Final Product for Our New Breakthrough Has Came!

Q. [Abstract] What did you do and why was it important to you? What were your main findings from the project? What were your main findings from the project?

For the final product, I decided to make a website using Wix. Since I need to explain the collaboration of biology & physics and my 3D model of imaginary instrument, I thought that posters or infographics would be too limited for the project. My website is basically like a research website that future scientists, engineers, or even sponsors can access to. The website’s goal is to inform the combination of biology and physics (technically engineering) and further technology that could conduct experiments on my research question: “How Can Electricity Conducted from Plants be Helpful in Collecting Organic Information?” 

As I mentioned in previous blog posts, I was interested in this topic because I’m planning to study bioengineering when I go to college. This project is very meaningful for me because there are not many chances for biology major students to work on projects or experiments with physics. During this project, I learned anew that science is always combined with all the departments (physics, chemistry, biology) when humans come up with inventing something. As my research question is directly related with more than two science fields, I realized that weaving different science information and explaining those in an easy way was quite difficult. It also took time for me to understand the biochemical process that goes through plant physiology, and the physics behind the instrument that I wanted to invent. After this process, I learned that engineers and scientists on professional fields are great scholars, and there is a lot of time & effort behind the convenience that we enjoy in daily life.

Q. What were the main challenges for you doing this project? What were your strengths and what were your weaknesses?

During this project, I had some challenges that I had to overcome. First, I had all my other subjects’ projects due on this week so I couldn’t manage my time well. Especially, the projects were all making videos and editing, which made me lose my energy and sleep less than usual. However, I’m fine with that now because those projects are due at the same time and I can only focus on my final semester exam! Hooray!! Another challenge that I faced was technical skills. As I mentioned in my second blog post, it was my first time to build a 3D model by using an entirely new app. Everything including controlling the mouse, labeling, and building up was a giant mountain for me to climb. However, as I practiced using the app for several days, I eventually got used to it, and now I have an awesome imaginary instrument for my project 🙂

 

One thing that I can say what I improved from this project was being more creative and critical thinking. I researched and asked for help when I made up my project idea for the environment project. However, this project’s idea (bioengineering) flashed across my mind and I gradually added on my creativity throughout the session. Although I got help on using a 3D model app from Jihwan, I think this project was a great opportunity for myself to get over my weakness: technology skill and creativity.

Q. Finally, my website is linked below. I hope you enjoy! 

Website

Citation

Our Life and Engineering

This is a second blog post for my research, “How Can Electricity Conducted from Plants be Helpful in Collecting Organic Information?”

Q. What have you learned towards your research questions so far?

From the beginning and so far, I’ve researched on two aspects: biology and physics. Since my research question requires collaborative knowledge (in two science branches), I spent more time to collect information than I planned previously.

On a biological perspective, I focused on botany (phytology), more specifically plant physiology, that enables contact with external instruments. For example, xylem, phloem, and leaves are relatively easy to conduct plantal information than roots.

On a physical perspective, I researched on electricity and mechanical instruments that are currently being used in the world outside to get plantal information. Since my research is focused on engineering, I have thought of designing an actual instrument that can help future researchers (maybe me too?) to utilize whenever they need.

I have simply made bullet points to summarize what I have researched about so far below.

