Posted in 8th Grade, English 8

E8 L40 – Complaining

        The question for today’s Interrogative Informative is “Should we complain to get what we want?”  the answer is absolutely not!  It not only looks bad but makes it more unlikely for you to get the next thing and makes you more dependent on everybody else.  So, complaining is most definitely a bad thing, but why? 

  Option one for an answer is, should we complain to get what we want?  This is a big no-no, though the saying goes, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”   Being a squeaky wheel means telling everybody what you “need” or “want” and then expecting everyone to just give it to you because you want it.  And then if they don’t you just keep telling them what you want until they do.  Nobody likes the squeaky wheel because they’re never satisfied, because they don’t value it because they didn’t have to work for the thing.    If you need more info on that refer here to my Origin of Value paper.  It gives a good explanation of why we value things, and what determines each thing’s value.   Being a squeaky wheel gives you a bad reputation the more you do it and makes it even harder to get the next thing, even if you really work for the thing.   

             If complaining doesn’t work, then what does?  The answer is working for it.  Working for something is easier than complaining for years, and also gives you more appreciation for the object itself, as you had to work hard for a period of time to get it.   There is absolutely no easy way out of this problem, unless you’ve won the lottery, and that’s unlikely.    Working is the sure way to get anything;  again, look at my Origin of Value essay if you want more on that.  Working for something means that you really want something, and that it’s not just a passing fancy for something that doesn’t mean anything to you. 

 So, in conclusion, the answer to today’s Interrogative Informative is Complaining is not the way to get something, earning it through a good amount of work is always the right way.   

Posted in 8th Grade, History 8

H8 L30 – Bill of Rights And Constitutional Amendments

           The Bill of Rights and the following amendments to the Constitution each had a purpose and some content.  The Bill of Rights contains 10 amendments while the other 17 are basically their own little documents all by themselves.

The Bill of Rights, written by John Adams, was ratified in 1791, as Adams’ last move as President.  The 10 Amendments in order are: (1.) Right to free speech.  (2.) Right to bear arms. (3.) No quartering soldiers. (4.) Search and arrest rights. (5.) Rights in criminal cases. (6.) Right to a fair trial. (7.) Rights in civil cases. (8.) No cruel punishments. (9.) People have rights the government can’t take away. (10.) Rights also go to the state.

The Constitutional Amendments are the other half of the Amendments that Congress approved.  These were all ratified after 1791, and there are 17 amendments in this stack.  In order, they are: (11.) Lawsuits against states. (12.) Presidential elections. (13.) Abolished slavery. (14.) Civil rights. (15.) Black suffrage. (16.) Income taxes. (17.) Senatorial elections. (18.) Liquor prohibition. (19.) Women’s suffrage. (20.) Terms of offices. (21.) Repeal #18. (22.) Presidency’s term limits. (23.) DC suffrage. (24.) Abolished poll taxes. (25.) Presidential succession. (26.) 18-year-old suffrage. (27.) Congressional pay raises.

All of these outline the rights of a normal American citizen.  Along with the other three Founding Documents, the Bill of Rights helped to shape America.

Posted in 8th Grade, English 8

E8 L35 – E8 L35 – Happiness and Satisfaction

           The question posed to me today by my English teacher was this: “Which gives us more happiness and satisfaction?  The pursuit of a desire, or the attainment thereof?”   In other words, he’s asking: Does the process of earning a thing, or actually gaining it, give you more pleasure and satisfaction?  My answer to that is… drumroll please…both.   Each has a way of giving us satisfaction and happiness.   Some might say that achieving a goal or getting a grip on something new is the way to happiness, but they forget that there are other ways to obtain happiness.    Others may say that the way to pleasure lies in the pursuing of the goals; that and only that is the path to pleasure.  I say they’re both right.  The pursuit of a goal gives satisfaction through the knowledge of reaching a goal, say, halfway up the ladder on the way to the main purpose, and the attainment gives both happiness and satisfaction through interest in the object of achievement.  

