Battery Power

In my group, Riley, Tess and I are researching and learning about how lithium-ion batteries to function and how they work chemically. Lithium Ion batteries are usually found in iPhones and other types of phones. They are a member of a family of rechargeable batterie. In Li-ion batteries, lithium ions move from the anode to the cathode during discharge, and from the cathode to anode when charging for recharge. When charging a lithium Ion battery, lithium is inserted into the silicon, causing a dramatic increase in volume. On discharge, lithium is extracted from the silicon which returns to a smaller size. In Lithium batteries, the battery transfers electrical charge from a lithium metal cathode through an electrolyte consisting of an organic solvent containing lithium salts over to a carbon cathode. These types of batteries also usually contain a metal coil and a flammable lithium ion fluid. Due to this, tiny metal fragments can float in the liquid. Lithium batteries can be useful for a lot of things like being able to power and charge a phone but they can be very dangerous batteries if not handled well.

In our project, we are using the lithium ion battery for our project which is inside of my iPhone 6s. We bought a foldable solar panel and tested it’s charge during a sunny day and a sunny but somewhat cloudy day. Here are our results:

Time Battery percentage
12:24 74%
12:26 75%
12:28 75%
12:30 74% (blockage of sun)
12:32 75%
12:34 75%
12:36 76%
12:38 76%
12:40 78%
12:42 79%
1:18 At 1:18pm from 12:42 – 1: 18 the battery percentage reached 100%. It took about 50 minutes.
Cloudy day 3/23/16
10:18 57%
10:20 57%
10:22 56%
10:24 56%
10:26 56%
10:28 51%
10:30 50%
10:32 50%
10:34 50%

Since the day was cloudy, the phone didn’t charge as well as it did when it was sunny. In the beginning, it seemed like the charge was going up a little, or, at least, staying stable, but then it started to gradually drop, and eventually it just stopped charging. 

Luckily, the foldable solar panel worked for a cheap price of 30$ on amazon. Our group and I still have a lot to accomplish in our project but we are so grateful that we got to see how solar panels work while charging our own phones and other people’s phones.


The movement of Lithium Ion batteries occurs at a fairly high voltage, which causes each cell to produce 3.7 volts. This is much higher than 1.5 volts which are typical of an AA alkaline cell. Lithium ion batteries typically use a lithium metal oxide in the cathode and a carbon-based material in the anode. When the batteries are charging, electrons move from the cathode to the anode, and lithium ions move from the cathode and into the carbon-based material of the anode. If the cathode and anode are connected in this state, lithium ions flow from the anode and return to the cathode, and the electrons travel through the connection to the cathode and combine with the lithium ions. When this occurs, an electric current is generated from the cathode to the anode.

Other than learning about Lithium Batteries and how they work, this week we have been learning and reviewing redox chemistry and questions. An oxidation-reduction reaction is a type of chemical reaction that involves a transfer of electrons between two species. An oxidation-reduction reaction is any chemical reaction in which the oxidation number of a molecule, atom, or ion changes by losing an electron.


The overall reaction on a Li-ion cell:

C + LiCoO2 ↔ LiC6 + Li0.5CoO2

At the cathode:

LiCoO2 – Li+ – e ↔ Li0.5CoO2 ⇒ 143 mAh/g

At the anode:

6C + Li+ + e ↔ LiC6 ⇒ 372 mAh/g

In iPhones, the Lithium Ion battery will look like this:





“Unschool” School Days

During this week, from Tuesday through Thursday, the whole Innovation lab team and I had three unschool school days. Throughout these three school days, the only innovation lab teacher we had around was Mrs. Shaw,  All of my other regular subject class teachers, Ms. Hawes, Mr. Belanger, Mr. Walach, and Dr. Goldin left for a Deeper Learning program in San Diego California. During these three “unschool” days,  we weren’t doing our regular innovation lab learning about the cold war foreign policy or working on our Fahrenheit 451 essay revisions. Instead, we had a new project where we learned about each and every person in Innovation lab. We learned about communism in North Korea from Mr. Shopick, we watched a movie called ‘sweet fifteen’ and we watched a science documentary called ‘power surge’.

