets, let alone any other bodies or masses in space. So when my group and I was deciding what planet we should focus our mission on for our private Space Company, my immediate suggestion was to go to Mars. However, we all dug deeper and found out that we didn’t just have to go to a planet, we could also go to moons. In the end, my group and I found Dione, which is one of Saturn’s moons, and we think it’s far more interesting than Mars because there may be water ice beneath Saturn’s surface.

Looking back on this project, I realize that the most important thing was learning how to be independent in and with your group and to be creative when you are starting your own company. The whole project was leading to you and your group creating your own private space company, to come up with a mission that you had to pitch to investors and get them to invest in you company. In order to do that, you have to know how to function by yourselves without having a teacher help you with everything, because YOU are the one starting a company and building a website. You need to organize and plan out your schedule to make sure you get everything done on time, and you have to know your company and mission well enough to present it to investors. You also have to be creative, because in order to get investors to invest in you and give you money, you have to stand out to them and be creative. Our company didn’t choose Mars because we know a lot of private space companies today are already interesting in Mars. So our group found a more interesting moon, and this way we could capture the attention and interest our investors more. Overall, I learned a lot during this project, and I had a lot of fun working with my teammates to create our own space company and to build our own website.

Project Trade Up Driving Question

Something big that I learned in Project Trade Up is that there are many different factors that contribute to building a civilization. For example, the location is something that has a huge impact on most aspects of a civilization. Wherever your civilization is, will be where most of your resources are coming from. Your food, clothing, shelter, tools and other resources you need to become a successful civilization all depends if you have it where your civilization is located. You can trade with other countries and civilizations to get resources that you don’t have, but you still need something that the opposite civilization. The resources also impact the different industries that you have in your society.

The three main types of industries are the primary, secondary, and tertiary, but there’s also the quaternary industry. The primary industry is extracting raw materials from the environment, secondary industries is processing and manufacturing  raw materials into another product, and tertiary industries mean the services people provide with their skills or abilities. But depending on what resources you have, you need to have some industries, but not others. For example, if you have a lot of trees where your civilization is, you would have the primary industry of logging. If you have cinnamon trees, you can extract it and process it to cinnamon powder, which would be a secondary industry. Finally, if you have the resources to make medicine, you could have doctors, which is a tertiary industry. So this is why many factors, like the location of your civilization, has a huge impact on many parts of your society.

Before this project, I knew about supply and demand, but I didn’t know that there were different types of economies. But now, I know that there is a command economy, a market economy, and a mixed economy. A command economy is when the government has complete control over what and how much of a good businesses and companies get to produce. For example, the government can say that a farmer has to grow and harvest 10,000 apples. A mixed economy is when businesses gets complete control over what and how much of a product they make. A mixed economy gives businesses more freedom and there is usually more competition between companies. Businesses decide what products to make based on what consumers think. If the consumers don’t like the product and there isn’t as much demand for it, then companies and lower the supply of the good that they’re producing. But if there’s a really high demand for the product, then companies will increase the supply and make more of the good so that they can sell more and make more money.

Workers and companies also tend to have more incentive to do better and to keep innovating in a market economy. Because there’s able to be competition, people want to be better than others and they want to make more money, so they will work harder and want to innovate more. In the real world, there is no country that is a complete command economy, and most countries in the world are a mixed economy. A mixed economy is a combination of both command and market economy. Businesses get complete control over the decisions about what to make and the quantity of it, however, the government ensures that there are still laws and regulations in place so that order can be maintained.

Looking back on Project Trade Up, I learned all the different parts you need  to build a civilization, and the factors that make it successful. For example, I learned factors that affect why or why not you should choose a specific location for your civilization. Whether or not you had a large body of water near, the climate, how easy transportation was, and the variety of resources you had were all things that could influence your decision of the location. I also learned about the different types of resources you can have in a civilization. Natural resources, human resources, and capital resources. Natural resources are just raw resources that are from the environment around you, like water, trees, or land itself. Human resources is human labor, when people use their skills or abilities to produce something. Capital resources are the tools and equipment used to manufacture a product.

I also learned about the different types of economy (command, market, mixed) and industries (primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary). These are all things that affect how successful your civilization is. I also learned about trading with other countries and civilization. We studied the Opium War, between China and Britain. This helped us understand different vocabulary terms like tariff, embargo, sanction, or a trade deficit etc. better, because we had a real world example. However, a question I still have is, what problems or challenges would our civilizations face, based on the way we built them? Overall, this project was really fun and I learned a lot, while also collaborating with my teammates.

How do Consumer Choices Impact the World?

When society consumes goods and products, the choices they make can positively and/or negatively impact the environment, economy, and society. For example, let’s say you buy a chocolate bar from your local store. You might not think about it, but the decision you made to buy the chocolate somehow affects all three lenses of sustainability. When you throw the wrapper into the trash, that bag of trash will eventually be thrown out, collected by a garbage truck, and dumped into a landfill.

