Category Archives: Eminent 2014

In dept post #4

During the past two weeks for in-depth, I have begun working on time signatures with my mentor. For those of you who don’t know, a time signature is two numbers placed at the beginning of a song, which indicate how many beats are placed in each bar. For example, in a 4/4 time signature, there are 4 beats per bar, and each quarter note is worth 1 beat. In 3/2 time, each half note is worth one beat, and there are 3 beats in a bar. It is important to choose the right one to fit your melody. Generally, 4/4 is the most common time signature since it is versatile and easy to read. ¾ is also very common, but, only works for certain melodies. A time signature such as 2/4 would only be common in songs such as marching songs. Time signatures such as 12/8 are hard to read, and therefore aren’t used all that often. However, they are still used in some odd songs that require the beats to be sub-divided be three (each single beat can be divided into 3 parts, rather than the stander 2 or 4). Upon asking whether it would be better to try to work in a 12/8, 3/4 or 4/4 time, my mentor said that 4/4 will generally be the best since it is versatile and easy to use. When asking why this would be ideal, he explained that the large majority of songs use this time signature since it allows you to play in either a swung or straight-eight rhythm without any difficulties, and because we listen to it so much, our braings will usually think up melody ideas in a 4/4 time signature anyways.

However, I must still learn how to use the other ones. To do this, we have taken songs that use some of the more complex time signatures, such as 12/8, and have begun to break them down into smaller pieces. For example, in a 12/8 song, you need to look at each note as being 3 beats. There are then 4 of these 3 beat notes, so instead of a standard quarter note being viewed as one beat, you must count one quarter note plus an eighth note. This can get complicated, but after working through it for a while, it becomes relatively easy.

We also began to work on a new technique for writing melodies. This involves taking the chord progressions from a previous song, and writing a new melody over top of it. Upon asking what the benefits of this were, my mentor answered that this is very helpful since the chord progressions will already be well laid out, and the rhythm section won’t be as hard to create. Instead, you only need to be coming up with a melody, rather than an entire song. Although I may tend to value originality in music, it seems that my mentor places some of his values in improving what has already been done. The way he sees it, there is no point in re-inventing the wheel. He explained that many artists take old songs and build off of them, since it allows them to focus more on aspects of the song such as the melody, and not have to spend too much time working on the rest of the song. Although I still wish to make original compositions, this does make sense to me.

 

 

Night of the Notables Reflection

It’s over. It’s finally over.

I just can’t seem to get that thought out of my head. In the days leading up to the night, time flew by faster than I could I realized. However, in the hours leading up to that momentous moment on stage, time slowed to an agonizing crawl. I must have rehearsed my speech at least forty times in the moments leading up to the speeches. Somehow last year it all seemed to take too long, but this year the set-up time seemed too short, even though it was nearly the same. Whilst trying to assist others with their large items, my learning centre was only complete with about five minutes to spare.

IMG_20141203_213330_1024x768

Although these moments seemed much too fast, as soon as we entered the MPR to prepare the speeches, minutes ticked away as if they were hours. That was the moment that it really sunk in for me that in a bit above an hour, I would be standing in front of a packed crowd, reciting a speech that I didn’t think I had fully memorized. The nights before, I felt as if my speech was memorized perfectly, but as parents began to arrive I started to question whether or not I had memorized it enough to not let my nerves get the best of me.

It was at this point that the anxiety started to settle in. Even after years of public speeches, this somehow felt different. It was a new feeling. It was a feeling that somehow this was more important. This was more important than any other school project I had ever done. And in a way, I guess that was true.

This is because of two reasons: This project is not about a mark, it’s about an experience. Secondly, it wasn’t a solo event, the entire night revolved around a team. This was when I started rehearsing my speech, over and over again.

