Friday, June 2, 2017

Weekly Reflection of 05/30/2017

           Over the weekend, Andy helped me put together my valve using a hot glue gun. After a couple tests under the faucet, we knew that we had successfully put it together. In school this week, I was then able to test my valve by connecting tubing and setting up my structure. I was able to modify my procedure by using a pipette to fill the tubing with water, which was a lot easier than trying to fill it with water from the sink.
Though the valve did seem to decrease in effectiveness throughout the three tests, it still worked on the third trial. The only thing, was that it took two-three seconds longer to drain the fluid, and it drained more fluid than it originally had on the first test. This could be due to the fact I used a pen spring. But, it still worked, and I feel that it would for more tests in the future. If it were to be applied in real-life, I would need to invest in a different spring.
I was able to finish my poster board this week, which I will use to present with on the few days before finals. It is all laid out very nicely, and I am now on the final stretch of putting together my reflection paper! Doing these weekly reflections will make my final reflection a lot easier this upcoming week.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Weekly Reflection of 05/22/2017

    I was able to 3D print my valve this week! With the help of Andy and Mr. Riddensdale, I used the new 3D printer to print off four parts: two caps, one wheel, and one blocker for the water. It only took about 45 minutes for it to print, but then it had to sit in the acid-bath for another 45 minutes to get the foundation off that the printer had used to build the pieces. The parts came out very well, and are very sturdy for being so small. The part where the tube comes into the valve fits perfectly, but the outdents for the spring are a little large. It was determined that these could be sanded down for a better fit, but I was able to play around with the spring to make it a little bigger. Another problem I encountered was the holes for the water being a little small. I am going to poke a needle through the hole to make it a little larger where the plastic has flaked off a little.
     This weekend, I plan to hot glue the parts to the spring, as well as hot glue the parts of the valve together. I hope to test the valve this week using the same system used for the transpiration lab back in April. I will measure the amount of water that goes through the valve, and will compare the data sets over multiple trials in order to see if the valve is able to work for a long period of time.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Weekly Reflection of 05/15/2017

This week I was able to start programming my 3D shunt for my independent research project! I am starting to get used to FreeCAD, the program I am using, and Andy is helping me a lot with all of the computer-dependent parts of my procedure. I was also able to find a suitable spring in a pen, which will be good for the expected water pressure. During my free time, I was able to finish my introduction and procedure, and will revise these as necessary as I get more information from hands-on experiences!

I also got information back from some medical companies regarding obtaining a shunt. It seems that it will not be possible to buy a shunt from a medical retailer, but there was hope for a demo valve from MedicalExpo. Although the product would be free, the shipping would cost $110 from France, so I had to turn this down. I will continue to look for a valve or shunt, but might have to keep my project to just seeing if printing a 3D valve is possible.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Weekly Reflection of 05/08/17

     This week I changed my idea for the project from the psychology of racism to building a shunt for people with hydrocephalus. I am going to use a 3D printer and some plastic tubing to see if I can make a more effective or cost efficient shunt. I just emailed MedicalExpo to see if they could give me a price on one, and hope to hear back from them soon. As for the 3D printer, I have drawn what I want my shunt to look like. It is going to be a "ball and cone" style shunt with a spring that will get pressed down with increased water pressure. This will be the regulator. 
     This week, I also completed extensive background research on hydrocephalus and shunts, and was able to apply this knowledge to planning my 3D printed regulator. The plan for next week is to start the 3D printing process. I might have to do this at my friend's house, but they said they would help me because of their experience with 3D printing. So far, I feel this is going to be a successful project! If I do not hear back from MedicalExpo soon, I might try to contact Memorial Hospital. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Weekly Reflection of 04/24/17