(1) Plant

  • The electricity that flows in plants:
Signal Type Description Transmission Stimuli Generating Signals Potential Applications
LEP (Local Electrical Potential) Sub-threshold response Locally generated, not transmitted to rest of plant Change in environment, soil water, fertility, light, temperature, humidity Important monitor of the physiological status of the plant. Monitor water stress, nutrient sufficiency, and temperature or light responses
AP (Action Potential) Widespread signal, stimuli needs to be above threshold Fast, over long distances, constant amplitude and speed Non-damaging stimuli like cold, touch or electricity Experiments on trap closures, regulation of leaf movement
  • Kind of nutritions that flows in the phloem (that we know)
  • Nutrition/Organics and their calorific value
    • Carbohydrates: 17 kJ/g (4 kcal/g)
    • Fat: 37 kJ/g (9 kcal/g)
    • Protein: 17 kJ/g (4 kcal/g)
    • Polyvalent alcohols: 10 kJ/g (2.4 kcal/g)
    • Ethyl alcohol: 29 kJ/g (7 kcal/g)
    • Organic acids: 13 kJ/g (3 kcal/g)
    • Dietary fiber: 8 kJ/g (2 kcal/g)
  • Organic information
    • The identity of organic materials
    • Calorie and Energy conversion
      • 1 cal/s = 4.1868 Watts/s = 1 J/s

(2) Physics

  • Factors that the new instrument should consider
    • Use electricity, water, fluid inside the plant 
      • Electric current
      • Convert the electricity information to calories (energy)
    • How to convert or store the electricity from plants: “parallel plate capacitor
      • Use the capacitor in order to minimize the cut/hole on the plant that impacts their function
      • Place the capacitor on the surface of the plant’s stem
    • How to conduct electricity inside plants
      • Attach “electrode” on the stem vessels
      • Electric signals in plants and their significance (link

Q. What has been challenging for you? How have you managed to work around your problems?

While everything was going smoothly, I realized an unexpected challenge when I was discussing with my classmate. There are organics (nutrition) that have the same calorific value, or there might be organics that scientists haven’t discovered yet. For example, carbohydrates and proteins have the exact same energy value (17 kJ/g = 4 kcal/g). After some additional research, I planned to invent a new instrument (has a special electrode attached to the capacitor) that can distinguish simple molecular structure such as carbohydrate, alcohol, lipid, and protein. Since organic molecules don’t deviate from basic molecular structures that chemists discovered, the new technique would help improve the challenge.

Also, I thought that boring explanation with pictures would not be effective to show my passion, interest, and creativity in this project. So I decided to design my own instrument for this particular research. Since I am really bad at computer graphic and designing, I practiced on designing 3D models for several days, and finally completed a simple model.     (Images of the designed 3D model)

These processes were a big challenge to myself, but also it helped me improving and facing my weak points.

Q. How is your timeline going? What have you managed to achieve and how is your timeline evolving to meet the deadlines?

I’m actually following up on my planned timeline so far. Since I spent a little bit more time on researching and designing on the new instrument, I should boost up in creating my final product, website. Also, I felt that I should work on explaining my research and techniques that the new instrument has in a more simple and easier way so that non-experts can also understand and might sponsor in the future 🙂 What I should do for the remaining time is to organize my research results, create a website, and make my visual items more attractive and easier to understand! I think I’ll stick with my first planned timeline:

What I need to do By this date Comments
Post the first blog April 28th Find out what I’m interested in, and find some articles that help out my temporary research question
Refine the research question and start on researching. May 3rd Ask Mr. Bunting or some friends to look over my research question and my plans.
Continue with the research and try to finalize with deciding the product May 6th Make a list of what I’m mainly focusing on and research on some other engineering techniques that can collaborate with my product.
Continue with the research and start preparing the product May 9th Understand how the technique works for my “engineering” product and use my imagination!
Finalize the research and keep working on making the product May 11th Keep developing creativity
Boost up with the product! May 13th
Finalize the product and post final blog May 15th Finalize with everything!

How can we use science and engineering to enact change in the world?

Q. What are you planning on doing and why is it so important to you? Research question and key questions.

For this engineering project, I’ve chosen to research about how engineering — bioengineering — can help future generation detect further information from the plants. To be more specific, I would research on how advanced engineering technology can find out useful information from such a sensitive organism, plant. My focus will be on technologies that can discover unknown organic information that would help our future generation to benefit from that information. For instance, alternative or effective ingredients inside plants, new nutrition, and mass production. Our future generation will struggle more than we do right now. It would be more difficult for them to find nutritive foods and ingredients in nature due to several environmental problems. Therefore, our next generation definitely needs a technology to discover new food products or alternative nutrition to survive. This is why I decided to research on electric, mechanical, and biological techniques that could collaborate to benefit human beings. 

