Tuff Time #3: 26/3/15

1. What is the difference between Cherry the Soc and Cherry the dreamer:

Cherry the Soc is more self centered, and therefor more unknown to us as we haven’t really experienced much of her. For example when she told Ponyboy to leave her alone. However, I find that Cherry the Soc is a cover for her real identity which is Cherry the dreamer. I feel like she seems to see everybody as the same, in a way that she will respect all people the same, greaser or soc.

2. Are Ponyboy, Johnny, and Dally heroes? Why? Why not?:

I think that they are heroes because a criminal record shouldn’t cover up the good things that you’ve done in life. When they saved the school children, they put themselves in danger, and took a chance of dying in the flames, which evidently resulted in Johnny being critically injured, and Dally ousted.

2. How do we know that Darry does truly care for Ponyboy?:

I think that we know Darry cares for Ponyboy because in all of the times that he hasn’t shown regard for Pony, he always wants the best for him. Ponyboy doesn’t realise that the reason Darry gets so mad at him when he comes home late, or gets in danger is because Darry doesn’t want him to get hurt, and doesn’t want to lose his brother like he lost his parents. We can see this when he comes back to the hospital, and they reunite. Darry starts crying because although he didn’t cry when his parents died, he didn’t want to have to keep in his feelings on the inside anymore, and has had enough of covering up.

Tuff Time #2: 23/3/15

1: Why to you think Johnny killed Bob?:

I think that Johnny killed Bob primarily for the reason of saving Ponyboy, however, I feel that his decision was highly impacted by his impulse for revenge when the Socs beat him up.

2: What could have been some alternatives?:

I think that if Johnny had been thinking straight, and less blindly, he would have either pushed Bob into the fountain, or stabbed him in a place that wouldn’t have killed him, but hurt him still. He could have also run away, which I think he would have done if he was still the same scared kid that he was at the start of the novel. With the knife, I feel that Johnny finally started to push himself, and felt that it wasn’t necessary to stay hiding, and afraid of the Socs.

3: What do you think Ponyboy and Johnny’s situation prompter Ponyboy’s recitation of “Nothing Gold Can Stay?”:

I think that Ponyboy recited the poem because the poem means that at the start, everything is green in nature, which is perfect, but at the end, everything starts to become rotten, and all the leaves change colours. In their situation, Johnny and Ponyboy used to be the most pure in the group, and they rarely hit people with weapons, and were too scared to hold them, however, after Johnny killed Bob, they started to feel like the purity they lived through had come to an end, and that they were becoming dark people.

4: Who is innocent? Who has experience? (Including all characters):

I think that the most innocent person in the book is still Ponyboy, however, I think that I could also include Cherry in this list. However, I feel like Cherry has the most experience out of all of the introduced characters. Although she appears very innocent, I think that since she used to date Bob, she must’ve been exposed to a lot of nasty things that he’s done. While talking the Ponyboy, she says that she hates fights, which means she must’ve been exposed to them before, making her hate them a lot. As exposed at the end of chapter 5, now she’s a spy for the Greasers, meaning that she’s now seen the best of both sides of the gang war. Another person who has experience is Dally, because as the book constantly says, he cares for his family, and at a young age, he is the caretaker of his two younger brothers.

Reflection Post

I learned that depending on the identity of a person, usually associated with gender or (and) nationality, they will act differently, either really sensitive, or not sensitive at all. For example, in one case, someone was very sensitive about an issue of prejudice regarding sexism, because of her gender, and of how she thought it affected the world (as far as I understood). I think that my opinion has changed a lot because before, I thought that prejudice was a way that someone could hurt you, however, now I understand that prejudice is when someone has done or said something that has hurt you.


1.) How does race shape the way we see ourselves and others?

I think that if you fit yourself into the stereotype of the race that you are under, then you will be judged on how that race acts. However, if you see yourself as someone who is the same as everyone else, regardless of race, you, along with all of the people around you will think the same.