  The pursuit of desires is the first of the two options given in the question and is probably the one most people would say is not how to gain happiness.   Each goal under the main goal is a landmark, and if you reach one of these goals that you set for yourself, you gain a little bit of happiness every time you achieve one of them.   The amount gained actually depends on the amount of work done, and/or the deadline of such goal.  More work and/or a shorter deadline equals more satisfaction gained at each of your goals that you have set.   Less work per goal, or a longer deadline, gives you less satisfaction when you get to the ledge. When you reach these goals there is less satisfaction waiting for you than if the whole task was complete but reaching each of those goals does give some.   It also depends on what you have to do to achieve each goal.   More landmarks on the way to the main goal equals more satisfaction per goal, but only just enough to keep you going onto the next one.  The pursuit of desires does not give as much instant pleasure; it’s more gradual, as each goal gets you satisfied enough to keep going.  Eventually, though, you have to get to the end of the job and get the desire itself.   

The attainment of desires was the second option of the question, and this is the one most random people would probably choose.   People think that acquiring what they want is something that makes them happy, and it does… for a time.   Procuring what you want gives you instant contentment, but it never lasts long.   When we first gain something, like a new computer, we are happy because we got something new, and we as humans like new things.   After using it for a little while though, it is no longer new, and we don’t appreciate it as much because it’s no longer new and because we, as people, are covetous (we want more stuff constantly) and at least a little bit greedy (If you’ve ever wanted at least a little raise, then that was a little bitty piece of greed).  That’s when we start wanting another something new.  Again, more work and/or a shorter deadline is just another set of words for more satisfaction when completed. 

  So, in conclusion, both give satisfaction and pleasure, but in different ways.   Pursuing desires gives pleasure through the happiness of actually getting a part of something done, and the fact that you’re closer to the main goal than before.   Attaining the desire gives satisfaction by the knowledge that the task is complete and the interest in the new object gained from it.   So, all in all, the answer to my English teacher’s question, “Which gives us more happiness and satisfaction?  The pursuit of the desire, or the attainment thereof,” is both.

Posted in 7th Grade, Science 7

S7 L21 – Crystal Radio

For today’s work, I built a crystal radio receiver!  It doesn’t work, but I think I got pretty close.  All I needed was a scrap piece of wood about 15”x8”, a wide wooden piece about 1”x2”x2”, two longer poles, the first about 10”x2”, and the second near 12”x1 ½”, about half a roll of magnet wire, a piece of sandpaper, a toilet paper tube, a piece of a paint can, a 7×7 square of paper, two 6×6 squares of aluminum foil, a towel roll, a 1N34A diode, and a roll of tape (any will work, I used electrical tape).

Building the Base

Okay, you’re going to need a drill for this part, so if you don’t have one, you might want to go get one.  Now that you have a drill and hopefully some screws, get ready for some construction.  First take the large plate and set it on the table.  The largest side should be facing up.  Take the 10-inch post and line it up exactly 90 degrees with the plate, and predrill holes through it into the side of the flat piece.  Secure the pole and screw it on.  Next, take the other 12-inch piece and place it, parallel with the flat plate, and with 1 1/2” face up, and screw it onto the top of the first pole.  Now that that is done, take the 2×2 square and screw it into the plate from the bottom.

Wiring it up

I got all the wires, and to start, wound a piece of wire 25 times a 1/8” from the end of a  toilet paper roll, and then once I finished that,  cut the wire and started another coil.  This coil is 1/8 of an inch away from the end of the first one and had 90 turns.  Sand the ends of all the wires and the top of the 90 turn coil.  The exposed copper should be a shade lighter than the rest of the wire.  Hook the starting end of the short coil up to an antenna (about 15’ of wire; I stuck mine a cardboard box about 5”x4”x3”).  Don’t forget to sand the beginning of that too.  Then create a variable capacitor by taping the first 6×6 aluminum square onto the toilet paper roll.  Tape the second onto the square of paper, and then roll up the paper with the foil on it so it faces outwards.  Push this onto the paper towel roll, and tape it to the correct size.  The aluminum plates should not be touching.  Sand the end of another wire and tape it to the stationary piece of aluminum on the towel roll, and do the same with the other side.  Do not forget to sand the wire!  Mine doesn’t work, and I’m pretty sure that’s why; I forgot to sand the ends of all the wires I used.  Slide the capacitor onto the top, level pole on the frame, and secure it with a thumbtack.