The ultimate reason that I thought of this idea is since I’m interested in genetic engineering, I believe this project would be one of the best chances to actually figure out my passion and creativity. By collaborating with biology, chemistry, and physics, I can ask myself what this project means to me and how I can develop my own skills to prepare for my future dreams. 

To conclude, my research question is “How can electricity conducted from plants be helpful in collecting organic information?” I haven’t decided my sub-questions yet, but I will add on as I continue my research and this project.

Q. What are you going to make (the product)?

I didn’t finalize what will my product be, but I’m thinking of making a video or a website. As I used picktochart for my environment project in the first semester, I want to try another product that could challenge my technical skills. I have always been weak on making videos and websites that require a lot of time and effort. Thus, I would like to try new types of products other than picktochart. I will also be confident with this while I’m researching. 

Q. Your timeline for completion – what you are doing when what do you need to learn and when are you going to learn it.  

What I need to do By this date Comments
Post the first blog April 28th Find out what I’m interested in, and find some articles that help out my temporary research question
Refine the research question and start on researching. May 3rd Ask Mr. Bunting or some friends to look over my research question and my plans.
Continue with the research and try to finalize with deciding the product May 6th Make a list of what I’m mainly focusing on and research on some other engineering techniques that can collaborate with my product.
Continue with the research and start preparing the product May 9th Understand how the technique works for my “engineering” product and use my imagination!
Finalize the research and keep working on making the product May 11th Keep developing creativity
Boost up with the product! May 13th
Finalize the product and post final blog May 15th Finalize with everything!

 

FINALLY!!! THE PRODUCT IS HERE!

It was a really long journey that took about 3 weeks to come up with our own driving question, planning, researching, critical thinking, and actually making a product! As I went through the long journey, I had learned a lot of things including my driving questions, individual working, researching, peer reviews, and self-development!

Finally, I have reached my final research question:

“In what ways does climate change influence high school student diet furthermore health condition?” 

What did you do and why was it important to you?

For my final product, I decided to make an infographic. I had an idea to make a video or documentary, but I thought that visualizing about food and relationship between people would be better using an infographic. The biggest reason why I chose this topic as my research question is that our generation is the one who has the responsibility to live a sustainable life on Earth due to vast impact of global warming. It was our “ancestors” who wanted “us” to live a better and easier life in future. However, their desire exceeded the limiting line, and the negative results boomeranged on us. As I am in the situation of facing the climate changes and global warming, I started to see the changes in our foods. Instant foods are delicious and convenient to eat, but they are harmful to our body. Also, one of the factors that lead me to choose this topic is because I am personally very interested in foods. However, not only in my perspective, I thought that the changes in food products are a controversial issue these days. One of the main reasons that human develop new techniques is to live and thrive their life. In order to achieve that, food has been always important in human survival. As human diet is crucial for us in living, I thought that this topic suits the answer to ensure future generations to have a sustainable place to live.

What were your main findings from the project?

Through this project, I learned that our human beings are strongly connected to nature, especially the weather conditions, access to water, and geographical locations. Prior to the civilized ancestors, animals, and Sapiens carried their instinct of residing near places that were easy to access water and flatland. Carrying on those genes, human beings always fought each other to get the better land and better areas than others, in order to easily provide food to their tribes.

The most influential and reliable thing we need to consider for food products is the “sun” and the “rain”. As human culture initiated from agriculture, the vast majority of our food products come from crops, including rice, wheat, maize, fruit, vegetable, meat, etc. We can’t mention a word about “food” with the exception of meteorological conditions. Especially, when we meet an enormous natural disaster, we have nothing to do. Therefore, through this research, I found that our future generations, including us, must prepare for unexpected things that we will surely face, and always have a contingency plan for our diets.

