Hey everyone! It’s Maite, and for my last blog post I am talking about failure. This year in PLTW I, and my fellow students, all learned about failure. Not only how it happens a lot, but that it is okay. Failure is something that happens all the time and something that shapes us to always do better the next time.

One time I experienced failure this year was while doing my maker project. My group and I worked very hard on the making of the project but we faced quite a few challenges and there were times where what we did, did not work. On the day of the maker faire one part of our project barely worked, and at first I was pretty upset. But I realized that the part that did work was really good and that even though that one part did not work, we worked very hard on it and that was what counted. We put so much effort into it and it taught us what we did wrong and what to do better next time.

So, whenever any us face something difficult and we fail, we always must remember to get back up and try again and be proud of all the effort we put into it. Have a good one everybody!

Skateboard Sold Out

By: Sophia N.

Is the second semester of 8th grade,  my group and I have been working on different projects throughout the year. It has been the best of PLTW, better than before, because it really was an impact to us, students, are finally making a difference. We’re showing how amazing we can be in any way. Either we showed our talents by media tech ideas. I can’t remember any media tech projects that we have done, but I do remember that we made a video showing our ideas of some sort of new invention, but I’ve heard, people have made cameras. Students also worked on engineering modules that could help create and think of new ideas to build stuff in the future. Finally, in the biomedical field. I got the chance to work on making a prosthetic leg, it could help a life some day, thanks to future inspirations (like us:).

This time were working on something inspiring, more of a engineering project. Sadly, is our last fun project that we’ll do in PLTW class. My group and I are working on a rad skateboard. That’s our project; building a skateboard. Our theme is Hawaiian and surfing. This came out to be because of how we loved the design of the skateboard. It looks like a  surf board. And we had all these ideas of how it would be like since it looks like a board meant to be in the water. When we heard we were gonna have to sell it afterwards, I was heartbroken. Working on something amazing, and useful but having to sell it for others to have, wasn’t my idea for a perfect project. I moved on, and now I’m glad that we’re giving it away for someone who would absolutely love it and would use it everyday. Plus, you feel amazed that someone really did want it for themselves.

I remember times when I struggle a lot and feel like I should give up and move to the next thing. But you need to know that you can do it, just because you’re negative, you won’t be able to accomplish anything. I don’t remember any specific hard moments I just felt like I should just stop and give up, but I remember some time, around this week, that I was struggling and I wanted to give up. It was with algebra homework. I re-read the question over and over again, but nothing. I try to see what I’m trying to look for, but nothing. So I thought, “I give up.” I moved that aside and started doing my other homework to get that through, and maybe, I would’ve returned to that difficult task. And so I did; I went back and looked at the question, I re-read it until I can get some ideas of how to solve it. Finally I got it, I had to make the question into an equation. I’ve done that before, it was in the notes. But I was just glad I didn’t just let it go. We have to check back and try hard to get the answer/solution. I got that through with. But that was just one time and it was not too long ago. We all feel like giving up at some point. And we have, but you can always stop. Stop thinking of negativity of how badly you’re gonna fail, as long as you do your best is all good.

My group and I, got the news that someone bought our skateboard, very shocked we were. Going back to the main idea of the project, it was to see how failure happens, but don’t give up. Just like skateboarders, once they fall, they get back up. They don’t throw their skateboards away and say “I won’t skateboard again. I give up!” Now that someone owns our skateboard, they would have the opportunity to modify it and make it into a riding skateboard, they can know the feeling of giving up and failure. But it depends on that person, if they wanna get back up and ride one last time, in the cruiser.

Our Fabulous Playhouse

This six weeks, everyone in the 8th grade is doing a project that involves making a skateboard for the rest of the year. I would have liked to do that project because it sounds like fun to make a skateboard, but I also wanted to continue working on a playhouse that my group members and I have started a while ago. We started working on it before spring break and we are almost done with making the whole house. Right now, we have mostly finished painting the house (we just need some minor details to add) and afterwards, hopefully we get to decorate the inside of the house and deliver it to Jocelyn Elementary school. We also need to add some molding hopefully, in places that it needs them. It needs them in the bottom and some on the roof of the house. I am really excited to take the playhouse to the elementary school and give it to the little children to play in. I have heard that they are excited to have the house finally because they have been waiting for some months now.

The playhouse was actually not as easy as I thought it would be to design, build, and paint it. It was a bit hard and we needed to move the house about 3-4 times, and that was not easy at all. We had to have at least 7 people help us(the house is 5×6 feet) because it is pretty big. It was hard but at the end it was worth to do all that work for the little kids.