Often, most of the trash in landfills are disposed into the ocean, which is the main cause of plastic pollution in the sea. According to National Geographic, there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean, and your chocolate wrapper adds on to that. Not only does the product become or create waste, the process of making that bar of chocolate also negatively impacts the environment. When a truck, aircraft, or ship is transporting all the different ingredients and materials used, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are created, contributing to global warming and climate change.

Consumption of goods typically don’t have a good impact on the environment, but you can reduce your waste if you buy reusable products. For instance, if you buy a plastic water bottle that you can only use once, it’s another piece of trash that ends up in the ocean. However, if you buy a water bottle that’s reusable, maybe made of metal, you can use it for years and years before you need to get another one. This way, you are reducing the trash you produce as a consumer, which can benefit the environment.

The economy is always affected when you buy something. Buying something means you are paying money in exchange for something else, and by putting money into the system, you are affecting the economy. The store you buy from earns money, as well as their supplier, and all the workers that somehow helped create that candy bar, ranging from a child that harvested a cocoa pod, to the truck driver that was transporting cocoa beans to a factory. When workers have jobs and get paid, this might also mean that they consumers as well and will spend money on buying things.

Most of the time, buying a chocolate bar is good for the economy. However, in some cases, it might have a negative impact on the economy, and this is because of income inequality. Income inequality just means that some people have a higher income from their jobs than others, therefore creating groups in society of the rich and the poor. So, when people’s income rises, the economy benefits most when that increase goes to low-income workers. When poorer families have more money, they will likely consume more as they’ve reached the living wage. However, the negative impact will be when the increase goes to already wealthier workers. Since they already earn the living wage, they will most likely save or invest the extra money and will not spend it on purchasing goods.

The impacts on society when buying a chocolate bar are connected with the impacts on the environment and economy as well. When you buy a product, jobs will be created, and people will fill in those jobs and earn money. As mentioned before, this will then have a positive impact on the economy as more people are going to continue and consume, repeating the cycle. Then, there’s also the negative impact on society, where there’s the wealthy and poor in society, and the income of the rich increases.

When landfills consist of so much trash, many jobs to work at the landfill are created, but most of the time, workers at landfills get paid very little for working in harsh conditions. This has a negative effect on both the economy and society. However, if you buy a product like a reusable water bottle, this might both positively impact the environment and society. Buying a reusable item will mean you are producing less waste, but it can also inspire the people around you to be more environmentally aware. This might then spread to more and more people in your community, and others will also start using reusable items.

However, if you are eating a candy bar, it might lead some individuals to think that the wrapper is just one piece of plastic. It can also cause some people to think that it doesn’t matter if you constantly eat sugary and unhealthy foods. Currently, 160 million American adults are overweight, and this is mostly from eating much more than they need to. This causes society in general to be quite unhealthy. Furthermore, every person that helped with the process of making the chocolate bar is part of society, and more than often, chocolate is sourced unethically. Children are often forced to work under horrendous conditions to harvest cocoa pods, and this another negative impact on society.

Overall, I’ve learned a lot about the three lenses of sustainability throughout the unit, and how we as consumers can unknowingly and unintentionally impact the environment, economy, and society.  In the future, I will definitely not consume as much as I used to, and to choose wisely about my purchases.

Project Entrepreneur: Prototype 2

This past week, my team and I have made two different prototypes of our book cover pencil case. For Prototype 1, both Samantha and I made a version of our product. This took longer than expected because the sewing machines kept breaking, and we also had to share the limited amount with another group, and this slowed down the process a lot. We then went and did some market research for some color combinations that some people may want to see for our product, and what additional feedback they had. Based on this research, we then started to make our first Prototype 2.

Something we learned when making our product this time was that if we used a glue stick to attach the fabric to the front of the book cover, it would work much better than liquid white glue. This was because the glue stick wouldn’t leave a stain on the fabric and darken its colors, it would keep the fabric smooth, prevent the edges from fraying, and was still very strong and durable. Something else I learnt was more along the lines of working as a group. Samantha and I had trouble figuring out the workload when making Prototype 1 because even though we had decided she would sew and cut the fabric, and I would gut and glue the book covers, I finished much faster than Samantha did. This was because measuring, drawing, and cutting out the fabric took too much time for one person to do. When making Prototype 2, Samantha and I would measure and cut the fabric together, then she would sew and I would decorate the book cover. This worked much better and we were way more efficient. The last thing I learned from making our prototype was that hot gluing the zipper to the book cover did not make it look very nice. The hot glue was making the zipper hard and bumpy, and we also thought that it’s not very durable or strong. We don’t know what adhesive is best for our situation to substitute hot glue yet, but we know we won’t use hot glue anymore.

