Standard 1: Employs WISRD equipment safely and effectively. (e.g., WISRD tools, measuring instruments, computers, etc.) (Convention, Connection)
Standard 2: Utilizes WISRD resources and time efficiently and effectively. (e.g., works with visiting scholars, use time effectively, meets deadlines, etc.) (Convention, Collaboration, Common Good)
Standard 3: Collaborates with other WISRD members. (e.g., works with Inquirer editors, interacts with lab members, serves on a committee) (Collaboration)
Standard 4: Publicizes and brands their work with appropriate media. (e.g., posters, social media, public events, etc.) (Evidence, Perspective, Ethical Behavior)
Standard 5: Develops and employs techniques, understandings, and skills as needed in WISRD work. (e.g., developing math skills, conducting background research, training on a new technique, etc.) (Convention, Evidence, Connection)
Standard 6: Writes clearly, concisely, and cogently for WISRD publications. (e.g., writes white papers, Inquirer article, Journal articles, etc.) (Convention, Evidence, Perspective, Connection)
Standard 7: Participates in the development of the Institute. (e.g., work on budgeting/funding, runs a lab, makes proposals, etc.) (Perspective, Common Good)
Standard 8: Demonstrates leadership/management skills. (e.g., on projects, committees, the board, etc. ) (Perspective, Connection, Common Good)
Standard 9: Shows initiative, independence, and self-reliance by embodying the institute model. (e.g., completes reflections, proposes solutions, initiates research, etc.) (Common Good, Ethical Behavior)
Standard 10: Practices lifelong learning skills. (e.g., open mindset, curiosity, initiative, willingness, etc.) (Perspective, Connection, Collaboration, Ethical Behavior)
Standard 11: Adapts to challenges. (e.g., works to solve 3D print errors, closes gaps in knowledge that occur during research, uses feedback to improve performance) (Perspective, Connection, Collaboration, Ethical Behavior)
Standard 12: Displays an innovative mentality. (e.g., solves problems, creates novel solutions, repurposes solutions, etc.) (Perspective, Evidence, Connection)
The standards are ordered in increasing difficulty, with the expectation that many first year WISRD members may struggle with the later standards. We have attempted to balance giving enough examples that WISRD members feel the expectations are clear without telling them exactly how they can meet these standards.
Regarding publications, we have begun to receive drafts as the deadline for articles approaches. We still need to find editors, but we will likely not begin this process until we return from outdoor education and college week.
Throughout my time in WISRD (the Wildwood Institute for STEM Research and Development), I’ve grown in a number of ways, perhaps most notably my skills as an independent learner. Prior to joining the Institute, every class I’ve ever taken followed a similar model. Do the homework, pay attention to the lecture, and take a test, write a paper, or complete a project to prove that you’ve really learned anything. Though it might not sound it from the somewhat formulaic way I’ve described it, I go to a very progressive school. Despite this, it was a bit of a shock to the system to come into WISRD, which I expected to be just another class like any other, and have to adapt so dramatically. This adaptation took place in a variety of areas, and was present from my very first day in the Institute.
I joined WISRD as a freshman, when the Institute was just entering its first official year (after a preliminary “year 0”). As a result, there were not already the myriad of options facing the incoming freshmen of today, which was both a blessing and a curse. Rather than feel overwhelmed by my choices, I was able to decide which area to pursue based off of which of the limited options appealed to me the most. Despite this, I felt a strong sense of trepidation at the prospect of entering an Institute where most other members seemed to be more experienced than me, as I mentioned in my first ever journal entry (See journal entry on 8/30/15). In that first journal entry, one concept I brought up was my interest in learning more about the Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope (GAVRT). In the following WISRD meeting sessions, I met with Joe to see how I could pursue that interest. I was “nervous to get started, as I [had] no idea what I [was] doing” (See journal entry on 9/13/15). This thought process perfectly exemplified the school mentality I was so used to. The idea of starting a project without a strong baseline of knowledge was entirely foreign to me, and I was strongly affected by my fear of failing. As the year went on, I continued to work with GAVRT, and grew more confident in my abilities to successfully navigate the radio telescope and understand the signals I was picking up. This growth was documented in my journal, and can be seen in the journal entries of 11/1/15, 11/8/15, and 2/1/16.
