Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Essays: Then and Now

In the second quarter of our Humanities class, we were given a two classes to write our first argumentative essay on whether or not kids should go a week without technology. It was named, "A Week Without Technology." Then, this quarter, we were given a few weeks to research, annotate articles, watch a documentary and then write an argumentative essay on whether or not Israel should exist. This time, we knew more about clauses, citations, and the format of an argumentative essay in general. Now we have both essays back and graded to compare and see how we improved and on which sections we should work on. 

On my first essay, I think that I did well, even though there were mistakes that I could've easily fixed now. For example, I didn't reference the text often and had almost no quotes. Some of my paragraphs were just rambling and the structure took attention away from the content.  I had a good tone, though, and my voice was clear and focused. My word choice was well-chosen, although I could've chosen better verbs. Sometimes my sentences were too long and awkward, and I made silly mistakes with my grammar. When I compared it to my essay on Israel, I could clearly see how I improved at least in every section. My grammar improved and I had several references to the text, and many quotes. I could see an obvious improvement with my sentences and in my general text.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Science Fair Reflection

Recently, me and my friend Rachel did the Science Fair together. We worked hard for several weeks and got our result a few days ago.

I think the most enjoyable part of my science fair project was creating the tri-fold. It took a lot of hard work and planning, but I was so pleased with the result that it made it worth. I was proud of the way I had made it pretty and clean, with a color scheme and clearly displayed information. It was my favorite Science Fair project that I had done!On the other hand, the most difficult or frustrating part, ironically, was creating the poster. We had chosen a different type of tri-fold, which was small and interestingly shaped, so we were convinced that we had to display the information on the bottom, which I did not want to do. We wanted to do something really great, but the problem was that we didn't know. I spent hours cutting out letters that I didn't end up using, tried out ideas that didn't work, and got so confused by the different plans that I had to sit down and draw it all out. I didn't personally have a printer at home, so I had to borrow someone else's, which didn't have ink the first time and took ten minutes to learn how to use. I had to print, and reprint because the text was either too small or too large and figure out how to use the font I wanted even though it wasn't in Microsoft Word. We ran out of spray-paint when we tried to make the cardboard white and when it dried, the white was translucent and sparkly. The night before when I tried to fix it using physical paint, it had only made it more uneven and made it look worse. The cardboard bent and folded over when I was begging it not to, and when we finally got the right spraypaint, I accidentally got it all over my balcony floor and stained it white. It still took two days in order to spray paint it correctly and make it even. I almost ran out of colorful cardboard paper and ripped one of the letters that took me half-an-hour to cut out. As you can see, even though the end result was great, the actual process was so long and frustrating that I was constantly stressed out.

If I had the chance to do this over, I would try to get the physical aspect of the project done sooner, and also would've done a project that I was more passionate about. I run into this problem every time-- I always chose a project that I don't really like and therefore don't enjoy doing. I was not unhappy with the topic I chose, but I wasn't happy with it either. I thought that it was an okay subject, but it was too easy, predictable and the experimenting wasn't very fun. I wish I chose something that I was passionate about and would give me unexpected results and something to think about. I wish I chose something that was original and would stand out from the rest of the projects. I wouldn't investigate it again in the future as I feel that there's nothing more to learn from it without getting into complicated neurology.

Even though I didn't really like the topic, I think that Rachel and I did very well when it came to organization and and speaking. One core value we did well was Communication. We knew what to say when and divided up the script fairly, so it was never one person talking for half of the presentation. We also let each other go take water when needed and present by ourselves when the partner was in the bathroom really well. I think we spoke clearly and changed language for different audiences. For example, for the little kids and parents that spoke little English and no Portuguese we spoke simply and slowly so that they could understand, and with more complicated terms for the American parents and teachers. We also spoke more casually to people our age while still giving them information Sometimes, we left out important information or skipped different parts of the experiment or procedure. Because we knew what happened, we assumed everyone would understand, but sometimes they asked us to explain what we did again. I think we could've done it in more chronologically and referred to the actual presentation more. I think

I worked with Rachel in this Science Fair project and I would definitely do it again. Sharing the work of  experimenting and researching was a lot easier than having to do it alone. I also had someone to motivate me and make me work, because I procrastinate quite a lot. It was also more enjoyable because I had a friend I could joke around with and have fun with while doing this project, instead of it all being work.