I built a laser display. Let me explain.

We have been learning about lasers for a while before winter break, but we hadn’t done anything about the project. So, in the first class after the break we got assigned groups. I was with Seth, Sydney, and Jessie. We we’re supposed to finish the whole display in six classes. So naturally, I was sick for 4 of em. Not to worry, Seth was also sick for a few classes, so we only had two people working for most of the time. We did try to stay in touch and work online, but since most of the work that we had to do when Seth and I were sick was building we didn’t end up being a big help after we’d done the math.

MindNode that we did at the start of the project

Questioning and Predicting: Demonstrate a sustained intellectual curiosity about a scientific topic or problem of personal interest

I was really interested about how I can create shapes with the laser simulator. That was the main reason why I wanted to make a star as a laser display. It was hard, and my group didn’t think that it was possible so I made a spare triangle in case the star didn’t work out. I did manage to make a fairly good first copy, so my group decided to trust me and let me build the star. I then had to create a right angle triangle, and measure it so that we could copy what I had built in the laser simulator into real life.

Communicating and Representing: How can I represent mathematical ideas in concrete, pictorial, and symbolic forms?

The two main concepts that I learned and used are the Pythagorean theorem and the law of reflection. We put these concepts to use in our final laser display and the planning process that went towards it. In the planning process my team and I decided that we were going to build a star as our laser display. We first had to design it in a laser simulator (👈linked), with the goal of creating at least one right angle triangle. We ended up finding a way to create a right angle, but to actually get it to work was another problem, so we spent the rest of the class lining it up and measuring to make sure that we had the right angle. Over the next few classes when I was away, my teammates took Seth and my measurements and put them onto a cardboard box, decorated it and put in the lasers and mirrors. Once me and Seth were healthy again we helped with some tweaking and we were done.

Applying and innovating: How can I co-operatively design projects?

A great example of how I showed this is how my group and I distributed the work load. We gave everyone some jobs that they were good at. I did the calculations and measurements in the laser simulation, Jessie made the decorations and design elements, Sydney put the star that we built in the simulation and copied it onto Jessie’s decoration and Seth was checking the calculations and measurements to make sure we didn’t mess anything up by accident along the way. This way we all were working, and working in our strong suit. We didn’t just do what was listed there, we still did other things when we didn’t have anything to do like trimming the deco, measuring stuff and writing the lab report, but the main jobs took up most of our time.

Thank You for Reading. If you want to see my teammates blogs, they are linked here.

Seth     Sydney      Jessie