During this first year in WISRD, I also began to work on projects that I am still involved in today, more than three years later, or that have influenced my opinions and interests regarding STEM fields and beyond. By my fourth week in WISRD, I officially held the title of Assistant Editor for the WISRD popular science magazine, The Inquirer (See journal entry from 9/20/15). Prior to joining WISRD, I had been under the impression that I could either pursue STEM related fields or the humanities, and, for most of my life, as a result I had only thought of myself as a reading and writing centric individual. When I entered the Institute, I believed that I would have to find alternative ways to pursue my other interests. Resultantly, I was ecstatic to hear about the magazine, and wanted to be involved in whatever way possible. In a more traditional setting, it would have been unlikely that a freshman with no publication experience would be allowed a leadership role, but I was encouraged to join because of my passion for the field. The next year, I became the Senior Editor for the magazine, and I also began the process of redesigning the magazine as a whole, a process I am still working on today. This further exemplifies another cornerstone of WISRD—longevity. Were I to see WISRD like any other class, it would be unlikely that I would choose to take the class for four years straight, and even more unlikely that I would stay working on the same project for the entire time. However, one of the many benefits to the Institute style of learning is the depth of understanding and knowledge that it allows members to attain. By continuing to pursue the same projects (specifically the magazine) over the past three years, I have been able to develop an understanding of editing, delegating responsibilities, collaborating with others, and leading that transcends the understanding that a typical high school class would provide me with.
Throughout my time in WISRD, I have quite often found myself with the desire to do something but lacking the knowledge required to do it well, or to understand the details if I did manage to get it done. This could be seen from my first project in WISRD, working with GAVRT, to my most recent projects. As previously mentioned, I began my involvement with GAVRT without much prior knowledge of radio frequencies and the electromagnetic spectrum. Though it would have been possible to control the radio telescope and record the observations without this knowledge, the experience as a whole would have taught me significantly less and failed to prepare me to further pursue any experiments, labs, or concepts within the field of astronomy. Instead, I spoke with WISRD’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), Joe Wise, to establish what would be the most important concepts for me to learn, which I then proceeded to research throughout the year. Evidence of this research can be found in the journal entries of 9/26/15 and 10/4/15.
This experience of needing to direct my own learning has been a constant throughout my time in WISRD. This past fall, while researching for an article I was writing on new social psychology research methods, I came across a number of mathematical terms I was unfamiliar with. As I have yet to take a statistics class in school, I wasn’t entirely clear on the concepts of standard deviation, P-values, P-curves, and P-hacking. Rather than cut it out of my article, I decided to do what I could to develop a basic understanding of these terms. Through reading articles and talking with one of WISRD’s visiting scholars, Dr. Alicia Breakey, I was able to come to a new level of understanding on these topics, and I worked to include mentions of them in my writing as well. Thus, three years into my time in the Institute, I first felt that I had truly demonstrated the learning outcome of utilizing math as a language, by allowing it to improve my writing. After countless hours in WISRD, a number of projects, and many publications, I still see myself growing as a learner and individual in new ways.
These questions were:
My biggest takeaway from the meeting was the importance of contacts, and how far a mentor can go in the educational process.
Scott Johnson and I have been working on polishing and improving the publication process. Below is our list of item to do and new ideas we are going to implement this year. The biggest change will be having a mentoring process where we help facilitate the writing experience for WISRD members. We are also changing the submission deadline so that every article is due before the first issue comes out, leaving us with more time to get the editing done. We also want to diversify the content of the magazine this year.
Aidan Stern – Designer (done)
Editors/writers from outside WISRD
Editorial Staff – guiding articles, copyediting
Assistant Editor for Magazine
Senior Editor for Journal
Online version. (Aidan)
Changing the publishing requirement
Senior Editor – decisions, design, editorial choices
Assistant Editor – hands-on tasks, direct work with editors and writers
Writing assignments on specific topics, issues, discoveries
Call for paper on a topic/issue
Create magazine departments
Small interesting blurbs and boxes – history, recent developments, sidebars, etc.
Columns – editorial, humor, puzzles, etc.
70 minutes (starts at 11:35 AM ends at 12:45 PM)
11:35 – 11:40 Introductions
Name, grade, and role model
11:40 – 11:50 Icebreaker
Scattergories (All science categories, including scientists)
11:50 – 12:00 Give Basic Statistics
12:00 – 12:15 Chalk Talk
Why is gender diversity important?
