Python Lesson 1, Reflection

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Attached above is the picture of the final code which I had produced at the end of class on Friday. On Friday, we finally got to coding, and started off with easy basics. At the start, we all had to confirm that we had downloaded ‘PyCharm’ and the Python language onto our computers, of which we would be coding on. Ms. Mok gave us a quick lesson on how to write simple code. We learned about 4 different things that code is essentially made out of, 1. Variables, 2. Integers, 3. Strings, 4. Functions.

We experimented with creating simple functions to solve easy math equations, for example, 2+2=4. They seemed easy to create and copy down, but I soon realised that if you wanted the code to achieve more complicated functions, then it was a lot harder to create. I also found that if the code was longer, there was a lot more potential for errors.




Refining Problems and Prototyping

   1.  Describe the problem in less than 3 sentences, explaining the what, why, who, how of the problem. Mash together two ideas and create a catchy slogan that sums up your ideas.

At HKIS, the cafeteria is a core part of our daily lives. Students consume a crazy amount of food from the cafeteria last year, therefor, we’d like the cafeteria to produce food that we know is 1. Healthy, 2. Tasty, 3. Nutritious.

Slogan: Sodexo more like 没有 dexo.

Slogan makes sense because 1. It rhymes, 2. dexo is an additive, which means that students don’t want plain additive food.

    2.  What is the vision and mission of your solution?:
Our mission is to generally increase the quality of the food at HKIS while not increasing the price—decreasing it if possible. Our vision is that everyone at HKIS, including the sodexo staff will be happy with the direction that the cafeteria is taking. This would make the cafeteria very advanced and far more effective.
     3.  Who are the stakeholders? What will be the impact your solution make to them?

The stakeholders are 100% sodexo. They are the company that produces our food on a daily basis. Whatever changes we make would change a lot of their process. If we ask for higher quality, they are either going to have to work harder and charge us more for their labour. If we want to lower the price of the food, then they’re probably going to have to lower the quality a little bit.

     4.   Review the possible solutions, rate and analyze the pros and cons of each of them.

We chose to make two different types of food. Indian Samosas, and a small variety of Korean food. Both of them are authentic international food, which sometimes turns people off because it can taste rather ethnic with different spices—especially Indian food. However, some people also like the fact that they get to try and experience international food on a more weekly basis, rather than just eating it on special occasions at restaurants and such. In my own opinion, and the opinions of my peers it would be incredible at the cafeteria, with a high quality and lower price, service/labour included.

     5.  What are the potential challenges you may face?

We face a challenge in the complexity of how the foods are made. We were able to make the food because of our ethnic background and countless times watching other people make it. For the cafeteria people who are used to mass producing food for the large amount of students, it might be a bit difficult to create in large quantities. For the Indian Samosas, the cafeteria would have to allocate or even hire more staff to creating the actual product, as it is quite time consuming to create one single samosa.

     6.  Tasks to complete the solution and possible prototypes you can make.

To create our prototype, we just had to purchase the ingredients (keeping the cost in mind) then make the actual food. Being rather complicated to make, it did take a portion of time to create. However, being food that wasn’t ‘too’ difficult to create, we were able to have a large amount of samples to give out. Following the creation process, I created a survey and as a three, we rented a camera and interviewed a large amount of students in the cafeteria about whether they would eat our product at the cafeteria or not. We also asked them questions about the cafeteria in general, asking token questions if they were appropriate to what the interviewee was talking about.

Here is the video of our interviews: It’s a playlist composed of two videos. The first video identified the problems in the cafeteria, whilst the second video was our prototype testing/the giving out of our samples.


Summary of our results:

“What does design thinking have to do with programming?:”

I think that design thinking is related to programming because in programming, besides flat out writing code, you also have to learn how to find problems in it—which is effectively design thinking. I’d first have to see what I want the final goal to actually be, making it to my needs and wants. Then I’d see what the problems in the thought of the code are, if any at all. If I’ve located problems, then I’ll brainstorm on how to get rid of them, which I can consult my peers and teachers about. I can then finally set out to create my code and keep the problems in check while in the creation process. In example, if I want to create a code designing a functional online calculator, then I want to have it set to my preferences. If I’m taking HAA, then I’d identify that I’d want to add a graphing function, along with a complete set of simple calculator functions like addition and subtraction. To test its effectivity, I could show it to my classmates, allowing them to play around with it to find problems, while collecting their feedback on what is good and bad so I can replicate it in other projects.

I can find and define a problem in the code that is making things faulty in the greater whole. Sometimes this includes the format messing up.

I can properly survey and detect what my peers are finding faulty in the product. Getting my peers to see my code and if it works out.

I can test my prototypes to understand and see if it can work to a functional, optimal level of quality. Being generally satisfied or happy with my code and it’s function that I set it to have.


