Friday, May 19, 2017

Update on Genius Hour: May 14th through the 19th

So I have completely changed my genius hour project. Who knew that finding a largeish desert cactus would pose such a difficult problem? Anyways, due to my inability to find a cactus that was larger than a gift store cactus, I decided to switch my project to align more with my lit paper. I'm now going to be doing an in depth analysis of bipolar disorder, as well as trying to find some local statistics on bipolar disorder in the valley (maybe from Memorial Hospital?) or by using New Hampshire statistics and doing proportions to find the expected value of the number of people with the illness here. I also would like to talk about ways that we can raise awareness for the disease, along with other mental illnesses, and to dispel myths that are often associated with it. Social stigma regarding mental illness is still a major problem in our society, and though there has been a lot of progress in minimizing it, we are nowhere near perfect. I'm thinking that I'm going to be making a poster board with one panel for each thing. One side will be bipolar disorder in our community and dispelling myths, etc., one will be about bipolar disorder in general (educating) and the other will be about how we can end the stigmatizing of mental illness (educating, interacting, etc.). I'm really hoping that memorial will be able to give me some real stats but I'm not sure that's going to be possible. I'm currently in the process of typing up all of my notes for the project, and putting the finishing touches on the research. I still need to call Memorial, etc.

The last thing we did this week was listen to Lizzy's sister talk about college and what it was like to be a bio major. I loved the talk! It was great to hear that she took time off, as I am planning on taking a gap year abroad as well. I learned a lot (like how I need to keep up with my schooling while away) and I felt like I had a much better idea of what it will be like. I was happy to hear about how the research internship process works, and it's good to know that we need to get started early. It was also good advice about starting out strong, and making real connections with professors. I'll definitely keep it all in mind.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Reflection for May 8th through 12th
How did you do on the work?
This week started off with the AP exam, which went okay for me. In terms of knowing the content I felt pretty good besides a few things, it was just my time management that I struggled with. I ended up leaving a few questions blank that I knew the answers too, but oh well. At least I know I can feel confident with my knowledge of the course materials. The rest of the week was spent on genius hour, and I really like how my project is coming together. I hope that it works, and I think I'm prepared and ready to go.

What do you think you understand well?
I think I understand the concepts behind the research for my project, which is crucial for when I end up writing a conclusion, etc. and basically interpreting my data/results. I get how the cactus guts are able to attract the sediment/bacteria and clean water, but I want to see it myself. I also understand how the experiment in general is supposed to be set up, and the steps I need to take to start my experiment and make sure it is well done.

Where do you think you could improve? 
I need to improve my time management for the experiment I think, because I keep forgetting that we only have a few weeks to do this, not a couple of months like the science fair.
What strategies will you use to improve?
I will make maybe some sort of small calendar, or at least a timeline of what I should be doing. I need to give myself time for the write up as well as data collection. I'm going to try to bring in most of my materials for tomorrow so I can get started on data collection as soon as possible to see if it actually works.

How does the work we are doing fit into the context/narrative of the course?
This fits into the course because I am looking at bacteria, which is one of the major domains, and also the cohesion of these molecules from the cacti to the bad stuff in the water. Also, in a larger sense of the project, we are looking at how to set up a lab and test something, and then present and analyze the data for others to see.