Blog No.1 - A Journey's Beginning
Hey guys, this is blog post 1, and there's so much to do. Capstone experiments and college applications are going to be my main priorities over the year. This week was just a start to our new classes, with many syllabuses to sign over the weekends. For Capstone 2, we worked on storyboards and created calendars to organize our capstone projects. We also improved our presentation skills with the random sales activity.
In order to be successful in Capstone, I'm setting my standards as to be able to complete the experiment. So far my major tasks would be getting a mentor and making sure I have everything ready before the experiment. I still don't have a mentor, but I was thinking of asking Ms. Kushnir (my animal science teacher) and Mr. Tahara (the successor of the experiment) about helping me with getting fertilized chicken eggs. I also need more materials to complete the experiment, such as benzalkonium chloride and calcium lactate. I plan to work on my communication to ask other people for assistance in my experiment.
Tags: Getting Started, Planning, Time Management
Blog No.5 - Website Formatting and No Eggs Available
Hey guys, this is blog post 5, and I’m currently working on the methods seminar, which is some type of presentation that has to do with presenting the methods of my project. Apparently it was postponed to Thursday due to Mrs. Pearson being absent, but it definitely works for me. I’ve been having lots of class/homework recently, but the main assignment I’ve been having trouble on is the website for Capstone. For now it’s taking quite a while to set up the format of the website. Basically I’m still deciding on where to put my topics for it, but I already have most of the contents (aside from the results of my project).
Speaking of which, I’m still in my waiting game for the materials. The plastic cups that I found last time apparently had expensive shipping (20 dollars worth for a 5 dollar cup pack, not sure why), so I will be searching for more plastic cups at some stores. The egg farm that I mentioned earlier had a coyote problem recently so those will also take longer apparently. Most likely I have to look for a different egg farm. The PMP wrap will be delivered by my grandparents since the US doesn’t have that type of material. Hopefully I’ll be able to start the project soon…
Tags: Independence, Planning, Productivity
Blog No.2 - Styrofoam Incubator and First Mentor
Hey guys, this is blog post 2, and I was finally able to get Ms. Kushnir as my mentor. It probably would've been a lot easier if I asked her about it last year, but it's fine. At least I now have access to the chicken eggs. I still haven't started to look for all the materials yet, but I will be looking for a styrofoam egg incubator that's somewhere in the school. I've also revisited my methods, although I've only perused through it.
My classmates and I went over rubrics that had to with the capstone methods. To make sure my project method makes sense, I will be heading back to check for any errors. I think it will meet the rubric's standards (hopefully). Of course, I still have other things to work on besides capstone (such as the college matters); so it's definitely going to be difficult to keep a balance of the workload.
Tags: Independence, Productivity, Time Management
Blog No.3 - Polymethylpentene Wrap
Hey guys, this is blog post 3, and I was able to find the incubator, so the standards for hatching regular chicks are met. I mostly practiced my information skills throughout the week, as I had to research the materials that are necessary for the experiment. I was able to find benzalkonium chloride, plastic cups, and polymethylpentene (PMP) wrap on Amazon. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get the chloride and the plastic wrap since they’re both from Japan’s Amazon (which means unstable shipping date). I saw the calcium lactate pentahydrate in a website called Fisher Scientific, but I’m first going to see if my school has it.
As soon as I started the capstone course, I gave up on the idea of changing the plastic wrap material. I originally had the idea of using regular food wrap, like Saran Wrap, as an alternative for the PMP; however, it’s too dangerous for the chicks because regular American plastic wrap is not heat resistant (not the best when using an incubator). For now, I just need to keep working on researching materials and where to purchase them. If the purchase from Japan works smoothly, I just need to look for the calcium lactate.
Blog No.4 - Material Collection
Hey guys, this is blog post 4, and I’m kind of stuck in a waiting game, when it comes to the materials. I was able to find the materials from America’s Amazon (which took forever to find), so I just need to order them. I guess it shows how much more research could be found behind the scenes, and how I could find basically nothing over the years. The fertilized eggs will take longer than expected, and I will be finding them on an egg farm that my dad’s friend knows. Hopefully I can find them, and I intend to work on the experiment in early October (depending).