2.) To what extent do our ideas about race influence the choices we make?

I think that depending on how you see yourself, you will make choices with regard to how others will view you doing it. For example, if you are a really fat person, surrounded by other fat people, you won’t mind about your eating habits, but if you’re around people who are all skinny/fit, then you’ll try to act differently, to detach yourself from the category of just another fat kid.

Tuff Time #1: 19/3/15

1: Are the Socs and Greasers really that different? Why? Why not?:

In my opinion, I think that the socs and the greasers are a lot more different than the character named ‘Cherry’ says. Although I can recognise the similarities, such as going to school and a certain admiration for different things. I feel that the Socs, as individuals or small groups act in a way that shows that they don’t care about anything, and don’t ever think about the people that they cause harm. However, the Greasers as a group on the other hand, are a lot more hesitant in their actions, and do things that are more based on self defence, despite the few greasers that are very rebellious and ritually do bad things which land them in jail.

2: Are there any connection you can make to any of the characters and/or their situation?:

Personally, I feel that a connection I can hold with Ponyboy is that sometimes I can feel really unwanted, but not in a sense where you think people don’t care for you, but in the sense that at that given moment in time, you just aren’t wanted, and the people around you don’t want you there. In the book, Ponyboy feels like one of his brothers, Sodapop, is really kind to him, and always sticks up for his younger brother. However, Pony feels like his oldest brother, Darry, doesn’t care about him at all, and wishes that he wasn’t there, superficially at least. That’s where I can also connect, my oldest brother is sometimes neglectful of me, but my sister is always there to stick up for me, and if I ever get in trouble, my sister will always be there to help me feel better.

Government Unit – Social Studies

1.) How do you feel you did on the Government Unit?:

I think that I did pretty well, judging that I got an ME on all of the summative tests, besides the test that I got an AE, of which I cancelled out. Preceding the summative paper tests, I think I did a mediocre job on my PSA, due to the low quality, unnecessary pictures.

2.) What would you do differently next time?:

I think that next time, I would try to study more. Although I studied for the tests, I found that the majority of my notes were bad notes, due to the fact that I was mindlessly writing them, with no interest. However, I feel like if I take notes with more thoughts, I would be able to create questions to broaden my thoughts, therefor engaging me into the topic more.

3.a) What study strategies worked best for you?:

I think that a study strategy that worked was writing my notes on notecards. Although I didn’t look over them that much (main focus of using notecards.), I found that when writing on notecards, at least for me, I like to compactly write down my notes, forcing me to reread and move my words around, making me remember what I write in a more solid fashion.

3.b) What strategies didn’t work?:

A strategy that didn’t work was reading the textbook to study. Personally, I find that this unit wasn’t the most entertaining, and the textbook always holds a lot of facts that aren’t really needed. This therefor, made me reluctant to read the textbook, sometimes leaving me to guess things on the tests, which led me to a wrong answer on most of the times.

4.) Next time there is a test, how will you prepare?:

Next time we have a test, I will take more vivid note cards to study, rather than having a handful of broad, useless facts on the card. This will make me more interested in learning about the unit, which will most likely make me do better on the tests.

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.

Robotics Free Choice Project Blog

Intro: Hello, my name is Alexander Achcar and this is my robotics blog for the second half of the semester. This quarter, we have been building a project of free choice. My partner and I chose to build a hot chocolate machine.

Youtube Inspiration:


Matthew and Alex-1 Matthew and Alex-2



Prototype 1:

We began by building separate parts at the start. I worked on the conveyor belt, whilst my partner, Matthew, worked on the mechanical arm. After the first class, he finished working on the arm, while I had the basic layout, and the wheels set in the conveyor belt. The next day however, we found that after putting the belt around the wheels, that the belt wouldn’t turn without wheels, leaving our conveyor belt useless.

