IB Recital Accompaniment

On March 17th, I played the piano accompaniment for two pieces Aika was playing for her IB recital. The two pieces were LOVE by Nat King Cole and Air Varié No. 6. I really liked the two pieces and I had a lot of fun throughout the process of practicing the pieces. I was awed by Aika’s skill in playing the violin and singing so it was a wonderful experience being able to play along with her. The performance turned out very well and after weeks of practicing, I felt that our effort payed off and I really loved the experience overall. Also as an act of service, I think I earned 20 points.

Below are the mp3s of the pieces.


Air Varié No. 6

Keen Machines IDU Unit Reflection

For our Keen Machines Project, we made a plant waterer for Mr. Lemley as he was in need of a plant waterer during the vacations. The purpose of our machine was to water plants in the library when the school is closed and Mr. Lemley is not there. The mechanism of the machine was based on the Shishi odoshi and our machine used a first class lever. 

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Idea No. Person or Group Location Task Solution
1 Mr. Lemley Library Water Plant Plant Waterer
2 Soccer Managers In front of storage place Make moving the cart easier Slope
3 All people Door next to doctor’s office Open door Swipe Card
4 All people Cafeteria Make it easier for people to move/ fold tables Better wheel/ hinges

We brainstormed several potential ideas but we decided to make the plant waterer as unlike ideas 3 and 4, we had a specific client; Mr. Lemley and he was in need of a plant waterer during the vacations and suggested the idea. He was an ideal client as we could easily contact him and discuss details with him. We chose to do the plant waterer instead of the slope as despite the plant waterer having a bit more complex mechanism than the slope, we had a clear idea as to how the machine would work and the simple machine we were going to use. Also, we knew for sure that we would be able to calculate the Actual/ Ideal Mechanical Advantage, Input/ Output Work, Efficiency as the machine used a first class lever. The plant waterer also used affordable materials and did not require carpenting skills that were beyond our/ Mr. Mayhew’s ability.

How did you develop a relationship with your client? *

We contacted our client through e-mailing and physically talking with him regularly.

Below are the details of dates of contact, topic discussed etc.

Date of contact Topic discussed Evidence of Contact
Jan 19, 2016 We went around the school to find possible problems for our project and when we went to the library, we found Mr. Lemley. He said that he was in need of a plant waterer and we decided that it was a good idea. No physical evidence but you can ask Mr. Lemley.
Jan 22, 2016 We went in search of Mr. Lemley but he was not there so we sent him an e-mail to ask him if he could meet us next class.  Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 6.02.39 PM
Jan 26, 2016 We talked with Mr. Lemley about what the specifications were and the details; Location that the machine would be put and the approximate size of the machine etc.. He said that since the machine will be used during the vacations, the appearance of the machine would not matter much. No physical evidence but you can ask Mr. Lemley.
February 24th 2016 We e-mailed Mr. Lemley about our idea of using the mechanism of the shishi-odoshi. He said that it was attractive and the system looked very functional.
He had a few questions about the machine so we invited him to come down to the DT lab and discuss with us.
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February 25th 2016 He could not come today so we decided to invite him next class (Tuesday).  Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 6.06.21 PM
February 29th 2016 We invited him to come on Tuesday and he agreed.  Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 6.07.10 PM
February 30th 2016 He came to see our completed machine and he said it looked very good and he loved it. He said he will be in the library when we do the keen machines presentation. 5610d82a-de6a-4cac-a509-791e780b9301
March 9th 2016 Mr. Lemley looked at the machine in action at the Keen Machines Event and he gave us feedback later on.



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Explain how you designed your solution. *

The mechanism of the machine was based on the Shishi Odoshi and our machine used a first class lever. We used wood for the base and side supporters and back stopper, and used bamboo for the lever and fulcrum.

Below is how the machine works:

  1. Put the amount of water the plant needs for the number of days the client is gone, inside the bucket.
  2. Put the plant under where the water will come out.
  3. One of the two openings in the air control valve should be closed so as not to leak the water. The open valve should be fitted into the water irrigation pipe.
  4. Place the water irrigation pipe on top of the receiving opening of the bamboo lever so the water will drip from the pipe.
  5. To start the watering, loosen the valve so the water will start dripping.
  6. When the water accumulates inside the bamboo lever and crosses the point where the fulcrum is, the lever will tilt enough so as to pour the accumulated water onto the plant.

The amount of water flow from the pipe onto the receiving opening of the bamboo lever can be adjusted by turning the valve.

  • Explain how your learning in the sciences and design complemented each other. *

By learning the physics and science behind the mechanism of machines, it enabled us to form an idea of how we could use simple machines to build machine that could solve our client’s problem; watering the plant when he was on vacation, in design.

