We did it! The last and final step of the school year! BlueSky was definitely a crazy night to remember.
Again, focusing on the LAUNCH Cycle, the Spring Exhibition gave us all the chance to design and create something that solves a problem we are interested in. Once again, I chose dance. As a dancer, you can really see all the flaws in everything from the products to the politics. However, there isn’t much I can do for politics so let’s take a look st a common problem. Slipping when dancing on pointe.
When your whole body weight is standing on nothing but your longest toe, there’s a good chance you’ll fall. Especially when the platform you’re balancing on is really no bigger than a coin.
Dancers also practice for hours on end and many don’t have access to proper flooring at home. There are many solutions already created to stop a dancer from slipping, however, many require liquid which actually warps the form of the shoe or otherwise causes stains and marks accords the floor.
Below is a little fun animated video as a review of the LAUNCH Cycle. While we did study this last year, the cycle is the basic creative process when creating something. Therefore, why not revisit it?
Now knowing the LAUNCH Cycle, we can take a look at how I incorporated it into my project, starting with the L Stage: Look, Listen & Learn. This being mainly my pre research such as observing. This is how I discovered the slipping problem. I also discovered the importance of proper dance flooring. This took me into the A Stage: Ask Questions.
In the A Stage, I interviewed some of my dance friends to get an idea of their perspective on the problem. I created a little questionnaire chart showing each of their answers.
Moving into the U Stage where I began to understand the info I collected and analyze the problem. I started writing down all my research from the use of floorings, friction and pointe shoes. From there, I Navigated my research by grouping them into groups based on where and how I got the info as well as what the research is on.
Finally, it was time to Create. I drew up a design plan on what my basic product would look like. From there, I tested multiple different types of materials such as marley and rubber before finding the perfect fit for my product and a dancer’s needs.
On the night of the exhibition, I worked with my room team: Jackson, Holly, Felix, Liam and Grace to create a forest themed room. We get that this idea worked best for the themes of our projects. I bet we looked like a pack of ants scurrying around trying to get everything done on such a time crunch.
The Project was a great journey and I’m so happy I was able to create a product that works and matches the need of dancers. If I had to go back and revise something, I probably would have created a few more prototypes just to try out some more materials as you never know what’s out there.
Great. While everyone is out partying it up in the Summer sun, splashing around in the water and enjoying the nice weather, I’m still here on my last week of school stressing about yet another parent, teacher and student presentation. Great. It’s TPOL time.
As usual, the teachers ask me to reflect on how I grew as a learner, what I learned and how I’d like to move forward towards next year. Well, I think we should change this up a wee bit. Rather than starting with a cheesy montage of the year, let’s take an adventure back in time to the start of Grade 9.
Ok well that’s just embarrassing. Here it is, younger Kiera at the start of September having no idea what was in store for her. This year, our main focus in class was learning new video skills and methods, so, it’s only natural that my first project I show you is my video project from the beginning of the year.
Voila! Here it is! Let’s just cut to the chase. Here is my Metaphor Machine Video. Pretty basic. It consists of voiceovers and angles but otherwise a pretty basic video. At the time, I was extremely proud of how this film turned out. Now looking back on it, I realize how far I’ve come as a learner. I never really noticed this until now when I revisit projects from the beginning of the year.
And I’m not trying to put myself down by saying the video wasn’t good, it was, it just didn’t live up to its full potential. I made it a goal of mine to be able to reflect critically and positively on my work. Since my last MPOL, I’ve tried to look on imperfections and fails as a chance to learn and improve. Therefore, let’s compare this video to one from a more recent project. My World War One Video. Although slightly different concepts, the video still shows much improvement from the media used, to the audio and even the use of words and the script itself.