Some wonders I have for Prototype 2 is that, will people like our second prototype more than the first one, now that we’ve improved it? What other feedback do people have for us? What other patterns and colors could we explore for future designs, now that we’ve found out more people really like the patterns? Hopefully we can answer these questions when we do our second round of market research. I didn’t mention Sally much previously (sorry), but that is because she has been working really hard on designing the logos and keychains, then printing them out. After we’ve found out that we cannot laser-cut on a precious plastics cake, and also because it’s really expensive, we’ve decided to use cardboard, which is also sustainable, for our keychain. Sally has made two different designs with the Earth and some recycling arrows for our keychains, and we have our first prototype of these done. Something we’re thinking we could improve is adding our business name onto the keychain, so that will people remember our name and hopefully this will help promote our business more.




River Field Study: Data Collection 6

On Monday, April 8, we visited the Wenyu River for our 6th data collection of the year. Most of the trees were already starting to look very green, grass was sprouting, and there were many purple flowers as well. The sky was bright and it was sunny, but also cloudy at the same time. Something my group and I noticed was that the water levels were lower than before, and we had to reach farther down to record the temperature.

Picture of Samantha taking the temperature at Site 2 during the April Visit

During this field study, the LabQuest wasn’t working so unfortunately we weren’t able to record the mg/L of dissolved oxygen, but we were able to collect the temperature for all three locations. For Site 1, the temperature was 15ºC, Site 2 was 13ºC, and Site 3 was 9ºC, which you can see in the data table below. Last time, my group thought that as the temperature increases, so does the amount of dissolved oxygen. But now, we aren’t so sure, because we had asked another group who was doing dissolved oxygen as well to give us their information so that we could fill in some of the blank spaces in our data table. We found out that in January, the amount of dissolved oxygen in mg/L for Site 1 was 15.94, and for Site 2 was 16.34, with an average of 16.14 mg/L. The temperature of both sites was 5ºC.

Updated data table

The pattern we noticed last time does not make sense anymore, since the average amount of dissolved oxygen in November was 13.5733333, with an average temperature of 7ºC. The amount of dissolved oxygen in January was greater than the amount in November, while the temperature in January was lower than the temperature in November. So right now we are not sure what pattern and connections there are between our data points. Next time when we collect the amount of dissolved oxygen in the river, I wonder if it will show that the data from January was wrong and the pattern we first noticed is correct, or if there’s another pattern that hopefully we’ll be able to figure out next time.

Site Visit vs Temperature: Graph that shows the average temperature of the river during each visit

Site Visit vs Dissolved Oxygen: Graph that shows the average amount of dissolved oxygen in the river during each visit


Eco-Friendly Places in ISB 学校的那个地方环保?♻️

This is a photo of a wooden box in the cafeteria where we get our eating utensils. I chose to take a photo of the box and its contents because I thought it was an improvement the school has made in terms of being environmentally friendly. The past few years and even during the beginning of this school year, the cafeteria used to have plastic straws, cups, forks, knifes, and spoons that would only be used one time and was thrown away. Now, the cafeteria has changed all our utensils including cups to be stainless steel so it’s reusable. Takeaway cups are now made paper because it’s biodegradable. I think it’s great that the school has become aware of the marks we’re leaving on the environment, and making small improvements in our daily life to help resolve the environmental crisis.

Project Recharge

Looking back on Project ReCharge, I think that freedom and power are related because whoever is in power, determines how much freedom you have. For example, when we were learning about forms of government at the beginning of this unit, we learned about the different types of government, and who has power in each type. For example, in a dictatorship, the dictator of the nation has all the power and can make any decision he/she wants to at any time, and the citizens of that country don’t have much power or voice. But for a democracy, although there is the executive branch and a president, the people of that country are able to vote for decisions that need to be made. So in this case, the citizens of a nation have some power as well, as they get a say in decisions that need to be made.

Connecting back to our final topic in this unit regrading child labor, the owner of child laborers that are forced to work in the Ivory Coast and Ghana have all the power over these children. The child laborers have very little to no power at all especially because they’re children, and therefore they have no freedom. So people with the power are able to determine who has freedom. I also learned that power can come in different forms. For example, when you have many people protesting for something, you have power, because power can come in numbers. You can also have power in the form of force, and an example of this are dictators. Dictators usually have their power from military force. Another example that power can come in is wealth, where some people have more power over things or others because they are rich and wealthy.

During this unit, I also learned that when you are learning about a new topic or problem, you should always define the problem first. Making notices and asking questions first, and then trying to find answers to these questions would help you know more about this topic. After this, you would start doing research, making connections, and looking through different viewpoints that people have on the topic, so that you can understand this topic in a more in-depth level.

