The Diary of a Young Girl (Extended) Book Reflection (Book #17 [equivalent 36 and 37])

Book # 36, 37                                    Words:  130,263                                           

Title:  The Diary of a Young Girl (Extended)                                    

Author:   Anne Frank, Otto H. Frank , Mirjam Pressler

Genre ~ Non-Fiction / Fiction Type:   Non-fiction

                                                                           

  • Opening Sentence: “I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.”
  • Favourite word / phrase / sentence: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” 
  • Vocabulary and new terms (with part of speech) and definition:
    Emigrate: (v.) Leave one’s country
    Carillon: (n.) Sound of Bells
  • Reflection, Connection & Personal Response: The content of this book, the message it carries, and what it’s about is quite self explanatory. Therefore, in this book reflection, I would like to talk about how wonderful I think it is to have someone so normal, just a normal teenage girl get noticed for something she would never have expected to be recognised for. Recently, Jennifer Aniston was complimented and well noted by the people because she helped an aged lady pick up her dog’s poo. But, I was not quite touched. Many people help the elderly. Many people help other take care of their pets. Many people do simple great things. But not many get noticed, just because they are not well known. If Jennifer Aniston was not a celebrity, no one would have known that she helped an elderly. This book, this diary, shows how such simple things could be noticed. I believe that today, we need more of that. We need more people getting noticed for their generosity. Most of the times, the poor people are the nicest people. Celebrities often fake actions to be noticed and to obviously gather more fans. Anne Frank wrote a diary during the hardest time in her life. Who would have known that could become so viral? Her diary, her love, her maturity should be an inspiration for all people.

Virolution Book Reflection (Book #18 [equivalent 33,34,35])

Book # 33, 34, 35                                                                                   

Words: 152311                                        

 Title:  Virolution                                                                Author:       Frank Ryan               

Genre ~ Non-Fiction / Fiction Type:   Scientific, Historical, Non-Fiction                                                                 

  • Opening Sentence: “I am quite sure that our views on evolution would be very different had biologists studied genetics and natural selection before and not after most of them were convinced evolution had occurred”
  • Favourite word / phrase / sentence: “Viruses did not need to wait for the arrival of bacteria”
  • Vocabulary and new terms (with part of speech) and definition:
    codon (n.) Genetics
    autoimmune (adj.) Pertaining immune response
    manifest (v.) to make clear to the eye
    genome (n.) Set of Chromosomes
    embryological (n.) the science dealing with the formation, development, structure, and functional activities of embryos.
  • Reflection, Connection & Personal Response: This book was actually very interesting to read, because it demonstrates and talks about the evolution of human through genetics and viruses that have passed down. It was more interesting to read now because a disease called ebola  is going around the world. It is a deadly disease that almost guarantees deaths once you are diagnosed the illness. This book talks about how the scientists deciphered human genetics in order to figure out the cause of the disease and possibly the cure. It redefines the science of diseases and their evolution. It got me thinking about how ebola started and how it spread. So I continued this with a little bit of research about how ebola started. Turns out that it started from bats and their poo. Their excretions consist of the viruses within ebola, and one of them had emptied itself on a vegetable. A young girl had consumed that vegetable and died of ebola. That’s how ebola started up and began to spread to other people.
    Although this book was very informative and new (because it looks at diseases from a whole different view) it was harder for me to understand because it uses a lot of scientific languages and experiments that were difficult to follow and understand. I usually don’t read books related to science because it’s always so literal, but this book contained lots of opinions from the author it made it a lot more engaging. I can connect to eh scientists within this book and how they want to decipher every problem and sickness. I wish I had the ability to do that with people’s emotions so I know exactly what to do in order to make them happy.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Book Reflection (Book#17 [equivalent 31-32])

Book #31-32                           Words: ~100,000                     Date: May 2015

 Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Author: Rowling, J.K.

Genre ~ Fantasy

Opening Sentence:

Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways.

