Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A Terrible War of Bloodshed, Bias and Bravery

18 million lives lost; 23 million more wounded. All in all, that's over 40 million casualties. Propaganda played a key role in encouraging citizens to support either the Allied Powers or the Central Powers. Courageous soldiers fighting through horrible conditions in trenches or in the wintry weather in the mountains. World War 1 was a terrible war of bloodshed, bias and bravery.

We have just concluded our World War 1 and Russian Revolution unit. This was a big and serious unit. I learned a lot and truly respect all that went to fight in it.

At the beginning of this unit, we were asked to film ourselves talking about what we already knew and what we'd like to learn about World War 1. We later revisited these videos and responded to them with what we learned. Here is my video.

A minor project that I completed was the WW1 propaganda poster. The goal of this project was to increase our understanding of the effect of propaganda in WW1. It was one of the most important tools in supporting the war effort in both WW1 and WW2. My poster is pictured below.

My poster is encouraging citizens to join the army to avenge loved ones who have passed. The colors on my poster are bold, to attract attention, but also convey remorse for the dead. Using the propaganda strategy of fear by reminding people of passed loved ones, I hope my poster will encourage people to "Enlist to Resist". (Summary of poster, propaganda strategy, purpose, and target audience)

I know that I could have done a lot better on this poster. If I had more time and a second chance to do this project, I would make the poster better quality, more artistic and more sensible. I am still happy with my performance on this project with the time that I was given to finish it.

I learned a lot from the World War 1 and Russian Revolution unit, and I'm excited to learn about World War 2, our next unit! I know that a lot of my peers know more about WW2 than WW1, so I am excited to hear their knowledge of this topic. I would like to know the number of casualties in WW2, so I can acknowledge those soldiers' bravery too. To learn more about WW2, I will pay attention to this coming unit and talk with my peers. I will also do extra research if necessary. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Don't Hug an Amoeba

Seriously! It's a bad idea. Don't do it!

(Well, I suppose they're too small to do you any harm.)

Amoebas are a type of protist. What's a protist, you say? Protists are a diverse group of eukaryotic organisms who aren't considered plants or animals, and are simply classified together for convenience. "Oh, hi, Paramecium! Good to see you today! Hmm, you have a nucleus, and a membrane? Cool! Let's chuck you over into that bucket with Euglena and the other protists. Good day; watch out for the amoebas, I think they're hungry today!"

Paramecia are another type of protists. They're known for their cilia, the thousands of hair-like organelles that help them move and eat. They also have organelles that some protists don't have, such as oral grooves and anal pores. Interestingly enough, they also have two nuclei. If you do a quick web search, you'll also find that paramecia are the amoebas' favorite lunch.

Speaking of amoebas eating lunch, let's talk about how the amoeba creates pseudopodia. Firstly, the amoeba has two types of cytoplasm: endoplasm and ectoplasm. The ectoplasm is near the membrane (outer cytoplasm). To move, the amoebas push their ectoplasm to create pseudopods, which are also known as "false feet".

The amoeba also use these pseudopodia to eat. Instead of eating their food like a normal person - er, protist - they engulf their food with their pseudopods, and digest them by secreting enzymes through the cytoplasm to the food vacuole.

Lastly, the euglenas! These protists are, in my opinion, also highly fascinating. They are both autotrophs and heterotrophs, which means that they can consume food OR make their own! They also have a whip-like structure called a flagellum which helps them move.

Are you planning to attend the Protist Party? Don't worry too much about those paramecia. When they get mad at the amoebas, they protist peacefully, so it's all good.

*If you're having trouble with some of the words in this post, please visit these links:
Journey to the Center of the Cell post
Journey to the Center of the Cell story

Saturday, January 13, 2018

-"Ism"'s of History

Industrialism, Nationalism, Imperialism. All fancy -"ism" terms related to the history of you, me, and all the people around us, yet so different at the same time. Want an explanation?


Look around you. I'm sure you'll see some modern invention or electronic device. People bent over their iPhone 7 's? A television broadcasting the news? Or even just something simple, like a 24-pack of mechanical pencils or a bucket of dog toys.

