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 7th Grade, Science 7

S8 L45 – Water Filters

This is probably the one I’d buy, but we already have LifeStraws in our bug-out bags


The Advanced filter is made of the same media as the Standard filter with the addition of EPA approved iodinated resin (EPA Reg #: 35917-2), which has been proven effective in the removal of bacteria and viruses to six logs (99.9999%). Removes up to 90% of fluoride. It can be used in extreme conditions, turbid and stagnant water. It is ideal for emergencies, natural disasters, traveling around the world and used with water of unknown quality. (Not to be used with salt water.)


Posted in 7th Grade, History 7

H7 W36 Review – Summary of Europe

A whole lot can happen in I,277 years: from the end of knighthood to the beginning of Islam, hundreds of men like William Wallace, Martin Luther, and John Knox, and movements like the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Counter-Reformation.  Each of these things had its influence on the modern Europe and Americas we have today.

The year 476 was a big deal – that date was the Fall of Rome, the beginning of the 7th Grade History Class, and the year in which the earliest groundwork for the Reformation was set.  As time progressed, so did the countries: the first French kingdom appears, as does Britain and Italy.  Then all of a sudden, the people of Rus band together, and the Holy Roman Empire, Poland, Bulgaria, Scotland, the soon-to-be Wales, Norway, and the first Spaniards.  As Islam slowly retreats, Hungary, Sweden, Sicily, Spain, Serbia, Greece and a weird country called Knights of the Sword are started or re-started. By 1453, Poland and Lithuania are merged, and Austria, the Swiss Confederacy, Bosnia, Moldavia, Burgundy, and Wales are started.  In a few years, the Netherlands, Genoa, Brandenburg and Prussia are founded.

As the countries come and go, so do movements like the Renaissance and the Reformation.  The Renaissance was started first, and taught that humanity could do anything.  People started climbing mountains for the fun of it, and traveling just to see the sights. The Greek and Roman ways of thinking were revived at this time, as some started to realize that most people’s way of thinking no longer matched that of the Bible.  These people, like Gerhard Groote, Martin Luther, and others became the famous figures in the Reformation, a counter-movement to the Renaissance.  The Reformation was the movement started by the acts of these men and the sweeping faith and Protestantism that came into play.  The Reformation was the last movement I studied this year, and it ended in 1753.

Even though these things had large impacts on Europe, they would be nothing if it weren’t for men like Martin Luther, The Pope, and Petrarch.  Some of the more well known renaissance names are: Petrarch, Leonardo de Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Donatello, and Titian.  Most of those were artists though some were scientists too.  The Reformation was a result of the thinking of the people, a rebellion to the evil ways people had developed.  Some of the men who preached in this and the Great Awakening were Gerhard Groote, the all-famous Martin Luther, Desiderius Erasmus, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, Willian Tyndale, Johnathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and Cotton Mather.

The Exploration era had a huge influence on Europe today.  The colonies settled by Britain, France, Spain and the Netherlands gained those respective countries vast amounts of wealth to use; Spain gained the most with its massive empire in South America and Mexico and Florida.  Explorers like Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, Henry the Navigator, Ferdinand Magellan, Hernando Cortez, Hernando De Soto, Ponce de Leon, and Francisco Coronado each helped their respective countries gain large tracts of land, like Spain and its conquistadores.  Try to imagine a world map without the Americas, Oceania, or Australia!

The influence of the Renaissance on Europe is greater than that of the Reformation, but both are extremely large.  The Renaissance inspired the ideas of tourism, more realistic art, and improved sciences; the Reformation became the ideas of no more indulgences, and the exploration era colonized America, Australia, and Oceania.  And think of it: all this happened within one thousand, two hundred seventy-seven years of history.

Posted in 7th Grade, History 7

H7 W35 – History of Middle East And Surrounding Regions

              The Middle East has managed, throughout history, to always be having a war with itself or some of the surrounding countries.  The wealth of this area has mostly been controlled by the countries already settled in it, but a few empires have been able to conquer it, and even the most powerful of them, the Ottomans, were only able to subdue it for a short period of time.  The areas of the middle east have changed hands many times, and here are some of the people who held it. 