Sand the end of the wire on the sliding piece of the capacitor and clip it to the end of the 1N34A diode, and do the same with the end of the long coil closer to the short one.  Hook the positive end of the diode to an earpiece or speaker, and hook the other terminal of the speaker to ground.    To make the tuning bar, just cut out a piece of a paint can and bend the end into a V-shape.  screw this onto the 2×2 block on the frame, with a wire under it so it has metal to metal contact.  Don’t forget to sand!


There are a mass of wires that go to ground, so here’s a list: the one on the stationary half of the capacitor, the finish end of the 25 turn coil, the end of the earpiece, and the tuning bar.  Hook the ends of these wires to a single wire (don’t forget to sand!)  and then run that to either a metal cold water pipe, a metal chain fence, or a dedicated ground rod.  Unless you have experience with this type of thing, don’t try to plug it into the wall ground!  You may blow a circuit, which could hurt you badly; I don’t want to lose any readers to a wall socket!

Really that’s all I have for today’s Super Science project, which is not only cool, it is useful and if you attach a transmitter, is insanely awesome!

Posted in 8th Grade, English 8

E8 L30 – Apple Pie – America’s Dessert?

Many people over time have said that the most American dessert is apple pie.  I have to agree, it is pretty American.  When compared to other types of pie, the stats say that Apple pie is still number one, but I think it may be giving way to Ice cream.

Apple pie has long been America’s dessert, being imported by the Dutch, British, and Swedes during the settlement of America.  Apple pie was created in early Britain as soon as 1350 CE.  That’s a really long time ago!  Then, two hundred years later, the first recorded recipes came out in the Netherlands.  Israel Acrelius said that apple pie was extremely common in 18th century Delaware.  Then almost 170 years later, somebody came up with the ad jingle “baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet.”

So, why is it a favorite?  Well, it most certainly tastes good.  It also used something pretty common to make something delicious, which most definitely helped its popularity.  Sadly, these nasty store-bought wrapped apple pie bars are mangling the taste.  Even I don’t like them, and that’s a problem.  A real fresh, warm apple pie beats premade, cold, and nasty filled bars any day.

Is it still a favorite? Polls show it still is a favorite, but apple pie lovers aren’t as common as they were in the 1900s apparently.  The stats show that approximately one out of five people like apple pie, at 19%.  Pumpkin pie is close behind with 13%, and right behind that is pecan pie, 12%.  In the 1900s, Ritz had a mock apple pie commercial for its crackers, apple pie was so popular!  Sadly, nobody really cooks it anymore, and the premade pies don’t taste all that great.

Even though pie is popular, it just may be giving way to ice cream.  Besides, who doesn’t like it?  Some people still like to eat apple pie, but they do that in the winter, when the hot apple pie heats them up in the winter, and then ice cream cools them down in the summer.  As the seasons progress, so does their favorite food.  Then again, I see no problem with pie in the summer.  But overall I’m betting that those nasty prewrapped apple pies wreak havoc on pie’s popularity.

If I had to choose the most American dessert, it would be ice cream. Not because it’s my favorite dessert (well, actually, it may partially be that) but because it’s the most common dessert in America, and probably easier to get the real thing.


Posted in 8th Grade, History 8

H8 L25 – American Revolution


One of the most important events in the Common Era history is the secession of the United States of America from the British.  This did not happen instantly.  It happened over a period of ten years, with much carnage, bloodshed, and flying lead in between.  From the Lexington Skirmish to the naval Battle of Yorktown, the British and Colonies were neck-and-neck in a race over boundaries.

The groundwork was laid when Thomas Paine published his pamphlet Common Sense in 1773.  This was when the first ideas of secession started.  When the colonists read this pamphlet, they started stockpiling arms in the nearby Concord, Massachusetts.  When the British got wind of these stockpiles in 1774, they decided to make an example of Concord, and marched a troop to search Concord for weapons.  Outside the town, the Concord militia had gathered to oppose the British on the Concord town green, and there, whether by the British or by the Colonists nobody knows, the “shot heard round the world” was fired.  This marked the unofficial start of war between Britain and Colonies, as well as the Battle of Lexington.