Favourite word / phrase / sentence:

“It took Harry several days to get used to his strange new freedom. Never before had he been able to get up whenever he wanted or eat whatever he fancied. He could even go wherever he pleased, so long as it was in Diagon Alley.”

Vocabulary and new terms (with part of speech) and definition:

Silhouette (n.) – the dark shape and outline of someone or something visible in restricted light against a brighter background.
Tawny (n.) – of an orange-brown or yellowish-brown colour.

Ogle (v.) – stare at in a lecherous manner.

Bedlam (adj.) – thrust or spread (things, especially limbs or fingers) out and apart.

Menagerie (n.) – a collection of wild animals kept in captivity for exhibition.

Matron (v.) – a woman in charge of domestic and medical arrangements at a boarding school or other institution.

Dilapidated (n.) – (of a building or object) in a state of disrepair or ruin as a result of age or neglect.

Apoplectic (adj.) – overcome with anger; furious.

 Reflection, Connection & Personal Response: 
At the beginning of the semester, I expressed interest in reading more fantasy books, as I usually don’t read fantasy books (I go for non-fiction or mystery more often). I decided that this would be a great chance to jump back into the fantasy genre. I read the entire Harry Potter series when I was around eight, but my level of comprehension was very different than now, and I forgot everything about the book anyway. The third book of the series is called “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”, which is the one I chose to read this time. I always like reading J.K. Rowling’s books because her description is so vivid and strong which really allows the reader to create a picture in their mind of what’s going on, and the interpretation of the reader and what’s happening would probably be very similar as to the image she was trying to express.
I’ve also watched the movie when it came out around five years ago, and I found it extremely interesting to read and remember what was in the movie, because some of the things that happened were very different. I was around addicted to reading Harry Potter at the time; I read around five books within a short mid-term break while I was in Taiwan. I also watched the movie right after reading the book, as the hotel provided them. Also, my interpretation of what happened was different than the director’s, which also made it interesting to watch.
I really like J.K. Rowling’s writing techniques in this novel. Sentence variation was common in the book, which kept me engaged. I also really liked the word choice in some sentences. It wasn’t overly used in like in some adult books. One example of a sentence I really like is ” Knowing Hermione, he was sure it would be a large book full of very difficult spells – but it wasn’t. His heart gave a huge bound as he ripped back the paper and saw a sleek black leather case, with silver words stamped across it, reading Broomstick Servicing Kit.” The imagery that comes out from this description is very strong. 
Therefore, I really liked this book and I think I will continue reading the books next year. You may also notice that I don’t read this books in order, but it doesn’t really matter because I know all the big events anyways.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Book Reflection (Book#16 [equivalent 26-30])

Book #26                           Words: ~200,000                     Date: April 2015

 Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Author: Rowling, J.K.

Genre ~ Fantasy

Opening Sentence:

The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane.

Favourite word / phrase / sentence:

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” 

Vocabulary and new terms (with part of speech) and definition:

Prat (n.) – an incompetent or stupid person; an idiot.
Waxwork (n.) – a lifelike dummy modelled in wax.

Holey (n.) – allowing for passage in and out.

Splay (v.) – thrust or spread (things, especially limbs or fingers) out and apart.

Bloke (n.) – a man.

Hallow (v.) – honour as holy

Combatant (n.) – a person or nation engaged in fighting during a war.

Tawdry (adj.) – showy but cheap and of poor quality.

