Brain Make-a-Map

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The map above briefly explains the human brain. The largest part of the brain is called the cerebrum and it interprets input from the senses such as hearing, touching, smelling, remembering, tasting and seeing, carries out complex mental processes such as learning and remembering. The cerebrum is divided into a right and left half or hemispheres. The right half is usually known for the creative and artistic ability. The left half is associated with mathematical skills and logical thinking. The cerebellum coordinates the actions of muscles and helps maintain balance. For example when a person walks, the impulses tell the feet to start moving. The cerebellum gives us the muscular coordination and sense of balance that keeps us from falling down and being steady. The brain stem, which is located between the cerebellum and spinal cord controls our body’s involuntary actions. For example, neurons in the brain stem regulate our breathing and help us control our heartbeat.

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.

Earthquake Unit Wrap-up

IMG_0689Creative Commons License hslo via Compfight

What did you learn?

In this unit, I learnt how an earthquake occurs and the science behind it. There are three types of plate boundaries; Diverging Boundary, Sliding boundary (Transform boundary), and Converging Boundary. Boundaries form mid-ocean ridges or rises. At a diverging boundary, the plates move apart at spreading centers. At a sliding/transform boundary, 2 plates slide past each other and the sliding movement often cuases eathquakes to occur along faults. A fault is a crack in the Earth’s crust where slabs of crust slip past each other. The rocks on both sides of a fault can move up or down or sideways. At a converging boundary, two plates move toward one another and collide. There are 3 types of stress that cause rocks to become fragile and snap/ bend slowly; Shearing, tension and compression.

How was this unit connected to you?

As a citizen of Japan, where earthquakes are a common occurence, I felt that it was important to learn about earthquakes and the science behind it.

How could this unit impact your life?

Learning about the Hanshin Awaji Earthquake via writing the One World Essay changed my perspective on earthquakes and made me more conscious of the danger of earthquakes. By learning applications of science that contribute to helping people be more prepared for earthquakes, I can take actions to be safe during a disaster such as earthquakes.

Plate Tectonics

Article 1 (Current Event)

For the first time in 33 years, the highest volcano in the Galapagos Islands, rising 1,710 metres above sea level, erupted in late May 2015. The huge eruption of Wolf Volcano in Isabela Island sent volcanic gases and ash about 15 kilometres into the sky and the lava that flowed from the volcano flowed through a fissure, leading to the sea. Seismologists from Ecuador’s Instituto Geofísico-Escuela Politécnica Nacional (IG) had detected rising activity in the caldera from June 12~16. According to Loff (2015), “The 7-kilometer (4 mile) wide caldera is nearly 700 meters deep.” With broad but gentle slopes that are like a ‘Polynesian Warrior’s Shield’, one lava flow tends to spread out across the previous flows of the shield volcano. The eruption raised fears of the unique ecosystem that was the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution would be harmed and that the local population of Chelonoidis becki tortoises and yellow iguanas would be under threat. The island also holds the world’s only population of pink iguanas but according to the Loff (2015), “Neither species has been endangered so far by the eruption” as the ash and lava flowed towards the east and southeast whereas the animals live towards the north and west of the summit.

Click here to read the original article

Article 2 (Earthquakes)

On April 25th, 2015, a huge earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 hit Nepal, destroying buildings/ houses in Kathmandu, harming World Heritage Sites and triggering violent avalanches near Mount Everest. The earthquake was  the largest since Bihar earthquake in 1934, which measured 8.3 on the moment magnitude scale and killed around 10,000 people. Sitting on the boundary of two massive tectonic plates; the Into-Australian and Asian plates that collided to build the Himalayas, Nepal is prone to earthquakes. The earthquakes are a clear “manifestation of the ongoing convergence” between the two massive tectonic plates; Indo-Australian and Asian plates that have progressively built the Himalayas over the last 50 million years. (Sandiford, Rajendran, Morell, 2015). However, earthquakes are only one of the hazards that the communities living in the mountains face. Occasionally, there are floods and monsoonal landslides.

The earthquake occurred due to strain building up in the Earth’s crust which gave away and caused a catastrophe. In this case, the cause of the strain was the collision or convergence of the two plates (Indo-Australian and Asian). One of the reasons that made the results of the earthquake even more devastating was the fact that the focus of the earthquake was shallow; approximately 15 km below the surface at the quake’s epicentre and the ruptured part extended under an area with a dense population in Kathmandu.


Click here to read the original article

Article 3

Recently, a research team consisting of five Taiwanese researchers from the Institute of Earth Sciences at Academia Sinica, as well as Department of Geosciences and Institute of Oceanography at National Taiwan University made a new discovery about how mountain belts on the island were formed. According to Huang Tzu-ying, researchers have been debating whether the deformation takes place mainly in the upper crust or the basement rocks are also involved in the process. “Both conceptual models explain only part of the phenomena, and that the real mechanism remains uncertain given the difficulty in making direct deep-crust observations to test the theories. But by measuring surface waves derived from ambient seismic noises, we developed a hybrid model that has aspects of both theories. (Huang, 2015)”

Click here to read the original article


Loff, S. (2015, June 30). Eruption of Wolf Volcano, Galapagos Islands. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
The science behind Nepal earthquakes | (2015, May 12). Retrieved August 29, 2015. (2015, August 19). Retrieved August 29, 2015.

Climate Change

For the weather unit, I reflected on the impact of science on the environment. It was shocking to see how human actions such as manufacturing industries are drastically changing the environment and the earth is struggling to cope and adjust to the major changes that humans have done.