Explain the new things you learned about the subjects while carrying out the project. *

I definitely learned more about the physics and science behind the mechanism of machines and how machines can make work easier for the client and do something that could not have been done otherwise.

Project Question: How did you use empathy and your understanding of mechanics (science) and ergonomics (design) to help create a solution to an authentic problem? *

By incorporating our understanding of physics and science behind simple machines and our woodworking and carpentry skills, we were able to successfully make a plant waterer for Mr. Lemley, our client.

Identify which three (3) Approaches to Learning skills you developed and practiced through this project. *

  • Communication
  • Reflective Skills
  • Critical Thinking
Explain how you developed some of these ATL skills. *
Through the process of creating the machine with my team mates; Yu & Hiroki, I learnt to be a better communicator so as not to create misunderstandings between team members, possibly leading to conflict inside the group, which was the last thing I wanted. I think I also developed my self-management skills as although it was pretty tight towards the end, we were successful as we were responsible and worked hard to plan and manage our time wisely in order to finish the project in time.
Discuss why it is important to carry out tasks that connect our learning across subjects. *
I think one of the benefits of having interdisciplinary units is that we can take time and get a deeper and more thorough understanding of the topic we are working on and look at the different aspects of the same topic. For example, not only did we look at simple machines from a science perspective, investigating the science behind the machine including IMA, IMA, work etc., we looked at the physical mechanism of the machine and built the machine ourselves using our woodworking skills in design.
Suggest future projects or ideas that you might like to develop, connecting your subjects, with a reason. *
If I were to do another IDU project in the future, I would like to connect Humanities and English as I would like to investigate how history had an effect on literature.
This is a video of the machine in action.
Below is the feedback we got from our client. 
I think the Plant Waterer showed thought and creativity.  The use of an adjustable valve to control the flow of the water provided clear evidence of problem solving.  The final product was also very attractive; the use of bamboo was a really nice touch.  The product functioned but lacked the ability to be adjusted for different size plants.  This is a necessary feature as the library plants come on different sizes.

Winter Instrumental Concert

On Friday, the Winter Concert was held in the auditorium.  The theme for ⅞ orchestra was “A Royal Winter” and our repertoire was mainly composed of pieces that were played for the royalty. It was the first big concert of the year for orchestra and band, and a lot of work was put into it so I was extremely excited for the performance. The first piece was “Le Divin Enfant”, meaning “The Divine Child” in French. The piece started off with dark, mysterious sounds representing the darkness and chaos before the birth of Jesus Christ. This is followed by a gentle, lovely melody that is a variation of the traditional french carol “He is Born, the Divine Child”. I think this was the most emotionally satisfying piece as the bells were the definite highlight of the piece and I loved the light, high-pitched sounds that sounded a bit christmassy and was a great addition to the piece. The next pieces was the first movement of the “Toy Symphony”. This piece portrayed a Christmas morning, where children were opening up their presents and playing with their toys. This was a very fun piece as unlike other pieces, several boys played toy instruments and Tomo played the trumpet as a special guest. Every time Yodai played the ratchet, I was impressed by his confidence and always could not resist laughing. I personally think this piece was played best as an ensemble as it was a very fun piece and everyone payed attention, making everyone united and very enthusiastic. It is a great pity and disappointment that the CA TV crew forgot to film the Toy Symphony, Minuet and Winter as I was looking forward to watch us play the pieces. Although I do not get a chance to reflect on my playing during Winter as the CA TV crew did not take a video of it, I think it was a success and we played beautifully. I had been working on vibrato for about 2 weeks and although I have not completely mastered vibrato yet, I think I did fairly well during winter and my patience and practice paid off. When I looked at the video for Terra Nova, I realized that when conducting, my arms looked rigid so I think I could have put a bit more flow into my arm movement and it would be great if more members of the orchestra looked at me for cues. However, it was a great wrap up to to the G ⅞ orchestra repertoire and it was a success. 12359836_1145420075469856_553966451807541781_n12301738_1145420338803163_5467383839266535942_n12357122_1145420395469824_2553566689689905998_o




Interview with Teachers

2 weeks ago, about 13 teachers from Hyogo University of Teacher Education came to visit CA to learn about the learning environment of students at CA and ask questions regarding school life. 4 students including myself (1 from high school, 1 from middle school, 2 from elementary) answered the questions they had to give them insight on student perspectives on school. As a representative of middle school, I talked about school such as what subjects I like, the amount of homework we get, effective systems of learning unique to this school that really help students like myself, my experiences and my general thoughts about school etc. Although I was a bit nervous as we were surrounded by teachers and it was like a press conference, the interview was quite an interesting experience as they asked many questions that I hadn’t thought about and made me think and realize that there were so many differences between local japanese schools and CA despite them being in the same country.

