Fire Bad, Water Good

Energy, the magical commodity that is destroying our world. Well, not anymore! In science class, we created generators powered by the environment to charge an iPhone!

This project was really cool because we were building something that could actually be used. Like, you could legit take it into the woods, find a stream, and power stuff! I had a lot of fun building it, and then seeing how awesome it actually was by measuring the energy production!

Now, it’s time for curricular competencies!

Contribute to finding solutions to problems at a local and/or global level through inquiry.

For this project, we were focusing on using energy from nature to power our generators. This is really important now, because of all the issues our world is having with global warming. Learning about this, and how to build a generator that uses clean energy, can help us in the future. Also, all the materials we used were reused from previous science projects!

Make observations aimed at identifying their own questions, including increasingly complex ones, about the natural world.

When we were first pitched this task, we had to figure how exactly we were going to capture energy from nature. We had to look at our natural environment, and see what we could create. Seeing as Vancouver is very rainy, and there are many streams nearby, my partner and I decided to create a water powered generator. Water is a very strong force, and our generator worked very well.

Global warming is all around us, making our summers warmer, decreasing our snowpacks, and so much more. The little things we do in class, like reusing materials, can help our world. We had to research what types of generators would use natural energy. Although there are many types of renewable energy sources, our world uses a lot of fossil fuels. Having our project relate to what is actually going on in the world makes the projects seem less far fetched. Knowing how energy is produced can help us in the future.
For this project, we had to graph the energy production of our generators against a solar panel. With our past projects we have done this type of graphing quite a bit, so those skills really transferred over. Seeing how our generator measured up against the solar panel was really cool. The cost saving was less cool. Although it is always cool to see how what we do in class measures up to the real world, energy doesn’t seem to be that expensive, at least to charge your phone. It’d take about 72,000 days for our generator to be the same price as regular energy, but at least it’s something!

Honestly, who knows?

We have just finished a math project. The project lasted two weeks, on week on lessons, and one week of project time. I missed the entire first week, because I was at Outdoor School. So I really had to draw upon one curricular competency;

Think creatively and with curiosity and wonder when exploring problems.

I had a problem, obviously. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. Luckily, it was a parter project, so it wasn’t all up to me to figure out how to do everything on my own and do an entire project. Once we had the structure of the project, I devoted myself to trying to figure out what the heck was going on.

I used Khan Academy, my saviour for anything math or science. I had the project outline, and I knew what I was supposed to know. So I learned, listened, practiced, and figured it out all on my own. After that, the project made a lot more sense to me!



In Scimathics throughout the month of December, and a little bit of January, we’ve been looking at expanding and factoring algebra. To do this, we’ve used algebra tiles, which are shapes that represent the equations. For example, (x + 3)(3x + 2) would translate to 

After learning about all this, we had to create a game. This game would use algebra tiles to expand and factor different algebraic equations. We created Tower Ball. The goal of the game is to protect your tower from your opponent. We made a video explaining the rules. 

I learned a lot from this video. But instead of doing my usual reflection, we’ve been asked by our teacher to choose different curricular competencies that we worked on during this project and explain how we used them. So that’s exactly what I’m doing!

Connect mathematical concepts with each other, other areas, and personal interests.

For this project, and most projects, it makes it more interesting when you add your personal interests. When you do this, it pushes you to do better. For this project, I made the game have a medival theme. The tower is based off of a tower that I used to drive past often. I feel as though this theme really added to the game, and made it more fun to play!

Think creatively and with curiosity and wonder when exploring problems.

When given the task of creating a game that uses algebra tiles to expand and factor algebraic equations, a lot of us had to really think of what to do. It was hard to come up with an idea, let alone one that would be fun. Me and my partner Tamara looked down several pathways, trying to find a viable idea. Then finally, after many ideas, we came up with tower ball. It would be fun, as including not only math, but also construction and destruction. What more could you want?

Visualize to explore and illustrate mathematical concepts and relationships.

Algebra tiles played a huge part in this project, and their main purpose is to help people visualize algebraic equations, in an actual, physical form. Using the algebra tiles while learning about these concepts was hugely beneficial. When I had these physical things, it really helped me fully comprehend what we were learning. In the video, I think we demonstrate this well. We show how a number, the values on the cards, can be used to solve these equations.

Represent mathematical ideas in concrete, pictorial, and symbolic forms.

Again, this was mostly shown by the algebra tiles. These small pieces of plastic, or in the case of our video, abstract shapes, give physical form to mythical numbers. It demonstrates the intricacies of algebra, while being simple enough that a 5 year old could use them. The tiles show how the math works as well. You can see what’s multiplied together, and come to understand this complicated medium.

Twins Aren’t Identical???

This project was all about genetics. DNA, RNA, all the fun stuff that makes up who you are. And this month, we’re talking about a really fun topic: Twins! More specifically, can cousins be twins? 

The scenario that we were posed with for this project was a bit complicated. Pretty much, two sets of identical twins married each other. Sounds incestuous, I know. Anyways. Due to both sets of parents having the same DNA, we had to see if their kids could be identical. And that would require several little bits of information, which I will now explain. 

Pedigree Charts

Pedigree charts are kinda like a family tree. They show generations, but they’re more focused on traits. Specifically, which traits are passed down to whom and how. 

Punnet Squares

Punnet squares help calculate the likely hood of a child of a couple having certain traits. You take the genotypes from each parent and mash ‘em up till you have 4 outcomes. 

The video explains this better than I do here. 

For this project, I worked with the wonderful Luca J. I would say that we worked well together, and will our different skills, we did a pretty good job. I did the scientific animations, using Keynote and Magic Move. It’s pretty simple but easy to understand. 

This project was really cool. I love learning about how things work, and pretty much everything in science, so it was great! Next time, I would spend a bit more time on my animations, because the magic move wasn’t working in some place. Also, I would add more information about how due to meiosis, it would be very unlikely for cousins to be twins. But overall, I’m pretty proud.

SohCahToa, the Tropical Trig Island

Hello Australians! Ha, reference to our video. Anyways. So, for our first blog post for Scimathics this year, ima talk about something really complecated. Triginometry. Yay.

For the past month, ish, we’ve been learning about the math for, well, triangles. Triangle math. Tri, three, angle, angle. It’s all about the angles. Using triginometry, you can find out all the side lengths and angles of a triangle (as long as you have two points of data previously). Sine, Cosine and Tangent.

For this project, we had to create a video where we explained how solar panels are used and how you can use triginometry to find the optimal angle.