Thursday, October 30, 2008

October 26th and 30th

This is Max. On Sunday the 26th we discussed what we learned at the Maker Faire. Our skit wasn't precise enough so we started rewriting it. We made our skit to be a combination of Risk and Star Wars. Cheyne and Nic are still going to be the bad guys, but our good guys changed. I am not going to be the Limer. I'm going to be a good guy who builds dams and irrigation systems, but we haven't come up with a cool name yet. David is going to be a Chinese super hero and I get to be his translator. Alex is going to be a scientist.

We worked a lot on the house missions and finally successfully gathered the computer, bike and insulation and delivered it to the green grid.

On Thursday we worked on the skit some more and are almost done with it. We built an arm for the house mission, but it's not heavy enough to raise the house. We added some weighted bricks, but are having trouble with the arm working and not breaking.

We practiced the skit twice and did more rewriting so that now at the end we talk about our climate problem, our sister community and our solutions. Nic and Cheyne are also going to talk about our field trips and the way we shared our project with others.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

October 19th & 23rd

This is Alex and David. On Sunday the 19th, the team, except Max, went to the Maker Faire to perform and share the research we have done. We performed the skit four times, the last time was for the engineer, who couldn't find us in time for the earlier three presentations. She gave us feedback on the skit and the research board that we had created. She said that we needed to do a better job presenting what we had found about Argentina and its climate problems and solutions. Apparently, we needed to put that kind of information in our skit.

On October 23rd (today), we had another meeting. We went over what we had been told by the engineer. We decided to completely rewite the skit. We are considering having a Risk board (huge wall map) where Nic and Cheyne put rain cloud and sun stickers on the places that they have destroyed with their powers. Then we can have our heroes put their stickers on the map, too.

After that, while we started writing this blog, the other three worked on the levee mission. They figured out a way to deliver the people along with the levees and it worked four times and it was perfect (it works best with the people in front of the levees). They are going to work on being able to deliver the cage to the research center. Then, we were told what they did so that we could write it down like we just did.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

October 16th and 17th

This is Alex. On Friday, we had an extra meeting to work on our research board. We began by choosing the layout for the board. There were many ideas and many changes of ideas, but we ended up with the climate problems of Central Texas and Rosario, Argentina on the left side of the board. We have the current solutions on the far right side, and the team's solution in the middle part.

Alex, Cheyne, David, and Nic working on the research board.

On Thursday, we worked on our skit. The skit is going very well indeed. Almost everyone has their lines memorized, and those who don't are confident that they can get their lines memorized by Sunday. We practiced the choreography for the light saber fights, and we have them down really well.

Nic laying on the ground after being beaten in a light saber fight.

Alex and Cheyne fighting as the Gelly and Lord Flood.

Nic showing nothing but a smile, and Cheyne trying not to smile.

On the 19th, the team will go to the Maker Faire in Austin, where we will perform the skit and present our research to a group of scientists. An engineer from UT will evaluate us and give us feedback on our presentation.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 9th & 12th

This is Alex. On October 9th, we met and went over our homework from the last meeting, so we had to pick one of the three communities that Nic had found that were similar to Central Texas as far as climate is concerned. We decided that Rosario, Argentina was the most similar to Central Texas, since they have to deal with the same problems that we do. We also had David write a thank you note to Farmer Grandy. Most of the meeting was taken up by the research project, but we spent a little bit of time at the end working on the house mission. We now have the ultrasonic sensor mounted securely, but we're changing the program so that the mission runs more smoothly. At the end of the meeting, we decided on homework for Sunday. I had to write the basic outline for the script, and the other team members had to find what solutions were being used for drought and excessive rain in Rosario.

On October 12th, we had another meeting. We went over the homework and talked about a substance that worked just like the biosolid fertilizer, but it was a kind of gel. The entire name is gel-tech root gel.

We also went over the skit that I had come up with. We still have to come up with each person's dialogue, and since no one was very eager to do that on Sunday, we're going to come up with the dialogue on Thursday instead.

We also had a teamwork project. We had a pool ball, and in front of it was a small cardboard wall with a hole cut in it. We had to build and test an arm that we could operate to reach through the hole and pull the pool ball back through. We came up with an arm that was like a pair of scissors, but with claws at the ends instead of blades.

The last thing that we did was work on the house mission. We're getting close to finishing it, but it's difficult having to fine-tune the programming.

That's pretty much all that we did.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

October 5th

Hello, this is Alex and Nic, but mostly Nic. We started today off by writing the blog for the field trip. After that we decided on our theme for the research project, extreme weather due to climate. We also assigned specific roles for the research project. We then did a practice teamwork challenge. We had to build a tower nine inches high to support a pool ball and move the ball six inches sideways.

Alex, David, and Nic, getting ready to build the tower.

We didn't finish making it in time, and then Alex's father showed us a better way to do it. The team tried to design a long platform nine inches tall and six inches long with a gear train to ferry the pool ball across the gap. We should have built a ground level gear rack with a 9" tall tower.

David, Nic, and Max looking at the tower that Mr. Jaworski built.

Oh well. We continued work on the house but eventually decided that the light sensor was a bad idea. Later people.

October 3rd

We went to the farm and met Mr. Grady.

He was a very nice man, and told us all about the experiments on the farm, and what they were doing with biosolid fertilizer (A.K.A. human waste).

He answered all of our questions about climate and we got a lot of useful information.

He drove us out to one of the fields with biosolid fertilizer in it.

Despite what you might think, it only smelled a tiny bit bad when we were stepping in it. They had sprayed lime on it so it didn't smell so bad. The useful information about the climate includes the following facts: when there are periods of excessive rain or drought, the crops do not grow as well. Extra rain is good for the hay, to a point. After that point, the plants become less healthy because there is too much water for them to absorb, and it drowns them, in a way. When there is a long period of drought, the farmers simply have to buy extra water for the crops. The biosolid fertilizer also helps during drought because it absorbs more water than the natural soil, meaning the hay has better access to water.

Friday, October 3, 2008

October 2nd

This is David and I'm reporting about what we did. First, we talked about what questions we would ask the farmer at the field trip on Friday. We each came up with two questions to ask him each. We then began to work on the house missions. We came up with lots of ideas, and we can now gather the bicycle, insulation, and computer, but we still haven't gotten them to the house itself. Nic made an attachment to the robot that will enable us to deliver the cage to the research center. I wrote a thank you note to Dr. Polley, thanking him for all that he had done for us. Nic also came up with an arm that will allow us to open the window of the house, and turn off the lights. That's all for now.