No, this wasn’t just a magical transformation. In fact, it took literally a whole school year, which, might as well have been forever as well as many many video projects and drafts. But, it’s true what they say, each time you try, you improve a little more. With each draft I did and each video I created, I got to expand my knowledge and skills in video making. I soon learned about the importance of consistency in media, film sets and more! So let’s take a look st a more recent video. One with a similar concept but a completely different approach. Here is my World War One Video. This was actually just finished a few weeks ago and was, in fact the last video project of the year!
The video focuses on the role of Women in the First World War. Besides taking in the information, pay close attention to the use of angles, sound quality and overall consistency. See an improvement? I certainly do!
In fact, I made it a personal goal of mine to push myself this year. This doesn’t just mean challenge myself but to face things that, in the past, have been considered a fear or something I’ve been super uncomfortable with. This project showed great growth in accomplishing this goal as I’m really not a child loving person, however, in this project, we were required to share our final videos with the grade sixes and sevens from Cove Cliff Elementary. Therefore, I had to face my fear of kids.
So moving on, let’s have a look at the Scientific and Mathematical side of this year. To show my growth in this category, I’d like to take a look at my Card Game Project and my Matter Cycles Project. The reason I chose these two is because I had a similar work mindset and had the same partner. Therefore, I found these two projects a good comparison.
The Card Game Project focused on different exponents and methods. This would then be presented in the form of a card game. Unfortunately, for this project, my mindset wasn’t in the right place and I was away for the majority of it meaning a lot of the responsibility fell on my partner, which, is very unfair. The project itself turned out ok but it definitely wasn’t the best. Some of our calculations and math was wrong but hey, first attempt at learning people!
Therefore, for the Matter Cycles Project, when I was paired up with the same partner again, I made it a goal of mine to put my absolute best into this project. This time, my partner and I worked equally and I was much more focused, and, the final result showed the extra effort. You could really tell that this project was done by a team and as a team.
Finally, let’s have a look at PGP. In other words, the newbie of this year’s courses. One that, at the beginning of the year, we knew nothing about. However, this particular course helped me accomplish one of my biggest goals this year. How to handle stress. Ok, sure, I have a serious stress issue like I don’t handle stress very well at all. In fact, I break down terribly under stress. However, PGP, although not the most interesting of courses definitely helped with this. Let’s have a look at the beginning of this year. I’m pretty sure the amount of stress attacks I had was above 3 a month. Yeesh! Of course, once reading about the seven habits and time blocking, this all changed…
Learning to use THINGS helped me manage my busy schedule. It provided me with a visual that allowed me to priorities tasks to maximize my time. I think, if there’s one thing (get the pun?) that I’ll remember going into grade 10, it would be the importance of keeping a clear schedule and staying organized. Plus, there’s the added bonus sensation you get each time you tick off a task on your to do list.
Now, I ain’t no fan of speeches or long essays that go on forever. So, I think it would be a great chance to conclude this incredible year. I’ve changed so much as both a learner and a person. I’m not the same person I was at the beginning of grade nine and, usually, I hate change. But, the things I learned this year will carry me into next year and hopefully, these skills and improvements I’ve learned will help me for the rest of my life. Thanks for reading!
If the title didn’t draw you into this post, hopefully this will. We all have fears. Some, greater than others. Imagine your teacher telling you that you will be walking into a room full of your fear. As you approach the building, shivers crawl down your spine as you brace yourself to step into the room…
Yeah you guessed it, my greatest fear is kids. Some people are great with them! That definitely isn’t me. In short, screaming kids just terrify me. Well, looks like I’m gonna have to face that fear as that’s one of the main points of this project.
Like most grade nine students, we came to the point in the year where we had to learn and uncover the topic of World War One. As gruesome and bloody as this topic may be, we were told that our final project actually would be presented to a younger audience: the “lovely, quiet and wonderful” grade six and seven students from CoveCliff Elementary.
Since this year is focused on video making, we would each be given a topic based off of World War One and present what we learned in the form of a video. The video could be any form we wanted from animations, to documentaries, Stop Motions and more. I chose to challenge myself with an animation. Due to my lack of drawing utensils and patience, this format of video isn’t one I do often.
