This project made the room smell weird

In the grade nine curriculum, it is necessary to learn about revolutions. But of course, PLP students are special, so we do things a bit differently. We made machines.

The unit started off with an introduction into the time before revolutions. We learned about farmers and town life, touching on what we learned last year in our Change Creates Tension Unit. We talked about how the industrial revolution changed everyday life.

During that time, we were split into different groups. Each group had to study a different revolution, and later make their machine (which I will get to later) on. I was studying the Easter rising revolution with Tamara, Lauren and Kailey. I wanted to do this revolution because recently I was accepted into a trip to Europe with girl guides. We will be visiting Dublin, where the revolution took place, so I thought it would be a good idea to learn more about it.

The Easter rising was a revolution in 1916 in Ireland. The fighting only lasted 6 days, and the British won. But it set in motion a plan for Ireland to become independent.

Meanwhile in scimathics, we were learning about circuits. Each machine was required to have at least two hand-built circuits, so we learned how to make them before starting on the machines. I thought it was pretty cool. My dad was an electrician, so learning the basics of what he did was pretty cool.

To learn about our revolutions, we first had to learn about what a revolution was, and how it worked. We studied a theory that was created by Crane Brinton. He compared revolutions to a sickness, with several stages. If you want to learn more about Brinton and his theory, check out my blog post on it, How long really was the wait?.

While learning and doing all this, we were reading a book. The book is called Leviathan. It is about a young boy who gets thrown into a war. It is a really good read. Now, you might be thinking, ‘how does Leviathan fit in with revolutions?’. Well, I’ll tell you. It doesn’t. We read the book because of the genre, Steampunk. Steampunk is a combination of futuristic technologies based in the Victorian era, and powered by steam. Again, you’re probably thinking ‘what does steampunk have to do with revolutions?’. And again, nothing. We learned about steampunk for the aesthetic. We incorporated steampunk into our machines. I found this part of the project really cool. This is because I know some steampunk enthusiasts in Kaslo, where I am from, and it was neat to see what all the fuss was about! I have more information on steampunk in my post, Steampunk, and how….

Now’s when we get into the nitty gritty stuff, the building of the machine. See, the thing is, by this point, we were down to three group members. One of us was in Australia, and couldn’t do much from there. So we had to make our small number feel great. And we did. We were very on the ball, and came out ahead of most groups. It was a difficult process. At the beginning, we had big plans, but the number of them that actually worked out was small. Especially when it came to circuits. It took me three days to get this one thing working, and finally we had to change our entire idea for it. But we persevered, and came out with an amazing product.

For the math portion, we had to do blueprints. The one of our first idea

Looks nothing like our final one

And for our full sized sketch

We had to completely redo. This part was very trial and error, but turned out fantastic.

But the biggest part, was the video. This was where we would explain what each thing meant, and how it related to the events of the Easter rising. We worked really hard on it, doing voice overs, making music, and dragging the machine all over the school. It didn’t turn out the greatest. We got tons of critique, but really took it to heart and got working again.


The second and final draft turned out way better. We redid lots, but still used some from our original.

This project was really strong in the fundamentals of PLP. We had group work, trial and error, critique, hands on, and electronic based stuff. It was a fun project. I definitely couldn’t have done it without the help of my peers. Although there were some things I wish I had done differently to start with. For example, I should have figured out that one of the circuits would have to be on its own before I spent 3 days on it. I definitely could have procrastinated less on some of the assignments. I need to work on balancing my projects. Because while all of this was going on, we also had the PLP winter exhibition. I really think I learned a lot from this project, not just from the work, but also how to work in a group better.

Steampunk, and how…

In this blog post, I’m going to be explaining an inquiry question about steampunk. My question is ‘what started the steampunk craze?’. It was invented by K. W. Jeter, who first coined the term ‘steampunk’ in 1987. Since then, it has grown in fascination. But what was the first steampunk element? To find this, I must delve deep into the past…

There are several different genres within steampunk. There’s music, books, clothing, machines, and an assortment of others. But what was the original?

Theoretically, as I mentioned before, steampunk the word was first created in 1987. Before that though, the genre was there. It was mostly a book theme, and developed many facets later.

Steampunk was first inspired by the 19th century scientific works, and went from there. The first work that was considered genre proper was Titus Alone by Mervyn Peake, 1959, although some believe Michael Moorcock’s The Warlord of the Air, 1971, to be it. The Warlord of the Air was heavily influenced by Peake’s work, so comme-ci comme-ça.

Since then, steampunk has developed. There have been many festivals and events, including the Watch City Steampunk Festival, a day at the San Diego Comic-Con, and even at the Kaslo May Days!

So the answer to my original question would be books. A sub-genre leading to many great things. All the way to today, where we’re learning about it in class!

This was an interesting part of our learning. Steampunk is very interesting to me, and it was cool we got to learn about it in class. I can see how the steampunk genre relates to the industrial revolution, and is in a similar time period to most of the revolution. The steam powered machines were just being created, and it changed society. It also adds more to our metaphor machine, making them more aesthetically pleasing.