My Chemical Romance

Salutations

The question that drove this project was “how do atoms and ions act like characters”. To emphasize and highlight this idea, we were tasked with facing our fears with our mortal emesis Explain Everything and create a short animation that highlighted the three different forms of chemical bonding, multivalent metals, polyatomic ions and covalent compounds. On top of that, we had to script a story that would help others understand the bonding process by enforcing our atoms and ions to act like characters. 

The process

I began this project with little to no knowledge of chemistry. When I say little to no, I mean that I still thought that every compound was stable. Spoiler: I was wrong. We kicked off this project by creating a project start mind map.

My project start mind map

This mind map included all of the questions that I had about our chemistry unit, including what was the first element to be discovered? How can I apply this knowledge to my current life? All of my questions would be answered soon enough, starting with the Launch Milestone.


Milestones

I got the chance to exercise my creativity while completing a practice animation. I have never gotten along very well with Explain Everything, but this milestone gave me a good basis to expand my knowledge of the app and practice my hand at drawing.

Khan academy test results

I faced a challenge as our next milestone, the unit test approached. I was not familiar with the atmosphere of testing, and the thought of being timed and marked by someone other than myself was very intimidating. When the test came around, I didn’t want to be a hopeless mess, so I practiced this milestone on my own. I took tests with my parents, practice tests online and I read a life supply of test books. Partially because I wanted to have mastered testing, yet also out of curiosity. My knowledge and experience in this category grew, which is why I surpassed my own expectations. 

Script checklist

Finally, the time came to script our video. I was ecstatic for this stage of the process, as I had been preparing and awaiting the video since I had first learned of this project. I completed my script without a hitch, yet when it came time to make the video I hesitated. It was my good old friend procrastination stopping in for a visit. I finished my first draft later than I would have expected, which dropped the first domino. I was upset with myself, so I took some very unnecessary time to grieve, which led me to be even more upset, so I required the final product to be perfect. This perfectionist held me back from making mistakes, which would have eventually resulted in learning a lesson. In the moment, I thought I was going to have to drop out and work at the ship yards. But it is these mistakes which make me proud of the product. 


I am very proud of my final product. I included elements that I accumulated along the way, as well as information that I researched on my own time. Overall, I would give this project a solid thumbs up. I had a vision of what I wanted to see, and even through trials and errors I still managed to create a video that reflects the essence of this project. The idea was out of the box, even for me. I impressed myself with my newfound creativity. I was proud of the voiceovers and the message that I conveyed, despite small hitches here and there.

I figured that I could have improved certain elements, so I reiterated the video and made certain adjustments. Without further ado, I present to you the final product.

Core competencies 

Questioning and Predicting:

Demonstrate a sustained intellectual curiosity about a scientific topic or problem of personal interest
This competency may have not come across as well as I had hoped in my video, although I thought that I did well nonetheless. I used all of my class time efficiently, and at a point a hit a rough patch where I was struggling to do this. So I decided that I wanted to put more effort in to practice this competency. By the end, I created my entire video using class time which made me proud of my own habits. I also created several research pages of topics outside of the curriculum which I encountered along the way. 

Communicating:

Formulate physical or mental theoretical models to describe a phenomenon
This competency can be supported by the voiceover that I included in my animation. It was very clear and precise, not to mention that it included details that I had researched and learned about out of curiosity and interest. I used my accumulated knowledge to expand and explore theories that were not in the curriculum, and I communicated them with creativity and precession.

Processing and Analyzing:

Construct, analyze and interpret graphs (including interpolation and extrapolation), models and/or diagrams
This competency shines through in my Bohr models. I had trouble with this competency throughout a good part of the project, but with some practice and one too many Khan academy tests, I took my test grade up from a 44% to a 100%. This process was not pretty, but I learned much along the way and I am now very confident in my abilities to illustrate and understand illustrative models. Maybe I should become a chemist.

Project end mind map

In short, I would consider this product a triumph. Not only did I learn valuable lessons about budgeting my time, but I exercised my ability as a knowledge constructor and an innovative designer, competencies which I had already done well in. I always came to class with a good attitude and an open mind, which allowed me to listen and understand with empathy. I responded to every twist and turn with wonderment and intellectual curiosity, and as a result I have constructed a final product that I am very proud of. Even if this does not show the pinnacle of my abilities, I learned valuable lessons along the way which I would have not otherwise. As a result, I surpassed my own expectations. Thank you for attending my TED talk.
Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight” – The Truman Show

Reinventing The Magic of Star Wars

A bad Star Wars pun to start your day off

    If extravagant fictitious action movies were a system of rule, then the Star Wars franchise would be top dog. The newest addition to this scintillating ensemble is the masterpiece directed by JJ Abrams, ‘The Force Awakens’. Now, much like most Star Wars movies, two things are true about ‘The Force Awakens’: it is instantly engaging, yet at the same time conventional.

   If you’re the type of person who wants an intellectually stimulating movie that challenges your knowledge, then ‘The Force Awakens’ is not for you. On the contrary, if you happen to love movies full of action, classic quotes, laugh-out-loud moments and the occasional sprinkling of romance then this film is ideal. Perhaps no movie so far exemplifies the same carefully crafted nuances as this one.

  That said, while certain parodies may be more original than this movie, it is a must watch for dedicated Star Wars fans and newcomers alike. And therein lies the true magic of The Force Awakens and other movies of its ilk; both retro and post modern in their self-awareness. Throughout ‘The Force Awakens’ that radiates through in the energy of the music, and the engagement of the cast not to mention the iconically well done special effects. The Millennium Falcon scene is the perfect example.  Sand plumes into the air as gunshots are fired, but the partnership of authentic acting and light humour featuring laser noises and explosions will have you referencing the scene for weeks. This trend continues in every scene, combining the formulaic hero’s journey with modern effects to create a film that you will inevitably enjoying.

  Ultimately, I appreciate how Abrams has carefully crafted every aspect of this legacy, and the result is outstanding. The jury in charge of awarding Oscars had rightfully so put this movie on the nominee list, yet even though ‘The Force Awakens’ did not win an award, this movie has risen above all expectations to deliver a message that we all know and love, and make all of the past.

  Though the movie is very mimetic it’s predecessors, being part of a series does not mean that the movie is epigonic; it’s just the superlative equivalent of the Fast and the Furious. Sometimes, it is ok to set aside complex thrillers and indulge yourself in a repetitive series highlighting montages of propensity. You wouldn’t have gone to the theatre to see an avant-garde film. Similarly, sometimes you need to ignore the more ingenious side of the film industry, sit down with your popcorn and enjoy one hundred and thirty five minutes of laughter, lasers and Han Solo yelling “Punch it Chewy!”