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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Q2 i2 Benchmark


Changes:
   My previous timeline was a bit ambitious and put too many different steps into one month. Therefore, I have made some minor changes to my timeline to adjust and make this project more reasonable, manageable, and achievable. So far, the only changes I have made to my project concern planning and I have not yet changed anything that has to do with my topic and my final product.

Revised Timeline:
Month
Actions
October
-Begin planning research opportunities and finding resources that can help me achieve my goal
November
-Begin research using mainly print sources
     ex. borrow most sources from libraries; take notes 
December
-Continue research using sources
-Finalize project plan
Winter Break
-Continue research (begin notebook, finish Missing Microbes)
-Contact any possible mentors/adults that can assist
-Possible blog post (summarizing work done during this time)
January
Finish research and begin conceptualizing/conducting experiment 
February
Begin experiment 
March
Continue experiment
April
Complete experiment, do write up and compile/edit footage
May
Finalize my presentation (write up/video) 


Evidence of Progress:
     Since the first blog post in October, I have begun my research and read several different articles about microbiology to get a feel for the subject. While I have only annotated and highlighted these articles, over winter break I plan to compile all of my notes into a single notebook for added organization.

The first two articles in a series of articles I read/annotated from a March 2015 edition of Scientific American that focused on microbiology; both articles focus on new discoveries that suggest we can actually CHANGE our individual microbiomes to prevent diseases such as Chron's disease and obesity! Read the one on the left here.
This article, from University College Cork in Ireland, explains how the microbiota in our gut "talks" to our brain and helps control our behavior. 

     I just finished an amazing book called The Invisible Kingdom by Idan Ben-Barak. This book easily became one of my favorites because it is written in a way that makes the author's passion for his field of study infectious. He explains even the most complex microbiology terms simply enough for high schoolers to understand (something I really appreciate). The Invisible Kingdom has made me even more motivated to continue working on this project. This week I have just begun reading Martin J. Blaser's (the director of the Human Microbiome Project, my inspiration for this project) book Missing Microbes. I plan to finish this book during or shortly after winter break.

The three books I have borrowed so far; I am currently reading the one on the bottom.

     As seen in the previous section, I have added more steps to the December/Winter Break section of my timeline. Since I didn't get to contact possible mentors earlier, I plan to draft and send emails to them over the next two weeks during break. I hope that the break in schoolwork will allow for some much-needed project organization as well.

Project Reviews:

Purva Joshi (2019):
     Purva's i2 project is to construct a website that will help kids with dyslexia. I like that her project targets a certain need in the world and merges her interests with this need. However, she may be a  bit too ambitious (which is actually a really good problem to have) since making a website this complex is no small task. I suggest devoting more time/most of the year to honing her coding skills. At the end of the year, she could display the skeleton/one activity of her website and just finalize all of its aspects next year. Her intentions are admirable and I'm really looking forward to what Purva comes up with at the end of the year.

Sarina Patel (2018):
     Sarina's i2 project is to improve her baking skills and record her progress on a baking blog/website. Her project is very unique (I haven't seen any other i2 member whose project involves cooking!) and tangible. The nature of her project allows for lots of physical evidence and opportunity for improvement since it is skill based. In terms of suggestions, if she wants to depict a clear picture of her improvement I suggest choosing to make a dessert that she believes requires more advanced skills. She could make one now and see how she does, then continue working on this recipe until she masters it. For her final result/display she could provide pictures of her first attempt then have the actual "mastered" result at her table at the end of the year. Overall, I like Sarina's project!

Shalina Bulchandani (2017):
     Shalina's i2 project is to design, draw, and physically build architectural models. Architecture is another interesting field and involves lots of opportunities for tangible evidence of improvement. Since she said she was interested in designing houses customized for families, I suggest she looks to shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for inspiration. The fact that she plans to physically build, and even 3D print, models of her designs is really cool and I'm excited to see what she accomplishes by the end of this year.