Lastly, through this three-week project, I also found that the first victim of changes in the world and society is the “teenagers”. They are exposed to the fast changes in the world, and they experience all the positive, negative impacts. This was the reason why modern teenagers and young adults have a rapid increase in health diseases: obesity, diabetes, cancer, allergy, cardiopathy, scoliosis, etc.

What were the main challenges for you doing this project?

For this project, I had several challenges that made me bring up some alternative solutions.

  1. Not much research on this topic in the public
  2. Lack of data about high school students’ health condition
  3. Time-consuming product preparation

For the second challenge, I brought up with a solution to make my own survey about our SSIS high school students’ diet habit. I was willing to send the survey to the entire SSIS high school, but I thought it would take too long, so I only collected 30 responses from General Physics Class, D and G block. The next challenge was the hardest one. As I am not a digital person, I was first worried about the technical part. However, I’ve made some infographics last year during geography class, so I was a bit okay. But the problem came when I started to make the infographic. Because of the terrible wifi, my infographic kept on stopping and unsaved, so I did the same thing again and again for more than 20 times. As a result, I took way more time than I thought and planned before. It’s fine now because I successfully finished my final product 🙂

What were your strengths and what were your weaknesses?

I think my strength is to organize the things that I have to mention and emphasize during this project. Although Mr. Bunting helped me with bringing the idea of making my own survey, it really helped to demonstrate my topic in the project. However, even though I was following the planned timeline, I would have been better in time managing and preparing enough to make my infographic more productive and informative.

Finally, my infographic is linked below. I hope you enjoy! 

INFOGRAPHIC

Climate Change and Our Foods

This is a second blog post for my research, “In What Ways Does Climate Change Influence High School Student Diet Furthermore Health Condition?”

What have you learned towards your research questions so far?

From the beginning and so far, I’ve researched on the climate changes since the global warming and the changes of food security and nutrition that is expected during our next generations. I’m actually following my planned timeline, which is a good sign, but I found that I needed more research to relate to my driving question: High school student diet and their health condition. I have simply made bullet points to summarize what I have researched about so far below.

(1) Climate Changes:

  • Causes: Human activities are enhancing the natural greenhouse effect (trapping thermal radiation from the Earth’s surface and keeps the surface warmer than it usually is, primarily by water vapor and CO2.
    • Atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has already risen by about 30% from its pre-industrial level and methane concentrations are more than double their pre-industrial value
    • CO2 emission factors
      • Oil, natural gas, coal, non-commercial fuel, land-use changes (tropical deforestation)
    • Anthropogenic methane emissions
      • Ruminant animals, waste disposal, rice agriculture, production and use of fossil fuel
    • Sulfate aerosols: cause an indirect effect by acting as condensation nuclei and thus causing clouds to be denser and more reflective
      • This is caused by biomass burning

(2) Climate Impacts:

  • Increase in global mean temperature
  • Rise in sea level
    • Thermal expansion
    • Melting of small (continental) glaciers
  • Changes in precipitation and climate variability
  • Changes in intensity of extreme meteorological phenomenon
    • Droughts, floods, tropical storms, typhoons, hurricanes, etc
  • Changes in air quality, water resources, human health, energy use
  • Mitigation and adaptation of human, animals, and plants
  • Changes in ecosystems
    • (ex) wetlands, marine, tropical systems, etc

(3) Climate Changes and Impact on Food Security

  • Altered risks and increasing unpredictability
  • Affect staple crop production, especially in the most vulnerable and food insecure countries.
  • Recent increases in temperature have already had a negative effect on yield for some key crops.
  • Altered chemical and pathogen inputs to food
    • Altered use of pesticides and veterinary medicines
  • Higher temperature could result in even lower yields for some crops in some regions, while changes in precipitation could affect crop production in key areas.
  • Foods that are eaten more frequently in the summer, such as barbecued food, salads, and alcohol may be consumed more frequently with climate change.
  • Have a chance to affect food choice through price and availability.
    • Predicted increases in extreme weather events are likely to have negative impacts on the availability of food.
    • Increases in food prices are likely to lead to some consumers choosing lower cost food.
    • Might lead to initiatives to produce food with lower Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.
    • Climate change will alter the geographical locations from which food is sourced and shifts may affect nutritional quality (vitamin, antioxidant, amino acid)
    • Agricultural adaptation to climate change will lead to the development of new crops bred to survive in different climatic conditions or in new geographical areas.

