Scientists In The School

Yesterday, my class had a workshop where a scientist came into the school in order to teach us about something. We already had one earlier on in the school year about different types of cells, but this time the workshop was about different types of machines and how they can make life easier.

The workshop started in the morning and lasted up until around 12:10 so we had time to go through a few things. First, we were reminded about the list of simple machines such as pulleys, levers, wedges, etc. Then, we learned more about a few types of simple machines through various hypothetical situations, and which versions or types of those simple machines would be the best to use. We also got to use actual items to experiment with.

Our first simple machine was the lever. We started with the various components of the lever which are the fulcrum, load, and effort. Starting with a first-class lever with the fulcrum in the middle, and the load and effort on opposite sides; we calculated the AMA or Actual Mechanical Advantage by dividing the load force by the amount of effort it took to move it. Then, we did the same with a second-class lever and third-class lever, and then discussed which type of lever would be the best to use if we wanted to move a bunch of tables around. It seemed like most people thought that the most practical one to use was the first-class lever because it was the easiest to set up and had the greatest AMA.

Next, we looked at two wedges of different sizes, both were isosceles triangles, but one had a shorter base than the other. We calculated the IMA, or Ideal Mechanical Advantage by dividing the side length by the base. It turned out that the wedge with a smaller base had a greater IMA. However, our hypothetical was that we wanted to prop open a window in order to cool down the room. You’d then have to decide whether or not you’d use the wedge that’s easier to put in or the wedge that creates a larger opening for air to go through. I ended up choosing the larger wedge because even if it takes more effort to use, it’d end up cooling the room down faster.

After that, we used inclined planes and how they provide mechanical advantage. We first calculated the work of using both an inclined plane to reach the top of a surface compared to going straight up, and also the AMA of the inclined plane. It turns out that using an inclined plane requires more work or time but less effort in the process. Then our hypothetical was that we wanted to go up a cliff to reach a food truck at the top, and we either had to choice of climbing straight up or using a slope. I’m not sure if some people were joking or not, but a few people actually said that they would rather climb straight up rather than use an inclined plane. To me, even if it takes a bit more time I’d rather use less effort to get up.

Lastly, we used four different types of pulleys and how each of them have different AMA’s and IMA’s, but also have different efficiencies. It’s kind of difficult to explain, but some of the pulleys also have different positions on where you pull, so they can only be used in certain situations. We started with a fixed pulley, then a movable, then a single block and tackle, and then a double block and tackle. Each one had a higher AMA than the one before it, but also had a decrease in efficiency. Our hypothetical was that we wanted to lift up a sign to a certain height, and I went with the double block and tackle because although there is low efficiency it was still the pulley system with the greatest mechanical advantage.

The final task we did was attempting to construct a contraption that utilizes at least three simple machines in order to ring a bell, but not a lot of people actually finished because we didn’t have a lot of time. Overall, I had some fun, and it was a lot better than doing the normal school work we usually have.

Track & Field

Every year, my school has a track and field meet on one day around this time of the year. Everyone after grade three participates and the winners of each event are chosen to go to our board’s area track and field meet. However, in my opinion, this was probably the worst track and field meet we’ve had so far.

Originally, the teachers were planning on making the meet take place over the course of two days. A lot of people didn’t like this because it would be a lot more work, and there wasn’t really a point in having it over the course of two days since we’ve always done track and field on one day even if some events spilled over to the next day.

The Monday of the week we were supposed to have the meet was when they had canceled the two-day plan from Tuesday and Wednesday, due to the weather. They then postponed the meet back to a one day meet on Friday. Additionally, the teachers wanted us to do some events before the actual meet to save time on Friday. However, our grade was unable to do standing long jump in the gym, so we had to go outside and do it into the sand pit even though it was still wet outside. We also had to run the 800m on the wet track that had puddles in it which led to a lot of people not participating.