               The middle east was initially settled by desert nomads and farmers, until they settled down and created the first civilization – Mesopotamia.  As Mesopotamia grew, other regions such as Canaan, Syria, Asia Minor, and Egypt showed up on the map.  These new regions grew, and eventually shrank the glorious Mesopotamia into a much more recognizable civilization called Babylon.  Babylon then split away from the true Mesopotamians, and the Mesopotamians went and reconquered all the areas along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.  As all of this happened, the Persians exploded and wiped out all the civilizations except the newly forming Greece and Nubia.  Some of the first Arabian kingdoms are starting to grow, and  when the Persian Empire shatters like glass, the Arabian kingdoms immediately take out most of the Seleucid kingdoms on the Northeast shore of the Red Sea. 

170 years later, Rome has taken over Egypt, Greece, Asia minor, Judaea, and Syria.  This leaves Parthia, the Arabian kingdoms, Nubia, the Scythians and Armenia to play defense to the rest of the world.  They slowly lose grounds against the powerful armies of the Romans, but the Romans are weakening.  Arabia itself is finally formed, as well as Ethiopia.  The Persian empire expands and turns into the massive Islamic caliphate.  The Caliphate pushes the Byzantines back and expands into Africa after conquering all of Arabia and Yemen, but Oman is left alone on its little peninsula.  The Caliphate quickly fragments, splitting into the old countries with some under new names:  Persia under the Buyid Emirate, Egypt under the Fatimid Caliphate, and a little studied country called Transoxiana under the Saminid Emirate.  Asia Minor falls to the Sultanate of Rum, Persia became the Empire of the Kwarism Shah, and Egypt becomes the Ayyubid Sultanate.  The Crusader States are just a borderline including Jerusalem, and the Ayyubid sultanate has conquered Arabia.  The Ayyubid then becomes the Mamluq and conquers Nubia while the Black Sheep Turks are over in Iran/Iraq. 

The Ottomans slowly creep into the picture, and they immediately take out the Mamluq Sultanate.  The Ottomans free Yemen, and take out the Black Sheep Turks, who have become the Safavid Empire and still hold Iran.  Now everything except Crete, Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Ethiopia, Funj and the Safavids are under the Ottomans.  The first Saudi Kingdom splits away from Arabia, and Kuwait secedes from the Ottomans.  Crete has been conquered, and the Safavids have become the Persians again.  Afghanistan joins the game, taking the Persians from behind, while Oman sits quietly in its little corner of the world.  The Egyptian viceroyalty is started and secedes from the Ottomans, and immediately goes and conquers Saudi Arabia.  Oman is still untouched. 

The Ottomans take Saudi Arabia and most of Arabia away from the Viceroyalty of Egypt as the Russians cut off the Ottomans from the Northeast.  Bahrain is started by the British just off the coast of Ottoman land.  Emissaries from Bahrain head over to Egypt, take over the government, and make it British Egypt.  As the British take over that area, the Italians take the area right next to Egypt’s modern day West boundary in a shape a lot like Nevada.  The Ottomans are shrinking as the Russian Empire expands, and Persia shrinks with the Ottomans.  Britain soon loses its colonies in Egypt, Sudan, Muscat, Oman, and Yemen.  The Italians lose their colonies too.  Persia becomes Iran, and Iraq separates from Iran.  The Ottoman Empire is gone, replaced by a fully intact Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, and Yemen.  Nothing really changes between 1960 and 2005, except that Yemen has conquered another British colony, and Syria has come back to life.  That’s all the last map shows in 2005. 

               The area of the middle east has changed hands so many times it’s impossible to count.  Some countries waited out the wars, like Oman and Ethiopia.  Other took large part in it, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.  All of it has played a big role in the shapes and strength of countries we have today. 

Posted in 7th Grade, History 7

H7 W33 – The French and English Kings

         As the colonies were being developed, the other side of the world was having its developments too: the rules were changing for many different countries, like France and England.  Some kings were resistant to that and wanted their power back; others simply took it into account and did what the were then allowed to do.  Some of these kings were the English Georges and the French Louis. 