Why does a disparity exist?
Give an example of gender bias or discrimination.
What is self oppression? How does it impact gender diversity?
12:15 – 12:35 Discuss and Debrief
12:35 – 12:45 Quiz/Game
Celebrity (All women scientists previously introduced)
Second Semester Schedule:
2/24 – First draft due
3/10 – Return first draft with comments
3/24 – Final draft due
5/12 – Publication
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3. Heat in microwave, for 20 sec. intervals, & stir until the gelatin is melted and free from lumps.
4. Add the warmed glycerin (and glucose if desired) and stir until blended.
5. Add the coconut oil, and stir until thoroughly blended. It is now ready to use, & should be used while warm.
9/9 – Email on requirement and schedule
9/14 – Email Reminder – Draft for Science Magazine articles first semester due 10/21
9/21 – Citation Format & Writing Style Lesson
10/21 – First draft due
11/4 – Return first draft with comments
11/18 – Final draft due
Aidan and I have been working on our article for this semester, which we plan to publish in the popular science magazine. This is a brief outline of what we plan on writing.
This week was also the multicultural symposium, where Miana and my workshop on gender diversity in STEM feilds occurred. Looking back on it now, there are a few changes that I would make, but I am fairly happy with the outcome. I think I would have put in one more activity, so that we didn’t have to rely on a guided conversation for so long. I also would have tweaked the icebreaker activity a little, but I don’t think that’s something I could have known without doing it before hand. On that note, Miana and I wanted to get to do a runthrough of the workshop sometime in the days leading up to the symposium, but I unfortunately fell under the weather, which made that all but impossible. Considering, I think the workshop went well, and I’m proud of the work Miana and I did.
This week in class, I was sick for two of the three days, which severely impeded the amount of learning I accomplished. Despite that, Miana and I made the finishing touches on our symposium work shop. We decided on an icebreaker activity, which will hopefully be both enjoyable and informative. The plan is to play a modified version of headbands, where we pass out a name on a sticky note to each member of the workshop, while keeping it hidden from their view. They then have to ask yes or no questions until they figure out who the person on their sticky note is. If it goes on too long, we will cut it after 10 minutes. The people we plan to use are:5 female scientists and inventors:
5 male scientists and inventors:
5 famous actors both male and female from
+3 additional (Dorothy Hodgkin, Thomas Edison, and Marlon Brando)
We can assume that some of the people will be much easier to guess than others, like Albert Einstein versus Lise Meitner. We hope that the visible disparity will be a conversation piece, and make people wonder why we know so much more about male scientists than we do female ones. We also put in some actors from the Golden Age of film, in hopes that the different fields would also cause a disparity.
70 minutes (starts at 10:05 AM)
10:05-10:20 Pass out resumes
10:20-10:30 Intro Ice-breaker (and graph info)
10:30-10:45 Debrief resume activity w/o information of what it is
10:45-11:00 Debrief resume activity with info
11:00-11:15 Discuss bigger picture; ie. why we need to get women into STEM
The reason we are starting with the resume activity before we do anything else is so that no one can try to recreate the results they think that we might want. I will lead the ice breaker while Miana graphs the data, so that we can minimize the wait time for participants.
WISRD Weekly Reflection
The first week back in class, I have begun a few new projects. A few weeks ago, I presented to the Santa Monica Amateur Astronomy Club about partnering on RECON (Research and Education Collaborative Occultation Network) with them. While on break, they accepted our proposal and have provided us with the necessary telescope and some of the equipment. They have also agreed to a grant of $1000, to use to buy the remaining supplies. WISRD will be a part of a larger group participating in this project, all along the western coast of the US. We will watch for TNOs (trans-Neptunian Objects), and by working with others be able to determine the size of these objects to the nearest 100 km.
I have also started working on the Multicultural Symposium presentation on Women in STEM in a collaboration with Miana, another WISRD member. The workshop description as of now is:
We also want to ask questions, including: How does a male-dominated STEM workforce adversely affect society? What about science?
Why Should We Care About Gender Diversity in STEM?
The plan as of now is to provide information about gender inequality in STEM fields, by including infographics and articles, and then to facilitate a conversation on the topic regarding the above questions. The day of the presentation is not for a few more months, so it is likely that plans will shift as the Symposium approaches.