Great. Just great. Not only do I have to stress about another video, but, I also have to present it to a group of over energetic kids. Great.
I’ve always had a particular interest in what women and girls did in the past. I mean, come on, men got to do all the fun stuff. They’re the ones seen in the trenches, as soldiers, officers and more. Women? Well, Disney explains their role pretty well in the majority of their princess movies. Girls were always seen as the pretty damsel in distress. Weak, dependant not as important as men. While men were seen as higher up, women played a huge role during the First World War.
We all know men were the ones who fought on the actual battlefield, but at the same time, women were fighting another battle. A battle for equality. To this day, men are treated better, however, what the women did during the war changed their lives and the lives of other women forever.
Because our audience was the grade sixes and sevens, it was important to keep them in mind while creating the video. This meant that we couldn’t add anything that might traumatize the children or any words they might not understand. I felt that an animation would be most appropriate for the age group as it allows me to show visuals that I wouldn’t be able to otherwise such as explosions, etc.
Like all videos, the process starts with an idea than we moved to a screenplay and finally a storyboard. Honestly, if I were to go back and change something, I would’ve spent more time on the storyboard and really plan out where I was going to film myself at the desk because, I soon realized that my house was unfit to film. Luckily though, I was able to film in the classroom which made for a surprisingly good film set!
Finally, the hardest part of the project arrived. The day we would have to share our work to the kids of Cove Cliff. At first, it took all my might not to run or scream or hide, but after seeing some familiar faces, I calmed down a bit. I’m happy to report that the kids I shared my video with were all engaged and showed a good understanding of the topic!
So, at the end of the day, producing a video I’m proud of and conquering my fear? A pretty great way to end grade nine humanities I’d say!
We’ve finally come to the end of our PGP year, and, to be honest, while PGP actually stands for Personal Growth Plan, I always thought of it as the Painfully Gruelling Program. I mean, who actually wants to have to spend their own time outside of school to do another course? Well, pretty much no one, but PGP, as gruelling as it may have seemed at times, was an exception that was totally worth it.
So, after reading that very blunt intro, you’re probably asking yourself why was PGP the exception? I mean, I did say that it wasn’t my favourite course, but, I also just contradicted myself saying that it was worth doing. Well, that’s because, PGP has taught me skills that go beyond the classroom setting. Think of it like Math. Not everyone’s favourite subject, but the concepts you learn will help you throughout life. PGP is much the same.
In this course, we learned about different ways of problem solving and effective thinking and organization tactics. One of the major things I learned from this course was goal setting: having a goal in mind and creating the steps to get there. As many have stated, a goal without a plan to achieve it is only a wish. We read the book “What Do I Really Want”. Along with the book, we were required to fill out certain forms that accompanied what the author had to say. The forms really made me sit and think about the goals I wanted to reach and how best to achieve them. Now, when I think of goals, I begin with the end in mind. Rather than making a wish and waiting for that wish to happen, I think of the end result which is the goal I want to achieve and then start thinking about the path it’s going to take to get there.
The course also taught me how best to manage time and reduce the amount of stress. We were introduced to two apps: Things and Calendar. Of course I already knew what these were, but a thorough refresher never hurts. Since then, Things has helped me manage the assignments in priority order so I know what needs to be done and handed in ontime.
So, I know we all have trouble dealing with stress. It’s just such an unpleasant feeling. Sean Covey’s Book on the Seven Habits reassured me that there are strategies to overcoming challenges and stress was no exception. The seven habits book has been written in many different forms to appeal to a variety of audiences and age groups. The main habit that stood out to me was seeing things from a new perspective. It showed me that no one’s life is perfect. But, if we could accept that there is both good and bad in everyone’s life, it’s easier to move forward. And, by doing so, we can focus on the good things. Again, it’s all about seeing things through a different perspective.