After a 15-minute skirmish, the Colonists retreated and let the British into Concord.  Neither side took more than 20 losses.  The British found the cannons and destroyed them, but the rest of the hidden stockpile managed to escape the British wrath.  Meantime, the colonists’ nearby militias had gathered together outside Concord, waiting for the British to exit Concord.  When they started to see smoke go up and the British taking a really long time, they decided to march in and check it out.  So they marched really calmly up to the bridge to pass over.  As the Colonists approached, some of the British soldiers fired on the colonists without an order, surprising the colonists.  The colonist commanders immediately told their men to return fire, and the battle was on.  The Colonists quickly overpowered the British forces and chased them all the way back to Boston.

As the Siege of Boston took place, the British inside decided to capture the nearby Breed’s and Bunker hills.  The news of this was leaked to the colonists outside though, who immediately put up earthworks at night to prevent the British from taking them the following morning.  When the British advanced to take the hills, to their surprise the hills were already entrenched and occupied by Colonial forces.  Nevertheless, the British pushed on, to the bottom of the hill. This was where the massacre began.  The British charged up the hill, as the Colonists let loose a rain of lead on the British.  The Brits were pushed back down the hill with heavy losses, while the colonists only lost a little more than a quarter of the British losses. The colonists lost approximately 367, compared to the British 1054 at the Battle of Bunker Hill.  At the end, both sides claimed a victory, as the British captured the hill as intended, while the Colonists learned they could stand up to the best trained army in the world at the time.

As the war raged on, Benedict Arnold captured stores of supplies on his venture into Quebec, greatly aiding the Colonies in their war efforts.  When the Battle of Valcour Island struck, the same thing applied as Bunker Hill, but in marine warfare.  The British also lost that time, instilling the Colonists with great hopes for winning the war.  The British retook New York, Boston, and Philadelphia eventually, but never really had much success afterwards.  The Colonies then gained a triple win, at Trenton with Washington’s midnight Delaware crossing, Princeton with a British fail, and finally Saratoga, probably the biggest colonial win in the war.  After the battle of Saratoga, nearly 5,700 British troops surrendered to Horatio Gates, greatly weakening the British forces in the colonies.

After this, the year ended in the harsh winter of 1777, also when Baron von Steuben arrived and trained up the colonial militias in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.  Wen spring of 1778 arrived, the British were on the move, immediately capturing Savannah, Georgia and starting up the second half of the war.  Charleston was a fail for the colonists, and under Horatio Gates again, the disastrous battle of Camden broke loose.  Underestimating general Cornwallis, Gates’ army was crushed.  Some say that Gates himself rode 60 miles away from the scene in fear of his life.  This gained him so much discredit among the colonists that he was permanently dropped from command and replaced by Nathanael Greene.

Greene was an excellent commander, forcing Cornwallis to change tactics and travel light, and at the same time forcing him north towards Washington’s much larger detachment.  Meantime he wore Cornwallis’ men out, softening them up for what was to come.  Then, when Cornwallis refused to go no further, the Battle of Guilford Court House happened.  This was a second Bunker Hill, to a much larger extent.  Cornwallis’ army was decimated, and he was forced to move to the nearby Yorktown on the Chesapeake Bay.  The British reinforcements were nearly there by that time.  However, when the reinforcements arrived, there happened to be a French navy detachment in the bay, unloading cargo to the Colonists.  As the British ships approached, the French were caught on surprise.  The British weren’t fast enough to take advantage of the French confusion though, and slowly maneuvered into attack position.  The French fleet was in position by the time the British were finished, and from that point on the British were finished.  The reinforcements were not able to be taken to land, and so Cornwallis was completely cut off.  The French fleet was much stronger, and more battle ready than the British, and the French quickly took out six of the most powerful ships.  The British had no choice but to retreat before the mighty French navy.  This forced Cornwallis to surrender, and the war was pretty much over.

By this time, the only person willing to keep the war going was king George III himself, as everybody else was kind of starting to feel pity for the colonists.  Thus, England no longer worked to extend the war.  In 1783, ten years after the beginning of the war, the peace treaty declaring the United States as a Sovereign Nation, was declared, and the war was officially over.