Matter Cycles Matter

Matter cycles are important to our survival. Without them life as we know it would cease to exist. Welcome back to another one of my post. Today we talk about the importance of the matter cycles and peril that they face.

There are four main matter cycles. Nitrogen, phosphorus, water and carbon. Each one is very important in there own way. If one was to cease to exist the other cycles would not be able the function properly and would cease to exist as well.

In this project we had to pick a matter cycle then identify a human caused impact that negatively effect said cycle and then find a way to fix it. It didn’t have to be 100% realistic as it’s gr.9 science class. We aren’t expected to solve the worlds problems so young.

My partner Jordyn and I picked the water cycle. We descided to base our project around the negative human effects on groundwater.

Ground water is the water in the ground. In dry places like California and Nevada they use a lot of ground water which isn’t good for the water cycle as it upsets the water table.

Here is a video of our presentation.

Curricular Competencies 

1. Make observations aimed at identifying their own questions including increasingly complex ones, about the natural world. We showed this by identifying multiple negative influences on the water cycle.

2. Contribute to finding solutions to problems at a local and/or global level though inquiry. This was shown in our presentation because our idea was original and was a serious attempt to address the problem.

3. Communicate scientific ideas, claims, information, and perhaps a suggested course of action, for a specific purpose and audience, constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions, and representations. We showed this by making a physical model that was crafted with precision and detail.

4. Evaluate the validity and limitations of a model or analogy in relation to the phenomenon modelled. This was shown when we addressed the limitations and unknown/know consequences and impacts from this idea.

Time to DI again

Hi again how you doing? Welcome back to the sequel of DI. This post is mainly a reflection of what we did and what we could of done better. If you want to read more about what our challenge was and how we decided to solve it then go check out my regionals post here.

Now that your caught up on what was going on let’s get into it. We shall start with how we improved our performance.

For provincials Nik could not attend as he was away at a golfing tournament. We had to change roles, my character (Ryan) was removed from the play and I had to play Nik’s role as Connor. We also decided that Taylor was to be the person that placed the weights on the structure.

Here is the video from our provincial performance. Below that is our performance at regionals.

As you can see there were some drastic changes (for better or worse). Somehow we still managed to get second out of 4 teams and beat one of the teams that beat us at regionals.

Now we move on to the fun part where I explain what we changed, how well I thought my team and I did in general, and what I was feeling on the day of.

Between regionals and provincial there is about 4 week for you to change and improve your solution but most years spring break falls in between regionals and provincials. Due to scheduling difficulties my group and I were unable to meet up during spring break leaving us with one week before the break and one week after.  So instead of 4 weeks to fix our solution we had 2.

In the week before the break we spent most of our classes making these things called burn charts. The idea of the chart was for it to show the progress you made on each part of your challenge that you want to fix. After each team meeting you would lower the scale effectively “burning” the chart down. You would know when you were done when the chart was burned all the way down.

Personally I did not like the burn charts. I thought they were a great idea and they worked. My problem with them was when the teachers introduced them to us. I think they would have been just as effective if not more if the teachers had shown us these when we were building our original solution (before regionals). I thought that for where we were and the tight deadline we were on they did more harm then good as we had to use 1-1.5 classes making these charts, when we could of been working on our challenge solution.

Now we move on to the day of and more technical aspects.

As I said before I had to play Nik’s part in the performance as he was unable to attend due to a golf tournament. So I had to fill in for him. I was very uncomfortable about playing Nik’s role as I am not a good/confident actor. It also didn’t work in out in other areas like the weight placement on the structure. Our structure was designed differently from the last, one of the columns holding the structure up was a lot because of this if not placed correctly the pressure board would tip causing our structure to be DQ and us not being able to continue placing weights on the structure. Guess what the pressure board tipped so we lost out on a lot of points.

As you can see in this helpful table the difference in our scores from regionals to provincials. We improved in most categories which was great!


This year in DI I enjoyed it a lot more then last. There are many reasons for this first is because we got to pick our challenge. I liked this a lot better as you have more of a say in what challenge interested you. Another reason is because we had some say in who was in our group as there are some people in the class that I don’t work very well with. Also this is our second year doing it so we just have more experience about what works and what doesn’t.

Some things I should change for next year are:

We should go watch other groups that are competing in our challenge. If I had watch other groups I would probably have found a better solution to triggering our special effect as that was one of the weak points in our performance.

Communicate more with the group because there were a couple times where we realized that the person that need to know the information the most wasn’t present due to us not communicating well.

Well that is the end of this post I hope you enjoyed year 2 of DI. I only have 1 year left. Till next time