Driving Question: How might we explore innovation through robotics?
What were your goals for this module? How did you achieve them?
Our goal for this module was to create a working robot completed with a prototype and functioning code. We spent lots of time brainstorming and sketching ideas for this robot. We also wanted to make sure our robot was super unique and one of a kind.
Our final prototype was a success and could perform the actions that it was intended to do. Our robot is also innovative because it is different than anything you will see on the current market.
What new things did you learn about yourself?
I learned that I should be more open to failures and feedback since those things could only help. My thoughts before were “get everything right” or “no mistakes,” now, I am open to failure and will welcome it with open arms.
What are your big takeaway lessons from this project?
The biggest lesson for me is that everything is a process, and nothing amazing can come from nothing.
When starting this project I was extremely passionate about psychology and mental health. I wanted to expand on the knowledge that I had gained in AP psychology, and the next natural step for me was to focus on the brain. I wanted to understand its different components, what everything was responsible for, and what would happen if certain parts got damaged.
-Class of 2022 Student Effie H.
For her personal project, Class of 2022 Student Effie H. focused on the driving question: How might I expand my knowledge of the brain and discover what makes it so unique?
Effie’s project on brain anatomy focused on the intricacies of the brain and what allows us all to be individuals. Her project highlighted the emotional and memory functions of the brain and how without them, we would all essentially be a vegetable.
Her final work consisted of diagrams showing different parts and functions of the brain. Her goal was to help people see that the brain isn’t scary and that it’s fascinating to learn about — the concept doesn’t need to be a scary one, and can easily be broken down into more palatable sections.
Driving Question: How can I engineer the strongest bridge with the most efficient use of the specified material?
Module Overview: Bridges are perhaps the most challenging and fascinating feats of engineering.
In this module, students became civil and structural engineers by working at the Manchego Fromage Consultancy, where they wereresponsible for coming up with the most efficient bridge design.
Students strived to creatively meet their imaginary client’s needs within budget and material constraints. The clients were the City of Rodentia, working in partnership with the Rodent Migration Travel Group.
In learning about bridge types, students explored the effect of tension and compressive forces, differentiated between brittle and ductile material properties, and investigated the calculations that go into designing bridges.
I enjoyed the module so much. I love creating and building things, so I had lots of fun building some testing bridges and the final one. I faced some challenges I didn’t think would happen, but I found a way to deal with them.
For this module, we designed and built a spaghetti bridge basing ourselves on our client’s needs from the “City of Rodentia”. I learned about bridge types, the effect of tension and compression, and the calculations that need to be considered to design a bridge. This knowledge helped me design a strong and effective bridge.
My final product is an Open Tender, which is the proposal for our “clients.” It includes the price, design, 2D and 3D model, calculations, and other information pieces.
I learned how much I like to design things and make them physically. It was enjoyable and challenging to build a bridge with pasta because you need to consider many factors and develop techniques to build the strongest bridge.
This project allowed me to learn about the different types of bridges and the engineering process and what it includes (different studies from the area, forces of members, strength to weight ratio, etc.)
Based on our investigations, we had to experiment with building pasta trusses to see what works, what doesn’t work, and which type of bridge truss was stronger than the others.
We created and proposed an open tender to the fictitious Rodent Migration Travel Group after running our experiments.
Driving Question: How can I learn about physics through designing and creating a Rube Goldberg Machine?
What was your final product?
My final product was a functioning Rube Goldberg Machine. A RGM is a machine that preforms a function with many pointless steps to get to it. In my case, my function was to feed my dogs.
What are you passionate about that led you to choose this project?
I chose to do this project because I wanted to learn about basic physics laws and how they relate to everyday actions.
What do you hope people will get from looking at your page?
I hope people will watch the video of my machine and try to think about what physics it took to make it happen.
Did your project develop and change from your initial idea, if so how?
Although I always knew I wanted to make an RBM, the process changed quite a few times. Originally I was going to make it be vertical on a board, but after hours of failed attempts to make anything stick to the board, I decided to make it on a table instead.
What are your big takeaway lessons from this project?
My biggest takeaway from this project is probably patience. It was very frustrating when every time I tried to run it something different would go wrong. I really had to persevere to complete this project.
My goals with this project have been to get people thinking about astrobiology and the possibility of extraterrestrial life, and work towards the general democratization of scientific thinking and knowledge. It is my belief that every member of society should have the tools and ability to conduct scientific investigations if they so wish, and to engage critically with new scientific discoveries and current events. Science isn’t something that should only be available to people who have a four year degree and a lab!
This is why I created a kit that can be used anywhere, by anyone, and bring the study of extraterrestrial life to their own home. I designed/adapted three experiments and activities to inspire critical thinking, scientific inquiry, and knowledge building surrounding biology, astronomy, and alien life. I also took a deeper look in my capstone paper at the reasons why there is so much misinformation about aliens in the media and amongst the general public, and along the way discovered a surprising love for science communication! The conversations I had that this kit inspired are the biggest proof that I met my goal of democratizing science; maybe if we all spent a little more time talking about life outside of earth, we’d be able to make life a little better inside of earth too!
What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of the fact that even in the face of hardship, and people telling me that I couldn’t make this work, I chose to listen to all of the amazing people encouraging me to keep going and try another strategy. This project started out looking very differently, but I couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out. In fact, this product aligns far more with my original goals than the experiment I was planning from the start!
It was so worth it to stay true to my original intention, and put in the extra detail work to make this something I could be really proud of leaving as my TGS legacy.
What are the biggest lessons you learnt through the process of your mastery project?
I learned that the two keys to a successful project are a lot more subtle than you might think: logistics, and a whole lot of feedback. The biggest mistake I made at the outset of my Mastery was not leaving enough time for certain logistical processes to take place, meaning that eventually, I didn’t get the things I needed in time to do the experiment I had planned. Preparation is really nine-tenths of it, and is an essential part of making all the fun showy stuff a possibility!
Feedback is the other big piece of the puzzle. It’s so easy to get caught in your own little Mastery project bubble and forget that the reason you’re doing all this work is to create something other people will be able to interact with and enjoy! It’s essential to keep that factor in mind every step of the way and appreciate every pair of eyes you can get on your project whenever possible.