Finally the doors were opened, and parents began to stream in. Behind the curtains with the afternoon class, people paced about, mouths forming the words they would soon say but not a sound would come out. People dealt with their stress in different ways. I found a guitar to play, Jackson repeated over and over again the he was going to be okay, a group of people prayed to the sun in a last ditch attempt for the aid of the gods, so that they may flow through their speeches without stumbling. Finally the deep, booming voice of Mr. Jackson was heard through the curtains. It was time. The MCs recited their lines, and the first sacrifice was now to be made. Jamie was to be the sacrifice, and as he stepped on stage it seemed as if we all stopped our pacing, our speech reciting, and began to tremble. I was not sure what he was doing, all I knew was that he was going to place a rose on the ground before starting. It seemed as if he paused for too long, maybe he choked? But luck was on our side as he flowed through the words of his speech with utmost precision. Alison was next, then Ryan, and then me. When it was finally my time to enter the stage, the only thing going through my mind was “Why are they clapping. Why would they clap when CLEARLY we had rehearsed transitions?”. I realized that nobody remembered to tell them not to clap. It took an awkward ten seconds for them to start before I could begin a choppy transition, which was supposed to happen immediately after Ryan had stepped off.
Untitled
I’ve been in plenty of stressful situations, and one thing that I’ve learned is that once you start, everything will disappear, you’ll be calm and collected, nothing can stand in your way. Except for when your performing an Eminent speech. This was literally the only time that the stress didn’t go away for me, instead I was out of my mind all the way until I stepped off stage. But I finished. And I soon as I did it became clear to me that behind the curtains, invisible to the audience, we were a a community not separated by stress, but bound together by the  moments in which we feel the weakest. Behind those heavy green curtains, everyone was everyone’s friend. Support was the only thing found, a silent support that one could only understand if they were there in the moment, after having stepped off of the stage with your heart rate reaching a point where paramedics would be concerned for your health. This was what will stick with me about Night of the Notables.

Going back to the learning centres was a welcome break, no longer did we have to worry about a memorized speech, now we just had to play a character. Nothing more. This is when it was all wrapped up for me, all the goals of the project. Setting out, my main goal was finding out about the learning centre of who I think is one of the best teachers to walk this earth. Everyone tells you that interactive activities are one of the most engaging ways to learn, and that became evident during the learning centre period. There was only a few short minutes that I didn’t have someone holding the air cannon which I had brought.IMG_20141121_072433_1024x768 Parents and children alike were eager to try it, and in the second half of the night, once the crowds had begun to die down, a group of alumni were at my station for 45 minutes, trying to push the limits of what I would allow them to do. The end result was ripping three large holes in the target that I had set up. Not that I minded at all, it was expendable. The issue, however, was the with just a slightly increased PSI in the air valve, the projectiles would have shot a clean hole in the wall. I don’t really think I could have had a better activity at my station.

Coming into grade ten I was not expecting it to be an infinite increase over grade nine, but I was more wrong than I can imaging. A message to all grade nines: Believe me, if you thought that grade nine Eminent was exciting (or even a bit boring), nothing can prepare you for what you’ll experience in grade ten.

Eminent Speech

(Hook: elaborate on last speakers concluding sentence by describing the key term in sciency way)

But you’re not here to listen to science terms, are you? You’re here to hear about me! A world famous scientist who’s famous for not being a professional scientist.  I may be well known for my science teaching, but I’m not really viewed as much of a professional most of the time. 

However, I don’t mind that much. My life was never really set from the start to become a world renowned biologist who would cure even the most resilient of diseases, but rather I was on the path to becoming a tv host that everyone would be able to recognize. Maybe this wasn’t so bad? NASA may have rejected me, but that just gave me more options for what to do in my life.
Perhaps there was another way I could use my knowledge of science. I may not be the most professional, but perhaps there were others that I could aid, so that they may become the person I was not meant to be.

Maybe my goal was not to win a Nobel prize, but rather I could educate those who could.
That’s what I set out to do. I used my talents for a greater good, I put inspiration in the hearts of so many young children. No longer did science class mean a boring teacher, reading from a boring textbook about boring subjects. Now, science meant Bill Nye, science meant fun, science was interesting. I may not have been given the opportunity to create the next biggest gadget, but I was able to create something so much more important. I was given the opportunity to create a future generation.