Tying your Shoelaces

We were asked to write a set of directions for typing shoelaces, similar to a set of directions for telling our peers where to go, but not as linear.

We weren’t really ever successful, and ended up being students rather than teachers due to an easier and smarter method.

We encountered problems in trying to explain what we were doing with our hands. I feel like it’s easier to show rather than tell people how tying shoelaces works, which is what we ended up doing.

We can improve our technique by having one person explain what is going on while the other person ties their shoelaces and reminds the other person what to add if he forgets.


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PBL Science Update #1

1. We are planning to make a Sterling Engine.

2. We have decided to build this because it’s something that we’ve seen to demonstrate different energy transfers in class, and felt like it wasn’t something too easy, yet too hard to make.

3. We are going to need a couple different sized pieces of wood, some copper tubing, and a wooden cylinder (materials we can’t acquire around the house or at school.

Unit 4: Ceramic Lantern

1. Picture:

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2. First, to create my lantern I had to create the base of the actual walls. That was the slab of clay that I had to roll into a circular form to get another slab on top of it. To do this, I took a large slab and rolled it out to try and get a fair sized wall. Then, I cut a portion of the wall out every other centimeter. Sticking it on, I realised that I had a lot of extra clay to work with. Therefor, I was able to take roll that extra clay, along with some other clay to form another wall which I purposefully made thin. I then used this to create a cottage styled roof.

3. In my opinion, the most important part of my pot was being able to get a thick enough slab to create the walls of my pot. This was really important because if the walls were to thin, then when I cut my wholes out, then the wall would collapse and fall apart, breaking the entire pot.

Unit 4: Pot Final

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1. My project is based off of a greek pot called a Kylix. I started building the pot by it’s base, to ensure that it could be strong enough to hold the top part, which was inevitably going to be heavy. I think that the research on Greek and Chinese pots helped because it gave me an idea of the different things that a pot can hold/do to make it function efficiently.

2. I think that my pot represented me because it was unique in the sense that nobody made a pot that was too similar to mine, making it purely based off of the kylix, and my own imagination. It was also based off of a tray that we have in our house, having indents every other space on the tray, making it ideal for holding fruits.

3. I think that it isn’t really a representation of modern day art because it doesn’t really serve a purpose of doing much other than carrying simple foods.

4. I think that it’s an interpretation of the Kylix, because even though I took it as my main example, my pot was more of a taller, skinnier based tray pot. I wouldn’t call it an imitation because as I said, it looks very different, and compared to greek pots, i’m attempting to use it for a different purpose.

5. I think that to make my work different, I’d make it a bit taller and give it a more curvy, wine glass look to make it easier to either carry liquids, or even simple foods.

Robotics and Mechanics B – Project One – Chunky Monkey

Hi, my name is Alexander Achcar and in robotics and mechanics class we have been working on a sumo-bot project. Through all my problems, I finally created to the best of my work, a functional robot that could move, attack, and sense using both online programming and lego/gears. Following the same general idea, I came up with 3 different prototypes that aided to my end product.

Prototype 1: My first prototype was based off of the idea to have swinging claws at the front, and a protective shield at the front to block attacks. At the start of our project, as the pictures show I had a very basic track based movement system which made my vehicle only available to move laterally, and not able to turn. I had one claw, which attached to a gearing system went back and forth, up and down. This was protected by two shields placed beside the claw to make sure that it didn’t get whacked off in the process of a fight with another robot. However, It didn’t really have a steady hold, as I will later describe in my problems section.

Prototype 2: However, I didn’t really feel satisfied with my prototype, so I took it apart but stood with my first concept of claws surrounded by shields. This time, using the same movement and buildup structure, I organised a series of claws, four to be exact, connected to the top motor that didn’t rely on gearing and instead just rotated because of the program. I then fastened a thick layer of blocks together and stuck them onto the front of the robot just under/in front of the claws. This, I then thought would be the final change to my weapon system. Then, as we were instructed to have to be able to add and remove our NXT brain, I had to create a holder to place the brain. My vehicle, already being unstable had more of a problem as the heavy block was to be added to the top of my robot. To do this, I created a flimsy, axel connected structure that could hold, and easily detach the brain, as shown in the pictures above.

Prototype 3: Lastly, my third and final prototype forced me to re-arrange the front of my robot. To start, I decided that having a gearing based weapon system would be a lot better. I took to reviewing the gearing concepts then decided on creating a gearing up concept to have the axel spinning fast, but not too strong. This would ensure to rip things at the front of the robot, as well as making it look really cool in action, as shown in the video. Then, after performing a drop test, I learned that with the brain, my robot would be insanely unsteady, and would have to make the top lighter, or the bottom heavier. I then set about adding more bricks to the bottom, both tightening the connection between top and bottom, and also making the bottom heavier, more able to support the bottom.