Scientific studies have shown that if this conditions continues, the earth’s average temperature will rise another 2 to 11.5˚F in the next hundred years. Although this may seem like a small change, these small variations in the temperature can contribute to much larger and dangerous shifts in climate and weather. “Scientific evidence for warming of the climate is unequivocal” (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, nd.) The earth is getting warmer, as greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide trap the heat and prevent it from escaping to outer space . The change of climate is also affecting the ecosystem as glaciers are melting quickly, the sea level is rising and scorching summers are leading to plants and animals losing their habitat and in some cases, leading to extinction. According to, “If the Earth keeps getting warmer, up to ¼ of all the world’s plants and animals could become extinct within 100 years”.

Climate change is also affecting the economy as ski resorts are shutting down due to increasing costs of making artificial snow as less snow is falling each year. The production of artificial snow then emits carbon dioxide and raises the temperature every year, causing the amount of snow to decrease even more. Sadly, people that have not caused global warming are affected too. The tibetans living in the himalayas are forced to move around more often in order to search grass for their yaks.

Climate change is rapidly changing the environment and is becoming a very serious issue. Ironically, it is caused by ourselves and we have to make changes and act in order to make the world a better place for everyone.

Climate Change by PA via

Climate Change by PA via



Staple Foods- Criterion A & D

For the staple foods project, I researched about where corn is consumed as a staple food, what kind of products are made from corn, the physical plant structure and the growing conditions of the plant. I also investigated further about science used during the production and harvesting of corn, and the effectiveness of science (how science and farming of the crop helps to feed the world etc.). Finally, I also discussed about interaction of science and the environmental factor.

Science Test

Staple Foods Project

During the last few weeks, we have been studying about staple foods and the impacts of science. I learnt that science has a huge impact on staple foods and I was very surprised to learn some facts including the scale of the pesticides business. In fact, the economy of pesticide production is a 50 billion dollar business. However, there were some difficulties such as finding a beneficial impact of pesticides on the environment as it is not that obvious. Next time, I think I should put more quotes to back up my research.

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Culture Night

On Thursday, it was Culture Night and it was a very exciting event! It took an incredible amount of time and effort to prepare for it so it was a little tiring. However, it was very enjoyable as it felt good to present all the work we did. For math, Gry and I made a presentation powerpoint in which we combined the information for the four groups Government, Religion, Art & Architecture and Commerce & Leisure. Owing to Mr. Okada, who managed the slides, I was able to successfully present and give the speech. Thank you so much Mr. Okada!!!!

Click here to see the powerpoint we made!

Click here to see the script of my speech!

Click here to see the video of me presenting

My group which was G0vernment had to come up with the number and time systems of Charamba. In order to do so, we had to be very creative and also be thoughtful of how realistic the ideas were. In order to be able to discuss about possible ideas and to do our work quickly, we discussed on a document outside school and although it took a lot of time and effort to complete all the work, we felt extremely proud of ourselves when we finished it.

Math Speech at Culture Night

Math Speech at Culture Night

In order to explain the number and time systems well with visuals, I made posters about how the number system and the time system worked in Charamba. The pictures below are the pictures of the posters I made.

Charambian Number System Poster

Charambian Number System Poster

Charambian Time System Poster

Charambian Time System Poster

In P.E., we created our own original dance and although sometimes creating moves and memorizing all of the moves was challenging, we practiced a lot and we were able to dance confidently at Culture Night. It was very enjoyable and I would like to thank Mr. Wilson and Ms. Ayumi for helping us during the process. Also, thank you Ms. Nishizawa for helping us during the face-painting and Ms. Sugiyama for taking the videos for the skits.

Dancing at Culture Night!

Dancing at Culture Night!

Click here to see us dancing!

In English, we created our own Charambian myths that were related to our topic. For example, I was in the Government group and therefore I wrote about why there are six leaders for each district. Creating the myth was very enjoyable and owing to Mr. Smailes and his detailed check of my story, I was able to create a good myth. Below is the link to the myth I wrote. I hope you enjoy it!

At Culture Night, we also held a Reader’s Theatre and we presented a myth. It was really exciting and I really enjoyed telling the myth.

Reader's Theatre at Culture Night

Reader’s Theatre at Culture Night

For science, we learnt how constellations and the night sky were associated with different cultures and learnt how people from all around the world viewed the beautiful night sky. Learning about the constellations and looking at the Planetarium was very fascinating and I had a lot of fun. Also, I really enjoyed looking at the colourful lights that Mr. Vest let us see as a treat. My table group made a poster about “Pisces”, a constellation that was important to the Charambian tribe.

Pisces Poster

Pisces Poster

In Humanities, we created the Charambian culture from scratch and although sometimes it was challenging as we had to be creative and create our own, unique culture, it was very, very enjoyable and it was extremely exciting to be able to present our own indigenous culture at Culture Night. Also, researching about what cultures did in the past was very interesting.

Click here to read my “The Government of Ancient Times” essay!

Below is the picture of the poster I made.

The Government of Ancient Times Poster

The Government of Ancient Times Poster

In Design, we made an artifact that was related to our topic. As I was in the Government group, I made a box called “Chakampa” that was used to determine which leader was responsibe for which village’s finance etc.

My Design Project!

My Design Project!

Owing to Mr. Mayhew and Mrs. Smailes’ guidance, I was able to make a well-made project and poster and also write a good research paper. Also as Mr. Mayhew gave us lots of useful tips when giving speeches and practiced a lot, it really payed off and I was able to confidently speak.

Again, I would like to thank Mr. Okada, Mr. Wilson, Ms. Ayumi, Ms. Nishizawa, Mrs. Smailes, Ms. Sugiyama, Mr. Smailes, Mr. Vest and finally, Mr. Mayhew for organizing the whole event and other members who helped with the stage light. Thank you!!!!