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Lauren Hsieh

Earthquakes PBL

This project's purpose was to construct a house made of clay, Popsicle sticks, straws, string, and toothpicks that would withstand an "earthquake," which shows our knowledge of earthquakes. This whole building process was based off of one driving question, "How can we, as structural engineers, construct a two story house in California for Tony Stark that will withstand seismic activity?" From previous experiences, I knew that if you create a square shape with the Popsicle sticks, and you add one more going diagonal from two corners, it prevents the whole square from collapsing if moved. I told my teammates this, and so we based our whole house on this theory. So our house was simple, it just had two cubes stacked on top of each other, all with Popsicle sticks or straws going diagonally across. However the sticks and straws were not long enough so we used clay and toothpicks to lengthen them, and we used the string to mark the first and second floor, (though it was pretty obvious) and to bind the whole building together. During the shake test, (a tray with marbles underneath) my idea payed off, our house did not even budge as it was in an "earthquake", as I assured my team. We definitely passed the test, it was evident our house withstood the shaking. From this project, we had to research the places in California that had less seismic activity, which was to choose the location for Tony Stark's house. This taught me a bit more about the areas that are safer to live, and its connection with the fault lines and things like that. Overall it just helped me to better understand information about earthquakes.

30 Hands Project

In this project, we created nine "slides" or collages on Pic Collage, which we imported onto a presentation app called 30 Hands, which we narrated. These nine slides all had a topic that we were to write, narrate, and explain pictures about the atmosphere, after we had researched everything. I liked how we started in Pic Collage, because it really allowed you to get more creative and add your own personal "flair" to the presentation, instead of going straight on to 30 Hands where there is pretty much one font, five colors, and it is really boring. The collaboration with two apps made the project a lot more fun to create, which I also enjoyed. However, I didn't really like how we had to write a handwritten script because it took up a lot of time to write, and if you wanted to change something in the middle of your narration, you'd have to erase the whole thing and rewrite it. As an alternative, I would suggest using Google Classroom to push out a Google Docs where the students can type their scripts, so that way the teacher doesn't have to go through the turning in business and losing script packets because it is all right there, turned in electronically. It would also make it easier for the teacher to read because of the kids with messy handwriting. In my case, I just thought okay, I'll just do the script really fast and get it over with. Well, I ended up having to type up the whole thing so i could easily change errors and so i could read what I wrote! So I definitely did not like the handwritten script. Overall, I learned a lot more about the atmosphere because we researched outside of the textbook region. I also learned how to work with a new app, which was exciting as well!

Invention Convention

I worked on this project with a partner, Isabella Tasser, in which together we created an innovation. This innovation solves the problem of lead poisoning in drinking water. The contaminated water runs through a normal pipe, but the lead gets separated from the water when it flows through a filter within the pipe. The clean water then flows through the remaining section of the pipe until it has reached its destination, ready to be used. The excess lead, and some contamined water flows down a separated chute leading to a lead factory, where the lead is reused for things such as paint. This reduces the amount of energy used, and reduces the amount of lead poisoning going on. The water is also being reused to power the invention, and the lead is being reduced to create different products.

Plate Tectonics Unit

This was by far my favorite unit mostly because it had a lot of fun labs and activities that made the learning of this material more fun and exciting. For example, we did a milky way lab where we each got a milky way, and we crushed the outer chocolate shell in such a way it formed little sections of chocolate, which represented plates. Then, we maneuvered them in a specific way to show how mountains, volcanoes. and other things were formed in real life. Another cool lab we did was the hot plates lab. This was where we had a pie tin full of molasses over a hot plate, and the molasses bubbled, showing the heating of the mantle inside Earth. What I really liked about this one was that we had the best resemblance because our molasses created a humongous bubble that looked like a volcano and eventually we had to turn the hot plate of or molasses would explode all over the classroom. Not only were the labs and activities interesting, I also found the material intriguing, we learned about heat transfer, sea floor spreading, the famous theory of continental drift by Alfred Wegener, and more.