Yet Another Adventure (by Avery)

Yet Another Adventure an amusing blog post by Avery

Oh no.

What do I write about?

I can’t really say much, as not much has been going on, at all.

Well, I’ve started my Maker Project

Ah yes, I’ve started my Maker Project. That’s certainly something to talk about. And so far, the whole task has sailed about as smoothly as the Titanic.

It all started when I had a sudden idea for something great. I was listening to The Logical Song and I thought, oh hey, this would look great animated! And it occurred to me that I could animate it. It also occurred to me, later, that I did not, a, own this song, and b, play any instruments. I could use a song from the public domain (no, all obscure 1920s songs) or make one myself (no, I would have to do that a capella).

So I gave up on that idea. It didn’t seem very logical in the first place, anyways (cue mass applause). Fast forward to math class, where I was briefly daydreaming about this completely random thing I made up about three years ago.

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I don’t really remember when I thought of this idea in the first place, but the idea was that there was this port town where all these mutants and animal hybrids and stuff lived. Of course, this sounds like precisely the thing I would make when I was in fifth grade.

At home I unearthed the planning sheet and looked it over. It actually looked like a good idea, one that I could pull off. I wouldn’t have to use music.

And then I realized that animating people would be hard. Really, really hard. Not that I’ve ever animated anyone, but I assume with all of our moving parts, humans would be quite difficult to animate.

Flashback to the summer, where I would listen to Here Come the ABC’s on a loop. Eventually, I started a comic on letters with personalities.

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That was the very first panel. I went on to create more.

I think I was sitting around and suddenly,

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And so this was my plan. It took a while for my application to be accepted, and for me to find a way to animate this, but hey, I’m on a roll.

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HTML Coding

HTML coding. Think it’s easy, think again? It is one of the most complicated things I have ever seen. All throughout my maker project, making a non-profit website to help raise money for the underfunded schools in AISD, I’ve taken things more from an artistic standpoint while my partner Allegra is more of the statistical person. So we made an unspoken agreement that I work with formatting and design of the website and Allie works more on the coding and the actual making of the website. It’s a bit complicated but we both have our strong suits and we’re sticking to them.

Allegra working on the code for our website.

Allegra working on the code for our website. 

So Allegra and I were originally going to design the website on Photoshop, which I am fairly familiar with. We got pretty far but eventually had to change our tactic. We moved to coding on WordPress. This was going to be a bit more difficult because neither of us knew anything about coding. At all. So it was like entering a stalactite and stalagmite filled cave blindfolded. We had no idea what we were doing. But with the help of our teacher, Ms. Sauter, and a really big book on HTML coding we’ve gotten a lot of work done and made some real progress on the website so far.

I don’t know much about the coding myself but I do know that it is very complicated. Allegra is using something called CSS and I’m not exactly sure what it is. But after we got most of our text done on the website, we decided to add in the logo that I created on Photoshop. We’re still trying to complete this due to technical difficulties with our code but we’re getting somewhere.

After adding the logo we plan on making the website have a drop down bar type format to learn different things about each school that we are supporting. We still haven’t figured out how to do this yet but we plan on getting it done. Hopefully we can improve the ability for students to learn in a happy environment.

Darby B.

Engineering in Gateway Through Technology

Gateway Through Technology is one of my favorite classes. The modules are fun, the Maker-Space is the coolest classroom ever, and it gives you freedom to explore and learn about the different pathways to prepare you for high school at Ann Richards. But sometimes these modules can be a handful. You have to worry about meeting deadlines and doing the module correctly and sometimes it can be a handful. And sometimes you have to get creative.20141107_100209

Engineering is one of my favorite pathways. You get to work on designing things and actually building something. So I expected the first module to be a breeze and for it to be really easy. Well… I was wrong.

Let me explain, so basically we were assigned to build a bridge made entirely out of toothpicks, string, and glue that was eighteen inches long, no more than four inches wide, and weighed no more than forty grams. This sounds fairly simple but trust me, it’s not. When my group was actually able to decide on a design that wouldn’t take us a month to build we had to figure out how to build it. First, we tried making bunches of about 24 toothpicks and attaching them somehow but they wouldn’t stay when we attached them. Next we tried making two long beams that were all tied together with string but that weighed way more than forty grams so we just took one of the beams away but that wasn’t stable enough. With one more class and a lot of frustration building up between all of us we found a way to attach some toothpicks to the side of the beam to help the stability. But there were other complications as well.

On our second to last class to work on this module our teacher, Ms. Sauter, had been dragged to a training so we had a sub who was really nice and let us about to do our work. But unfortunately we ran out of toothpicks. So if you saw two-three students looking around frantically for toothpicks then that was probably me. We checked the office, the art room, and the supply closet. Who would’ve guessed that no one had toothpicks anywhere? After giving up our search, my partners and I were stuck taking old toothpicks out of a box and either breaking them apart due to the fact that they were glued together or untying them due to the fact that they were wrapped in string from previous users. It was painful, aggravating, and tedious but we did what we had to do to get the assignment done. And at the end it was pretty fun seeing a final product. And it was also pretty fun watching that final product crack and break under the pressure of the 2,800 gram weights that we put on it to see how much it would hold.

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that sometimes there’s going to be problems or setbacks but you can’t let that stop you. You have to keep pushing through all the hardships to reach your final victory at the end.

-Darby Buscemi

Simple Steps That Lead To Design Success

Hi! Its Patty A. and Sammie S. We attend the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. At the beginning of the semester in Project Lead The Way (PLTW), we were given a challenge. Our teachers were having a “dance party” and they needed a way to make their iPhone speakers louder so everyone would be able to hear the music, not just people a few feet from the phone. This challenge was meant to get us used to, or re-used to the design process. The design process consists of some steps. First you need to define the problem. Then, you need to generate concepts, like constraints such as rules, materials, timing, etc. Next, you need to develop a valid solution, which should solve your original problem. Then you need to create a prototype. You need to make sure your solution solves your problem. Finally, you can present your solution!

Understanding the design process might be easy enough, but putting it into action is a bit harder. When we got our challenge, we first made a design brief. The design brief basically is when you detect the problem, who’s it going to help, what materials are required, how much time do you have (constraints), and what is the final product going to do/how its going to solve our problem. We came up with a few ideas, which led to our design matrix.

The design matrix is a chart in which we evaluate each idea to see which one fits the standards best. We had a lot of ideas, but with the design matrix, we came down to two, then our final idea.

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Once when came up with our main idea we continued on with our technical drawing. A technical drawing is a final drawing of your idea with measurements, description of each part and what each part does.

Once we completed our technical drawing, we did a testing report. A testing report is when you test out your product and record your results and observe the quality of its performance. With our product, we measured the sound in decibels (dBA). We did 3 trials. 3 with the speakers and 3 without them. With the 3 trials with the speakers, our results were all 80 dBA. Without them, we got a range of 60-65 dBA. From the results, we can clearly tell our amplifier improved the sound of the iPhone speakers.

Our solution was to put two plastic cups together. The cup within the other cup would have holes around the circumference of the middle. With this, the sound would escape through the holes, but hit the hard layer of the other cup. The harder the surface, the harder the vibration, and it would make the sound louder. We met our clients requirements by increasing the sound of the iPhone speakers by a noticeable amount.

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Throughout this process, we had a few conflicts, and it took a while to get used to the process, but it really helped us narrow down our ideas. This process works for anything, which is amazing. Can’t wait to get even more done! 🙂