The 21st century skill I worked on this week was definitely information, where I searched endlessly for the supplies. I guess I also need to look for the cotton balls to humidify the egg content. I know that glass rods, ethanol, and distilled water are already in the school, so I will almost have all the supplies necessary for the experiment. I will try the experiment without the oxygen supply (as it had seemingly been successful before in a video). If it doesn’t work and the chicks die around day 14-17, I will assume that the oxygen is needed for the next time the project is repeated by someone else.
Blog No.12 - A Surefire Cracking Method
Hey guys, this is blog post 12, and the eggs didn’t survive over the weekend. So apparently the water ran out in the incubator, meaning that the humidity wasn’t high enough and killed the eggs. They lived for roughly 4-5 days, confirming that the reason was because of the lack of water. It’s unfortunate but I finally have a surefire way to crack open the eggs without killing them. I will be trying again, but that’s only if I can get permission to maintain the eggs over the weekends. If I can’t get that permission, it would probably mean a full stop to the experiment, or I might have to do it at home (something I don’t think is best to do, but might be my last resort). If it does become possible to maintain over the weekends, I would love to do it again.
Tags: Productivity, Reflection, Experimentation
Blog No.6 - Methods Seminar and My Below-Par Presentation Skills
Hey guys, this is blog post 6, and I finished presenting the methods seminar. It was definitely stressful for me, since I was caught off guard with the numbered paper selection. I took out a paper with the number 3 and felt safe about not going first, until I was told that there was no first or second in the selection. So I ended up panicking and forgot how to say “chorioallantoic membrane” during my presentation. Anyways, I guess I could say that I was able to practice my communication skills, while being able to learn from others about the same. My strength in my presentation was the fact that I was able to keep my voice during the presentation, whereas my weakness was the fact that I wasn’t really prepared to answer any of the questions at the end.
By the way, I was finally able to find another website that had more information on the project. I have a clearer perspective on what I should do during my project, like using an egg cutter to not accidentally puncture the egg membrane and making an incision near the chicks’ beaks on day 16. Now that I have the PMP wrap, benzalkonium chloride, and calcium lactate, I just need to get the plastic cups and the egg cutter over the weekend. I’ll finally be able to work on the experiment next Tuesday…
Tags: Planning, Presentation, Reflection
Blog No.7 - Dilution and My New Mentor
Hey guys, this is blog post 7, and the process of receiving the eggs got postponed to Sunday, meaning I will have to wait a little longer until I can actually do the experiment. This probably means that I might be a little behind on the timeline, but hopefully I can catch up. At least the presentations are finally finished, and fortunately I was able to buy the cups; so I can set up for the experiment beforehand, just to lessen the work I need to do when getting the eggs. I will be diluting the 50% benzalkonium chloride solution to 0.01% (which is going to be a pain to do), making a hole in the bottom of the cup to add the BKC solution and molding the plastic wrap with a hard boiled egg. Surprisingly, I was able to make contact with Mr. Tahara, and he was able to give me some advice on the maintenance of the shell-less eggs in the incubator. Putting the incubator at an angle with some type of object on one side, allows the egg to be rotated in the cup. This will definitely be helpful for when I am able to incubate the eggs.
Tags: Planning, Productivity, Experimentation
Blog No.8 - Task List and The Start Of Experimentation
Hey guys, this is blog post 8, and we are currently working on our task lists. Everyone wrote five different tasks that they could work on over the week. My five tasks were:
- set up the plastic wrap and the hole in the cup
- pre-incubate the fertilized eggs
- set up the vessels for incubator when eggs are finished pre-incubating
- place vessels into the incubators and are warming up
- work and improve on my capstone website
The website task is a little vague but I will be revising the procedure (since I added more steps in detail), while creating a results section to fit into my due date. I was able to finish the first two steps, meaning I was able to get the fertilized eggs (yay!) into the incubator. They’ll be warming up for roughly 96 hours (almost twice the amount of the original experiment) to be on the safe side. I was able to make holes in the bottom of the cup with an electric rotary grinder, and the plastic wrap was molded with a wooden egg instead (a chemical flask was used to stabilize the egg and make the mold taller). Now I just need to wait until Monday to crack open the eggs, and I’ll try to get a video camera over the weekend to record full time.
