We were looking into oil spills and were tasked to separate all the materials inside this heterogeneous mixture containing sand, sea water (salt and water solution), styrofoam, iron filings, oil and other organic materials inside. We first came up with different methods on how to separate the mixture individually, then came together as a group to discuss how we were going to separate the substances (with consideration of the physical properties of the substance) and separated the mixture at last. Please take a look at the pictures bellow to see the original mixture and the different substances grouped together after being separated.
We were not extremely successful, but we had separated all the substances at the end. I must admit, this was a challenging task because we must apply all of our knowledge on separation techniques and physical properties and carry out a plan that could clean up the “mess”. Our example is just a smaller scale of what’s happening outside in the real world. After an oil spill is reported, environmental scientists must come up with an effective, feasible and efficient plan to clean up the oil spill. Meanwhile, they also want to limit the harm which will affect the environment in a long-term and on a large scale. Scientists outside are always thinking of ways and solutions to solve many of our problems. They are the group of people who are using their scientific knowledge, apply them to analyze from small daily problems we have to all the significant, life-threatening issues. Scientists come up with solutions by using all their knowledge as well as thinking out of the box to design the plan for the solution and this is exactly what WE ALL NEED TO DO.
People, specifically students of our generation should start taking actions and build up this responsibility. If we already have sufficient resources, technology, and knowledge to help us, why can’t we “become a part of the solution”? Indeed, our understanding of chemistry carries a certain level of responsibility in our community. People who have the knowledge yet they are not doing something with it are just simply selfish and incompetent. We should somehow share our knowledge with other people by coming up with new ideas and eventually help improve the world in some way. We are the ones causing most of the problems, we are the ones to blame, but we are also the ones to get up, do something and solve the problems that we have made.
Building on to the 8 bar rhythm I have previously created, I developed the rhythm and turned it into a complete melody with chord progressions. We also focused on conjunct and disjunct as well as consonant and dissonant when creating this melody. Please have a listen to my melody!
Use the list below to check each guideline……….
O Yes O No
O Yes O No O NA
O Yes O No
O Yes O No
O Yes O No
The grade 8s had Design Day recently, introducing the new design unit combining maths and design. We started the day by looking at the general constraints for this project and understanding what we’re supposed to do. Next, we started researching and investigating in groups, looking at how to make packages and how the packages work (structure and form) to fit certain purposes. We also had a chance to make our own boxes to put our snacks in.
We deconstructed existing packages and analyzed its properties according to our restraints and Design challenge. The package that I deconstructed was the iPad Air box. The package was made from two rectangular prisms, one with larger dimensions and the other with smaller dimensions so the smaller one could fit in the larger one easily. I am guessing that the reason why whoever designed this package chose to put the package in this form because it is more sturdy and secure, especially when holding something fragile and valuable (the iPad). Depending on the object I’m going to package and its properties, I need to consider the different ways to put together the box(es) without using adhesives. For example, I can have two parts, one with longer dimensions than the other one, I can have handles for people to carry the package around or have tabs sticking out of the package.
Additionally, the iPad Air box had two layers for each rectangular prism (the base/top). The layer on the inside is made from cardboard, also the actual net that makes the form of the rectangular prism. The other layer is plastic and paper combined, which is made from thinner cardstock paper. Both have their own purposes, one is to keep a firm and sturdy form for the box to put the iPad Air (somewhat heavy) and the other is to provide the visuals: the decorations, tags and safety warnings. Even though the other layer may seem excessive and a bit unnecessary looking from the environmental perspective, but it is definitely useful because it offers protection for the cardboard layer on the inside. My goal is to try to use minimal materials to create my box, so I probably wouldn’t consider using two layers.
I’ve also done a little research on making packages for irregular shape objects and how to do so. It turns out to be easier than I thought. As long as you can all the measurements accurately, you can make a net of the package with sufficient quality. Therefore, I will try to look further into this in criterion B and my goal is to make a package that is original and creative.