          George I was one of two English kings who reigned under Parliament. George I tried to resist the shrinking of the power of the King and tried to reverse some of it.  As he did this, he had lots of trouble with the Anglican establishment over what religion was official, and of course a few struggles with parliament.  His home, currently modern Germany, which was at the time called Hanover and was in the HRE, was also the home of his son, George II.  George II was the last in many ways – the last king to be born outside Britain, the last to lead an army into battle, and the last to have been brought up outside of Britain.  He spent more time at home in Hanover where he had more power, than in Britain. 

          Louis XV was the great-grandson of the famous French Sun King Louis XIV, but never had a high point like his great grandfather.  The boy reached the throne at age five and had a regent over him for much of his reign.  When he reached maturity he immediately had a cardinal over him to direct his reign.  His grandson also had a bad reign, despite his attempts to erase land tax, end serfdom, and increase religious freedom.  This was because whenever he did something, either the nobles counteracted it, or the people misunderstood it.  Because of this, the reforms led to a financial crisis that instigated the French revolution.  The beheading of Louis XVI marked the beginning of the French revolution and the beginning of French Parliament.

          These four kings are remembered negatively because the winner writes the history, but despite that they played huge roles in the beginning of the parliamentarian era and the formation of our current government.

Posted in 7th Grade, History 7

H7 L32 – Colonial America

          In the early times of the colonies the it was very different for what we see today in say, DC.  They did not have many of the things we do, such as power and plumbing.  Their games were different form ours, and even what they ate and what technologies they had.  The difference is enormous, and it just keeps growing. 

          The colonial cities were originally made as seats of power for the government or as trading ports for foreign ships like England mostly and France, who gave a good price for products.  That was how they got most of their currency, not printing currency like nowadays.  They used to play different games too, like nine pins, which is a lot like tiny tabletop bowling, and there was hoop and stick, which is rolling a hoop with a stick and not touching the hoop with your body.  Some other games that we still play today are cup and ball, jacks, and checkers.  One of the more common games we play is based off one of their basic games: baseball! 

The kids played these and many other games on their free time, but in between, the whole family ha plenty of chores to do.  Some of these included washing and shaking out the mattresses, washing dishes by hand, carrying water for the washing chores, laundry by hand, and taking care of the farm animals.  That’s much more than we currently have to do – we can simply throw the clothes in a machine that injects soap and water to spin it around and wash them.  Other chores are eliminated by other technologies around the house today.

               The normal house had just one room – the keeping room.  There was no bedrooms, or kitchen, or dining rooms, or even a family room – that was all incorporated into the keeping room.  Very few houses other than shops had attics, and any that did the attics likely went to storage purposes.  The houses were different from today’s houses too, being that the colonial houses were boxes that were perfectly symmetrical, and then had a small add on later which looked like a windowless sunroom on the back of the house.  This often became storage, leaving more room for people in the house.  The government house was fancier, of course, looking more like a U-shaped box than a rectangular, small box. Most had more than one chimney, and ones that had more than two had the others smack dab in the middle of the house. 

          The government itself was a lot more righteous than the current government, and ruled honestly, not constantly scheming the downfall of the president just to become the president for the power, influence, and money involved with that position.  The politicians at that time worked for the good of the people not their own good.  This allowed the people and all their occupations to thrive instead of being restricted by rules, rules, and more rules made by government. 

          The many occupations at the time each had its own importance, ranging from the tanner, to the blacksmith, to the clockmaker.  Some of the occupation incorporated a job that is normally a separate job today; the blacksmith was the town dentist and the barber was the town bloodletter, as shown by the legendary barber’s pole: red stands for blood and the white stood for bandages. Some other occupations were the cobbler, who made shoes, the cooper who made barrels, the farmer, the hatter, the miller (ground farmer’s grain), tailor, and wigmaker, who was always a popular man (wigs were common at the time.) The workers’ houses were normally above the shop, on the second floor so they could open quickly instead of traveling a few yards to work.

           The colonies were very different from the Americas, what with everything being handmade, not manufactured, they had real, physical games instead of a bunch of little squares changing color to make a digital picture.  The food was real, and was stuff like corn, squash, vegetables and beans were the fruits/ veggies, and the men went hunting for meat.  The drinks were raw milk, beer, cider, and water.  We should not take for granted what the men and women worked for years on years to gain us what we have today.