Tags: Planning, Experimentation
Blog No.9 - Fried Eggs With Some Salt In My Wounds
Hey guys, this is blog post 9, and the first trial with the project was a failure. The eggs were too developed (since we started opening at day 5 instead of day 3) and they reeked strongly of ammonia because the yolk was punctured in the process. Some of my classmates insisted that I change my capstone project because I was being cruel by killing the poor chicks. I already devoted so much time and effort into it, so the dissuading was the rubbing of salt to my wounds. I constantly thought to myself, "It's not easy for me to just throw away two years of research." I will be buying another batch of eggs to do it at the proper time (which I probably should’ve done in the beginning). Anyways, one fourth of the senior year is already over, and half of capstone is over. Hmm... I’m basically finished with college applications and such, so I’m just stuck mostly on finding more scholarships and getting this egg project done. After that I will be working on completing my website over this semester. I feel like I’ve gotten so far with this project, so I really do hope it works this time; but even if it doesn’t work, it will still be a great experience for me in the future.
Tags: Time Management, Reflection, Experimentation
Blog No.10 - Round Two
Hey guys, this is blog post 10, and I’ve recently been working on my capstone website. The eggs will be provided by one of my friends next week, so I have to wait a little longer. Right now, I currently have four regular chicken eggs in the incubator (the ones that were kept for control) to test whether the batch of eggs was good or not. I reset all of the materials ahead of time to prepare for the next time we conduct the experiment. Finding out when to get the eggs and do the experiment was one of the biggest challenges so far. The schedules never lined up and it was all over the place because of the dismissed school days that’s been coming along. Normally, students would be happy about it, but I couldn’t because it messed up most of the schedules I planned beforehand. Anyways we were finally able to decide that the week after next week, I will be starting the experiment. This fresh new marking period is definitely going to be the start on a round two of the project.
Tags: Getting Started, Planning, Experimentation
Blog No.11 - A Desirable Outcome
Hey guys, this is blog post 11, and FINALLY! The second batch of eggs are currently in the incubator, with the plastic wrap vessel! With the help of Mrs. Pearson (ECE biology and capstone teacher), Dr. Logush (former vet and currently genetics teacher) and Ms. Chochi (molecular anatomy, physiology, and neurobio teacher), I was able to crack the egg safely and transfer the content into the vessels. We were actually able to observe the chicken eggs’ beating hearts. I won’t be able to see the eggs over the weekends but I want to be able to get a video camera that can stay on for a timelapse. Anyways, I have to change the information on the opening of the chicken egg. I’m not able to do it like the original video (where the students just crack open the eggs with bare hands), but I am able to open it safely with some forceps. The results will definitely be changed compared to the sad ending of the first few eggs. Honestly, I’m thrilled that the eggs survived and I look forward to seeing them next week.
Tags: Productivity, Experimentation
Blog No.13 - Healthy Control Group
Hey guys, this is blog post 13, and I’ve been working on the organization of the data that I collected so far. Apparently, three out of four of the control eggs in trial 2 hatched, so it was nice to see that the eggs had a good hatch rate (based off the control group, it would be 75%; but it would probably be a little lower if more eggs were done as control). So far the three chicks were named “Panther,” “Blueberry,” and “Carolina,” by my Mrs. Pearson’s son and daughter. I also started working on the discussion section of the results, adding in the graph to sort out what I need to talk about and how I should talk about it. The website is also still in progress so I plan on doing some more organizing again. I still haven’t gotten permission to work on the experiment over the weekends but if I do, the experiment will probably start in January and so on (due to winter break and such).