Lastly, with the knowledge I have from geometry, I can create packages with the least environmental impact, reducing our carbon footprint. The total materials I use for my package can be measured with surface area. If the surface area of the materials is low, then I will not need to use a lot of materials to make the package. Fewer materials mean less waste and it decreases the carbon footprint of both the designer and people using the package.
Here are some pictures of my box for my snack that I made without using adhesives:
Investigating in existing packages:
1. Explain how you believe you are progressing on your instrument so far this year.
I feel like I have passed the beginner level this year and I’m starting to develop more playing skills. The most important thing that I learned this year is “crossing the bridge” (reaching the higher notes). I am now able to reach the higher notes, playing those notes in tone and then immediately going back down to the lower notes. However, I didn’t improve as greatly as I did in the previous years since I am now a lot more familiar with my clarinet, it is harder to advance. Therefore, I need to make a greater effort to improve and move on to the next level.
2. Explain specifically what you are currently doing to improve your level of skill.
When practicing at home (unfortunately, I only practice one to two times every week), I go back and review the songs that require more technique to play. I play songs with a mixture of high and low pitched notes, a variety of articulation markings and greater difference in dynamics. When playing the different scales in music class, I try to play the section that is higher in pitch to strengthen my newly developed skills and achieving a high tone quality for the higher notes across the bridge.
3. How often do you practice?
To be honest, I only practice once every week on average (yes, this is something I need to work on and take initiative for reminding myself). In the first term (before Christmas), I was in Concert Band, so I practiced every other day during that time in preparation for the winter concert. Now, as the school year goes on, I find much harder to practice. It takes time for me to set up and pack up my instrument after I practice and I’m so lazy that I don’t bother to do so. Additionally, my work load increases, so it becomes harder for me to find time dedicated for practicing.
4. Which of these are you most successful at: note accuracy, rhythm accuracy, articulation, dynamics, tone quality, breathing/phrasing?
My articulation is the best. I tongue very precisely on the staccato notes and I can hold my breath to play the slur notes to create a smooth and connected sound.
5. Which of these are you the least successful: note accuracy, rhythm accuracy, articulation, dynamics, tone quality, breathing/phrasing?
I find that I will need to improve on rhythm accuracy because
In this task, we need to create a rhythm that is 8 bars long with two four-bar phrases. I use two slurs to indicate each phrase and make it really obvious to identify the two phrases. To make it even more obvious to spot the two phrases, the two phrases end with a long note. The first phrase ends with a half note (longest note value in the entire rhythm) and the second phrase ends with two quarter notes tied together and a fermata on the last note. The two phrases are balanced rhythmically and they also have an equivalent amount of short notes and long notes. The first measure of both phrases is exactly the same. Since I want more of a variety yet sill maintain balance, I switch the order of bars 2 and 3 for the second phrase and making the two phrases end slightly different visually (but still sounding the same).
This task is quick and easy, but I have to make sure that this rhythm works before I transform these 8 bars into a melody, which is the next task that we need to do. One thing I might change is bars 4 and bars 8. These two bars are the endings of phrase one and two and they are quite different. I do not want phrase one and phrase two to be exactly the same, so I decide to change up the rhythm. However, I am unsure if I should change the rhythm up in the middle of each phrase and if either way will result in a complete sound.
The picture above is the final result of our group’s density tube experiment.
We used our knowledge that we learned on density and experimented with 12 different substances. You could see different layers and colors in the tube. They were the different substances ordered by the substances that were less dense at the top and the densest at the bottom. Our group was very successful with teamwork because we successfully planned by dividing up the responsibilities, which made the flow of the experiment very smooth.
Before we started pouring the substances into the graduated cylinder, we shared our ideas of the densities of each substance and predicted the order of the substances from highest to lowest (the same order we’re going to put the substances in the graduated cylinder). I made assumptions of the densities based on the thickness of the substances.