All these things were mass produced. That means that they were made in bulk, in large quantities. Industrialism helped with that. There weren't always factories. There wasn't always a need to have extra money. A long time ago, people were only focused on growing enough food for their family. This was called an agrarian society. When the Industrial Revolution began around 1760, everything started changing, slowly but surely.

People started getting obsessed with getting rich. These capitalist people wanted a surplus. The high demand for goods made more jobs, and factories were built. In the beginning, factories ran on hydroelectricity. Later on, they were converted to running on coal, which polluted the environment a lot more. (See here to learn about how we designed our own developing city.)

Don't you love your iPhone 7? Well, thanks to factories and mass production, you can get it shipped to your house right after you order it.


Is there an American flag in the room? Stand and pledge your allegiance. Nationalism is similar to Patriotism. Your pride in your country, beliefs, cultures and traditions.

Listen to our national anthem. The lyrics talk about how our flag was still standing through all the hardships we've been through together. It makes references to our revolutionary war when we fought for independence.

Nationalism is an key part to keeping a country together.


Imperialism is when a country extends its power to other countries by acquiring territories.

An example of imperialism in history is the Scramble for Africa. This event was called the Scramble for Africa because it was just discovered that Africa was chock-full of natural resources! So, all the European countries wanted their share, to become a more powerful country in trade.

The Berlin Conference of 1884 was held to avoid war, and Africa was divided up between the countries.

The -"ism"'s of history are important to all of us!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Journey to the Center of the Cell

Imagine being a molecule.
Not just any molecule. A nonpolar molecule. Meaning, you’re made up of two atoms, and the electrons are equally shared between the two.
Funnily enough, I am one. And we are one of the only materials that can pass through a cell’s membrane.
One day, I decided to travel through a cell, the building block of life. After all, it’s one of the things I can do that is unique to me. I thought, why not get to know the cell? So that’s what I did.

This quarter in science, we've been learning about cells. We've learned about the cell theory, organelles and their functions, the characteristics of life, and fancy terms like "homeostasis". It's been a fun unit and we wrapped it up with a layered curriculum project and a quiz.

For my layered curriculum, I flew through the Layer C pretty fast. I had fun with the ABC's of Life lab where we looked at samples of onion, cork and human cheek cells under the microscope. In this layer, we also learned about the characteristics of life. All living things will contain cells, grow and develop, reproduce, obtain and use energy, and respond to environment.

I really liked doing the layered curriculum project for cells, and I think that it really helped me understand the concepts.

[Read the rest of Journey to the Center of the Cell here.]

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Restless Rohingya Refugees

Over 400,000 Rohingya refugees. All seeking refuge in Bangladesh. Worrying about food and basic safety. Boats capsizing. Children fleeing the Rakhine state. Severe injuries and death. Praying men. People scrambling to catch food distributed by Bangladeshi volunteers and aid groups at refugee camps. So much grief and mourning over lost lives.

Often described as the most persecuted minority in the world, the Rohingya people are an ethnic Muslim minority from Myanmar (Burma), where they have been denied citizenship because they are not formally recognized by the government. Most of the Rohingya people are from the state of Rakhine on the west coast of Myanmar.

One sad story of these refugees is the one of Hanida Begum. Her son, one month old Abdul Masood, passed away after the boat they were traveling in capsized in the waist deep water of the Bay of Bengal.

Unfortunately for the Rohingya people, not many countries are welcoming toward them despite their situation. Sometimes, the Bangladeshi will allow them to stay in refugee camps on its border, but other times, they just send them back to Myanmar. In 2015, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia pushed stranded groups of Rohingya at sea back and forth between each other, refusing to take them in.

There are different thoughts in Indonesia as well, as it is the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation. Indonesians have shown support for the Rohingya by carrying out regular protests.

The Rohingya refugees really have nowhere to go. The Burmese want them out of the Rakhine state, out of Myanmar. But, countries around Myanmar like Bangladesh want them to return to Myanmar. Because of this, there have been deaths and mourning of loved ones. They cannot secure work, food, or safety. Life is very difficult for the Rohingya refugees.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Vote for Voltaire

Have you ever wondered what sparked the ideas for our Constitution and Bill of Rights?