Week 15 (12/14/15)
Looking back on the first semester, it is easy to tell where I have grown as a student. One area where there is clear advancement is in my reflections, especially in my rubric. Filling out my rubric brought to my attention the areas I have done well in and other areas I have not. I feel the Communicator portion of the rubric is one of my stronger areas. I enjoy presenting about WISRD as it is something that I am so passionate about. Filling out this rubric allowed me to see much clearer what I still have to work on. The largest area I want to get better at is taking risks. For so long, I feel like there has been a punishment for failing, and now that there is not one, it is difficult to make the transition in mindset. I also want to do more work outside of WISRD relating to what I focus on in class. I plan to read a few books over break about radio astronomy and space in general. This following semester, I plan to continue to write weekly reflections as I feel that it helps me chart my growth as a learner and member of the institute.
Week 14 is the second and final draft of my rubric.
STEM Week 13 Reflection
This week in WISRD, I was sick on Monday so I missed out on the chance to control the radio telescope. On Tuesday, I worked on inputting data from the telescope. On Thursday I spoke with Joe on my strengths and stretches and plans for the future. I think that I do well at collaborating with others, like with the radio telescope. I also think that I have a wide range of interests within STEM and take the time to explore these interests. However, I know that there are quite a few areas that I should work on. I think that I need to have more evidence of what I’ve done this year so far. I also would like to increase my knowledge in a few areas, but specifically space. As a result, Joe provided me with a few books to get started with. I will be reading about black holes, the evolution of our knowledge on space, and radio signals. I am hoping that this will provide me with a background so as to better understand what the work I am doing on the radio telescope means.
On Friday, I came to the Amateur Astronomy meeting to make a proposal. Joe told me about RECON (Research and Education Collaborative Occultation Network). This project puts telescopes all up the Western coast in 50-mile intervals. These telescopes are used to record TNOs (trans-Neptunian objects). From this project we hope to find out the size of some of these objects. We proposed that WISRD go 50/50 with the Amateur Astronomy club to take part in this project. We need $5000 total, for the telescope, the GPS, and the timer. I have yet to hear whether or not they have agreed to partner with us, but I should know some time in the immediate future.
Week 12 is the first draft of my rubric.
STEM Week 11 Reflections
This week in WISRD we had our poster presentation night, which was very exciting. Looking at my finished poster, I must admit that I’m not very proud of my work. I don’t think I fully understood what was expected of me, and I didn’t meet these expectations. The upside to this, however, is that I now know what not to do for the next poster presentation. I want to have more on the poster about the process and include better graphics. I also think it would be wise to include more about my plans for the future regarding the project. Furthermore, I know that I want to make clearer learning goals that more accurately integrate the the standards from the syllabus, which I will attempt to do in this reflection.
Aligning with the ‘Problem Solver’ outcome of the syllabus, I want to:
Regarding the life long learner outcome, I want to:
In accordance to the Communicator learning outcome, I want to:
Next, I want to achieve a few things having to do with the learning outcome about using appropriate writing styles and conventions.
Lastly, regarding the Leadership/Management learning outcome, I want to:
Hopefully these learning outcomes will suffice for the remainder of the school year and provide an accurate portrayal of my growth as a researcher.
STEM Week 10 Reflection
This week in STEM, I was very busy. On Monday, I recorded radio emissions from a quasar 3C295 and from Jupiter. On Tuesday, I worked on my poster presentation for the upcoming WISRD night and edited an article for the magazine. On Thursday, I went to the California State STEM Symposium to present and watch presentations. Not only did I learn things in class this week, I also learned quite a bit all day Thursday from attending various presentations. I will mostly touch on the big ideas I took away from the presenters, as I took fairly extensive notes containing a fair bit of superfluous details. In neither presentation did I learn much specifically relevant to what I am studying in STEM, however they both brought up great ideas for how to get others involved in STEM. The first presentation I went on was titled the STEM Behind Hollywood. In this presentation, it was highlighted just how beneficial technology can be for getting students involved. The TI Inspire was used, and I was shocked by its versatility and relevance to different aspects of STEM. One of the main points the presenter was trying to get across was the idea of mixing science and science fiction, as well as connecting to the outside world as much as possible to get students involved. I was also able to get the contact info for a practicing forensic anthropologist, which does directly apply to my interest in forensics. The next presentation I went to was titled Pit and the Pendulum, and was about connecting STEM and Language Arts. The presentation was very hands on, and the spectators were all put in groups and asked to read Poe’s short story by the same title. We were then asked to find out if it was mathematically accurate, which it turned out to be. My main takeaway from this presentation was the idea of introducing concepts after students have already experienced them. Overall, the day was offered countless insights on how to involve others in STEM, as well as giving me many ideas about how to get people to join WISRD.