The top section of the final tube is very nicely stacked, which looks very nice visually. However, in the middle, you can see a thick, light blue color. That is the mixture of water and milk. Water has a density of 1 and milk has a density of 1.06, which is not a very big difference. Even though we put the milk (should have a higher density) below the water, the water and milk somehow got mixed together. I predicted that if we kept the tube there for a longer time, the milk and water would eventually get back together.
Here are our predictions:
The recording was due on Wednesday and I started practicing on Friday the week before. I learned from previous experience from last year that I shouldn’t wait until the last minute to practice and record. I had 5 days to complete this assessment, so I wasn’t very stressed about time. On the first night, I practiced way too much (for 1 hour) and I had already started recording for some reasons. Looking back at it, I shouldn’t have practiced for that long as my embouchure and muscles around the mouth became weaker, causing my performance to drop as well. Additionally, I shouldn’t have started recording on the first day at all. I was being very impatient to get it all done so I could move on and work on other assessments. It was only the first day and I should’ve used this time to plan ahead and figure out what I needed to focus on in the remaining days. On day 2 and 3, I practiced 20 minutes each and each day I sped up the tempo of the scales and thirds. As for line #104, I worked on playing the high notes as well as the slurring and phrasing. I continued to record after I thought I was “good to go”, but obviously, it didn’t turn out with good quality at all.
The first part of this assessment was quite easy because we had already played and recorded the concert Bb scale and the thirds last year in grade 7 as one of our assessments. I only had to work on speeding the tempo up to 120 BPM in which I was successful because, after a few practices with the metronome, I could play it up to 120 BPM independently. However, the songs were slightly more challenging, especially the line that I chose (#104). Playing this song required more skills and techniques because the range of this song was quite wide, the transition from the high notes to lower notes was immediate, there was a certain dynamic requirement, specific phrasing throughout the song and articulation (legato) for some parts. I wanted to challenge myself by choosing this song because I could strengthen my skills and I thought that I was going to learn more instead of playing other lines that are relatively easier.
I learned that I should not rush through and try to get everything done on day 1 of practicing. I definitely didn’t try my best if I did so, I was not going to be successful and the quality of the recording was going to be poor. I also needed to set a fair amount of time to practice and try to get a balance between music and other work I need to do. On the first day, before I began practicing, I should work out what I needed to work on each day and set plans for myself to achieve. I should also make sure that I didn’t spend too much time each day for practicing because the muscles would become too tired and my performance level was going to decline with a tired muscle. Next time, I will need to make sure I don’t overdo my practicing on the first day and try to get it all done. I have to understand that this process requires moderate and high-quality practices every day in order to be successful.
I am not very satisfied with my performance. I squeaked when I played line #104 and I think that the difference in dynamics was not played very obviously (from piano to mezzo forte). Dynamics is always one of my strengths, however, this time I felt that I didn’t do as well. Some of the phrasing and articulation (slurring) was incorrect. Sometimes, I played slightly earlier than what was written on the music and sometimes I was late. If I had more time, I would definitely fix this part by practicing each phrase or each combination of slurred notes slowly first and then speeding it up once I get the hang of it. The scales and thirds were quite steady overall, but I could include a slight crescendo or decrescendo as I move up and down the scale. I also struggled a bit in the thirds with the pairs involving high B and C. I had to move my fingers really quick to play these two notes and the breathing had to be quicker for the high notes. Something that I did well was the note and rhythm accuracy as well as the appropriateness of the tempo. This was probably because I practiced using a metronome and I practiced by gradually increasing the tempos each day.
The most important thing I took away from this process is that the short practices with high-quality each day will benefit me by improving and building up my techniques. It will also make me a stronger performer in the long term. Practicing is the key to being successful at whatever instrument. Additionally, I have also become more aware on some of my strengths and weaknesses on playing with this assessment. My strengths are definitely on note accuracy, rhythm accuracy and occasionally a coherent dynamic. My weaknesses are probably the precision of the articulation and phrasing and sometimes the tone quality with the higher notes.
