Monthly Archives: April 2016

Sea Perch

Recently, my sister and I finished the SeaPerch robotics competition. Our team (4H SmartBotics) built an underwater robot. Our task was to create a bot that could maneuver a hoop obstacle course, and collect and move different sized balls that we had to release by engaging a lever.

2016-03-22 Sea Perch WaterProof Motor 2                              2016-03-22 Sea Perch Waterproof Motors

The robot was comprised of PVC pipes, 3 thrusters (motors with propellers),  netting, and ballast (washers). In order to waterproof our thrusters, we covered the motors in electrical tape, then coated them with toilet bowl wax (Eww! – that’s what we are working on in the above pictures) and placed them in plastic canisters.

We worked long and hard on our robot – the adults are not allowed to do any of the work. In the picture below we are soldering the electrical wires to the motors.

2016-03-22 Soldering Sea Perch

Below is a pool practice before we painted the ROVs orange so that they were easier to see in the water. This was Ariana’s first try at navigating.  It’s not as easy as it looks!

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The regional competition was held on Rowan University’s campus. We used their pool to complete our tasks. Our teams were the Sharks (I wanted to call us the Hammerheads) and the Cyclones. Each team had two “navigators”. One handled the robot’s cable and the other handled the controller. To cheer them on at competition, our team wore matching green tees and made posters. Our parents were the leaders, so we got to do a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff, too.Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 9.41.20 PM

In the end, we ended up winning 1st and 3rd in our category (Open competition, middle school), which was just about the best we could have done. Both us and our parents could not have been happier.


In the videos below you can see one of our robots in action!

Our team members were in the news…way to go Smartbotics Sharks!

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Hatshepsut: The Queen Who Was King

Without a doubt, Hatshepsut lived up to her title of King of Egypt. Despite popular belief, she made advances in trade, built the country peacefully, and did things her own way. In fact, Hatshepsut led a very successful trading expedition, which was perhaps her most famous accomplishment. Although she was shamed for having “stolen” the throne from her stepson, Thutmose III, Hatshepsut did it for the greater good. This strong leader never let cultural expectations dictate her actions. She proved that women could be good leaders through her actions as pharaoh. Hatshepsut was one of the most caring and successful pharaohs Egypt ever saw.

Hatshepsut was anything but a bad leader. Actually, she helped Egypt in too many ways to count. First of all, she led a trading expedition to the Land of Punt, Egypt’s southern neighbor. Hatshepsut sent caravans full of scribes, soldiers, artists, and attendants to the Red Sea. There, they loaded 5 wooden cargo ships with surplus goods from Egypt. These included papyrus, golden jewelry, and bronze weapons. Two years later, the ships returned laden with “ivory, ebony, gold, leopard skins, and incense.” (according to  the History article) They also carried back government officials from Punt. Hatshepsut also tried to engage soldiers in non-violent activities by sending them on trade expeditions. This bettered Egypt greatly, and it was all thanks to Hatshepsut.

However, trade wasn’t the only thing Hatshepsut was known for. Staying true to her pacifist nature, Hatshepsut built the country through non-military means. She instead focused her energy on trade and agriculture. Although much evidence of Hatshepsut’s reign was erased by Thutmose III, her magnificent buildings still stand today. According to the History article, “Her greatest achievement was the enormous memorial temple at Deir el Bahri, considered one of the architectural wonders of ancient Egypt.”

Hatshepsut also commissioned granite obelisks. She even built religious temples and fixed up those that were in disrepair. Although she ruled after a long line of warriors, Hatshepsut’s harmonious reign was a successful one. Lastly, Hatshepsut broke cultural boundaries by becoming pharaoh. Many people frowned upon Hatshepsut for being a female pharaoh, but she tried not to let her gender get in the way of her ruling. To gain credibility, Hatshepsut was depicted as a male on many images and temple walls. In these pictures, she wore the regalia of a male, as well as a fake beard, which was traditional of male pharaohs. She was also buried with her royal father.

Hatshepsut was discredited for the means by which she took the throne as well. Many people thought it was a coldhearted bid for power, but that wasn’t the case. You see, when Hatshepsut’s husband, Thutmose II (who was pharaoh at the time), died, the throne went to the infant Thutmose III. Thutmose III was Hatshepsut’s stepson, as he was born to a secondary wife of Thutmose II. Clearly, Thutmose III was too young to handle the responsibilities of being pharaoh, so Hatshepsut stepped in as his regent. A regent is someone who takes over duties for someone of a royal bloodline who is either incapacitated or too young.

Over time, Hatshepsut began turning herself into a pharaoh. First, says “The Woman who Would be King”, “…she took on a ‘throne’ name…Hatshepsut’s throne name was Maatkare.” She also called herself “King of Upper and Lower Egypt”, and began showing herself as Thutmose III’s equal on temple walls. Recent studies suggest that this may not have been due to greediness, but a political crisis. Perhaps there were threats from another branch of the family. Hatshepsut was only trying to save the throne for her stepson. Still, this was a bold and unprecedented step that makes Hatshepsut stand out in history. In the end, Hatshepsut made Egypt highly prosperous.

Although Hatshepsut was king, she proved that she was much more than that. She should be remembered as a strong, king leader. To this day, Hatshepsut is associated with trade. She was a non-hostile person, and didn’t depend on violence to expand Egypt. Hatshepsut showed the world that things could be done differently. We can all learn from Hatshepsut’s peaceful reign. Today, we all think that violence is the answer to everything. Hatshepsut’s rule is testament to the untruth of this. She showed that violence isn’t necessary for success, and that message will carry on for generations.