 Reflection, Connection & Personal Response: 
At the beginning of the semester, I expressed interest in reading more fantasy books, as I usually don’t read fantasy books (I go for non-fiction or mystery more often). I decided that this would be a great chance to jump back into the fantasy genre. I read the entire Harry Potter series when I was around eight, but my level of comprehension was very different than now, and I forgot everything about the book anyway. The last book of the series is called “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, which is the one I chose to read this time. I really liked it because I found it as if I was connected with the characters again, and J.K. Rowling’s description is so vivid and strong which really allows the reader to create a picture in their mind of what’s going on, and the interpretation of the reader and what’s happening would probably be very similar as to the image she was trying to express.
I’ve also watched the movie when it first came out, and I found it extremely interesting to read and remember what was in the movie, because some of the things that happened were very different. Also, my interpretation of what happened was different than the director’s, which also made it interesting to watch.
I really like J.K. Rowling’s writing techniques in this novel. Sentence variation was common in the book, which kept me engaged. I also really liked the word choice in some sentences. It wasn’t overly used in like in some adult books. One example of a sentence I really like is ” These furious thoughts whirled around in Harry’s head, and his insides writhed with angry as a sultry, velvety night fell around him, the air full of the smell of warm, dry grass and the only sound that of the low grumble of traffic on the road beyond the park railings.” The imagery that comes out from this description is very strong. 
Therefore, I really liked this book and I think I will make my goal to read one more Harry Potter book before the end of the year.

Science PBL Standard 2

Thinking, Questioning, and Ideas:

That was a video of what we thought about during our brainstorming part of the project. Eventually, we came down to three ideas: a hot air balloon, a hydro-powered perpetual motion machine, and a wind turbine. My partner Ryan and I wanted to experiment with renewable sources of energy without flooding our project and possibly damaging it (like we did last year). Therefore, we chose the wind turbine. To show that out wind turbine creates electricity, we were originally going to power a strand of Christmas lights that were decorated on a Christmas tree. Because we weren’t sure how much electricity our windmill could create, we then thought of different questions we needed to search up in order to build our windmill. Some of these questions include:

What is inside wind turbines?

How do the rotation of the blades generate electricity?

What are the best blade designs?

How much copper wire is needed to create voltage?

How do you cut PVC pipes?

We needed to research in order to plan and design how our windmill is going to work and what it’s going to be made of. We didn’t even know how it generates electricity at the start.

Design:

IMG_2951

This is a picture of our different designs we came up with. As we researched and tried to build, we changed our designs to try and make our project work. Our initial design is design 1, with a handmade generator as well as the Christmas lights. Later, after we realized there were problems with the generator, we had to scrap it because it would take too much time to rebuild, and it may not work again. A big problem was it generated no electricity, which was caused by a series of smaller problems, including too large a space between the copper wire and magnet, not enough wire around the magnets, and turning speed of the magnets had to be extremely high. We were forced to use a DC motor to help create electricity. The components of a DC motor and a hand-made generator are similar, and we thought it would be useful. It worked well, but it was hard to incorporate inside our machine. This led to our third design. We managed to put the gears back in to generate more electricity, and it was the easiest way to fit the motor inside. We also used a voltmeter instead of the lights (already done in design 2) because all we wanted to do was prove that it could produce electricity, as making it create enough to light a bulb or do anything could be challenging, especially since we didn’t solder our wires very well. Materials are labelled on the image above with changes we made on the side.

Build:

We failed to create a successful windmill. We have proved that we can produce electricity with our windmill, but we did not manage to assemble it. Here were the following problems:

1. The hot glue wasn’t strong enough to hold the blades together for more than 12 hours, so when we came in the next day to work on the windmill we had to start from scratch again

2. There was a shortage of hot glue which gave us a small amount of glue to use for assembling

3. The exact measurements weren’t made properly to ensure proper fitting of the motor and gears (to made a piece of cardboard 0.3 cm thinner is not very easy…)

Watch the video in the next section to see how our apparatus would’ve created electricity.

IMG_2955 IMG_2958

 

Test and Results:

Here is a video of us testing our gears and motors to make sure that they do generate electricity. The evidence is on the voltmeter screen with varying amounts of electricity as we spin at different speeds.