WISRD Weekly Reflection
This week in STEM was not my most productive week. There was a miscommunication on Monday, which made me unable to work on GAVRT this week. Instead, I spent the day editing my first article for the popular science magazine. As a result, I completed one of my learning outcomes, or at least started to. I am beginning to better understand how to write an article. I definitely had a few misconceptions about what an article needed to include, but I do feel much clearer on the topic now. I learned that longer in no ways means better, and that keeping things concise can help make them more enjoyable for others to read. I also learned the importance of dynamic verbs and their effect on a piece of writing. However, I think the most important lesson I learned is just how much something can be edited. I now understand that just because a piece of writing is covered in red marks, that doesn’t mean it was a bad piece of writing. A good editor can find things that need to be changed almost anywhere. The next step I want to take is learning how to edit someone else’s article. I will hopefully spend time this week learning a bit about that, as I’m definitely not very experienced in this area.
Later in the week, Aidan and I started work on our GAVRT (Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope) poster. We decided that the poster will cover what GAVRT is, what Aidan and I do when working with GAVRT, what the electromagnetic spectrum is, what we can learn about space from radio signals, and what we plan on doing next regarding GAVRT. I also found out I will get to present on this upcoming Thursday, the 29th, at the California State STEM Symposium. Conor, Dylan, Joe, and I will be presenting the WISRD institute model and teaching others how they can implement it in their schools and classes. For all of Thursday, we will be at the Anaheim Convention Center, both watching presentations and doing our own. I hope to learn more about how I can be active in the STEM community, as well as learn about opportunities for women in STEM.
STEM Reflection Week 8
This week in WISRD, due to standardized testing, we had one regular class period and one shortened period. My main priority was working on the presentation for the InnovatEd L.A. presentation. This weekend was the event, which went very well. I helped run the Wildwood booth where I talked to people about the Wildwood journal and popular science magazine, as well as a few short science experiments. I learned a bit about the difference between centrifugal and centripetal force and how they work. Essentially, centrifugal force is how an object flies away from the center of something and centripetal force is what keeps something moving at the same speed along a path. However, my main takeaway from this week was how unique and exciting the work we at WISRD are doing. I feel so proud to be a part of this institute.
Looking at my revised learning outcomes, I wasn’t able to work on anything regarding them this week, as all I did was prepare for the presentation. This Monday I will get another chance to use the GAVRT radio telescope, and after that I plan on tackling my first learning outcome- what we still have to learn about radio signals emitted from Jupiter. I also plan on fine-tuning my article on Urbach-Weithe disease and in the process working on my fourth learning outcome- how to write a scientific article. I must admit, other than reflecting on my learning outcomes, I still am somewhat unsure as how to successfully write a reflection as every person I ask gives me varying answers. Due to this, I would say the most important learning outcome and most immediate one I have is to learn how to correctly write a reflection and what specifically that entails.
This week in WISRD, we only got to meet once due to Outdoor Ed., but I did get a few opportunities to think about the topics I’m currently studying. On Monday, I began to work on the presentation for the InnovatEd LA event this upcoming weekend, October 17thand 18th. I am collaborating on this presentation with Conor and Dylan, which is likely mostly what I will be working on this week. The presentation covers what the Wildwood Institute for STEM Research and Development really is, and how other schools can implement a similar program. I will also be talking a bit about what it is in particular that I am working on, the radio telescope. I will also be doing a live presentation on this later on in the day. While on Outdoor Ed., I got a chance to look at a globular cluster of stars through a high-powered telescope, as well as well as a few other stars. Once we got back from this trip, I decided to attend the amateur astronomy club meeting at Wildwood. While there, I learned quite a few things about how we can view climate change on Earth from space. The speaker works at JPL and has dedicated years of her life to learning about this. There were quite a few statistics she gave that were truly staggering, and that make it hard for me to see how anyone could doubt the credibility of climate change. For instance, she said that if we continued the current levels of carbon emissions, the minimum rise in temperature in the next millennium would be 4° F, with the maximum being 7° F. While both these numbers sound fairly small, if the temperature were really to rise 7°, the climate on Earth would be the same climate that we had 30 million years ago, when Earth seemed almost like a completely different planet. After this meeting, I plan on finding more ways for me to get involved in the science community and learn more about astronomy.