Esta Soy Yo

En el clase de español, yo he cambiado las letras en la cancion “Esta Soy Yo” de El sueño de Morfeo y he descrito yo mismo.

Y esta soy yo,

Y esta soy yo,

Y esta soy yo,

Y esta soy yo,

Dicen que soy

un helado con chispas de caramelo

que soy muy dulce y feliz.

Dicen que soy

un libro con cuentos de hadas

y un diccionario

Y esta soy yo

una chica relajada

pero muy trabajadora y persistente

Y esta soy yo

una canción sobre estrellas titilantes

en la noche preciosa y las flores en

la primavera que se balancean en el viento.

Dance Unit- Choreography

October 8th

As a group (Ayano, Romane, Amelia), we decided that we will be using part of the Kennedy Center Performance from Pitch Perfect 2. As the beat in Timber is straightforward, we can incorportate the cross-leg move from Toshi’s dance routine and other steps.

October 16th

We have decided that we will be starting in a line and spread out one at a time and do a pique and pirouettes until we reach our spot. When the faster part starts, we have decided to the box step as there is a clear four-beat rhythm throughout the part. When it says “It’s going down”, we go down and have one knee on the ground and be in a kneeling position with one of our hands on the ground. When it says “I’m yelling timber”, we swiftly stand up and first turn to the right, pretending to yell with our hands on our mouth and then turn to the left. Next, we do the first step of Toshi’s dance routine (to the right and to the left), second step of Toshi’s dance routine (to the right and to the left). When the song says “Face down, booty up”, we look down and lift our hips.

October 20th

We have decided that when it says “We got the World…..”, Ayano and I move a bit towards the middle so as not to be too far away, before going down on our knee. Also, we will move to the right and and move to the right and left while lifting our hips and doing the hand movement of Indian Dance after the second step of Toshi’s dance routine (to the right and to the left). After “Face down, booty up”, we do a few steps from the virginia reel during the transition.

October 22th

After the virginia reel, we do the arm bending move from the original kennedy center performance video and hip move. Towards the end, we do a pique and pirouhettes into the middle and get to our positions in which we end in a single file and put our arms out. We have decided that we will be wearing a white/ grey top and shorts/ jeans.

Dance Assessment

1) Describe how you planned your performance?

We created the steps and planned out our performance by identifying dance routines/ steps that will match the rhythm in the song. For example at the start of the song, we imagined the opening of the curtains at a stage and so for introduction, we danced ballet; a pique and pirouettes. When the relaxed and slower melody transitions to a faster melody with very clear beats, we did the box step from Toshi’s dance routine matching to the four-beat rhythm. After a bit of change at “It’s going down”, where we went down in a kneeling position with one knee on the ground and our right hand on the ground, the music resumed the four-beat rhythm in which we put in the first step of Toshi’s dance routine (to the right and to the left) and the second step of Toshi’s dance routine (to the right and to the left), which matches the rhythm. After “Face down, booty up”, where we looked down and lifted our hips, we put in steps from the virginia reel. As shown above in the dance routine, we choreographed our dance by identifying dance steps that match the rhythm/ beat in the song.

2) Why did you choose the particular genres?

Before working on our dance routine, we explored a variety of genres of dances from different cultures so we could incorporate them in our dances. We had the MS dance teacher, Toshi come in as a guest to teach us hip hop and Ms. Premchand to teach us indian dance such as Punjabi and Bhangra. Ms. Shirota taught us ballet which I personally I enjoyed a lot and Mr. Cook taught us the virginia reel and dances from ’70s including the bus stop. We included all genres of dances in our dance routine as we thought it would be interesting to reflect different cultures in our dance.

3) Why did you choose the particular music

The mashup of We Got The World, Timber and America The Beautiful by The Barden Bellas of the Kennedy Center Performance in Pitch Perfect 2 was ideal for the dance performance as there were frequent changes of speed and mood, where we could change the genre of dance easily. For example, at the slower parts, we could dance ballet and dance hip-hop at the faster parts. The song was also very energetic, with a strong impact on the audience and the fact that it was a mash-up of different songs made it more entertaining and rich in variety. The song also had a very clear four-beat rhythm throughout the song which made it easier for us to incorporate different steps/ routines and match up with the music.

1)   How does culture influence dance?

