Science Ecodome Day 40

Day 40 (Dec 12):

We opened up our ecodome to find that again, our grasshopper survived. The same thing happened as last time. We thought it was dead because we didn’t see any movement, but when we opened it up, it jumped out. There was nothing too different about our findings and observations this time. All the plants were still alive and well, there was a layer of condensation on the cling film we used to wrap our box, all things we’d seen before in previous attempts.

For our final ecodome trial, which we will start on Dec 14, we won’t be changing too many things. All we’ll do is replace the plants and dirt for new plants and dirt. We will also “restock” the petri dishes with water, and water the soil again, basic maintenance.

Below, you will find a picture of how our ecodome looked like at the end of the third trial.

Science Ecodome Day 22

Day 22 (Nov 24):

This was our 3rd ecodome attempt, the one that we sealed off until after Week Without Walls. For this attempt, all we changed was the tank. Instead of the tank of water, we added soil so that more plants could grow. We did this for two main reasons. First, wanted to make sure no grasshoppers would drown, and second, so that we could maximize the amount of food for our grasshoppers since we love them so much.

This time, we had 200 mL of soil instead of 100. We had two small petri dishes of water for our grasshoppers.

Unlike previous attempts, we watered the soil before sealing the ecodome, hoping the plants would grow faster.

This time, we only had one grasshopper instead of two, because there was only one left, and we released the one that survived from the last attempt.

Below, you will find a picture of our third attempt before we resealed it. The only difference is we didn’t have the tank in our actual trial, despite there being one in the picture.

Science Ecodome Day 18

Day 18 (Nov 20):

Our ecodome this time was much more successful that we thought it would be. When we first looked at it, there seemed to be no movements, so we assumed the grasshoppers were dead. We opened up our ecodome to make observations, and then suddenly, our grasshopper jumped out. The good news, was that it was alive and our ecodome was successful one of the two grasshoppers. The bad news was, we released it by accident and we couldn’t continue our trial.

All of our plants survived, but one of the two grasshoppers didn’t. Most of the water in our little tank evaporated, so we decided to change things up for our next trial of our ecodome. Instead of using one big tank where we still run the risk of drowning grasshoppers, we would use a few small petri dishes with water so the grasshoppers could still drink without possibly dying. The one grasshopper that did die drowned in our little tank of water.

Below is a picture of the dead grasshopper in our tank of water.

Science Ecodome Day 12

DAY 12 (Nov 14) :

Day 10 was the day we resealed our ecodome for the second time. The changes we made are all the ones I mentioned in my previous blog post. We did decide to make one last minute change however. This was adding peppers to our ecodome as a source of food. Other than that and what I mentioned before, we kept our ecodome similar to the first one.

The reason we didn’t change too much was because we thought our original ecodome didn’t have too many flaws. Yes, the crickets did die but because we switched to grasshoppers, we thought the plants would provide plenty of food. We added the pepper just in to add a little more [food].

Below, you will find a picture of our ecodome just before we resealed it.

Science Ecodome Day 6

DAY 6 (Nov 8):

When we opened up our ecodome, our crickets were dead. Surprise, surprise. That was the bad news. The good news was, when we opened up our ecodome, the food was all eaten. This means that our crickets were alive for long enough to eat all the banana pieces we left for them, a somewhat promising sign. The plants were thriving in our little sealed off box so that was another good sign. I don’t think any plants died during the 6 day, 1st trial of our ecodome. Other than that, there weren’t any other major observations we made. We did notice that none of the crickets drowned. After sealing our ecodome, we thought the crickets would jump into the water and kill themselves. Surprisingly enough, they didn’t so we thought they died of starvation.

For the next trial, we were planning to change the plants to see whether that would affect anything. We were also going to include more plants in our ecodome. We made this decision because we were going to switch from crickets to grasshoppers, which can eat the plants.

Below is a picture of our ecodome AFTER the first trial.

Science Ecodome Day 1

Day 1 (Nov 2):

An ecodome (in the context we’re using) is a closed off container where nothing can exit or enter. This means that everything we’re putting inside must be able to survive on its own. Now that you understand what an ecodome is, let me explain the details of my first ecodome “trial”.