Anotated Biblography

A collection of sources used in this project:

William Sanford Nye. (2014). The Biography.com website. Retrieved 11:22, Nov 28, 2014, fromhttp://www.biography.com/people/bill-nye-20950589.

Main source for confirming any information. Used this for many of the simple facts such as “where was he born”, not much in the way of his effect on the world. This article is nearly identical to the Wikipedia one, leading me to believe that one of them is copied.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Nye

If you say you didn’t use Wikipedia, you’re lying. All of the facts in here were confirmed from the biography page, this was just to get an outline of his life.

http://www.planetary.org/about/staff/bill-nye.html

Not a ton of information, but this article gives more insight into how Bill was as a person, rather than just the basic facts about him

http://www.famousscientists.org/bill-nye/

This one seemed like a fairly credible source, but it’s literally the exact same as the first two (Wikipedia and biography) with a couple of words chopped out. It seems as if I’ve already found the best document about him and all the others are just copies. Either way this one confirmed for me that the other two were accurate, so I can stop searching for more replicas of the same thing.

Interview:

I got an interview with one of the science teachers in SD43 to see how the use of Bill Nye’s videos have affected science classes in our local schools. I also got some ideas for my learning center from here.

Document of Learning, Eminent Person

Document of learning post:

Eminent night is quickly approaching, and this year I feel much more prepared than I was last year.

I’ve so far managed to do quite a bit of work. My learning center is planned, I have a speech mostly memorized, I was able to get an interview, but I haven’t been able to get a full costume yet. As far as “achieving my goals” goes, I haven’t fully succeeded in that yet. The only IEP goal that I can relate to this is handing my assignments in on time, and I can’t really achieve that until the night itself. For personal goals I wanted to renew my interest for science, and so far I think that I am doing pretty well on that one. My grade 8 year was just awful for science, but so far I’ve been able to renew some of my previous interest. I think one of the biggest assisting factors in this was being able to take the physics courses in school, and through this project I am able to rediscover some of the things I used to love about science. I am also hoping to be able to take some of the teaching methods that Bill Nye used, and put them into use in some upcoming lessons such as our English lessons. Quite often student taught lessons can be generic and monotonous, so I am hoping to be able to take some his Nye’s methods to enrich any lessons that I will be teaching.

As far as my progress for the actual night of the notables goes, I believe that I have most of what I need already prepared. The center piece of my learning center will be three basic science experiments, which I will be using to emulate Nye’s hands on teaching style. The first of which will be a ‘Reaction in a bag’, where chemicals are mixed in compartments to create simple reactions. The second will be a miniature hovercraft, made of a CD and a balloon. I made three full scale hovercrafts back in middle school for a science fair using plywood and a leaf blower, but these scaled down versions will also be able to provide some sustained flight (however long the balloon provides air pressure). The last of the experiments will be a pressurized air cannon, firing socks. I used the air cannon for another science fair back in middle school, back then it fired projectiles made of 5 inch long pvc pipes, filled with sand and wrapped in rubber and duct tape. These miniature mortar shells flew for a solid 200 feet when fired at 30psi and the using the longest attachment of our extendable barrel. At 60psi we could fire over a soccer field’s worth of distance, which is obviously not safe for school indoors. Instead, I’ll be using a much lower psi, and also firing harmless socks. I’ve tried this before, and although the socks fire with a ludicrously high muzzle velocity, the wonders of air resistance render it immobile within 8-10 feet. Even if you’re within a few feet of the cannon and get hit by a sock, you can barely feel the impact. My plan is to use this cannon with a target set up, possibly empty cans, as an interactive experiment alongside the reaction and hovercraft. Alongside the cannon will be a quiz, where I will use the test results from the original science fair, with the cannon, and have people guess the distances and which combination of projectile weight and barrel worked best. I’ll have some sort of prize available, probably just a bulk bag of candies. IMG_20141121_072433_1024x768