During the “unschool” school days I really found Mr. Shopick’s presentation about his time in North Korea interesting. He described how many little kids wanted to have him take their picture. Afterward, they held up their hands asking for something and Mr. Shopick assumed that they were asking for the printed picture but it was a digital camera. In North Korea, they don’t have printed pictures or printed anything so that might’ve been the reason why the kids wanted a photo. Mr. Shopick also explained how some little kids were asking him something but he didn’t understand so he grabbed his tour guide for assistance. The tour guide told him that they were asking where he’s from and when he said the United States the kids ran in the other direction from him. Lastly, he told us about how he and his group and tour guide passed by a few people cutting grass with scissors with two guards watching them. I thought this presentation was intriguing but also very sad because of the large amount of communism in North Korea. He wasn’t allowed to take a picture of them cutting the grass because North Korea is one of the world’s most secretive societies. Another thing that we did during the “unschool” school days was the ‘Diversity project’. The goal of this project was for everyone to bring in a visual that represented one side of their heritage (from mother or father) and a platter of food that connected to it. This heritage day took place on Thursday, the last school day before leaving for the weekend.

Another thing that we did during the “unschool” school days was the ‘Diversity project’. The goal of this project was for everyone to bring in a visual that represented one side of their heritage (from mother or father) and a platter of food that connected to it. This heritage day took place on Thursday, the last school day before leaving for the weekend.

Between my mother who was born in Brazil and my father who was born in Boston (I am as well) I decided to do the heritage project to my Brazilian background. I brought in a photo of my family and I in Brazil during my 2-year-old birthday party. In front of me were many different kinds of Brazilian delicacies but many of the sweets in front of me were brigadeiro’s. So that’s what I decided to bring.

Brigadeiros are basically small chocolate, condensed milk balls which are very very tasty. Some people may like the flavor and some people might not but to me, it is one of my favorite sweets. In my mom’s side of the family I am very very close with them. My family from brazil (cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmother) often come to the United States to visit. My mom, my sister, my dad and I also go to Brazil a lot as well which is very important. Family means everything to me, and I don’t know what I would do without family. Even though I am more close with my Mom’s side of the family, being born in Boston, and being from Boston has made a large impact on my life. I have many memories there and In my future, I would hopefully like to live their again.


Here are some photos of my family and I (when I was younger):

IMG_4417 (1).JPG
My Mom, Dad and I.
My Dad and I at my grandma’s house (father’s side)
A photo of my cousin and I in my Dad’s ‘Pizza by Design’ pizza shop in Boston.



Daniel Pink & What Motivates Me

Earlier this week the Innovation team and I learned about motivation. We watched a Ted Talk’s video on Daniel Pink, a best selling author who has written five books about business, work, and management. In the video Mr. Pink talks about how people respond differently if they are offered a reward after completing a task or problem. To explain what he means he talks about the Candle Problem. To solve the Candle Problem Mr. Pink asked a group of people to attach the candle to a wall so that the wax doesn’t drip onto the table. Many people became confused from this but they all came up with different creative ideas. They used their right brain solving this problem instead of their left. Many people tried to thumbtack the candle to the wall. While, some people lit the match, melt the side of the candle, and tried to adhere it to the wall. The problem was that even though this experiment was created to sharpen thinking and accelerate creativity, it did just the opposite.

With another group, Sam Glucksberg tries this problem again. He gathered his participants and told them that he was going to time them to see how quickly the group can solve the problem. Timing them made the group struggle a bit and it took the group about three and half minutes longer. Mr. Pink believed that everybody who was not brained creative, or had conceptual kinds of abilities, were going to struggle.

To make this belief more valid, Mr. Pink described how Dan Ariely, one of the greatest economists of our time, made another group do this experiment. Mr. Ariely grabbed a group of MIT students and offered them for their performance, three levels of rewards: a small reward, a medium reward, and a large reward. The goal of this experiment was to see if the MIT students who usually use their left brain to think of statistics, graphs, and valid facts could use their right brains to think creatively and to solve a problem which forces you to think creatively. Mr. Ariely noticed that, as long as the task involved only mechanical skills, bonuses worked as they would be expected: the higher the pay, the better the performance. But once the tasks called for even rudimentary cognitive skill, a larger reward, led to ‘poorer performance.’

Mr. Pink concludes his speech by saying that, “If we really want high performance on those definitional tasks of the 21st century, the solution is not to do more of the wrong things, to entice people with a sweeter carrot or threaten them with a sharper stick. We need a whole new approach.” In my opinion, I agree with Mr. Pink and his theories. The task that we all should focus on is doing something, creating something, and or finishing something with our own motivation and our own desire to do it. We shouldn’t focus on the income but the outcome. We should be proud of ourselves after everything we complete and do even if it’s not correct. Doing something without looking for something to gain shows that we tried our best and we forced ourselves to be motivated and determined.

