Thursday, March 22, 2018

Wage Peace, Not War

One of the questions I had after our Interwar/WW2 unit was about the peace treaties after World War 2. I was curious to know how the treaties did not lead to another world war as the treaties in World War 1 did. I knew that they must be different in some way because one failed to keep peace while the other has prevented a third world war from occuring. My research question for this project was 

"How were the peacemaking treaties at the end of both world wars different, and how was peace kept after World War 2?"

In 1944 the main Allied powers, USA, Great Britain, Soviet Union and the Republic of China sent delegates to meet, negotiating postwar parameters. The 1945 San Francisco conference was later held to write the charter of the UN with representatives from over fifty countries. The countries present in this diorama are the UN Security Council - the victors of WWII: France, USA, Republic of China, Great Britain and the Soviet Union.

The United Nations (UN) was created to replace the League of Nations which was ineffective. The UN was made to keep peace internationally and resolve future conflicts between countries without resorting to war. This happened because the Atlantic Charter was signed, saying that peaceful negotiation would be used instead of threatening or using force.
The League of Nations did not have any power and not much representation. Not all countries participated in the League of Nations. The United Nations was formed with the failure of the League of Nations in mind, and was more successful because of this experience of failure. The charter of the UN was written with the contribution from fifty countries, all sharing their views for world peace. I really liked this opportunity to answer our own wonder questions. We got to research something that we were interested in, and then present it to our peers. I enjoyed this project, and I hope we have another next quarter that is similar.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Write Just Because

Write poetry. Write things that rhyme. Write things that don't. Use a specific poetic form. Or not. Describe things in the most intense forms of imagery there is. Overload on your figurative language until it's on the brink of not making sense, teetering on the edge of that cliff between sanity and insanity. Read it over and over, and question your choice of every word, every syllable, because when it's done, you'll feel better.

Write things that don't make sense. Confuse your readers. Confuse yourself. Let out all your emotions. Write those things that you would never say aloud, write those things that make you groan in disgust or embarrassment, write those things that make you end your sentence in "akljdzsfjlaiuymxs I'M DEAD".

Write about things that don't make sense to you. Social cliques. Sports. Things that are around but you don't understand why they are. Why does the world seem so big? Why is it so limited? Why do I matter? I'm just one tiny human being in one tiny house in one tiny city in one tiny country in one tiny continent in one tiny world in one tiny solar system in one tiny galaxy in the huge universe that is still growing, bigger and larger and bigger and larger.

Write to torture yourself. Write about your fantasies and the things that you just WISH that you could have, but you know are impossible. Write about what you think the future might be. Write about how the world could end one day, and why people like Nostradamus can predict the ending of the world to one exact year - 3797.

Write to express your feelings. Write just to reread what you've written in five years, because in those few years you may well be more mature, or in a better situation, or just needing a laugh from someone who doesn't exist anymore, someone who you were five years ago.

Write in a bullet journal. If you can't form complete sentences then put it in bullets, doodle things to go with it. Not every journal entry has to feel like a story. Not every story has to be written down. Some can be just listed, in bullets.

Write, then screw up your format. write in all lowercase letters because it's been a long day. WRITE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS BECAUSE YOU HAVE A SCREAM WAITING TO COME OUT, AND NOT IN YOUR PILLOW. Write normally because it's a normal poem, but no poems are normal, for they are all unique. Type it all up because you've run out of paper, or because you want it to look professional. Center it. Align it to the left, or right. Or make it in a zig-zag pattern.

Write because you're inspired. Write because you don't have anything better to do. Write to finally take your big ideas out of small boxes. Write to be rebellious. Write because you're vulnerable. Write just because.

I can't wait to read what you write.

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.