Tags: Productivity, Reflection, Experimentation
Blog No.14 - Another Uneventful Week
Hey guys, this is blog post 14, and I missed two whole days of school because of a trip to the Yale Center for British Art for my ECE English class and a sudden snow day on Wednesday. In short, I haven’t been doing much this week. I have most of the discussion questions done, so those will probably be checked later by my Mrs. Pearson. For now, I will be correcting my results section due to some errors, and I’m also going to be working on the website because the discussions aren’t in it yet. This blog feels way too short but this week was just too uneventful in the capstone class. Hopefully that’ll change next week…
Tags: Independence, Productivity
Blog No.15 - Bar Graph Complete, On To The Conclusion
Hey guys this is blog post 15, and I was able to finish the graph section of the project. Apparently it needed a title, and I made a little column graph to show my data of the number of days that the chicks survived in the plastic cups. Of course, the first trial was a complete bust and the second trial’s chicks only lasted a mere 5-6 days. Over the winter break, I will be writing my conclusion and abstract that will probably be checked by my teacher again, and I will also have to update my website with the new corrections. It’s almost the time in which the capstone course will be over, and I’m going to have to present this soon…
Tags: Planning, Productivity, Reflection
Blog No.16 - The Deadline Is Near
Hey guys, this is blog post 16, and I am currently making the final capstone project powerpoint that I will be presenting next Thursday. The paper is basically done, so I just need to copy and paste the info into the powerpoint. For next week, I think I have to make a poster or a trifold board because I’ve been signed up for the science fair (note: I didn’t sign up for this). I also have a group project poster that I need to make for Precalculus, so it’s going to be a lot of work and tons of procrastination. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish all of my assignments over the weekend (but I guess I do have an extra day because of Three Kings Day).
Tags: Planning, Productivity
Blog No.17 - Capstone Night and Crunch(ed) Time
Hey guys, this is blog 17, and capstone night was so rough. I had so much to do over that one day, and I was completely worn out. I was already stressed because of a huge mistake that my group members made in a Precalculus project. And because of it, I had a hard time remembering what I have to say for the capstone presentation (I had to memorize everything for each slide because the screen, from my perspective, was always backwards; and this meant that I had no way of looking back on my project because I was the one behind it). I was told by Dr. Watson (my school’s principal) that there would be a microphone and a clicker in the black-box (a large room for presentations) for me to present my capstone project, which gave me a false sense of security that I would not have to yell during my presentation. I was the very first person to present in the black-box and what do I see? No microphone, and the clicker wasn’t connecting. I ended up losing my voice that day. At the end of my not-fully memorized presentation I asked for questions from the audience, hoping for something that I could elaborate on. The only question I got was, “Was any other type of bird egg used in the experiment so far?” I spent the rest of capstone evening as a regular senior student, listening to other capstone presentations. I was also worried about presenting to two science fair judges, only to find out that most of the judges weren’t even present because they had “something to do” at the last moment. Honestly, it was just a meaningless disaster from my perspective, but if everyone enjoyed their own projects and had a good time at the capstone evening, I guess that’s fine for me. I do wish things were just more organized, so future students wouldn’t have to go through the stress that I had to face on the worrisome night.
Tags: Presentation, Reflection
Blog No.18 - A Journey's End
Hey guys, this is blog post 18, and it’s almost time to end the capstone course. It was a long journey, starting from an idea in sophomore year as a science fair project, to my actual project for capstone. I don’t know whether I’ll be able to do the last trial of my shell-less chicken embryo project or not, but hopefully it works if I do try to attempt again. Before this capstone course, my mentality and time management skills were below par, as I was nothing but a procrastinator. But now I feel a lot better about myself and how far I was able to take my project (I still procrastinate a lot, but not as much as before). I don’t want to go through another capstone course ever again, but it was a huge gain of experience for me. All the amount of time and effort that I put into this semester, and this is only half of my senior year, huh… Also, I apparently received second place in my high school’s science fair, so that was nice. Because of that, I have to attend both the Bridgeport district science fair and Skills21’s expo fest, so that’s going to be tiresome for me.
Lesson for future students who will be taking capstone soon, do a little of the work each day. Make sure to keep everything organized and it will definitely lessen your burden. And if you still have a lot of leftover time after reaching your objective, move on to the next one. By doing so, you waste less time and can spend it on perfecting your project. Time is a currency that you can’t refund, so manage it wisely. Procrastination is going to be your worst enemy in this course, but controlling it is going to be a major asset in capstone. If someone like me (a tired, sleep-deprived, procrastinating student) is able to complete capstone, you can too.
Thanks for reading this blog. And if you’re reading this, thank you so much for the support, Mrs. Pearson!
Tags: Independence, Productivity, Time Management, Reflection