The materials that I used during my first ecodome are:

  • 150 mL of water.
  • 100 mL of soil.
  • A few small plants
  • Rocks to separate the container of water and soil
  • 1 banana small chopped into many pieces
  • 5 wet tissues to dampen up the soil.
  • 2 crickets

We didn’t make any changes on the design day, we stuck to the original material list above.

Here is a picture of my first ecodome trial:

 

 

Social Studies Debate Reflection

Grade 8 Roles Matrix (8F)

  1. From the research, preparation and the debates themselves, what did you learn about the art of persuasion? Please explain.
  • I learned that you have to be able to compromise. If you’re too honest, you’ve shot your case in the foot. If you’re too ambitious, no jury will believe you. It’s about finding the middle ground so that you’re making a strong point, and so that the jury believes what you say.
  1. How do you establish credibility as a debater? Explain fully.
  • I think there is a process to establishing credibility. First, you have to start with the basics, simple facts that get the jury and judges warmed up. Then, throw some interesting facts to them, something they can remember. That’s when you make your claim. When you have proven to the judges and jury that you know what you’re talking about, that’s when you can try to persuade them of what you want.
  1. What surprised you the most about your debate and/or the debate experience?
  • I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. At first, I didn’t really care about my topic. I did research and planning as an obligation. During the debate however, I felt a passion for my topic. What I didn’t like too much was how it was too structured. We had a rigid time table and we had to abide by it. I think a little more freedom in terms of when we’re allowed to speak would make the debate a better experience.
  1. What were you most proud of in your own debate?
  • I was really proud of how I was able to work well with my partner. I think that we both helped each other during the planning stage and without each other, we wouldn’t’ve been able to win the debate. I was also really proud of the research I did. It was instrumental to our performance at the debate. I think because my partner and I were able to anticipate what the other team was going to say, it really helped us improve our performance during the rebuttal section.
  1. What would be your next steps? Or in other words, what would you have done differently?
  • I would’ve practiced a little more. Having a mock trial for instance would’ve really helped. I think I said all the right things during the debate, I just could’ve said them with more confidence. There were times in the debate where I stuttered, and paused and it didn’t sound as smooth as it could’ve been. I think a little bit more practice would’ve gone a long way in improving my debate performance.

Debate Video

Language Arts Quarter 1 Reflection

During my newspaper project, Suwon, Phuong, Moses and I each wrote four articles about different subjects. We then compiled this into one big newspaper. I really liked this project because it let me explore a style of writing that was new to me. Below is a picture of our entire newspaper.

Doing this project, I learned a couple new skills I can use for future writing projects. First, I learned to have all of my information ready before I start working on my project. I started my article without having all my facts so I couldn’t write a clear cohesive piece, because I had to constantly stop and get more information. Most importantly, I learned the formatting of a journalism article and how it differs from a informational paper. Instead of using big chunks of text, newspaper articles are written with many short 2-4 sentence mini-paragraphs. This helps the reader not be scared off by the text, and so they can soak in all the information. These were my biggest takeaways from the “Journalism” Project.

Quarter 1 has really surprised me in how much work I would have to do out of school. In school, I don’t see anything happening that I didn’t expect. Classes have been as they usually are, a slight heavier workload which makes sense as I change from grade 7 to grade 8.

 