In Mr. Pink’s opinion, creativity and cognitive thinking motivates him. In my opinion, listening to music helps motivate me to complete tasks. Whether it’s to clean my room, or work on an assignment, any genre of music helps me think through my thoughts and stay focused on my assignments. Some of my favorite types of music that helps me stay in that ‘thinking zone’ are remix’s and dance music. While working on an essay or a short answer problem, I type or write to the beat of the music. I think everyone should atleast listen to music one while working on an assignment or a project because it truly helps. Another type of music that I use for studying is ‘study music.’ This type of music helps because it is simply sounds and nice and calm music that helps you think better, and clearer. Here is the Youtube video that I regularly use:

Another thing that motivates me is quotes. On social media apps and websites like Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr I follow many quote pages. These types of quotes help me think positively and are honestly just fun to read. I love reading other people’s quotes just as much as I love reading other people’s poems. I also connect to many quotes that I read and like, I end up taking screenshots of them on my phone. Right now I currently have one thousand photos on my icloud and the majority of them are quotes I’ve screenshotted or saved. Here are a few of them that I really love:

We do not know why we love a person; we love for no reason. One cannot love a man for his merits; and in this respect love is like grace which is given freely, no for merits, for nothing. Love is a gracious radiating energy. 
—  Nikolai Berdyaev, The Destiny of Man
Once you realize that the road is the goal and that you are always on the road, not to reach a goal, but to enjoy its beauty and its wisdom, life ceases to be a task and
becomes natural and simple, in itself an ecstasy.
—  Nisargadatta Maharaj



Fahrenheit 451 Reflection

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is set in a homogeneous futuristic war obsessed America, where books were not allowed and the entire population lived under sensory overload. With the help of a English Professor named Faber, Montag begins to read books instead of burning them. Later on, he learns that books allow for self examination and personal thought. Montag  believed that the society that he lived in was lacking real emotions and that the government censorship was protecting the people from reality. Montag believed that if books were destroyed the knowledge would be dead. The Mechanical Hound and the Salamander weren’t going to hold him back from sticking to what he believed in and fighting for the right to read and be himself. Instead, Montag took his freedom, killed who he feared, and became reborn like a Phoenix, after it turns into ash.

Beyond the different moods and themes created, Bradbury uses these different animals to explain how the things that scare us the most and change us the most don’t have to be human. The salamander, the Mechanical Hound, and the phoenix all connect to the idea of society changing and becoming understood differently through animals in Ray Bradbury’s mind. This change of society, causes not only other people to think differently but the protagonist, Montag, to change the way he feels and thinks about books and the things that are holding society back.






Eureka! It’s Battery Power! Project Introduction 

This week in class we’ve been figuring out what interests us and who we may or may not want to work with. This project connects to the theme inspiration, and how creation can come from anything, including a battery. Once hearing about different group ideas – such as making a hydro powered battery, or a go cart with a battery, I decided to settle with the idea of creating a backpack that allows a iPhone to charge while also using dirty water. The dirty water would be changed to clean water by the power and energy coming from the charging phone. My group, Tess, Riley and I drafted the way we wanted our project to look like and we wrote down some ways our experiment can be useful for every day life. Here is what we came up with:  

In the image below my group and I basically wrote out the purpose of our project, things that the backpack could be used for, and materials that we may need for completing this project. Some things included in our list for materials was; a backpack, reusable water bottle, thin tubing, waterproof phone charger, water wheel, and etc. The things that this backpack could be useful for could be camping, for when you need access to clean water and a charged cellphone for a compass or simply for time. Traveling, school, and or going to a sporting event/gym. Lastly, the purpose of the project is to take dirty water and turn it into clean water. The energy used to clean the water will be used to also charge the phone. 

  In this image below, we basically collected all information from each other and decided to draw out our ideas for the physical piece. We noticed that we may or may not need a solar panel to be at the top of the backpack, so that is worth thinking about when we come to actually building and starting our project. We labeled everything on the backpack so that we had a clear and better understanding of what each image on the backpack really means. 

After drawing out our ideas we all assigned one another to do some initial research and figure out exactly how water power works. This is important so that we understand what we are about to tackle so that we don’t get lost in the process.