I feel that if there’s one thing I needed to take away from this course, it would be to see and understand that things only seem as they are because of the way you look at them. Similar to a cloud or painting, everyone sees it different. While you might see a cloud shaped as a dog, your friend might interpret that same cloud as a lion. The same goes with life, and to show this, I created a short dance video about myself and how I used to see a life full of misery, but now see a life of light and possibility.
As a dancer, I understand the language of dance sometimes more than a speech. For this reason, my final project for PGP was a dance that showed how seeing things from a new perspective can be life changing. I wish that I had seen this sooner…but I guess now I know. Thanks to PGP and my future self.
Imagine having an identical twin. And I don’t mean you just look alike. Imagine having a twin who is identical to you even right down to your DNA. Now THAT is insane! That “twin” is called a clone. Although it would be extremely difficult to clone a personne or animal, clones do share the exact same DNA as the mother it came from.
To test this out, the PLP 9 Class cloned plants. Not exactly the most interesting thing to clone, but you still get the idea. Before starting, we were introduced to many different ways of cloning a plant. The method you choose varies from the type of plant you wish to clone! To start off the unit, each of us were paired off to clone Dandelions. Again, not the most exciting thing, but, they do the job! To clone these, my partner (Lucy) and I used the Cutting Method. This meant that, after harvesting the plant, we cut off a piece from the root and planted it in soil. We demonstrated the curricular competency of questioning and predicting as we had to predict the outcome and do a little research about the best way to clone these plants. We did the same for the other clones we made too. Unfortunately, none of them grew.
Part of the unit was also learning about the process the plant goes through as its cells grow. This is called Mitosis. To further our knowledge, we took a sample of onion and put it under a microscope to see the cells in action!
Finally, Lucy and I got to choose a plant we’d like to clone. The two of us chose daisies and used the SPLITTING METHOD which is when the mother plant is split into smaller plants. We planned to do this during our research stage as that was the cloning method the two of us saw fit for the job. Then, we conducted the process. Above, you can see that I’ve compared photos of the onion plant we previously looked at and our daisy clone. We were able to find the stages of mitosis taking place in the plant’s root and could see the cells dividing.
After another successful unit, of course we revisited our Project Mindmap and added in everything we learned. I evaluated what worked and didn’t work during our cloning process and summarized it all in this blog post!
Well hello there, lovely people! Welcome back to another exciting insight to the world of a PLP Student. Before anyone freaks out, no, this post is not going to be written in French. I just thought, the French title is quite fitting for this post’s topic: The French Canadian Voyageurs During the fur trade.
Lets cut to the chase. A company by the name of Historica creates these short 1 Minute videos called Heritage Minutes. They take the audience back intime and retells a very important story that impacted who we are as Canadians today. The goal of this project was to create our own unique Heritage Minutes based off of a story from the category of interest we were given. We were put into groups of four to choose and brainstorm stories, events and ideas. I was placed in a group with Emerson, Taylor and Luciano. The four of us were given the topic “Fur Trade”.
I mean, when you think of the Fur Trade, probably more facts than an actual story come to mind. The challenge for us was how could we find a story to tell within all those facts? After quite a bit of brainstorming and playing around with ideas, the four of us decided to narrow down the facts to one of the main events of the Fur Trade: the voyagers who came at the time to trade furs! The other challenge we ran into was that our story had to take place in the 1800s to early 1900s (world war 1). This was difficult because most of the Fur Trade happened in the 16-1700s along with the voyagers. This lead us back to researching for info that happened in the 1800s. Luckily, there were still voyagers by then! The French men from Quebec! Perfect!
The purpose of this was to discover and learn about the different aspects and events leading to the confederation of our country, Canada. Each group’s topic had an important significance to the leading climax of our country uniting. The importance of the voyagers was that the Fur Trade brought in many people from around the world such as the English, French and Spanish. In the 1800s, the French Canadians came along to join the fun too! They paddled for days to reach the trading post where they would exchange goods and begin the long journey home. Sounds like a fairly hard story to re-enact in 60 seconds, don’t you think?
