The Cannon With The Confetti By Sandy Sanchez

So it’s the second semester in my PLTW class, and to kick it off, we completed a new module. My group was once again Marlene and Astrid. We weren’t too positive on what we wanted to do this time so we were just sitting by the computers trying to decide. I had a feeling Marlene wanted to do something that had engineering involved, which is what I wanted to do as well. After a while she asks us if we would be cool with doing the computer science module. We all thought that it would a challenge and something we haven’t done yet so we agreed. I mean how hard could it be? All it was were some wires. Well believe me, it’s more complicated than it seems.

 

After we told Mrs. Sauter what module we wanted to do, we decided to get a feel for the material we would be working with. These things were called Little Bits. The Little Bits we used were in a set inside a box that came with simple things we could use. There wires, batteries, buttons, lights, a sound box and much more. We could connect all these small parts and turn them into something greater, which was the goal of this module. After we played around with them and knew how they all worked, it was time to come up with an idea.

 

The next class, we sat down and thought about idea on what we could make using the Little Bits. I remember we came up with ideas like a car, a clock, a glowing sign, and even a glow in the dark pizza. (Yeah we were kinda running out of ideas at that point.) So we starting thinking about the best parts to use, and then maybe we can think of an idea that way. I knew we all liked the lights, sound box, and the wheel and axle. So we thought we could use the lights and sound box to make some sort of car. And then Astrid says, “but a car is just too boring!” And Marlene tells her to think of another idea instead. And that’s when we decided we wanted to make a Dump Truck. So we started designing it right away. We thought we had all the files safe and sound for next class…. but we didn’t. We lost everything. And trust me I still don’t know why today but we decided to do something else besides the Dump Truck. I guess we thought it was like a sign or something. So now we had a new idea in mind.. A Confetti Cannon.

 

Once we were set on building a Confetti Cannon, we realized that we basically had none of the materials together and our time was running out. So we decided to come together outside of school. We were gonna meet at Astrid’s house and build the canon. We actually got so much more done than I expected if I’m honest. There was only two big obstacles left for us to figure out. 1.) How do we get a fan that is powerful enough to blow out confetti? 2.) What are we going to use as a screen to block the confetti from the fan? To answer number one, we decided to make a fan out of cardboard for now, even though we knew it wouldn’t be strong enough. It would just be for now. And for number two, we decided that we should just poke holes in aluminum foil.

 

When we were all done with building the cannon, it looked better than I expected. But I still didn’t like the screen we made. So I decided to look for a substitution. And I found the perfect net type thing for the job. It was strong and the right size. The next day in class, we used the net and realized that we were almost done. But we still had one problem… what about the fan? We decide to ask Mrs. Sauter and with our luck, she found a perfect Little Bits fan for us that wasn’t in the set we had in the beginning. The fan was perfect! Everything was set. Now all we needed was to put it all together with the new fan. And it worked after a couple tries.

 

I had learned a lot from this experience about myself and my teammates. I learned that when we actually focus and take time to finish something, we can. This was the first module we did outside of school all together and it was so much fun and we had completed a lot. I also learned that we can be resourceful and very open minded when we wanted to be. And overall, I feel like this was the first module that helped us grow closer and teammates. And that’s good enough for me.

 

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