Well, a lot of these ideas came from the Enlightenment. One of the people who played a big role in the Enlightenment was a man named Fran├žois-Marie Arouet, more commonly known as Voltaire. He believed in free speech, thought, expression and religion, which are major rights in our Constitution today!

Imagine if Voltaire was running for president in modern times. What would he say about some of our modern issues? Here is what I think he might say to us:

John Locke once said, "All mankind... being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions."
Locke believed in our natural rights. He told us that man had right to life, liberty and property. I believe that we have natural rights like these and more.  
My mother, Marie Marguerite d'Aumart, died when I was seven, and I developed a bond with my godfather, the Abbe de Chateauneuf.
"My life is a struggle," but I learned a lot from it. I think that all people should be allowed freedom of: speech, religion, thought, and expression.
Let us address a topic that has been worrying people this past year: gun violence.
Gun violence in America has been getting out of control. One Saturday last year, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a gunman shot six people to death. In Indiana and Texas, murder-suicides occurred. People are getting seriously worried about the recent gun violence incidents.
People have the right to defend themselves, to keep a defensive weapon in their homes to give them a sense of security. But, if this weapon is used for assaulting others, they most definitely do not have the right to do that, because as Locke said, all men have the right to life, and no one has the right to take another's life.
In order to prevent this constantly occurring violence, I propose that a law be made to require all high school students to take a gun safety course. This course will then be repeated again if one wishes to buy a gun later in life.
This action will hopefully alert young adults to gun safety and the violence that is happening around us.
A saying of mine that has become quite famous is "We have a natural right to make use of our pens as of our tongue...." Instead of using violence to get a message across, we can use our words and our writing to let people know what we think, and we can teach the next generation this crucial point.
I am one of you, and I am asking you to choose me to represent you. I will alert our people to gun violence and safety. Our Constitution and government enforces our rights and I will make sure it continues to do so. Thank you.

I learned a lot from the project and it was cool to think about what a historical figure would say about issues such as gun violence in modern times!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Absolutely Enlightening

Our third unit in Social Studies is called Absolutism and Enlightenment. Absolutism is a system of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator; this means that the monarch, or whoever is the ruler, has complete power over the nation's land and citizens.

You may be wondering what Enlightenment is, because Absolutism sounds so dreary and unfair. Thankfully, Enlightenment is the movement that pushed for reason and individualism rather than tradition. This means that people started wondering why they let the King, who had the supposed "Divine Right", rule them unquestioned.

For example, one of the ideas that sprang up from this movement was Galileo Galilei's: what if the Earth revolved around the sun, and not the other way around? The Church was scandalized at how Galileo could suggest that the Earth was not the center of the universe.

Here is how Galileo's theory came to be:

In 1609, he switched from being a physicist to an astronomer. He observed four moons of Jupiter, and showed that not all celestial bodies orbit earth. He then observed the phases of Venus, which proved that Venus orbits the sun, rather than the earth. He also predicted that the universe is a lot bigger than we think judging from what we can see with the naked eye.

But even though Galileo's theory proved to be right, the Catholic Church was not happy with his ideas. Galileo got a trial before the Inquisition, and was accused of heresy. His punishment was house arrest for the rest of his life.

Though in 1616, Galileo promised to renounce his ideas, he published a book that made fun of the Church. He was put on trial in front of the Inquisition again and was charged with heresy, with the likely punishment of death.

Some people believe that Galileo was tortured; others think that he was just shown the torture room to scare him.

To save his own life, he recanted his ideas. Legend says that he then muttered "but it still moves" under his breath. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in his house, where he went blind and had to give up his scientific studies.

The church found his findings dangerous. Why is that?

I think that the church found Galileo's findings dangerous because if people began to believe them, the Church would lose its support. They didn't want to lose that support, and since they held the power, they did everything in their will to keep it quiet.

I find Galileo and his story absolutely enlightening! No wonder he was a leader in the Enlightenment movement.