Texas Cacti

Natalia Vazquez

Our amazing final project of the year was building a skateboard, in society theres not a lot of girls that know or ride a skateboard and in society riding a skateboard is a boy thing, we are trying to change that by getting girls to get inspired to learn how to skate board because is not only for boys to learn. By building a skateboard we are also challenging that stereotype of girls. Building a skateboard also helps our community by auctioning the skateboards and raises money for the school. In the process of our skateboard we picked a penny board to build. The steps of building a penny board was to laser cut the wood for our penny board and putting them together. Then the next step was drilling in the holes for the wheels of the penny board and make a design. The design was difficult to choose since we all had different ideas, we came up with putting cacti’s for us defined a part of nature of Texas. I thought this project was really fun and I am proud for building a penny board.

To Quit or Not to Quit By Izabella M.

If I had to write a book about the Make-o-Rama, I think I’d have to go with the title: “The First Annual ARS Make-o-Rama 2015- The Spectacular Event That Instilled Both Stress and Excitement Within Me- A Memoir.” Okay, so maybe I would have to shorten that, but there’s most definitely a truth to it.

To give a quick summary as to what exactly this so-called “Make-o-Rama” is- Make-o-Rama is an event that took place at the end of April 2015 at the Ann Richards School that allowed us students to display our projects we had been working on in PLTW for the past couple of months to our fellow peers. I know, I know, this sounds super cool, and it’s not that I was worried it wouldn’t be. However, I was concerned because the Make-o-Rama was fast approaching, and to say the least, our project was utterly failing.

This is where the stress comes in.

We were constructing a marble run, intending to make it out of wood and pieces created by the marvelous 3D printer with the idea that our project would represent how even the oldest, simplest of designs, can be combined with modernized design techniques. I actually got really into it and grew excited as we 3D printed a few pieces to add to our track. However, we then realized that the Make-o-Rama was only a week away, and we couldn’t find a way to properly attach the 3D pieces and contemplated giving up.

After agonizing over it, we ultimately decided to scrap the 3D printed pieces (much to my disappointment) due to the ticking clock. I felt like a complete failure. I mean, we’d completely given up on such an inspiring idea because we couldn’t fathom a way to fix our problem. Wouldn’t that be considered a failure?

What I came to realize through our marble run project is that just because something doesn’t go as originally planned, it doesn’t mean it is a failure. Tons of inventions were created by accident, such as the microwave, velcro, and even popsicles! Beautiful and useful things can emerge from a “failure.” After all, our marble run turned out great, with neatly cut pieces, cool track extensions- all without the 3D printed pieces. Though in this situation we gave up on our 3D printing idea, we knew it was for the best, and our finished product is evidence that it was.

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 11.20.21 AM

Fail to Succeed By Erin N.

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 11.20.39 AM  On my last post I wrote about my maker project, the Marble Run , and it turned out better than I thought it would.  We had originally planned for the wood to lead to a 3D printed portion of the tracks, and it didn’t really turn out that way.  You may know that there are marble runs where the Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 11.20.21 AMtracks are made out of filament connected by 3D printed “clip” type things, as seen in the picture to the right.  If you look at the picture of our finished marble run, you can see that it’s not included. On the usual 3D printed marble run, the marble starts on the 3D part and ends there.  With ours, it would had to have started on the wood andScreen Shot 2015-06-02 at 11.20.01 AM joined with it.  First, we tried to hot glue the plastic like we had done with the wood and when that didn’t worked, we used tape. That didn’t look all that great and didn’t function as well as it needed to, so we disposed of it.  Instead, we used two dowel rods next to each other to hold the marble together, which is also how the filament works. After that we reached the end of the road and one of our group members came up with the idea for a pin board idea.  We built those, put it together, and it worked, the marble ran down the tracks.  What happened to us is like what happens when you try a new trick on a skateboard-  You may crash, but you get right back up again and try it a little differently till it works.  The 3D pieces and filament didn’t work for us that well to complete our project, but we didn’t just fall into misery- we got right back up and found another way to succeed.

“To learn to succeed, you must first learn to fail.”

― Michael Jordan

skateboatds By: Gisel Perez

Weare officially done with our skateboards! We have all worked so hard designing and creating our skateboards. We went threw designing, creating, and building. Me and my group made a skateboard that related to Texas. The base color is lavender, and on top we have little green succulents, with the bases black & white with different designs. This project was really fun.

Failure meets success

For this 6th 6 weeks instead of doing the regular skateboard projects everybody else is doing we decided to keep working on our playhouse. Progress with our playhouse has gone really well, in good ways and bad ways but as of now I can say that our playhouse is pretty much done and all we have to do is paint, sand down some pieces of wood that have been left sticking out and we’re done!