By now, you might be familiar with how we plan stories around here. Always beginning with an idea, then creating some kind of plot diagram. My group wrote out the story and the teacher gave us feedback. Pretty easy and basic. Then comes the storyboard and actual planning on location and costumes. Since every group member had to make at least one appearance on screen, this created a small problem for us. You see, the Fur Trade Voyageurs were all men. They paddled through remote areas and never came across many people, especially women or girls. I guess you could say they were pretty anti social. Therefore, we had to tweak the story a bit to fit Taylor and I into it.
We eventually decided that Emerson and Luciano would be French Canadian Voyageurs going on their journey to the trading post. This worked in our favour as Luciano is a god at French. Taylor and I would be two French Canadian girls who they meet along the way.
The filming process was, well, long and for me, it was freezing cold. We had borrowed a neighbour’s canoe and were out in the Cove filming scenes of the boys paddling. Emerson’s dad let us use his Go Pro to film and the water was super cold. Regardless of the rain and cold water, the filming part is always my favourite. I always think of it as a good experience on working as a team and being able to direct and follow directions from others.
Now, let’s take a second to connect this process to a rather important cycle and idea we learned last year. It’s called the L.A.U.N.C.H. Cycle. Feel free to click the link to review it, however, a brief overview is that the LAUNCH Cycle is a process of creative thinking and allows people and learners such as myself to accomplish projects and goals. It starts with Look, Listen & Learn (the L in LAUNCH). In this stage, my group and I researched about our story and topic. Then we Asked Questions to find out more and Understand the story before Navigating Ideas and narrowing down our brainstorm. From there we Created the product (the Heritage Minute) and made multiple drafts. Each Draft, we Highlighted and Fixed flaws to make the film better. And finally, once finished, sent our work to Historica so that they could see how their work inspired us.
Below is our final video which we sent to the Historica company in the form of email.
Shortly after, we heard back from Ryan Barnett and Joanne Archibald who gave us some awesome feedback!
Thank you so much to both of you for viewing our final videos and giving us feedback! For the rest of you, I hope you enjoy watching it and reading my blog, Flow Through School: My Journey Through The Process.
Grade 9 can be an exciting year for many. No, I’m not talking about the overloads of homework we start to get, but the fact that it’s the year many people, such as myself, begin to seek out and apply for their first job! For many people, the thought of having a job also brings along the idea of having lots or extra money to spend, but, a job can be dangerous and can result in situations you’ll probably want to try and avoid.
Now that DI is done, we’ve shifted gears in our Maker class a bit. This unit of Work Safety brings us into a very different theme of topic. This is a very serious topic to discuss as it’s meant to keep us young workers safe as we begin our search for our first jobs.
This photo is from the LRD Initiaion Process
We began the unit by watching a few videos about the orientation young workers go through before starting the job. This, I learned, is to ensure that you feel confident and safe at work and to make sure all initiates know what they’re doing and what is expected.
This unit has made me aware of all the precautions someone, such as myself should be aware of while working on a job as a young employee. It turns out that young workers or initiates are the most likely to be endangered while working. This is mainly because others take advantage of our age and the fact that we are new to the industry. To be honest, many teenagers would do anything to get extra pay so it isn’t that surprising that our age group is most To show a bit of what I learned this past unit, I created an annotated drawing of what I imagine goes on in someone’s brain. I like to imagine a person’s brain like a giant machine or factory and each item or box is something important, such as an important aspect or memory. Therefore, you’ll notice in the photo below that a very important point about work Safety is written on a box in the “Brain Factory”.
Before beginning this unit, I thought that most dangers come from sharp and obvious dangers such as saws, knives, broken glass, used needles, etc. Turns, out, chemicals and even natural causes such as harsh temperatures and bugs can harm as easily as any sharp object. Some can even be lethal and cause death if not treated properly.
Every worker has the right to refuse work if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable doing the task. While there are certain procedures if this situation were to occur, no employee should feel unsafe while on the job.
