Document of Learning
From the many things that I had to do throughout my school career, I always found public speaking to be the scariest. You can only imagine my relief when speeches were finally over, and the construction of my learning center was the only thing left to do in preparation for Night of the Notables. Little did I know how frantic that one job was actually going to be.
I left just enough time for construction as my initial project plan required. Around 4 days until the big event, after many conversations with my classmates, I got the impression that they were all planning very extravagant presentations. on the other hand, my learning center was more of a simple science fair. I, too, decided that I needed to pull off something cool.
The problem was, with more research that I did, I realized that there was so much more about the topic that I wasn’t able to represent. I decided to make a cloud chamber (an ionizing radiation particle detector) as an interesting centerpiece. To make the evaporated alcohol within the glass dish supersaturated, you would need to cool it to at least -95 degrees Celsius. I then proceeded to call every gas station and grocery store to see if they would sell me a couple pounds of dry ice. Sadly, everything was now electronically refrigerated, and with the time I had, there was no way that I could obtain anything to keep the temperature so low.
Upon more research, I stumbled on somepeople attempting to do it with a can of compressed air, otherwise known as a keyboard cleaner. While it was possible to cool the –very small- chamber down to a functional temperature, it wasn’t sustainable for very long. With my innovative centerpiece idea wasted, I was left again with a very bland learning center but a lot of information to present.
In the end, I made a couple of physical models, such as a cyclotron, Geiger-Muller counter, and nucleus model. Those things helped me explain radioactivity and Irene’s discovery to the especially intrigued people who came by. I was proud that even though the presentation wasn’t the greatest, the information was still very accurate. In the end, I also obtained a huge, radioactive rock which slightly scared people and made the experience more interesting.
From this project, I’ve learned that time management is more than just planning well; it’s also about vigilantly anticipating every inconvenience that may arise. I’ve gained more knowledge on how mentally draining large assignments may be, and I will certainly put my newly discovered motivational techniques to use next time. Constructing the learning center itself, even without the cloud chamber, was difficult I couldn’t efficiently connect my acquired physics knowledge to all the ways I could present it. Next year, I will be systematic with my creativity.
Overall Assessment and Reflection
Night of the Notables was a very memorable experience for me because I have never before participated in any student-organized event. I found it to be interesting how the people and the parents came around from learning center to learning center, asking questions, and showing that they genuinely cared about the work we put into this. For this project, I ran into a couple issues like having no knowledge of physics to begin with, being terrified of public speaking, and not being able to present information in my learning center quite how I wanted to. In the end, I think I did a somewhat decent job, considering that this is my first Eminent and I knew nothing about this project when going into it. Next year –or for any occasion, really- I could improve my time management skills and making sure that I leave more than enough time to be able to excel in whatever I am doing. In addition to that, I need to stop overthinking all my tasks-I am tempted to make everything so much harder than it has to be. In the place I get for Night of the Notables next year, I would like to make a learning center that uses the entire space provided and speaks in a metaphoric, artistic way rather than plainly showing information. For example, the grade 10 students’ learning centers and speeches were phenomenal, and are what made the night as wonderful as it was. I really admire how they became so involved with being in character of their eminent person, and how they immensely intrigued and entertained everyone. Also, I am very grateful that the TALONS teachers support this project and event every year, even though it takes so much preparation, stress, management, and time away from their lives outside of school. Thank you!