Answers to questions:

  1. How did you use the design cycle in your testing and refinement? -Test and Results
    The design cycle was used to try and make improvements. On our first try the generator didn’t work. We had no idea what the problem was, but the only logical problem was that the copper and magnets weren’t close enough. We tried using a DC motor as part of our project and it created almost four times the amount of electricity! With innovation, revisiting researched concepts, and playing around with the design, we came to a model that would work. Sadly, we didn’t have enough time to complete the project.
  2. Evaluate the effectiveness of your model.
    Our windmill wasn’t very effective. Even if the blades were attached well onto the shaft, the amount of generated electricity would be only around one volt. It’s a very small source of energy and we realized how difficult it is to create energy from a non-renewable source.
  3. What did you learn about your machine that was “deeper or more effective learning while developing your model?
    What we learnt about our machine was that the blades were too heavy. Because of the concept of inertia, it would be very difficult for wind to spin the PVC blades. If we had more time, we would have made them more aerodynamic so they could spin faster. Also, we learnt more about how to build a generator. The gap between the magnets and the copper wire was too large, and we didn’t have enough time to make a new one, so we used a DC motor.
  4. If you had the chance to do this project again, what would you do differently?
    What we would do differently is:
    a. Use a lighter blade material: increase speed of rotation to generate electricity
    b. Get a stronger adhesive: to decrease the chance of the materials falling apart
    c. Make the gap between magnets and copper in the generator as small as possible: putting the copper within a the stronger part of the magnetic field to generate more electricity
    d. Do a better soldering job: increase the flow of electrons/make it easy for them to flow
  5. Discuss how this project helped you better understand the meaning and importance of creativity, resilience and collaboration for success.
    This project helped me better understand the meaning and importance of these things. This is because without them, we wouldn’t be able to solve problems that we encountered in our projects, and barely any work would have been accomplished. Even though our project wasn’t 100% successful, we did manage to create energy using research we’ve done.

Communication of Results:

We’ve made a presentation in class about how our windmill would work and how electricity would be made with our DC motor. We did not successfully make a model, so we don’t have a video to show except for proof that the parts we would assemble that make electricity function as designed.

Here is a video of our presentation:

 

The House of the Scorpion Mid-Book Reflection (Book #15 [equivalent 25])

Book #25-26                          

Words: 100214                    

Date: March 2015

Title: The House of the Scorpion

Author: Farmer, Nancy

Genre ~ Dystopian

Opening Sentence:

In the beginning there were thirty-six of them, thirty-six droplets of life so tiny that Eduardo could see them only under a microscope. He studied them anxiously in the darkened room.

Favourite word / phrase / sentence:

“I’ve never lied to you, and I don’t intend to start now. The important thing is, you’ve escaped. You’re the one possession El Patrón let slip through his fingers.”

Vocabulary and new terms (with part of speech) and definition:

Deliberation (n.) – thoughtfulness in decision or action

Eejit (n.) – people with computer chips in their brains

Harbored (v.) – to hold persistently in the mind, to remember

Inferior (n./adj.) – a low rank, of poor quality, or of little or less importance

Aristocrat (n.) – a member of the ruling class of society or the nobility/one to be believed superior

Lackey (n.) – someone who always listens to someone else and does whatever that person says

Keening (n.) – a loud, wailing lament for the dead

Laudanum (n.) – a drug used to make people sleepy or drunk

Oblivion (n.) – a place like space or an alternate reality

Purgatory (n.) – a place or condition of suffering, expiation, or remorse

Ricochet (adj.) – bounce off a surface

Swanky (adj.) – imposingly fashionable and elegant

 Reflection, Connection & Personal Response: 

I haven’t finished the book yet, but I’m almost done. I find it a very well-written book because it shows the change going on over the years as Matt grows into a teenager. He experiences lots of things as a clone, and we get to learn about how people can be mistreated. I think this is relatable to our current studies in social studies. In SS class, we’re starting our study on slavery and the civil rights movement. I feel like exploiting blacks is almost the same as exploiting clones. They’re both still humans. I hate to see how Matt could just be treated badly just because he’s a copy of someone. I don’t see that as being “fake” or anything.

I also like the book as it ends because it is a really emotional moment.