I also came up with some clearer, more realistic learning goals.
Week 6 (October 4, 2015)
This week in WISRD, I used the radio telescope for the first time. I alternated between taking signals from a black hole, 3C250, and radio emissions from Jupiter. I recorded the signal five times while it was at a steady rate, and then recorded the peak it reached. I then recorded the steady rate again. I repeated this process about 4 times for both Jupiter and 3C250. From recording radio emissions from black holes, we can learn about their location and size. Black holes emit radio waves as they accumulate matter, allowing us to better understand how black holes work. By continuing to record radio emissions, we can learn more about the science behind how back holes function, which we currently know so little about. From recording radio signals from Jupiter, we can find out more about its orbit and atmosphere. Scientists first learned that Jupiter had a magnetic field by recording its data signals. We also learned that Io, Jupiter’s moon, is largely responsible for the fluctuations in data signals we get from Jupiter. However, we still have so much to learn. For instance, we don’t know if any of Jupiter’s other moons affect the radio signal, which we could learn from continuing to use radio telescopes.
I also learned more about Urbach-Weithe disease this week. This disease targets the amygdala, and calcifies it. As a result, people afflicted with this disease often lose the ability to feel fear. The only way that doctors have been able to create a fear response in people with Urbach-Weithe disease is by giving them oxygen with a high concentration of carbon dioxide, sufficiently creating the feeling of asphyxiation. This could mean that the amygdala is only responsible for a fear response as a result of external stimuli, as opposed to internal stimuli such as asphyxiation. This study is helping the scientific community better understand how the amygdala works, therefore allowing for a better understanding of how to control or limit the fear response. This finding could be life changing for people who suffer from anxiety or panic related disorders. By continuing to study Urbach-Weithe disease, we can learn countless things about how the brain works and how necessary fear is to ensuring human survival.
WISRD Weekly Reflection
This week in WISRD I continued to learn more about Urbach-Weithe disease and started to learn about the electromagnetic spectrum. I am writing an article on Urbach-Weithe disease, so I am in the process of doing research on the topic. So far I have learned that Urbach-Weithe disease is an extremely rare, hereditary disease that can skip generations so is almost impossible to predict who will suffer from it. The primary symptoms of the disease are skin lesions, swelling of the vocal glands, and in about 75% of cases, calcification of the amygdala. I learned more about what the amygdala does, however, at this point we are still unsure as to its exact purpose. I know that it is responsible for a large amount of the emotional responses our bodies have, particularly intense emotions such as fear and aggression. When the amygdala becomes calcified, it can completely eliminate the fear response. I did research on what this might entail and came across the case of S.M., who suffers from Urbach-Wiethe disease. Since a young age, she has never felt any sort of emotional fear. However, when her brain was being studied, neuroscientists were able to elicit a fear response by temporarily cutting off the amount of oxygen she breathed. This may prove that the amygdala is not completely responsible for fear, as previously thought. I was able to become better at finding credible information about a relatively unknown topic. This week, I learned not only about Urbach-Weithe disease, but also about how to research and develop an information gathering strategy as well as making observations.
I also learned about the electromagnetic spectrum this week in preparation for using the radio telescope. I learned about the different kinds of electromagnetic waves and the differences between them. Radio waves are the lowest on the electromagnetic spectrum, meaning that they have the longest waves and the lowest frequency. They are followed by microwaves, Infra-red, visible light, ultraviolet light, X-rays, and Gamma waves, the highest wave on the electromagnetic spectrum with a short wavelength and a higher frequency. I learned that wavelength is measured in meters and that frequency is measured in Hertz. Learning about the electromagnetic spectrum also afforded me with an opportunity to learn how to research and gather information.