Using indian dance as an example, people normally dance to show celebration or happiness and the culture also influences dance heavily in India. There are religious aspects to the music and dance as for example, Dama Dam Mast Qalandar by Mika Singh Feat. Yo Yo Honey Singh is a pop version of a traditional Punjabi spiritual song, which was written a few centuries ago in honor of the most revered Sufi Saint of Sindh, Shahbaz Qalandar of Sehwan Sharif, District Jamshoro, Pakistan, who worked for the unity of Hinduism and Islam. The original Dama Dam Mast Qalandar is one of the most famous qawwali and Qalandar is referred to as Hazrat (holiness), Shahbaz (king of falcons and a goldy figure leading to victory, divine spirit in Iranian mythology) and Qalandar (sufi faint, poet, mystic, nobel man) in the song and there are historical and culture aspects along with religions aspects influencing the music. During the performance of their dance, Mika and Yo Yo raise their arms frequently to show respect and praise their allah (god).

2)   How are different dance genres developed? What influences?

Throughout history, dance has been an important part of ceremonies, celebrations and entertainment since the prehistoric times traces of dance have been found in 9,000 year old Bhimbetka rock shelters paintings in India and Egyptian tomb paintings showing dance figures from c. 3300 BC. Dance has also been a form of protection against diseases or showing expressions such as love. An example of the transition and change during the development of a dance genre is the transition from court dancing to Romanticism, where there were drastic changes in costume and choreography during the 18th~19th century, allowing more freedom when dancing and conducive to a fuller use of greater and expressive motions of the body. The development and acceptance of heel-less shoes opened the door to pointework, eventually leading to ballet.

3)   Describe 2 things you learnt from this dance unit.

Throughout the dance unit, I learnt a wide variety of dances from different cultures and they were influenced by the culture of the country, and that teamwork was most important when choregographing and planning our dance as we had to incorporate everyone’s ideas and put them into one dance routine. Also, at first, we were planning to wear our P.E. clothes during the dance performance but I thought we should all wear something different such as a white shirt on top and any shorts/ jeans to be more colorful and unique, and show that we have made an extra effort to look better as what we wear is also part of performance. Although my idea and the idea of my teammates were in conflict as they thought that changing the outfit was tiresome and were unwilling to wear the coordination I suggested, I was persistent and wrote an e-mail, explaining the reasonings behind my decision. I doubted that they will change their mind at first but I was delighted and very happy when they accepted and agreed to wear the outfit and I realized that through communicating clearly to my teammates and thinking through together, we can come up with a solution, leading to great outcomes; our dance was a success and I was very glad when Mr. Cook approved of our decision to wear a unique outfit.

Film Response- Gattaca

  1. Both the novel Unique and the film “Gattaca” offer a warning regarding the use of genetic engineering. Identify and contrast the warning from the two texts.

Although both stories are about technology that has advanced too much, the concept is very different between the two. The novel Unique portrays Dominic’s personal growth through his experiences and his quest in finding his identity, in which he realizes that although he is a clone of his brother Nick and has the exact same physical features, he is a unique, independent human being. He has the rights to decide for himself and follow his passions and not be hindered by the fact that he is a clone and suffer from unequal treatment. A warning that the story Unique hints on is that if technology advances too much, curiosity and greed will overtake common sense, making people oblivious to the feelings of other people, leading to unfair actions that violate humanitarian rights such as cloning of a human being.

Excerpt 1

Professor Holt- “Because I wanted to see if it could be done. That’s the truth.”

Dominic- ” ‘It’ meaning me, one person made from another, exactly the same? So I was an experiment, something made in your laboratory! You must think you’re so clever, you can make anything, control anything! ” “You don’t know what it’s done to me!” (p.106)

Excerpt 2

“Dominic, sixteen years ago, when I did what I did, I didn’t see what the real consequences might be. I let an arrogant, ruthless man get the better of my judgement. I allowed him to exploit my curiosity as a scientist. Could this thing be done with a human? I was sure it could, and I wanted to be the first to do it. At the time I didn’t think about Carla, or , if I did, I just thought she ought to be grateful to get her son back. I didn’t think about who that son would be… (p.134)”

Meanwhile, the message of the movie “Gattaca” is that although advanced technology can allow parents to choose the best traits from their genes and put it in their child’s DNA and make the child flawless, it is not always good for the child. In “Gattaca”, Jerome was the perfect child. With a IQ off the register, sight better than 20/20 for both eyes, heart of an ox, height of 6 foot 1, extreme physical ability especially in swimming and running, he was genetically superior and a member of the elite. Never having the experience of being under no.1 in his whole entire life, he was overwhelmed when he became second best at a swimming competition. He was overcome with shock that he did not meet his and everyone’s expectations and believed that he was no good, leading him to attempts of suicide. “Jerome Morrow was never meant to be one step down from the podium”