Because I haven’t finished it, I will make a few predictions:

Matt will end up finding Maria again.
There will be a long journey to get to Colorado.
Matt may see Tam Lin again.

The Joy of Mathematics Book Reflection (Book #14 [equivalent 24])

Book #24                           Words: N/A                     Date: March 2015

 Title: The Joy of Mathematics

Author: Pappas, Theoni

Genre ~ Non-Fiction

Opening Sentence:

The Joy of Mathematics and More Joy of Mathematics unveil concepts, ideas, questions, history, problems, and pastimes which reveal the influence and nature of mathematics.

Favourite word / phrase / sentence:

N/A

Vocabulary and new terms (with part of speech) and definition:

Heximanoes (n.) – An hexamino is a flat object composed of six square units

 Reflection, Connection & Personal Response: 

I enjoyed reading this book because I enhanced by understanding of cool mathematical concepts. I learnt about the history of math and it was interesting to learn about old findings. Not only did I learn about new concepts/formulas, but I also learnt a lot more about older concepts.

One of the interesting things that I learnt is that one point on a rolling circle travels at different speeds as it moves horizontally.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Book Reflection (Book #13 [equivalent 18-23])

Book #18-23

Words: 257,045

Date: March 2015

Title: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Author: Rowling, J.K.

Genre ~ Fantasy Fiction

Opening Sentence:

The hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet Drive.

Favourite word / phrase / sentence:
“These furious thoughts whirled around in Harry’s head, and his insides writhed with angry as a sultry, velvety night fell around him, the air full of the smell of warm, dry grass and the only sound that of the low grumble of traffic on the road beyond the park railings.”

Vocabulary and new terms (with part of speech) and definition:
Squib (n.) – a person who is non-magical but born to at least one magical parent
Feeble (adj.) – lacking physical strength

Reflection, Connection & Personal Response:
The Harry Potter series is the only complete fantasy series of books that I’ve ever read. I’ve read the whole series a long time ago; when I was around eight years old. It’s been a long time since I’ve read the books, so I decided to revisit the Harry Potter books. The first book I grabbed on the shelf was “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”, which is the fifth book in the series. It seemed like the most action packed book to me (since it was the thickest one out of the six that were there), so I picked it. I once again became familiar with the characters, and I felt like I was really connected with the stories again.
Since I’ve also watched the movie, I found it extremely interesting to read and remember what was in the movie, because some of the things that happened were very different. A lot of parts from the book were skipped in the movie, which was disappointing. Also, the way the author painted a picture in my mind was different from what the movie showed, which confused me at times.
I really like J.K. Rowling’s writing techniques in this novel. Sentence variation was common in the book, which kept me engaged. I also really liked the word choice in some sentences. It wasn’t overly used in like in some adult books. One example of a sentence I really like is ” These furious thoughts whirled around in Harry’s head, and his insides writhed with angry as a sultry, velvety night fell around him, the air full of the smell of warm, dry grass and the only sound that of the low grumble of traffic on the road beyond the park railings.” The imagery that comes out from this description is very vivid. Something I think that could be improved is to make some time changes obvious. Sometimes its unclear how long things have passed, and suddenly the text shows you it’s an hour later when you would think it’s only been five minutes, or the other way around.
Therefore, I really liked this book and I think I will continue reading other Harry Potter books again.

PBL (Science) Plan for Feb 24 – 26

Feb 24 –

Task 1. Use copper wire and the neodymium magnets to check whether it generates electricity easily

Task 2. Fix magnet shaft and gather cardboard

Task 3. Research what curves to use when he cut the PVC tubes

Task 4. Start building the generator

Feb 25 –

Task 1. Complete building the generator

Task 2. Test the generator with the Christmas lights

Task 3. Start building the gearbox

Feb 26 –

Task 1. Complete building the gearbox

Task 2. Cut open the PVC tubes to make the blades

Task 3 (we might not get to). Finish building the PVC structure (including melting)