PBL – Final Reflection

VIA Strengths: Which ones did you see in yourself during PBL? How and why?

I saw perseverance in myself. This is our project didn’t work even though we tried multiple plans. Although the first, second, third, fourth etc. plans didn’t work, we continued to try and make the battery work to light up an LED. I also saw teamwork in myself. This is because our group always worked together to try and make the plan work. Most of the time, no one was doing nothing. Everyone was always doing one part of the plan.

Why is collaboration and teamwork important in problem solving?

I think that it is important in problem solving because you have different people thinking of solutions. If you work by yourself, you may look over a key part of the problem. Furthermore, if you work with different people, they may find a creative or more effective way to figure out the problem. The more effective way could save you a lot of time and energy. If people work together in problem solving, you may be able to solve the problem faster because you have multiple brains thinking about the same problem.

Which video do you like the most? Why?

I liked this video because I think that it summed up my PBL group. If the Adrienne, Julia and me worked alone but on the same project, we wouldn’t have a lot of ideas on how to progress if our apparatus didn’t work. We wouldn’t have found different plans for the battery. Because we worked together, we were able to stand together as a group and try to solve the problem. Although in the video, the ants, crabs and penguins succeeded, unlike us, they had to work together. Adrienne, Julia and I worked together and we were close to finishing our project we had more time and the right materials.

PBL Blog Update 1

1). Where have we been?

Julia, Adrienne and I have decided to build a lamp that is powered by a homemade battery. The homemade battery is an aluminium can that has two thick rubber bands around it and encircled with a thin copper sheet. Around the aluminium can and copper is a salt and water solution. We have a draft of the blueprint on what we want our project to be.

2). Where are we going?

We are going to finish getting our materials for our project such as the thin copper sheets and the wooden board. Then, we are going to drill small holes to hold the lights and test the salt to water ratio to light the lightbulb. We may need to spend more time figuring out the salt to water ratio to make the battery function correctly.

3). Materials? Who’s doing what?


5 alligator clips
4 copper sheets
4 containers
4 aluminium cnas
8 thick rubber hair ties
24 (at least) tablespoons of salt
1 wooden board
4 lightbulbs
1 metal stand

Adrienne will be getting the containers, Julia will be getting the aluminium cans and rubber hair ties, and I will be getting the thin copper sheets. The rest of the materials can be provided by the school. We will all help to build our project.

Motor and Generator Building

Nate, James, Adrienne and I made a DC motor and generator.
We built the motor by first, coiling a piece of copper wire around whiteboard marker. We then pulled the wire off and tied the wire three times on each side of the coils. They had to be parallel so that the wires on the sides are straight. Next, we took a foam cup and put two magnets, one on top and on on the bottom. The magnet on the bottom was to hold the top magnet in place. Afterwards, we straightened two paperclips until the formed a ‘p’. We had to straighten it slowly so the paperclip would not break. Then, we put the paperclips on opposite sides of the foam cup. Finally, we scraped off the thin plastic layer on the wire and put the coil in the middle of the paper clips so that metal was touching metal. When we clipped the alligator clips onto the paperclips, the circuit was complete. So when we turned the transformer on, there was a magnetic field around the coil and because of the attraction and repulsion of the two magnetic fields, the coil spun.

After, we made the motor into a generator. In the DC motor, to create electricity, you made the coil have a magnetic field by connecting electricity to the paperclips. For the motor to become a generator, the generator doesn’t use electricity and instead, produces electricity. So to make our motor become a generator, we rolled the flat part of the coiled wired between our fingers and so the wire ‘spun’. Then, we attached the sticks of the volt meter to the paperclips but the sticks couldn’t touch the foam cup. After, we measured the number of volts the generator made which was electricity and could then be used. You could also move the magnet around to create a magnet field and create electricity but it would be much less efficient.

Rube Goldberg Machine

The point of our Rube Goldberg machine was to bring anything to your chair without getting up. The person sitting would push a small car down a ramp at a small angle so the car would not have too much potential energy to push the dominos out of the way. This was our first transfer. When the car rolled down the ramp, there was a gravitational energy transfer. Then, the kinetic energy that was in the car was transferred to the dominos to push them down. After the car pushed down the dominos, they fell down which was also a gravitational energy transfer. The kinetic energy that was in the dominos was enough to tip the weight balanced on the dominos to fall down and hit the scissor. This was also a gravitational energy transfer. The scissor cut the string that was wrapped around the metal pole of the zip line keeping the cup with the phone from going down the zip line. After the string was cut, the string unraveled and flew down to your chair. Unfortunately, we were not able to have a third energy transfer because we were short on time. We were going to shoot a rubber band at the car to make it move so the rubber band would be elastic potential but we forgot. However, we did have 5 transfers.