Something I also learned in this unit is that if you look at an issue through multiple perspectives, you are able to better understand the topic. This is because when you try to understand different people’s opinions on something, you are able to learn more and be able to further develop your own ideas as well. In class, we watched a video that says when you have a hunch, or the “seed” of an idea, you are able to develop that hunch when you share ideas with other people, or as the video put it, combining two hunches together. This shows that when you look through different lenses on a topic, you might develop your original idea and improve it, or you might even completely change your opinion on the issue, because someone has given you a completely new idea.

When you share ideas with each other, you can also strengthen your own idea, because other people might have questions about your perspective that you may not have the answer to. By answering these questions, you have a stronger argument for your opinion. An example of this during the unit is that we had to interview someone in the ISB community about their opinion on child labor in the ISB supply chain, and what they think we should do about it. We would then write an avatar page about their perspective on this issue, and a proposal that states what our character thinks ISB should do about it. My peers would then pose questions they had for our proposal. By answering these questions, we would have a better argument for our proposal, and if someone asked us these questions in the board meeting, we would be prepared with an answer for it.

Before this project, I didn’t think that seeing a problem from multiple perspectives would be important, because I thought you would have one argument and one opinion on something, and you would be arguing against another opinion. Now, I think that even if you don’t agree with another opinion, you should still try to understand why people think that, so that you can fully understand the issue and then solve it with information from all sides of the story. Overall, this unit was really fun, and I was able to learn a lot. Working with my group, looking at an issue through different viewpoints, and being my avatar in a board meeting was all a great experience.

Kevin, Angel, Julian and I creating a door with gargoyles in drama class.

Our board meeting regarding the topic of child labor in ISB’s supply chain.



Gordon Korman book review: Schooled

Hi guys! This is one of my book review for my Author Study, he book is called Schooled. The Author Study is when we choose an author and read book that he has written. Then we need to write different things about the book, and one of them is the book review. Hope you like this book and read it!



Capricorn Anderson knows nothing about middle school. He’s a hippie who lives on a farm with his grandmother and is home schooled (by his grandmother). But when Cap’s grandmother has an accident, Cap has to go to a public school, move in with a temporary guardian who has a fussy daughter, and basically everything is new to him. Popular kids bully, prank him, and even purposely elect him grade president even though he didn’t run for it. What will Cap do?

I think this book is a very interesting and inspiring book. It talks about how Cap solves his problems and tries to help people. When Zach, the most popular kid in 8 grade keeps pranking and bullying him, Cap has never once got angry, mad, or sad, he just solved the problem. When the popular kids kept bullying Cap and keep failing, it made me think that Cap was invincible. Cap also never gave up trying to fit in. I thought it was inspiring to me because he was always very calm, and I think that’s a good thing because when you’re calm, you can do anything without any problem. I think that when Cap keeps trying it’s a good thing too because you have to keep trying and have a growth mindset because if you stop trying, you won’t get better at it and you won’t get to try anything new.

I think the reading level for this book would be grade 3-5 or above. But if it’s the right reading level for you, you should definitely read it, it is a amazing book, and you will enjoy it a lot. Also, you can read other Gordon Korman books, the author if this book!

Gordon Korman book review: Masterminds

Hi guys! This is one of my book review for my Author Study, the book is called Masterminds. The Author Study is when we choose an author and read book that he has written. Then we need to write different things about the book, and one of them is the book review. Hope you like this book and read it!



Serenity is probably the best town in the world. Everyone is honest and never lies. Everyone believes Serenity is the best, and don’t want to ever leave. Why would anyone in such a perfect place? That is, until Eli Frieden’s friend Randy, leaves town and leaves a note for Eli. Eli gets help from his friends: Tori, Malik, Hector, and Amber. “Something screwy is going on in this town were his exact words.” Together the kids sneaks into the factories, plans escapes while they find out what exactly is going on Serenity. “Criminal Masterminds.” “Getting weeded.” Can the kids get out before it’s too late?

Masterminds is an amazing book. It’s really interesting, and the way the author, Gordon Korman makes it so realistic that it makes you think that it could really happen, is happening. The story is so interesting that when you start it, you can’t put it down, like you’re trapped in it. It just sort of pulls you into the book, and you’re right there with the characters going through the events, like a portal to a world called Masterminds. At the beginning of the book, you don’t really know anything. How to solve the problems, what’s happening, nothing. I really like it at the end, when all the pieces of the puzzle comes together, everything makes sense, and in your mind it goes like, “Oooooohhhh yeahhhhhhh!”

The reading age of this book I think is about maybe 3-5 grade. But if you can read it, do read it! You’ll miss out on it if you don’t! This book is a series, so there is another book after this one. Don’t forget to read other Gordon Korman books too!



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