SS7 – Year In Review

An entire year of social studies has passed and it’s been a really productive year for me. From having Mr. Post in the first semester to finishing the year with Ms. McKinnon. In my opinion, this year of social studies has taught me more than I’d need to know. Like literally, more than I’d probably need to know 😉. However, it’s also been fun expanding my brain with knowledge about the spread of Christianity and the inventions from the Renaissance we still use today. This year, we had a total of five different topics. The spread of Christianity, how Islam took hold in the ancient world, why we should study the Byzantine Empire, The Black Plague and finally, and most recently, the Renaissance. The first three topics were fairly simple and ended with us writing DBQ’s as our “final project”. Our next big topic was “The Black Death”, which was by far, my favorite. Learning about how medicine was like back then and how a disease was so effective was really interesting for me. This topic’s final was a PechaKucha. A type of slideshow presentation where you have 20 seconds to talk about a picture concerning a “research question” you got to choose a partner. I worked with Elin for this project and our research was “How did different religions react to the Black Plague?”. Our final project of the year was the Renaissance. The Renaissance was another really fun topic and a great way to end the year. For this, our final was a Renaissance fair where Elin (my partner) and I presented an interactive presentation at the Renaissance fair in the Dragon’s Den. This and the Black Death were by far my favorite two units and I’m happy I got to leave them for the end of the year with the teacher I had for social studies in grade 6 and as my advisor in grade 6.In terms of skills, I think blog posts has been an area where I’ve improved greatly. Probably because of the school’s emphasis on writing, but it still has made me improve reflection on different things and talking about topics in greater depth. With topics and what I’ve learned this year, I really liked what we got to do because the whole year was a lot more interactive compared to the social studies year before in grade 6.

I have a couple things that I’ve really liked about social studies this year. Mainly though, these are the interactive activities we got to do. For example, during the Black Plague, we played a game over a couple classes where we simulated travelers back in the 15th century. We would travel through cities and pick seeds out of cups that represented those cities. In the cups, there would be a variation of seeds. Most were “healthy” seeds but every once in a while, you’d come across a “cholera” seed or a “Bubonic Plague” seed. The game was very simple yet it did a very good job in simulating what life was like back then in terms of getting sick and the numbers. If you got sick, you had to roll a die twice and roll sixes twice. This means that in the simulation game, there was a one in thirty-six chance that you’d survive the plague and stay alive, which was also similar to what life was like back then. Another thing I really liked about social studies is creating all the posters for what we learned. At the beginning of the year when we were doing Christianity, we learned about all the parables and had to make posters representing them which was really fun. We also learned about “IC GRAPES” in the first semester and had to make a poster/infographic for that which I also enjoyed a lot.

Along with the good things about social studies, there are also the minor inconveniences. Even though the strengths heavily outweigh the weaknesses (cough cough Sparta in grade 6), there are still somethings I didn’t like too much this year. Free writes have been something that I haven’t liked since grade 6 and that continues to this day. Usually, when we have to write them, I follow the prompt for one or two sentences and then I just go on a tangent writing whatever I want, or whatever’s in my head. I’ll always have two or three good free writes that I can use for free write blog posts but usually, when I write those, I just take the prompt and write two completely new paragraphs. Anything to do with free write, I don’t really have a favorable view of. Another thing I don’t really like is the graphic organizer. I don’t mind the DBQ too much because writing essays are kind of my “forte”, but I really don’t like it when I have to follow a specific sentence structure. I like having the freedom of writing whatever I want and making it flow in my head instead of following rigid criteria from “hook” to “conclusion sentence”. Following graphic organizers kind of make my writing weaker in my opinion because I have to follow everything the organizer says. I think they can help, but I also think they should be a little more loose with more options. Instead of having a box for every sentence (exaggeration), it could give us more freedom in where we want to write things. Another thing I don’t like is analyzing so many documents. I think we had to do more than 20 documents and it gets really annoying after you do more than five in a short amount of time. Even though there aren’t many questions in the documents, it can become annoyitating after a while. Overall however, social studies has been fun, many more times than it’s been hard or annoying which means, it’s been an amazing year with Mr. Post and Ms. McKinnon.

Blog: Water Cleaner Challenge (Methods)

Our model uses a combination of a couple different methods of water filtration. First, you could call our prototype a natural/biological system because we’re using gravity to power our system through filters of sand, gravel, rocks and cloth. Out chemical part comes in when you add in the charcoal and the extra vitamin c tablet we’re adding in. We got this idea from the military where they use iodine tablets which filter out bacteria but leave a sour taste. With a vitamin c tablet, the water will be more pleasant to drink. What we need to work on most is getting bacteria and salt out of the water. We can get sediment and dirt out but we need to work out the amounts of charcoal and other substances that we will need for a given amount of water.