 

I believe that the three of these represent Bill Nye’s teaching style very well, since many of his lessons were taught using hands on demonstration and experiments, many of which could be very simple, or some were more complex. Either way, his most effective teaching methods were always through the use of hands on demonstrations.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about the night of the notables. I have a speech written and mostly memorized; I have an interview, I have a learning center plan, and I have a few pieces for the costume. Even though the night is less than two weeks away, I feel prepared and much more ready than last year. In general, my excitement level for the Night of the Notables has gone from a “meh out of 10” to a solid 9/10.

Eminent Library Trip

I frankly came into this trip expecting to achieve next to nothing. This way, it’s nearly impossible to be disappointed with the results, no matter how bad they may be. Out of the four suggested categories of what we may want to get out of the trip, I decided to go with inspiration and bonding, however I would have been fine with only achieving one of them.

I doubted that SFU would carry books on Bill Nye, and I was half right. They did indeed carry three different books about Bill Nye, however they were all about a man that died sometime in 1930. I had high hopes for the book entitled “Bill Nye’s western humor”, but it turns out that book was also about our grave bound friend. Was there any relation between the modern day TV host and the pile o’ bones Bill?

I have no clue
As far as experience on a University campus goes, I wasn’t really in search of that either. This is because I live around a thirty minute walk away from the place, and I’ve already done multiple activities up there, ranging from leadership courses to diving. I didn’t have high hopes for finding anything new and exciting from our brief stay on campus.

pano resize

This left me with inspiration and peer bonding. Strangely enough, I found both of these in abundance, and in the same places. It was not the museum, tour or library that inspired me, but rather it was an all you can eat buffet and a trip on the big yellow sardine can. Many would be able to see how those promote bonding, but for an eminent person study they seem about as inspiring as a thesis on bricks. However, I found them inspiring in a way that I would not have expected. These two event created the theme of my trip: Fun. Although this is EXACTLY what we were told the trip was not meant to be about, I found my inspiration through fun.

By embarking on a project based trips, you associate your experiences on the trip with the project. For example’ If I were to be abducted by extra-terrestrials on the trip, I would then associate the eminent person project with alien abductions and human experimentation. i would longer enjoy the project, rather I would want to stay away from it. However, if I got to drive rally cars on the trip, I would associate the eminent person project with rally cars,, and I would very much so want to do the project again. This is why I found my fun experiences to be important, since they will influence how I think about the project. So what were these fun experiences?

First off would be the ride on the school bus, where we played charades and talked about “boy things”. Did I bond with peers? Yes. Was it fun? Certainly. Was it inspiring? Of course it was, I just spent the last quarter of this post explaining why having fun was inspiring.

Next is the Indian buffet, where i ate as much naan bread in one sitting as an actual Indian family of four would eat in a few days. This, to me, was blissfully fun. Next to me there was also an ancient ritual of testosterone pumped males known as an “eating contest”, which was also quite fun to watch. The meal also involved peer bonding, allowing me to check off both inspiration and bonding from the to do list.

IMG_20141030_113754

Throughout this trip, I think I learned next to nothing. Nothing that I expected to learn about at least. I cam prepared to rigorously study facts about a quirky scientist, but instead I became educated in what I think is even more important. I learned how these experiences can truly change someone’s perspective. For me, that is making the eminent person study seem more interesting, and more fun. This will strongly influence my eminent person study, as I will now be much more willing to dive deep into it, since I now associate it with positive things. I also learned more about some of my new classmates, and a bit more about some I had known from previous schools.

But most importantly, I learned to check the weather forecast before embarking on a partially outdoor trip.