On the Friday meet, it was still kind of wet. Compared to last year, it was a lot windier and colder. When we ran the 100m almost everyone slipped on their starts, and when we were all waiting for our next event it was cold. Since the grass was still wet, they ended up moving the 200m race over to the soccer field next to the park across the street. Once, my grade crossed the street to the soccer field we found out that we weren’t running that day since there wasn’t enough time. Some people were kind of mad since we had gone through the trouble of doing a few events before the meet so that we would be able to get through everything on that day. Even after they canceled our 200m, everyone crossed back across the street, and we waited outside for half an hour doing nothing until we went inside to get our things only to leave right after.

Overall, I’d say the meet was pretty poorly planned and it was partially due to the weather being bad for the past few weeks, and the school didn’t want to push the date back any further. Most of us still had some fun though since we didn’t have to do any school work, and we had the long weekend to look forward to.

Badminton Areas

Last Tuesday was the day for my school region’s badminton area tournament. Since I was on the team I also competed at in the tournament, and I had a lot of fun. I didn’t get a chance to go last year, so I’ll be writing about it this year.

The tournament was held at a high school that was big enough for all of the school’s teams. There were quite a few teams at the meet. Some of them were a lot more well known than others, but they were the usual teams our school competed with for other sports. The way the tournament was set up was so that there was an A and B bracket for each type of pairing (male, female, and mixed). If you won against your first team you would move on, and if you lost you’d go down to the losers bracket. This way, each team had a chance to play at least twice.

My original parter I was supposed to play with just got better from a fever, so I was playing with one of the substitutes. However, I think it wasn’t too bad since I’ve played with him quite a few times before. We waited for quite a while before we played our first game which we won, but a lot of time was spent watching other teams. When we played our second game we lost and moved to the losers bracket. After playing our last game which we lost in the losers bracket, my partner and I thought that the team we played in the losers bracket was even better than the team we lost to in the main bracket.

Fortunately, we were able to play three games which is more than the minimum two, but I think that we definitely could’ve played more since we didn’t even lose by that much to the second team we played. There was one school that did really well since almost all of their players had extra practices and went to other badminton clubs while our team only had around four practices and some of our players didn’t really know how to play. One guy in mixed doubles was really good, so I asked my friend who was the best on our team how good he thought the guy was and my friend said he was probably the best player in the tournament. I think he was right though because he beat one team 21-0 in two sets, and also won a game where neither he or his partner smashed at all as a handicap. Although our team left before the tournament was over I wouldn’t be surprised at all if I found out that his team won.

Overall, I had a lot of fun playing at the tournament, but I think I could still improve a lot more if I practiced more. There were a lot of really good players there that were interesting to watch and learn from.

The Lorax

For the past few months my school has been preparing and rehearsing for its interpretation of the musical, The Lorax. Just last week they presented for both the school and for parents and others in the area. Here’s what I thought of the whole musical.

The school’s music teacher first announced auditions for the musical a few months after the school year started. There were quite a few people in my class that were chosen to play some of the parts. Because of rehearsals, a lot of people weren’t able to fulfill their other duties around the school, and other students had to help them fill in. However, this wasn’t too big of a deal since it was only at recess.

Every single day for the past few months, the cast had practices in the music room at lunch except for Fridays. Normally, during the week the music room is open for students to come in and practice. However, due to The Lorax, there was barely any time to come in to play and practice. In the final weeks of rehearsal, there were lots of props in the music room, and students that took part in the musical had to take time from class in order to practice for the performance. In addition to Wellness Week presentations being held, a lot of lessons were skipped and our class even didn’t have math for about three days in a row.

Since the musical was to be presented in the gym, they put down the stage and had all the lights and props there. We had a lot of skipped gym periods, and additionally our badminton team had to cancel quite a few practices. This made some people kind of frustrated how we didn’t get a chance to use the gym for the past few weeks.

When the final presentation did come it felt kind of strange to think that it was all put together of the course of several months. Some people forgot their lines and there were very few props. The only live music was one of the teachers playing guitar, but the rest of the music was played by speaker. In the end though I think they were able to convey the message of The Lorax anyways, so I guess that’s the most important part.

Overall, the play wasn’t half bad, but I definitely don’t think it was worth all the extra time and effort that was put into the musical. If they were to perform another musical later on I would definitely suggest planning their schedule a lot better.