Although this is a no brainer, safety equipment and appropriate clothes should be worn at all times. This helps prevent diseases that could be passed around by bugs such as mosquitoes and tics as well as important organs and body parts. While our bodies can get rid of chemicals or poisons overtime, a constant exposure to these circumstances can lead to a build up of these harmful products and bugs. Of course, all incidents that happen on the job should be reported to either a supervisor, boss or employer.
The most important thing I learned from this unit was to never be afraid of speaking up for yourself and refusing to do something that makes you feel unsafe. It’s important that I protect myself from dangers of any kind.
Hey there! You probably saw the title of this post and asked yourself, why P.A.N.T.S? What do pants even have to do with matter cycles anyway? Good question! For this past unit in Scimatix, we’ve been studying Matter Cycles and their positive and negative effects and how they contribute to the world. The four main cycles we looked at were Carbon, Hydro, Nitrogen and the one I focused on, Phosphorus Cycle. Once again, I got to work with the awesome and trusty Fraser to brainstorm and create a solution to one of our cycle’s problems.
As usual, each project we do has a purpose in learning. We call these curricular competencies. Basically, they’re the main points and skills we are learning. In this case, let’s begin with questioning and predicting. Fraser and I brainstormed our knowledge of what we already knew and didn’t know about our cycle. The main points you need to know is that phosphorus helps nurture plants and helps them grow healthier and stronger. It’s naturally found in the ground and is preserved in rocks. From there, the two of us researched and took note of the main negative side effect to the cycle and how it was caused. It so happens that humans and their use of fertilizer are the main problem as fertilizer contains extra phosphorus which gets soaked into the ground. From there, the minerals get washed into bodies of water such as oceans and cause something called algalbloom.
After carefully analyzing the situation, my partner and I evaluated the situation and drew up a diagram with our solution. We knew what the problem was but also knew that plants used phosphorus to grow. Keeping that in mind, we created our solution that we called P.A.N.T.S. It stands for Phosphorus Abundant Nutrients Terminal System. It uses plants as a sponge o soak up excess phosphorus before it reaches the oceans. At the beginning of the post is an animation Fraser drew up and I wrote a short essay to explain the problem and our solution.
Finally, to present and communicate our solution, the two of us made a short slide show explaining our system. This was presented to the class during school along with many other presentation pitches on other solutions for different matter cycles.
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye! I’m glad to go, I cannot tell a lie! Goodbye DI! With Destination Imagination at an end, it’s time to look back at this remarkable journey. Since Regionals my team and I spent hours working together to improve our solution and performance. We knew the things we did well such as our story but we also knew the many things we needed to improve such as our special effect, costumes, etc. DI has taught me so much about the importance of trusting your teammates and time management. After coming back from Spring Break, my team and I were in a bit of a time crunch leading up to the Provincial Tournament. Our backdrop and props needed retouching, the costumes weren’t done, the wood wasn’t cut and our special effect was inexistant. Anika and I worked together in Basecamp to create a time management schedule to help keep us all on track and put priorities first. From this, I learned that basecamp can be a very helpful feature for my next group or team project.
With a schedule set, my team got to work. We divided up the tasks to get assignments done faster. While Taylor and Emerson filled out the forms, Nik and I went down to the wood shop to cut the wood for our structure. Together, we were efficient with our time. Considering the amount of things that needed to get done, my team and I were making some pretty good progress! Pretty ingenious right?! …well, maybe except for the special effect… oh boy, that was probably the one thing that went worse in Provincials. Although Emerson, Nik and I spent hours after school working on some sort of special effect, everything still went wrong on the day of.
The day of the Provincial tournament came too soon. Luckily, we didn’t have to compete until later that day leaving for many hours of prep and practice time but this also meant that Nik wouldn’t be able to compete due to a conflict. Therefore, Emerson had to take on the challenge of memorizing and playing Nik’s role in our performance. To be honest, I was a bit concerned at first about us being underprepared and that Emerson hadn’t ever done a full run through in his new role, but we continued to practice from sitting in the middle of hallways to the very last second before stepping onto the stage.