This year, I am going to try to balance service within our school and service outside of school. I have joined the Reading Tree and the photography team. I can volunteer and actively participate in the events relating to these 2 clubs. I can extend the club activities outside of school where I can read to the less fortunate or take photographs of the poor and raise awareness. Last year during service day, I participated in a food drive event where we had collected and organized the food brought in by students, parents, and staffs and delivered it to Feeding Hong Kong. I want to do something similar again this year because the entire CDNIS community can contribute easily and help out. Additionally, I want to participate in walkathons and beach clean ups for more service participation around the Hong Kong community.
In the previous English unit, we were learning about poetry. First, we learned about different poetic devices, then we identified poetic devices in works of poetry. Next, we analyzed poems and discussed the effect of the poetic devices used on the readers. Explaining how the poetic devices affected the reader’s feelings is one of the main focus of this unit.
The students had a chance to explore many famous and unique pieces. We also got to write a couple of poems as an individual and a group throughout this unit. My favorite poem that I read was Ode to Tomatoes by Pablo Neruda. There was a range of poetic devices used in the poem, such as oxymoron, enjambment, personification, and hyperbole. The topic about tomatoes was interesting and unexpected as well. For me, the most challenging part about reading poetry is understanding the symbolisms, metaphors, similes and personifications. They are usually indirect and you often have to use the clues from the poem to help you figure out what they mean. I also find that after reading the poem a couple more times, everything becomes clearer. Writing poems were especially challenging for me in this unit because we had to use certain poetic devices in our different poems. In my opinion, poetry can inspire people differently. Of course, reading poetry can happen as an entertainment as well. The purpose of writing poems is to express feelings and tell a story. Reading poems can be an entertainment or enjoyment. A poem only uses short phrases (for most times) and poetic devices to help convey the message. Other works of literature can also express the author’s feelings, visual artworks also bring a mood or atmosphere when viewed.
In this unit, we inquired into blues music and learnt basic music composition techniques as part of the theory of our unit. We started off looking into endings, then progressing into composing simple, 8 bar melodies. We then looked at transposing instruments and the Concert F blues scale. Lastly, we looked at blues chord progressions and incorporating the major triads and the b7 tones for composing our solos. For our summative assessment of this unit, we composed our own 12 bar blues solo. I thought it was going to be an easy task, but it actually involved some thinking and reflection as well. I made the first draft and received feedback from my peers on my music composition (see the previous post). I read through all the feedback from my peers and have made quite a few changes to my blues solo composition:
Firstly, I had to make my composition sound bluesier. In measures 1, 3, 5, 7,9 and 11, I added the major third tones. Mr. Taitoko, our guest musician has talked to us about including the major thirds in our composition to enhance the “bluesiness” and have a better sounding melody. I have also replaced some eighth notes by adding rests, also have enhanced the blues feeling of my piece.
Secondly, I added performance directions in my piece, like the different dynamic, tempo and articulation markings. Not only have I added some dynamic markings such as p, pp, ff, etc, I’ve also added a few crescendo and decrescendo to enrich the volume and sound of my piece. Tempo markings were also used. I chose to use moderato because I wanted a steady and moderate beat for my composition. By adding articulation markings, I have also worked on another criticism from my friends: choppy transitions. Without smooth transition, the song would sound awkward and it wouldn’t flow very well as a whole. That’s why I have added articulation markings to try to connect the different parts together.
There is certainly room for improvement. I think I could fix the articulation markings. After listening to my solo a couple of times, I found that some slurs and staccatos are either unnecessary or placed in the wrong place. Furthermore, to produce a blues composition with high quality involves a strong melodic and rhythmic balance.
I feel like my blues solo is substantially convincing, it still doesn’t sound very bluesy to me. The feedback from my peers has greatly improved my composition. Nevertheless, I’ve tried my best and made a great achievement, as I have never composed any melodies before. I have further expanded my knowledge in this unit. Many new understandings such as the chord progression of composition and the system of transposing instruments have developed. I had loads of fun and I am looking forward to my next music composition!