PBL Final Reflection

Which of these strengths do you see in yourself during PBL? How? Why?

I think that one of the most prominent traits I had during PBL was perseverance. This is as I constantly faced a lot of obstacles and drawbacks when building my apparatus as what I thought theoretically could work, was not often the case when I actually tested it. I also had to continue to push back against the obstacles and not just give up which became increasingly difficult as I faced more and more problems. Although I did not achieve my desired results of my original idea, this project helped build up and develop better my perseverance.

During this project I was often curious about everything I was doing. This is as I generally had never used thermoelectric coolers before and I had to learn how they worked and how to use them efficiently. As I studied more into the topic, I became interested in learning about thermoelectric coolers and how other innovators used them to create new inventions.

Why is collaboration and teamwork so important in problem solving?

This is because without collaboration you would not be able to even be close to being able to solve the problem. This is as if your group does not cooperate well together, there would probably be a lot of arguing happening and not much would be able to get done. If you are able to collaborate together, you would be able to listen to everyones’ ideas and decide the most effective way into solving the problem.

Teamwork is also extremely important as if everyone would just work individually by themselves and not work together as one. Although one person might be able to accomplish the task by himself, the other members of the team could be struggling and need some help with that same task as they have different strengths. Teamwork is not just about working together but it is also playing on people’s strengths instead of their weaknesses.

Which video do you like the most? Why? How does it relate to your PBL?

I really liked the video about the minions trying to get the lightbulb working. I think that it applies to the process of my project because they had to keep trying to reach the light bulb and had to continuously change their original plan.  Throughout the process they faced different challenges that were probably not expected and eventually had to find a creative solution to solve their problem. My project was similar as I did face many difficulties and had to keep finding temporary solutions for my problems.

PBL Apparatus Reflection

What it is, Energy Transfers & Conclusion Drawn

How my apparatus works:

So once you sit on the TEC (Thermal Electric Cooler) the side your butt is closest to becomes hotter and the electrons begin to move from that side downwards to the cooler side of the TEC which is by the heat sink. This movement of electrons is how electricity is generated in my TEC.

PBL Building Part 1

IMG_0320 What does your apparatus do?

Right now my apparatus does not do anything as I am still trying to get all my parts working and ready to assemble. I have two thermal electric generators which I have hooked up together and covered in foil to get more insulation, a dismantled phone charger plug and an office chair which is still in good condition.
b.) Where are you at now?

I am on the verge of completing the hardest part of my apparatus. This is as I have to disassemble my phone charger plug and managed to get two thermal electric generators connected together so there are only two wires as the output. So it would generate more electricity that can charge a phone.

c.) What do you need to get/do to get it done by next Day6 (ish)?

First and foremost, I must first get the thermal electric generators hooked up to my dismantled phone plug and test to see when the thermal electric generators generate electricity, whether or not my phone charges.


I also need to dismantle the office chair I plan to use to put the thermal electric generators in and re cover it with fleece to hopefully make the thermal electric generators more efficient.


I also need to find out how I can make the thermal electric generators more efficient which means I have to find out how to make the difference in the hot side and the cool side bigger.


PBL: Design –> Build

1) Where have we been? As I worked alone, I generated a few ideas before deciding on my final idea. Some of my ideas included: using the heat generated from sitting to charge a phone, creating a solar powered tent, using walking to turn wind turbines that will generate electricity. I finally decided on using my first idea of the heat generated that goes to a chair to charge a phone.   2) Where are we going? Photo on 13-2-15 at 11.51 AMI have finished creating my first draft of my design but I have not begun to build yet. I am currently conducting some tests to find out how to insulate the thermal electric generator better so that it will retain the heat generated from sitting and be more effective. I have used a thermal probe to do this to model the thermal electric generator and asked a person to sit on the probe for about 10 minutes. I then have changed the variables a bit to see if it will increase or decrease the amount of heat generated. For example: I have wrapped the probe in aluminium foil to see if it will help insulate the probe better. I plan to also wrap the probe in fleece material and try to have an air gap around it to see what happens.   3) Next Steps I think my next step would be to finish gathering all my materials as I have not begun to attain them. I would also continue to run tests so that when I have obtained my thermal electric generator, I will be able to know how to efficiently insulate it and get the most out of the produced by sitting.

Direct Current Motor

First, we tightly wound the wire around a pen leaving about 5cm of extra wire on either side.We then created an axis out of the two paperclips and taped them to the sides of the foam cup, this made an axis in which we put the tightly coiled copper wire on. One of the magnets went underneath the cup while the other above.

Already, even without electricity the magnet generates a magnetic field. Then we connected the motor to the power source it created a complete circuit and the electricity started to move through to coils. So when we turned the coil, the electrons began to move inside of the wire and created a second magnetic field. It also starts to interact with the magnet’s magnetic field. The motor is able to continue to spin because of the constant magnetic repulsion and attraction of the two magnetic fields. For example if the magnet was positively charged and the side nearest to the magnet is also positively charged, there is going to be a positive attraction. But as the magnet pulls the positively charged side of the coiled wire down, the negative side of the coiled wire is closest to the magnet and creates a repulsion. This continues as long as there is electricity flowing through the complete circuit, if the circuit was broken then the motor will stop turning.This is also known as electromagnetic induction.

After that we began to experiment to see if we could find out how much electricity was generated from moving the copper coils through the magnetic field. We plugged it in to a measuring terminal to calculate how much voltage was created. We then turned the coil by twisting the wire with our hands. This is also moving the electrons and changing the copper atoms in relation to the magnet’s magnetic field which means that the reading on the measuring terminal goes up and down depending on the speed were turning the wire at. This worked as all that is needed to create electricity is to get electrons moving, so with the attraction and repulsion to the magnet’s magnetic field, it generates movement among the copper electrons.

Rube Goldberg – Waffle Making

Types of Energy We Used:

  • Kinetic Energy (With the ball rolling down the ramp, batter flowing down)
  • Gravitational Potential Energy (Before the car started rolling down the ramp)
  • Heat Energy (To cook our waffles)
  • Electric Energy (To generate heat to cook our waffles)


Types of Energies That Were Not Needed In Our Rube Goldberg

  • Sound Energy (A result of the car slamming the waffle iron shut)
  • Heat Energy (Excess energy that was released as a result from kinetic energy)


Transfers of Energies

  1. Electric energy transferred to heat energy that was used to cook our waffles
  2. Wind energy transferred to kinetic energy to push our boat across the water
  3. Gravitational potential energy transferred to kinetic to energy when the ball went down the ramp
  4. Gravitational potential energy transferred to kinetic energy when the car went down the ramp
  5. Gravitation potential energy transferred to kinetic energy when the container holding our batter tipped over
  6. Kinetic energy transferred to sound energy when the moving car closed the waffle iron

Energies Used in Our Rube Goldberg Machine


Our Rube Goldberg Machine in Action