Thomas’ Journal

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In this assignment, we used what we had learnt in our revolution seminar (in my case, the American Revolution) and wrote a journal from a character’s perspective. I wrote from the perspective of a colonist that was not fully against the British but still demanded freedom and justice. I found picking a perspective easy but going into a conflict more challenging compared to the last time we did it with the Russian Revolution.

Personally, only using three turning points was in a way, both challenging yet easy. There was a lot of little things I wanted to write in the journal with several turning points. Three turning points that would both include the beginning of the revolution and the end (to me) was too much of a stretch and I could only include the beginning to the mid-point of the revolution. I choose to leave out the fighting as I think it was too much and did not impact the revolution as much compared to the beginning of the revolution.

The American Revolution in Plain English

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We were split up to study different revolutions with different teachers. We spent 2 weeks in our seminars, both learning with the teacher and independently. This video is a 5-minute summary of the American Revolution in Plain English.

We worked fairly well together but we had struggled with communication.

Typhoid Mary

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  This book is called Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Fever by Jail Garrow.

  The theme in this book is “listening to the wiser is always the better option”. One piece of evidence that supports this theme is when Mary leaves the island, another is when 28 people get typhoid.

I think this unit was overall fun, but doing it online made it harder.

Do The Boxers Deserve a Bad Reputation?

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The Boxers do not deserve a bad reputation. Firstly, we must consider that this was, in a way, the Opium Wars were a prequel to the Boxer Rebellion. In this, the British (and foreigners) had completely ruined their reputation to the Chinese. The Chinese built on rules that would cherish and protect their culture from foreigners. However, it was the British who disobeyed these rules. Not only did they disobey the trade rules the Chinese rules, but they also disobeyed China’s drug rules by illegally trading opium with the Chinese. This would quite obviously leave a salty taste in the Chinese’ mouth, especially since the British won when this was their fault. Chinese people would most definitely not be happy. 

Secondly, those who had converted to Christianity refused to join the rituals, which angered the people. This was during a drought in Shandong, making people desperate. This drought lasted for two years and everything was slowly dying. As the people were loyal to Buddhism or Confucianism, they believed that those who refused to join the rituals were the reason for the drought; this was god’s way of revolting revenge. Some may say that this was the not-yet Boxers fault, but imagine being so desperate as you watch everything around you die out with no reasonable answer? Plus, the British and Japanese had left the wet fish in the Chinese mouths. 

Therefore the Boxers do not deserve a bad reputation. 

Lightbox Reflection

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In this Product Design unit, we were assigned a project to design a ‘lightbox’. For the design, we were supposed to create a landscape of a place we miss or a place we could not visit due to the coronavirus. We use Adobe Illustrator and had to learn a lot of new skills through several classes.

I made a landscape of ‘Ocean Park’ in Hong Kong. Not only is it a place I miss, but I also had a lot of fun memories (and not-so-fun memories, but that’s not the point) from early childhood to now. We (as in my family) were supposed to go to Hong Kong this summer to renew our passports and stuff my brain can’t understand but couldn’t. I don’t exactly regret my decision for the landscape, but I believe there are a lot more options I could have considered before finalizing to this one.

For me, I got a bit overexcited in the beginning and had planned what I wanted at home long before we actually started with the designing. If I had taken a pause and didn’t rush myself, I might have come up with more ideas instead of forcing myself to the idea I had already injected in my head. On the other hand, when the time finally came to plan, I already knew what I was going to do with a clear image in my head.

Some of the skills I learnt and understood with Adobe Illustrator changing sizes, colours (and what each colour meant to the laser-cutter), joining and separating shapes, using an image/icon from online, and even how to change things in icons to suit my design more. One of the things I wished I did was creating indents to separate lines. It would have helped me with painting later, especially since I already had a somewhat detailed plan in my head already.

For me, the painting took the longest (excluding the “questioning my life” time I used up during the previous section). After the first lesson of painting, I felt like I didn’t have enough time to paint so I just started painting without masking (another skill I learnt during this unit). I do regret my stubborn decision since it made my painting look too bleh, but I could be still painting right now if I did mask for everything. I also didn’t exactly understand what “painting in light coats” meant even though it’s pretty self-explanatory. The painting process was probably my least favourite part of the whole project (not that it was bad, it’s because I was bad). I felt like my painting kind of ruined it.