The performance itself went fairly well. I mean, anyone who has performed before knows that things rarely go as planned so of course there were a few scruff ups which I’ll get to in a second. For now, let’s celebrate what went well! During regionals, we had some technical complications for our music that was meant to play during our team Choice elements. I’m glad to say that at least one of those soundtracks played during our Provincial performance and the Firebird costuming was much better and way more dramatic than the first time. Our team Choice elements and instant challenge went well too! We worked as a team and relied and trusted one another and that worked in our favour.
As for the rest, our team missed Nik more than we knew. Without him, Taylor had to drop the weights for our team. Even though she was given a brief lesson from Emerson, our weight placement part of the performance was a disaster. Because our structure had one shorter support beam for our special effect, the pressure board and weights had to be placed a certain way. This was not the case during our performance and as soon as the first weight dropped, our structure was disqualified as the pressure board no longer was touching our structure. This was very disappointing, but what can you do? Reflect, talk about it as a team and move on.
Few things I learned from this past DI experience, put first things first. Be proactive when it comes to this kinda stuff. Our team left one of the biggest challenges (the special effect) to the last minute and that came toppling on top of us. These were things and skills our class learned from the new PGP subject this year so I’ll definitely get another shot at improving this. Secondly, I learned to play to each other’s strengths. During our instant challenges, each person on our team was given a task such as keeping track of time or score. These tasks usually played to one’s strength which makes it so much easier for both the team and individual.
Overall, DI 2019 was another unforgettable learning experience and, regardless of all the stress and hard work, still turned out to have a fun component, even if that part was small, it was still great getting to work as a team and land another unexpected second place win!
”Emerson, don’t forget your lines! Nik, remember to bring the prop! Anika, we need the costume for tomorrow,” and finally, we can relax…for now…
DI regionals is finally over and the hard work has paid off. With an unexpected 2nd place win, K-NEAT is ready to take on Provincials! Now, it’s time to reflect and rewind the story a bit.
Lets start this blog off from the very beginning of the DI process: choosing teams and our challenge for the year. Each of us in PLP were given a form to complete saying who we’d like to potentially work with for DI. From there, the teams were made and it was time to choose our challenge we’d like to compete in. Nik, Taylor, Emerson, Anika and I decided to go with this year’s engineering challenge, Monster Effects. Basically, we had to work as a team to create a structure which would then have weights dropped on it. A special effect also had to be integrated and triggered by the structure to enhance the Monster in our story. The story would then have to be about a Monster with an unexpected result. The Monster could be of any gender, appearance, real or imaginary and have any kind of personality. Want to learn more about the challenge? Check out this short cheesy video!
Knowing all this, it was time to get brainstorming. To better understand the challenge, our team, K-NEAT had to fill out a number of forms and read a long handbook to know our challenge and it’s rules inside and out. These forms included brainstorming to help our team with ideas for creating our solution. My team and I threw out ideas for the structure, team Choice elements, story and more! Together, we narrowed it down and started to define some ideas.
Since I did this challenge last year, I already had a pretty good idea of how we could make the structure both light and strong. The structure specifications said that our structure had to be within 7.5-9 inches tall and could weigh no more than 175g. To make the structure light, I took a visit to the hardware store and looked around for some kind of wood that appeared strong yet light. It took a lot of feeling around since there were like a thousand different shapes, cuts and types of wood at the store. To make the structure strong, my team and I decided to assemble the unit with gorilla glue and place some of the wood in the shape of triangles since that’s the strongest shape.