This week was spent looking at Domains 5, 6, and 7. First, we looked at the stomata of plants and how the plant interacts with the environment on a hydraulic level (standards 5.7, 5.3, and 7.1). Each group got to create their own experiment regarding plants and water. My group looked at the water uptake difference in plants with leaves versus without leaves. This was meant to see how much the regulatory system depended on the leaves rather than just for photosynthesis (domain 3). I am very excited for the poster presentation next week!
For homework, we delved into the nervous system and looked at neurons and how they interact with the rest of the body (domain 6 and 7). We completed a POGIL that really helped me understand neurons and the role that they play in transmitting information to the rest of the body (standard 6.6). We also looked at BBECPO (an acronym for remembering the organization of life in ecology), which includes the biosphere, biome, ecosystem, community, population, and organism (domain 7). Specifically, we completed two videos on communities and the ecosystem. These helped me gain a better understanding into the ecology portion of the AP exam, which is coming up very shortly. I need to review Hardy-Weinberg, which is something I’ve always had trouble with, as well as some earlier unit review. This has been easier because of the format of this class, since the exams are cumulative and many of the topics relate to earlier themes.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Weekly Reflection of 04/10/17

This week was spent collaborating and working on the heart dissection lab. This was “opened” (literally) with a video from the BBC about early heart surgeries. Cardiac Surgeons have had a rough beginning, but once a few were brave enough to fail, the field greatly expanded. This impacted me on a deeper scale because many times I am afraid to fail because of how others might judge me or the blame that might be put on me. It occurred to me that nothing new will happen if I spend my time worrying about failing rather than trying things out for myself. In the heart dissection lab, I helped my lab partner, Sophie, and we were able to remove all the outer parts of the heart so we could see the atriums and the interventricular sulcus. It was really interesting to see the different parts of the deer heart, as well as finding all the arteries and ventricles that allow the heart to send blood through the lungs and to the rest of the body (standard 6.6). Taking what I learned from the BBC video, I took the initiative of opening up the heart with the scalpel. We then looked at the different fat tissues and measured parts of the deer heart. This lab was very interesting, and I learned a great deal about how blood is pumped through the human body and oxygenated by the lungs!
We also reviewed Vodcasts 5.1 and 5.2. Vodcast 5.1 looked over how cells become specialized to create certain tissues and organs (standard 5.1). I really enjoyed these discussions, I felt like it had a real connection to Sam Rhine’s Genetic Conference the biology class participated in last October. Vodcast 5.2 continued exploration from October about what happens during animal development. I remember learning about the placenta and amniotic egg from the conference, so it was easier to pick up the concepts when looking at them a second time around. I need to look back on the most recent vodcasts regarding osmoregulation to gain a better understanding of this topic.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Weekly Reflection of 04/03/2017

    This week we started Domain 5! We’re now looking at the regulation of cells, as well as their communication with other cells and the environment. To kick off the unit, I looked at stickleback fish and how they have adapted to the environment based on their current conditions (standards 5.1 and 5.2). This brought back the first unit of evolution, which helps wrap topics back up before the AP exam. It also makes a lot more sense to me now by looking how these changes occur instead of just why.
I also participated in a group project on the excretion, nutrition, gas exchange, and circulation of organisms (standards 5.3, 5.4, and 5.5). This was done by giving examples of different classes of life and explaining their bodily processes in a pamphlet. The activity allowed classmates to be interactive through comments online and learn through others’ questions. All of the groups did a very good job putting together their information, so I was able to get a lot out of this project!
I am expanding on my knowledge of genetics from the previous domain on genetics by looking at certain sequences that are conserved even through evolution in Vodcast 5.1. These pieces in the genome are called Homeobox genes, and show where different body parts are to be made or placed during development and reproduction. Although not a lot of class time was devoted to looking into this concept further, it was touched upon in the online textbook which has allowed me to understand it better.
Overall, I need to further my knowledge on the development in animals and plants as touched upon in Vodcast 5.2. It has not clicked 100% for me, but I think if I were to go through the slides or listen to the video again, it would help me a lot. I will also go through the online textbook to clarify some of my questions and trouble-spots on these topics.