Science, Mind over matter

Alright, I’m back for another blog post, and once again, it’s for science. This is only my second science blog post, and this one is pretty interesting. It’s also slightly different from my normal style of blog post; you’ll see how later.

Anyways, moving on, let’s get right into the work. First off, we have the first keystone. There’s not a lot I can say about this one, but I’ll still try.

So this first keystone was essentially just learning what matter even is. You can pretty much sum that up with two words: mass and volume. Matter is anything that has both mass and volume. Pretty simple, right? well. What is mass? What is volume? Well, basically, mass is how “heavy” an object is. I put heavy in quotes because, while mass is similar to weight, they are not the same. Weight is how much something weighs (pretty obvious, right), but weight can change, say if you’re on the moon. Mass, on the other hand, stays constant, so an object will have the same mass no matter where you are. Volume is how much space an object takes up, usually measured in cubic units or a unit of volume such as a millimetre.


Now, mass and volume are the defining properties of matter, but matter has many more properties. I mean, if I told you that an object was 354g and 3 cm3, could you tell me what it was? I’m going to assume you said no to that, and if you didn’t, you might want to double-check your answer. Anyway, my point is that matter has more properties. Now, the properties of matter can be divided into two different categories: chemical and physical properties. We’ve already looked at physical properties, but there is still one I haven’t told you about, and that’s density. In a nutshell, density is how much mass an object has in relation to volume. You can calculate mass, volume, and density like this:

Density = \frac{Mass}{Volume}

Mass = Density \times Volume

Volume = \frac{Mass}{Density}

Now for chemical properties. I’ll be quick with these as they can be a bit confusing.

Basically, chemical properties define how matter reacts with other things. Some examples of chemical properties are reactivity( how reactive something is to other things). conductivity, flammability( how easy it is to burn), radioactivity, and pH (how acidic or not things are).

After we learned all that( which took the better part of a week), we then did our keystone, where we had to describe an object in as many ways as possible. Here’s my description; see if you can figure out what it was:

  • Mass: 0.47g
  • Volume: 0.1g
  • Density: 4.7 g/cm3
  • Physical properties:
  • copper-plated iron.
  • made of extruded wire shaped into a loop similar to a trombone.
  • Conductive.
  • Chemical properties:
  • Corrodible

It was a paperclip.

Keystone 2

in which Finn and his friends dissolve a gummy bear.

Keystone tw: This is where things actually start to get pretty interesting. To begin with Keystone tw, we started off by learning about the different states of matter: solids, liquids, gases, and plasma.

Pretty simple, right? Then, after that, we learned about the kinetic molecular theory and why the different states of matter behave the way they do. Let’s cut right to the chase. In short, the kinetic molecular theory is:

  1. Everything is made up of molecules.
  2. The particles exist in empty space.
  3. In solids, the particles are packed together with little room to move; in liquids, they are still packed together but they can move around; and in gases, they are very spaced out with lots of room to move.
  4. The particles are always moving; in solids, they jitter around; in liquids, they flow around freely, moving past each other; and in gases, they move in a more or less straight line, bouncing off the walls.
  5. Finally. Energy makes particles move, and the more energy there is, the faster the particles move and the more spaced out they can get.

So, that’s the kinetic molecular theory, or KMF. It only took us like 3–4 days to learn too, yay!

Oh yeah, one more thing about the KMF: it’s also the reason that things change states of matter. Most pure substances (substances that only have one kind of particle) can exist in all three states of matter because the particles move faster as they get more energy, and because of that, they get more spread out. Pressure also plays a role in state changes, but I’m not super sure why. I found a couple of charts on Wikimedia Commons that kind of show how temperature and pressure affect state change:

Anyways, that’s a state change, and I honestly found it really interesting (foreshadowing)..

Now, diffusion is when one type of material mixes with another; think dye in water. Because particles move around more when they are hotter, they diffuse faster.

So that brings me to the actual keystone part of Keystone 2. What we did was come up with a hypothesis relating to how a gummy bear would diffuse. We had to work in teams, and to avoid legal trouble, I’ll give you the names of the people I worked with:

Caelum and Parker

Now that that’s over with, I’ll tell you about our experiment. Our idea was that pressure would make the bears diffuse faster, so, as for some reason our school does not have a pressure chamber, we had to… improvise. We used baking soda and vinegar to create pressure, so we ran four different tests, one with just water, one with water and vinegar, one with water and vinegar and baking soda, and one with baking soda, water, and vinegar, sealed off. We then left them for 24 hours and came back the next day to observe.

We were wrong.

The gummy bear that water diffused into fastest was the one in plain water; second was water and vinegar; and the other two were the same. One interesting thing was that the bears in vinegar and vinegar and baking soda became desaturated, with the ones with baking soda being the most so.

I couldn’t find an image of the bears, but I’ll put one up when I do.

Anyway, moving swiftly on:

Keystone 3

in which Finn makes a game

Yes, you read that correctly; I made a game, but before I can tell you about that, I need to tell you about what we learned.

I want to get through this quickly so I can talk about the game, so I’ll keep this short.

In Keystone 3, we learned about atoms.

We started by learning about what atoms are. Atoms are the smallest possible amount of an element. Note how I said element because atoms are also made of particles called subatomic particles (creative right) called protons, neutrons, and electrons.

The protons and neutrons form a structure called the nucleus, which sits in the centre of the atom, with the electrons in a cloud surrounding the neuculus. What kind of element it is depends on how many neutrons, protons, and electrons there are; for example, hydrogen has a single proton and a single electron; iron has 26 protons, 30 neutrons, and 26 electrons. Every element has a different atomic makeup.

Anyways, now to the game. For the final project of Keystone 3, and this unit, we had to make a video game about a concept we learned in this unit. As you can imagine, I was extremely excited, to say the least, as game development and programming are some of my favourite things to do.

So as soon as I got the prompt, I started brainstorming ideas. About 2 minutes in, I came up with the idea of a puzzle game where you change states of matter to solve puzzles. Not wanting to just use the first idea that pops into my head, I spent another half an hour trying to come up with other ideas, but I couldn’t come up with anything better, so I went with my first idea.

After coming up with an idea, I started trying to figure out how exactly I was going to get this done. Most people were going to be using scratch, but by its block-based nature, it’s much more limited in functionality.

I decided I would use a dedicated game engine. After looking at some of the web-based options, I decided I would need something with more power. I also didn’t want to have to learn something new, so that left me with three options: Godot, Unity,  and Unreal Engine.
Unreal is, as far as I can tell, aimed at 3D experiences, and I decided that the game puzzles would work best in 2D, so that left me with Unity or Godot.
I decided on Unity because, as much as I love Godot, it just isn’t quite as powerful as unity.

Once I had the logistics sorted I started actual development.

I got sick for around 3 days right when we started working on our games, it sucked to be sick but it did give me a lot of time to work, so I made a lot of progress during those first few days. i also took some videos of my progress that I’ll put up here, its also worth noting that I have a git repository for this game, so that’s another way you can see the progress I made:


my first progress log, including buttons and doors, as well as a player controller for the solid state.
My second progress log, with boxes the player can pick up and use to interact with buttons and elevators.
my third progress log, with lasers and some testing with post processing effects.

sadly that is where the progress logs stop and I didn’t record any more. I do have this video which shows off the gas and fluid simulations

fluid and gas simulation

anyways that’s all I have for now, I’ll release some betas on the github at some point and Im also working on an page for the game here.

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