It has not been easy trying to build and finish this house on time many things happened to us throughout the course of trying to build the house. For example, while cutting out walls and making windows in the walls we would have our measurements be a little bit off and cover the windows more than they are supposed to on the outside or it being too short on the inside or/and the wall wouldn’t fit in. This happened about two times in a row and the way to fix it is we would use the jigsaw to trim off the extra piece of wood covering the window or cut off a bit of the wall and move the wall to the side a bit to where the window and wall fit nicely inside.

That was not the only thing that went wrong, at times some of our materials would go missing, cause you know it’s a public place people tend to mistake their materials for ours it’s all good but this was a bit annoying at times when we did need to use the materials and had to miss a day of building because of it. Also the weather, there was a week where nothing but rain was pouring out of the sky and our house would get wet and we could not go outside and build just because it was raining and it would mess up how much time we had to build by a lot. Last but certainly not least, procrastination. At times we would start goofing off and start talking about random things that had nothing to do with the playhouse but fortunately we usually would catch ourselves doing this and one of our team members would remind us and we would quickly stop and get back to work. This is one of the things I liked about being in this group.

Having this group as team members was a really good experience for me because I feel like we know how to find the good in bad situations and not take things too seriously but serious enough to get things done and have fun while doing them. Also we know how to split up and concur. This was one of our key methods to finishing our playhouse. We would split up into two groups, each one does a different thing and we get things done faster.

In Conclusion, I am so proud of how our play house turned out. I will add pictures down below of the process of building this playhouse so you can see how it was made. I’d like to thank every one of my team members for coming up with this idea and letting me in on it at the last minute I loved working with them and hope someday I’ll have the opportunity to do something like this again.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

– Brenda Puente


My Kick Flip Experience by Claudia Luong

Coming to Ann Richards was a hard transition because in elementary school everything was planned for us and we just have to follow that plan and do it perfectly. At Ann Richards, there was more thinking for ourselves and solving problems that we didn’t think we would bump into. Most of the failures were in this class, PLTW.


There was a time in PLTW where I convinced myself that I should give up. This was during when the Maker Faire was getting closer and the materials just came into the mail. Our project involved computer programming and sewing. So we had to learn about what programs we had to use and how to use them in a matter of days. We had so much to do, our group was debating on whether to come to school on a Saturday. Me, thinking about dropping the project and doing something easier disagreed with this idea. Then I thought about the reason I made this project, to support the LGBTQ community. I thought about how great people form intel found our idea and how they gave us encouragement and advice. I bragged about how great this project was going to be, and then there I was wanting to give up.


After a class period of planning on how are project was going to, we found ways to get things done and maybe if we worked hard enough we could finish this project. Turns out our materials were there the whole time, but a teacher took them on accident. This gave me a better idea of where our project was going considering we only had materials.


In the end, the shirt was a fail, but for some reason I felt proud because I didn’t give up. When I look at that shirt I see my persistence and determination through the poorly sewn lilypads and LED lights.

photo 1photo 2

When You Try Your Best, But You Don’t Succeed by Emi Garza

Salutations! Sadly, this is my last blog post. It’s crazy how fast this year went by. As the year is wrapping up, I’ve taken the time to reflect on all the projects I’ve done this year in PLTW beginning of this year.


You’re human, you’re going to fail. It doesn’t matter when or what you did, you’re going to fail. Throughout the first semester, I did a lot of difficult modules not knowing what I was doing half of the time. For the other half of that time, I was obsessed with the idea of perfecting every little thing I did for the assignment. Most of the grades I got for the challenges could’ve been better, mostly because my end products were not the best and completely failed to work. I had the mentality that my first design is the best and won’t fail, which is wrong. Perfecting your project won’t save you from failing.


When you do fail, get back up and keep trying. In the 2nd semester, Georgia, Maite, Claudia, Alyssa and I did our maker project on LED light up shirts. We went through so many struggles such as not knowing how to program to the lights to change colors, not having any idea how to sew at all and at some points we had no idea what was going on. Sometimes we regretted choosing our project, but we didn’t give up entirely. Yeah, we got frustrated and gave up on certain tasks, but when we did, we would take a break and start all over on the task and keep trying.


Nobody’s perfect! No one is born doing something perfectly, so don’t use that mentality! It’s super important to try over and over again, especially when you think whatever you did is perfect, you can always make it better. This was applicable in PLTW and in real life. While designing a prototype, you may think “Wow! This is the best thing I’ve ever made, I can’t believe I made this!” but in reality, it could fail miserably immediately after you say that or it could be much better than the ideal “perfect.”


Lastly, I want to leave you with how great the idea of failure and resiliency is. Not only was it applicable in real life but also in this class with all the projects. Failure is great and a key necessity to life. Without failure, you can’t succeed.