Prototype 2:

After destroying our belt, we recreated it using gears to line the wheels, forcing them to all turn at the same time, of which seemed like a good idea. Later on, when testing we noticed that each time we turned the gears, either it would be really stiff, and not move, or it would instantly snap a smaller gear off, and result in the wheels not in the first row to not even function at all. This led us to question whether our gear design was a good idea. We kept on working on it, this time we took longer bricks and placed them on top of the gear support, which led to the strength of the gear structure. The gears still popped off, however, this time they popped out forwards or backwards, making us have to break apart the belt to retrieve pieces from inside the belt, therefor burning quite a bit of time trying to reinforce. We took this opportunity to delete the program, and start from scratch, this time switching from ultrasonic sensors, to a more efficient, colour sensor to locate the blue mug.

Prototype 3:

We then took apart the entire structure of the belt, this time using a different type of wheels that matched the belt structure better. This ran smoothly the first time we tried to spin the belt. However, we frequently noticed it starting to stiffen, and struggle to turn the belt. This led us to abandon the main structure, leaving us with just a little bit of time. We looked back at our blueprints, and noticed that with the amount of time left, it would be very hard to put together the conveyor belt again. We reviewed the arm, and while trying to program, I realised that the arm didn’t function properly, and needed to be changed. I then deleted the section of the program that functioned the arm. Leaving us with nothing that actually worked, with one period to remain.

Prototype 4:

We completely abandoned our belt, breaking it. However, we took the essential, non-moving parts, including the base of the mixer, which we surrounded with blocks and turned into a new structure, technically creating a new project from scratch. We then decided that with the time due, creating a new mixer would also take time. Thinking back on what an actual, real-life hot chocolate maker did, we used the mixer, and connected a button onto the main structure, turning it into a blender that we could hook onto a larger lego structure, only requiring that you lift it off, then click the button when the blender part is above/inside the cup. We noted that if we put the cup in, we could just have it not move. This led us to putting motors on both side, of which activated with buttons, dropped the components of hot chocolate into the cup. We tested the motor and found it to work smoothly, only needing to have a program to function the droppers.


Problem 1:

The first problem we ran into was when our belt didn’t move, first without gears, leading us to then implement gears into the main structure. We used the gears to attempt to turn all of the inner wheels in unison, which we thought would move all of the wheels at the same time. However, we led to noticing that the gears would snap every time we tried to turn them, leaving the actual mechanism useless in every way besides the actual lego structure that we built. This led us to destroying the entire conveyor belt to start anew.

Problem 2:

Our next problem was not really our fault, however, my partner found that a group from the other period had taken some of our pieces, and had been using our blueprint. At first, this didn’t bother us, but when they took a part of our conveyor belt, we got agitated and became frustrated at the fact that a pair of people we don’t even know had been stealing our work, as well as a portion of our project, which at the time, was desperately needed to make our main mechanism work. We therefor spent time trying to find pieces that were stolen from us, effectively making us waste time.

Problem 3:

Our third problem was the program not working. My program was basically a wait timer functioned to start the program once it noticed something in front of it. Once I actually loaded the program onto a brain, we saw that the actual program didn’t work, and it simply shut off. This made it useless, and while I new how to fix it, we noticed that it was flawed, because if we programmed the mixer to turn, then the mixer itself had to be placed inside the cup, of which it wasn’t, and in contrast, it was above it.

Problem 4:

Generally, our fourth problem was the lack of time that we had to work on this project. We first selected it because we didn’t notice the fact that we could make mistakes in the construction, deemed the easiest part of this project in our heads. Thinking it would be easy, we took our time working on the conveyor belt, not overlooking the gears that were stiff, or broken, of which made our belt not work at all. Then, when given less time to work on the other parts of the machine, we didn’t have the amount of time that we should’ve spent on making our mixer work, of which it didn’t due to the poor structure and weakness of the turning speed. With one period to go, we realised that our project was unfinished, and could use a lot more work.


Video of the Blog:


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.