The assembly part was better than I thought it would go. When I saw the LED lights for the first time, I thought they were much too long to fit inside such a small area. Turns out a few pieces of wood and a bit on folding could do the trick. Admittedly, the lightbox wasn’t as bright as I thought it would be due to its placement, but there honestly wasn’t a better place to the lights. I’m also quite bad when it comes to hot glue, thank god none of the glued parts is visible on the main part of the lightbox (the front, obviously).

Overall, I’m okay with my lightbox. It’s not my favourite thing I have ever created and things like painting could have been improved, but I’m not wholeheartedly disappointed in what I have designed and it could be a lot worse. My advice for any student who’s doing this in the future is to plan out your time well and make it more or less detailed depending on what you know what you’re capable of.

‘Sometimes a Dream Needs a Push’ CERER

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Sometimes a Dream Needs a Push CERER by Tian Tian 8-5

Did you know that self-belief is one of the most important things in the world? Self-belief is one of the driving factors in this story – and an important one too. Not only that, but people can change in a matter of days (in both good and bad, of course). In this story, Chris’ dad is a pro basketball player and Chris’ family had gotten into a car accident that got Chris into a wheelchair. Chris’ school started to offer a basketball team for wheelies (people in wheelchair’s/people playing in wheelchairs) and Chris starts going. Chris’ father coached their team sometimes and they played against another team in the end.

In the story Sometimes a Dream Needs a Push, by Walter Dean Myers, the author believes that you shouldn’t give up on your dreams and people can change over time. From beginning to end, Chris was always enthusiastic about continuing doing basketball and here it states, “I knew I wanted to play” (Myers 2). Despite being disabled, Chris still had big dreams of playing basketball. Although his dad didn’t exactly fully support the idea, Chris (with the support of his mother). Because of this, in the end, Chris managed to play basketball to play against one of the best wheelchair teams in the area. Chris didn’t even feel bad about losing in the end because he knew he would improve by next season; another example of not giving up. As the story continues, we also see Chris’ father changing. The father used to be much colder and quieter, but then the story transitions: “’ I thought you were terrible at first,’ [Chris’ father] said, smiling. [Chris] didn’t believe he actually smiled. ‘Now you’re just pretty bad. But I think you can play with that Madison team.’” Chris’ father is the second main character in this story as he played a major role of even just making Chris interested in basketball in the first place. However, since the accident, it stated that he became quieter and didn’t speak out much. When the offer came out for a wheelchair basketball, he didn’t seem amused. As the story moved on, he became more open.

App Inventor Blog Post [Tian Tian]

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*In order of questions given on DX*
I previously used to think that producing an app wasn’t going to be are a large challenge and I would finish everything I wanted to do before the deadline. I thought coding the app would only be a bit harder than block coding (which is something I’ve done before) because of the buttons and stuff. But now I think without help, it’ll probably have been impossible for me to make the app. And even with help, I don’t think I got to my place I wanted the app to get to.
I wanted to help my friend learn basic German words and their pronunciation. She is struggling to learn German and would often complain to me about how confusing and hard it is. She told me that even after 2 months of trying to learn German with an online tutor, she still hasn’t gone past the alphabet. She wants to impress her mom because her mom wants her to go to Europe when she grows up (more specifically, Germany). She said she wanted to focus on pronunciation and speaking.
I wanted to make the app in a flashcard arrangement because to me it makes the most sense for my client’s demand. She can scroll through different numbers and see both how it’s spelt and how it’s pronounced. Because she wanted to work on pronunciation, I gave the app a “text to speech” function so whatever that is on the flashcard (in German) can be pronounced precisely. I did numbers because to me numbers are really basic and is a day-to-day skill.
It’s a pretty basic flashcard app. When either arrow is pressed, the following (when the “next” button is pressed) or the previous (when the “back” button is pressed) will appear. When whatever flashcard is pressed, the pronunciation of the number displayed will be said (in the accurate German way).
Personally, a strength is that it works. I was starting to doubt whether it app was going to work. A weakness of the app is that it’s really basic and doesn’t have any colour. Although one of my client’s wishes for their app is to be inspired by her favourite cartoon, it was about looks so I didn’t focus on my list and put it least important out of all my client’s demand. For the process itself, I think I should have spent more time constructing the app instead of planning. I also should have known my skill level and maybe make it a little more simple.

School Uniforms Argument

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School Uniforms 

According to school-reported statistics, schools with uniforms have fewer students tardy than schools without uniforms. Countries should make school uniform compulsory because students represent their school, it excites new students and it helps students concentrate. This is important because it can help students and teachers.