1: Claws (No Gearing Involved): My first problem revolved around my claws, of which were just motor based. To advance comprehension of gearing concepts, I decided to demonstrate a gearing up motion to rotate my claws back and forth. However, my robot wouldn’t work if I had to make it double sided claws, so I limited myself to using two claws, both with their independent gearing system on opposite sides of the motor which they were running on. I then connected them to base of my robot through different styled blocks, forcing the motor to just spin the axel back and forth in order to lift the claw up and down in a fast motion.

2: Weight to the top: My next problem involved my robot being too unbalanced, having most of it’s bulkiness focused at the top, and my bottom only having the wheels. THis therefor, made my robot shake from side to side when it rolled along the ground. It also made my robot potentially fall when my claws were swinging really quickly. To solve this problem, I decided to both add weight to the bottom, but also fasten the top of the robot to the bottom more tightly, ensuring that it wouldn’t sway, but hold perfectly vertical with my wheels. To do this, I took the semi-diagonal long pieces and laid them along the length of the vehicle, pegging them where I could, making the vehicle harder to sway.

3: Program: Following up, my third problem entailed the program, where I had trouble both calibrating, and thinking of what to do. To calibrate, I took the vehicle and placed sensors and took what they read on the white line surrounding the black arena, using that to make my robot turn, however, with my inability to turn, as explained in the next problem, I had nothing to do when it went backwards. Next, I made an error in my program where I accidentally made my robot do the same thing when it hit the line, and when it plain off didn’t. I also had forgot to set my robot to walk forever until I realised that I only had it running for a prolonged amount of time.

4: Not able to turn: Furthermore, my fourth problem involved my vehicle not being able to turn and change direction, this therefore made me really vulnerable to vehicles with high mobility that can turn around my robot and hit me from the side. This was because my motion was based on the the tire tracks, which rotated from the front motor, only relying on one moving axel, and the rotation of the tracks to push the second for balance. This, therefor, provided zero angle for turning since the motor would have to turn underneath the top structure, and that would both collapse and require another motor, of which I didn’t have.


Video: Robot

Unit 2: Final ShadowBox


2) I have based my story on the ideology of feng-shui, and how all houses must have windows facing the mountains and the water, so that dragons can pass through freely. My box shows a room, with a dragon passing through and exiting from the window. The dragon gets into the house because he needs to pass, and the cat (not shown) opens the window on the other side of the house for him to pass through.

3) Similarity A: It shows an animal that assumes the fore/middle ground, making it the central topic.

Similarity B: My shadow box uses two light sources, however, one of the light sources is shining brighter in the box.

Difference A: I don’t have many layers in my box, making it not very detailed. Furthermore, the layers force the light to rivet through the paper making the box look very intricate.

Difference B: I didn’t cut many holes into my paper layers, making the light echo around the box a lot less compared to Hari and Deepti’s work. This made my box a little boring, and fairly dark.

4) I think that an area of success was my plan, because I feel like it was pretty good, and made sense, however, this made my box a bit boring because I had to make my box contain more furniture, kinda cluttering my foreground. An area of improvement is in organising my layers, and making them shine with light in places that need them, and be more dim in places that don’t need them.

Shadow Box In Process

1.) Currently, I am about to start working on my foreground dragon, and that is basically the last part of my shadow box. However, I think that I could still add little things to the foreground to cover the empty space that would cover the wall.

2.) I think that I could be working faster, this is because I feel like I spent a bit too long working on my plan, and it isn’t even perfect. A challenge is getting the base to stick, but it would be solved by glue so it’s good.

G8 SS Unit 1 Summary Alexander Achcar

1.      This unit in Social Studies I think that I learned a lot. To start, I think this because of my KTW chart which has a lot of taught things, and there are still more that I can remember. However, I feel that some of the part that we studied were a little bit of a waste of time because they weren’t engaging and fun, and (or) they didn’t really apply to the test.

2.A    What I said: I hope the future units have more geography because I find it fun, and not too hard as well. I hope we have less doll investigation, because I found that to be quite boring, and I think some of my peers would agree with me.

2.B    I wrote this because I feel like I am good at Geography, and find it fun, especially because of the interaction and movement in the classroom. I wrote that the doll writing was boring because it wasn’t really something that intrigued me, and I found it really boring to fill out.

3.      I got placed in First Nations League, however, I was put in bronze because my work habits were really bad. To be honest, I think that to improve my work habits, I just need to talk less. According to the comments on my paper, I shouldn’t try to involve myself as much because I think I get really annoying sometimes.

4.      One strategy that didn’t work was trying to get my teammates to do each their own parts then split them as a group. However, a strategy that did work was getting each member to do the same things, then collaborating to maximise our knowledge on the set part.

5.      I think that my goal for the second unit is to work harder on homework assignments, and actually finish them when they are given, rather then saving them for the day before, and forgetting about them. Also, I think that I need to stop talking, and only talk when asked to.