So now we have the structure built which I guess is the Center of our overall challenge, but there was still so much left to do in the creation process. I mean, what’s a DI presentation without a story? After reading the lengthy encyclopedia about our challenge, we knew that we had to create a story about a monster that had an unexpected impact or ending. This story would then be presented in front of the appraisers on the day of the tournament. Now, speaking of a monster, our team assumed that most other teams would create their story about the monster being scary and evil or the story would take place in space or wherever most people would think of when they think “monster”. So, Nik and I worked closely to write the story script. We thought about it a lot and realized that there aren’t many love stories presented at DI. This would make our presentation unique from the others. After all, how many stories do you know about a monster falling in love? Ok, true. Most of the time, I’m totally disgusted by love but I thought that adapting the popular Beauty and the Beast story would be a great asset to our challenge solution! So yes, we rewrote the Beauty and the Beast story to make it our own! Click the link below to see!
Besides just writing a story, we also had to make props, backdrops and costumes to really bring the tale to life. To do this quickly and efficiently, we divided the tasks up. Taylor was responsible for designing the props, I was in charge of creating the Firebird costume for our monster and Nik, Emerson and Anika created the frame and painted the backdrop. Bam! Pure teamwork!
Ok, I’m sure you’re wanting to hear what happened on the day of the tournament so let’s cover this last prep topic quickly: the special effect. Yup, that’s where we struggled and went wrong. Originally, my team and I had a working special effect that triggered a fan to blow paper out of our volcano prop. Unfortunately, we found out that it didn’t meet the specifications needed to compete. Therefore, my team and I had to restart this part of the challenge. Emerson created a circuit which set off a motor to turn on the fan. “Yay”, we thought! Everything was going so well…or so we thought…
It was finally the day of the tournament and my team and I were doing the final touches on our props and costumes and reminding each other of last minute changes and lines. Emerson and Nik were in a separate room to finish up the special effect circuit. And, this is where it all went wrong. The rest of the team, including myself joined the boys in the room to help them out and we realized that our battery for the circuit was left on overnight and was now dead. My team searched the whole school for another battery but there were none to be found. We came to the conclusion that we would just have to manually trigger the effect.
The disasters just continued to arise from there. As my team and I lined up for our structure check in, we realized that we had to have a sample of every single one of the materials we used to build it. Fortunately, we were able to find a sample of all our materials except for our glue. This almost got our structure disqualified but, luckily, the lady running the challenge was kind enough to let us compete with our structure and let us off with a warning for provincials.
So far so good. I mean, we got through all the pre testing without losing too many points. It was now time to hand in our forms and compete. However, as the woman at the desk checked us in and asked for our forms, my team and I realized that we were missing many of our forms that needed to be filled out and completed prior to the tournament. Big oops. So, what did we do? Well, while Emerson and Anika brought our stuff into the presentation room, Nik and I had to stay behind and hand write many of the forms in messy scribbles.
Ok so we got through all the prep work leading up to this moment. K-NEAT FINALLY was ready to compete and stepped out onto the stage to perform their challenge solution. The performance…didn’t go as planned and wasn’t as good as our dress rehearsals in class. However, we still got through it and landed an unexpected 2nd place win! Yay K-NEAT!
Time to reflect. Our instant challenge went wonderfully and my team and I scored max points! But our central challenge, well, there were quite a few things that went well, but tons of things that went wrong. Luckily our team was great at improv because many things were forgotten during our performance such as playing the music for our team Choice elements meaning that Anika had to sing without music and I had to dance without any sound. Fortunately, most people didn’t even notice that there was supposed to be music in those areas of the play. Emerson also never said any of his lines and I started the intro line way too early. Both of those are an easy fix for provincials. The Firebird costume definitely needs improvement which, again, easy fix. The biggest thing our team needed to work on was our special effect. On the day of the tournament, it didn’t even go off meaning we got minimal points for that category for scoring.
Overall, I’m happy with how we did. On the day of the tournament, our teamwork was really tested but we pulled through and were there for one another. We all know what we did well and what needs to change or be fixed, so, over Spring Break, K-NEAT plans to work hard and, before we know it, it’ll be DI Di all over again.