What has been challenging for you? How have you managed to work around your problems?

As I expected before I started to research, the data of high school students’ diet was very difficult to access and analysis. When I began this project, I simply thought that I could find a number of data that indicates about high school students’ diet and their habit. However, when I actually searched up for those data, it was not as easy as I imagined. Most of the data was held by a verified survey system, which only asked about how the high school students eat food, not specifically about “what” they consume. This was the biggest wall I’ve faced during my research process. So, I came up with an idea to make my own survey conducting 1. The range of the ages of high school students   2. How many times the high school students eat a meal   3. What they usually eat for their meals (11 kinds). The survey is sent to students in SSIS General Physics class, and I’m still collecting the data from the survey. I’m planning to collect the data until 9th, December 2017, and make an analysis based on the survey results. Because my research is focused on “how” the high school student diet will change and also their health condition based on their consumption of food, I will try to combine the professional survey results with the survey results I collected from SSIS Physics students.

How is your timeline going? What have you managed to achieve and how is your timeline evolving to meet the deadlines.

I’m actually following up on my planned timeline so far. Since I realized the data that I should research on will be somewhat difficult and hard to find, I think I had made good expectation on the time that I should spend on researching. What I should do for the remaining time is to collect survey results, and spend more time on researching about high school students’ mean health conditions. I think I’ll stick with my first planned timeline:

November 28th Finalize with my driving question, and brainstorm how to research
November 30th Start on researching with the resources
December 1st 1st Blog Post

(What are you doing, How will you do it and what is your timescale?)

December 3rd Start on collecting data and continue on researching
December 6st 2nd Blog Post

(How well are you doing? What have you learned so far?)

December 8th Finalize with researching and make Infographic
December 11st Final Blog Post

(Your Presentation, what you learned, how you did in organisational terms etc)

 

How does climate change influence high school student diet furthermore health condition?

One of the main reasons that human develop new techniques is to live and thrive through their life. In order to achieve that, food, clothing and shelter are the most important factors that affect human life. Among them, food has been always important in human living. As the time flows, we see how food supplies and human diet changes due to the changes that happen in the world. Therefore, I felt that human diet is one factor that ensures future generations to have a sustainable place to live in a large extent. Therefore, I will be answering the following question after sufficient research: 

IN WHAT WAYS DOES CLIMATE CHANGE INFLUENCE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT DIET FURTHERMORE HEALTH CONDITION?  

I’d brought up with two methods that can efficiently explain this question: Infographic and Poster. However, after considering the practicality and quality of the product, I decided to make an infographic.

Suggestion 1: Infographic
Pros Cons
Able to recognize the ideas and knowledge at first hand Maybe not enough to put all the information that I want to explain
Suggestion 2: Pamphlet/Poster
Pros Cons
Easy to understand the ideas and diagrams Might be boring or simple to explain the relationship between the climate change and my personal link

The following scheduling table is what I have planned for this project, in order to control myself by time managing and self progressing. 

November 28th

Finalize with my driving question, and brainstorm how to research

November 30th

Start on researching with the resources

December 1st

1st Blog Post

(What are you doing, How will you do it and what is your timescale?)

December 3rd

Start on collecting data and continue on researching

December 6st

2nd Blog Post

(How well are you doing? What have you learned so far?)

December 8th

Finalize with researching and make Infographic

December 11st

Final Blog Post

(Your Presentation, what you learned, how you did in organisational terms etc)