Week 4 (September 20, 2015)
This week in WISRD, I’ve continued to solidify my plans for the year to come. In forensics, I have resumed identifying unknown chemicals. I have successfully completed about 8 tests for the first chemical, known as Scogain. I have learned how to use iodine, silver nitrate, and low concentration hydrochloric acid to help identify differences in chemicals. I have also continued to learn lab safety procedures. Next week I should hopefully finish up identifying a second chemical so that Ella, Sky, and I can work together to match the last unknown chemical.
I also talked with both Joe and Scott about my plans for the year to come. For the GAVRT mission, I decided with Joe that I will start by studying Jupiter, as it is currently in optimum position. I will then move on to studying black holes as the year progresses. I am very excited to get started, and it looks like I will be having my first session sometime this week. Due to some technical errors, I wasn’t actually aware that I was an assistant editor for the science magazine until this week, which is another thing that I am looking forwards to immensely. I have two ideas for my first article, but I will decide on one for sure and start writing this week. This upcoming week looks like it will bring lots of new and exciting things.
WISRD Week 3 Reflection (September 13, 2015)
This week in WISRD I continued to learn about forensics. I went to the library last weekend and picked up a few books on the topic, which I am in the process of reading. Ella and I have been working on identifying unknown chemicals. We only had two days of WISRD this week, but in the first day we attempted to identify a chemical without any prior knowledge of how to complete that task. When we met again, Tim encouraged us to use a pre-made lab meant to teach you how to identify unknown chemicals. We started working on that, but we still have quite a bit left to do. While doing this lab, I began to learn more about chemistry, as I’d never taken a class on it previously. I learned a bit about the pH scale (acids and bases), proper lab safety procedures, and how to use a higher powered microscope than the ones I was used to.
On a separate topic, Joe and I discussed the radio telescope a bit more. I read Etney’s weekly reflections, and I am a bit nervous to get started, as I have no idea what I’m doing. However, Joe and I plan to work together sometime this week to get me used to using the telescope.
STEM Week 2
This week in STEM I have gotten a much more concrete understanding of what I plan to learn about in the year to come. I have gotten started on learning about forensic science, as well as completing my first lab. For this lab, I tried to extract my own latent fingerprints off of a glass slide. I did this by printing the slide, putting the slide in a large beaker, placing a few drops of superglue in a smaller container inside the large beaker, and making the beaker airtight. I then heated the beaker to 60° C for two hours. Once the two hours were up, my latent fingerprints were clearly visible on the glass slide. This happened because the cyanoacrylate in the super glue, once heated enough that it became gaseous, stuck to the oils from my fingerprint.
Midway through the week, Ella Grossman and I joined up to learn more about forensic science. She sent out an email to Dr. Wang, the forensic scientist who came to visit and present at Wildwood, asking him about any insights he had to offer into the world of forensic science. Ella and I also brainstormed some other labs we could do, as well as checking out books from the Santa Monica library on forensics.
Joe also asked me if I was interested in working with the radio telescope, to which my answer was a vehement yes. We will hopefully talk more about our plans regarding the telescope in the week to come. I also plan on helping out with the scientific journal, however this is another topic that I will learn more about next week.
1.) Any fears and concerns regarding week 1 of STEM?
I think that my only concern right now is that everyone else seems so experienced, whereas I have little to no experience in most of the STEM areas of research. I’m a little bit concerned about how I’m going to start a project, since I’m interested in such a variety of things, but I know practically nothing about them. I’m sure that I’ll be much more knowledgeable about whatever topic I choose to pursue by end of the year, but getting started without any basis of knowledge seems difficult.
2.) What are your topics of interest?
As I said before, I’m interested in a lot of different things. A few of the topics I’m interested in are fairly broad, but as I don’t know much about them, I don’t want to rule out certain areas before I’ve even given them a shot.
-3D printing (possibly helping with the prosthetic project?)
-Learning to code (NAO robot eventually?)
-Learning Google Sketchup
-Learning more about the radio telescope
I did talk with Tim about my interest in forensics, which I think is where I plan to start.
3.) What are some ideas of learning outcomes?
I don’t have any concrete plans for what project I will be doing yet, so I’m having a difficult time coming up with learning outcomes. Right now I’m thinking that I might start out by gaining a fairly comprehensive level of knowledge of basic forensics, and then once I know more, come up with an individual project. I would like it if my project were able to combine 2 or more areas of interest, like 3D printing or coding.