Eminent Introductory Post

The catchy intro. You know it , everyone knows it. It has the word Bill multiple times, as well as the word science. Over. And over again.  He’s Bill Nye, everyone knows him. He’s the science teacher that didn’t make you fall asleep, and now he’s a activists that shuts down politicians like a windows reboot warning.BillNye-300-md

Born in 1955, November 27 Bill was introduced to a WW2 landscape, his father being a veteran who went through a Japanese POW camp. Now at 58 years of age, our beloved science guy started his career off in Boeing, where he starred in multiple training videos and developed  a hydraulic resonance suppressor for the famous 747 jet. These training videos were the start of his acting and teaching career. He then applied to NASA every few years, being rejected each time. So instead of pursuing his professional scientist vision, he became a writer and actor in a sketch comedy show called “Almost Live!”, where he earned the science guy nickname and occasionally played a speedwalking superhero.  After “Almost Live!”, he appeared in an animated “Back to the Future” series as Dr. Emmet’s assistant, where he would demonstrate the sciences that Emmet explained. This led to him starting up his own TV show, “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. For Nye, this is where it all took off. Over the span of 100 episodes, Nye taught some of the most important scientific topics for students, and became a staple item in any sane classroom. The TV cart in the room would always signify something incredible happening: Bill Nye would take over the class, and teach them via TV in ways that no other could. A career like this was a dangerous ones. There were already large companies that made science videos, but many children found them to be not even mildly entertaining. Nye approached it in an entirely different manner, and he luckily succeeded. Nye didn’t just make science simple, he made it entertaining. And although he no longer makes new episodes, his influence will still be around for decades to come as one of the best science teachers the world has come to know.

Bill_Nye_the_Science_Guy

Yet Nye is not just a quirky TV show host. He also has multiple scientific achievements. These include a sundial for the Mars Rover that could also calibrate colours, and for reasons unknown to me he holds a United States patent for ballet shoes.

As far as Nye’s similarities to me stretch, we are both: White, male, and atheist (agnostic in his case). This is close to what a particular socials teacher would call the “easiest difficulty setting”. Essentially, the whites hold almost all of the world’s political power, as do the males. Straight people are considered “normal”, and therefore often given more respect. The only part that could turn up the difficulty setting by a slight touch would be not being a christian. This is essentially the difference between “Thomas the Tank Engine” and “Dora the Explorer”. See, Dora has some Spanish thrown in. That stuff is crazy hard you know? Although Nye is playing life with what some consider to be the near ultimate handicap, he is still an incredible person. Me? Although I would like to be, I think that few could possibly achieve the level of enlightenment that Nye has reached.

However, I would like to believe that both I and Nye (that sounded really cheesy) have some connection on a slightly higher level. This would not actually be a profound love for science, since although I am very interested in physics, I try to avoid the rest of high school science courses. Nye on the other hand teaches pretty much everything. However, I quite like the fact that everything he does is based on pure, unfiltered logic. Although many of his TV show demonstrations could be considered as dumbed down, they still revolve around actual science, with no filler thrown in to make the concepts easier. Rather, he demonstrates them with physical examples that are a scaled down or expanded version of what is actually happening. Instead of just grazing what the topic is about, he actually teaches why and how through demonstrations that make sense.

In my previous years, from elementary school to early middle school, Nye was the best teacher that I could imagine. Instead of just reading from a textbook, he actually understood the concepts, and knew how to teach younger children in a way that they could understand. He’s taught not just me, but everyone, not only science but how to properly teach a class in an engaging and entertaining manner.

As for my goals in this project, I am hoping to renew a love for science. I found interest in the topic during middle school, but after starting in high school I have lost interest in a large portion of it, physics being the only part that I still truly enjoy. This is also one of my main learning goals for the entire year, as I am hoping to succeed in my physics 11 course, in an attempt to find a subject that I truly enjoy. I enjoyed it during the science 10 unit, and I am hoping to continue with it for the rest of my high school life. In the long run, I hope that this project will give me some more insight into scientific careers. I have been interested in entering some sort of engineering path, and with any luck, studying one of the most prominent modern scientists will help me gain insight as to what that would involve, and what options I have.