When students where uniforms, students can further represent their school community. According to a high schooler studying at Neale-Wade Academy (March, England), he says “Wearing a uniform is a badge of pride, it creates an identity for a school.” It shows that you’re proud to be in your school community. “Uniforms show you’re a part of an organization. Wearing it says we’re all in this together” says Jason Wing, the headteacher at Neale-Wade. Showing that you’re a part of a school community is important. It shows that the school is one big organization and not a bunch of small ones. A strong school community creates a stronger bond between students, teacher and parents.

School uniforms can excite students. From my own personal experience, I remember when I was about to go to a school that has a school uniform, I would be extremely excited to wear a new school uniform. Also, when I was a lot younger, I would be excited to go to school because I could wear my uniform. And according to Bill O’Chee, an Australian politician and a former senator for the state of Queensland says, “What excited children going to school for the first time is usually their uniform.” Uniforms are just another thing that makes students more excited about school. When students are excited, they concentrate better, and they are more enthusiastic about studying and going to school.

You could argue that school uniforms are expensive. According to an article on, “95% of parents think that these cost [of uniforms] are “unreasonable”” Even though uniforms are quite pricey sometimes, it can help students concentrate in class. French Toast Official School Wear, a uniform supplier mentioned: “Students attention needs to go into learning in your classroom, rather than how they look.” The way other students dress can be distracting and can get students off focus. Students might spend more time looking or focus on their or other clothing instead of focusing on learning. Then it’s pointless for parents to pay for their tuition fees.

In order to help the lives of the entire school community, schools should make uniforms necessary because students further represent the community, it excites students to go to school, and it helps students focus on learning. Now the lives of students, teachers, and parents are easier.

Robotics ~ Grade 1 Petting Zoo Reflection

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Part 1:

What was the most difficult aspect of this project? 

 I think the most challenging aspect is completing on time. I work badly under time pressure and I often get stressed in these circumstances. Since I also wanted to make it look good, I had to stay after-school a few times to finish the animal. Coding wasn’t extremely hard for me, I had coded before with blocks. I also found the right arm rather hard to stick onto the servo for long periods. 

What was the most enjoyable aspect of this project?

 Coming up with ideas because we just needed to search the web and think of new ideas. Also making the body and head of the Arctic Fox because they are just straight lines to cut. They were simple measurements and I am glad that we completed the Arctic Fox in time.

What did you do well?

 I think it’s the fact that we finished the robot and it looks good. I think we did well because some pairs/people didn’t end up having a functioning/good looking robot. I think it’s important because the Grade 1’s got attracted to our robot.

What would you do differently?

 I would make the robot smaller. I didn’t originally think that the robot would be that big. I think I messed up the measurements a little (or a lot).

Part 2:

What did you learn about physically building a robot?

 A lot. I realised that the thick cardboard is difficult to cut curves with, however, with the thin cardboard, it’s hard to cut exactly where I want because it’s so thin and I wanted to cut “how the cardboard what’s to”. It’s also quite hard to have precise measurements. We always had to cut the cardboard again after we attached two pieces because it wouldn’t stick together well if we added the other parts.

 The painting wasn’t, surprisingly, isn’t the easiest thing that could be done. I only had like, three-quarters of a class? Although I did accomplish to do one somewhat thick coat, I didn’t know it wouldn’t dry as opaque. The next day (which was the day of the zoo), we recognised that we could still see through the paint, but we did our best to cover anything visible with a white paint marker we found, which somewhat worked. Luckily the Grade 1’s weren’t as judgy as I thought they would be.

That did you learn about programming the robot?

 That Snap is very similar to Scratch, which I have worked with before. The only difference that I noticed is that Snap looks a lot more different compared to Scratch; nevertheless, despite this, the blocks on both are almost indistinguishable. The only other contrast I noticed is that Snap has all those HummingBird possibilities that Scratch, of course, did not. Because I have worked with Scratch in the past, I didn’t find Snap something hard to use and didn’t spend a lot of lessons on coding.

What more would you like to learn about the building and/or programming of these robots?

 Personally, the code we made was quite simple compared to the other people codes that I have seen. Also, I don’t think our we used the most convenient type of cardboard for some of the body parts. However, I am not very sure about what I want to learn/know more about.

Final Reflection Question:

What advice would you give to a student who is at the beginning of this unit? 

 I would advise them to use their time wisely. We hardly had enough time to complete and we had to (well I) had to even stay after school to have enough time. I would also tell them not to think it might be too small. Maybe I was just crazy, but we made the measurements maybe, just maybe, a teeny tiny bit, overboard. (Not really)