Shark Tank

By Ruina and Ritaja

       A few months ago the PTO and two Sprague teachers, Mrs. Chiesa and Mrs. Vani, created a Shark Tank program designed for kids. Mrs. Vani already had experience with inventing a product, having sold a workout product called Ab Master a while ago. Mrs. Chiesa and Mrs. Vani also do an event called the invention convention in 2nd grade, which is similar to the Shark Tank we do, so they have some experience off of that too.

After asking people involved in this activity, Shark Tank, some questions, we managed to discover their opinion on Shark Tank, as well as why they joined and what they are inventing. The kids that we interviewed, Saira, Reyna, and Nanoko, all have different reasons on why they started doing Shark Tank, and different ways that their life has been impacted by this event. Saira wants to help people who are struggling with something, while Reyna found it interesting. Nanoko saw it on TV, and when her partner asked her to join, she thought it would be fun to try it out.

It has had an impact on all their lives by seeing what it would be like from the business person/inventors point of view. Reyna and Saira have actually decided to work together with some of their other friends, such as Alexandra and Ritaja. Nanoko and Veda have decided to work on a project together as well. Reyna’s group is making “The Cookie Bucket”. This invention will cut down the time of making cookies and is easy to wash/clean. It is a bucket with markings to fill up to for some ingredient. There are inserts for whichever cookie you want to make. Nanoko and Veda are making something called the “Get Set Go Clock”, quoted by Nanoko, “A Get Set Go Clock is a reminder clock that reminds people what to do at what time so, you won’t be late in doing things”. These inventions are trying to solve different problems that people, including us, have faced, but there are other ways to figure out what product to make. Everyone had access to the Baxter Lab, to build their prototype. The Baxter Lab is a lab where there are 3D printers, lasers, wood carving machines and many more.

The day of the presentations of the Shark Tank, sharks, that are not known right now and are not Mrs. Chiesa and Mrs. Vani, will go around looking at a presentation about your product and your elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a 30 second snippet where you tell the Sharks about your product, why they should “invest” in it, and leave a memorable impact on them to keep them thinking. Your presentation can be a slideshow, poster board, keynote, whatever you like. While the Sharks won’t actually be purchasing your product, you are still allowed to sell your invention if you figure out how. Currently, the program is not giving out prizes, but if it works out this year, they are planning on adding prizes in the future.

Science Bowl

By: Dhruv

   The National Science Bowl (NSB) created by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 1991, is a highly competitive science academic event which students, particularly higher achieving middle schoolers and high schoolers are involved in. Science Bowl consists of many science and mathematical problems which students study often to be prepared and to solve the equations. Schools from all around the world participate in this event, and from each school in tournaments, 5 dedicated students, one dedicated alternate student, and dedicated coach(s) will be participating in the tournament. The group of students do certain math and science activities which they can achieve fame and prizes in, like shown in the picture above. There are 2 different teams, the academic team (a team that solves problems), and the car team (a team that builds cars to compete). 8-10 people are in the academic team, and 4-6 people are in the car team. The scholars also travel to many different places to play in the different tournaments. Aaroh, a student in Science Bowl, says, “To practice for upcoming competitions, we study sets of problems to understand the concept better.” Students in Science Bowl practice twice a week for about an hour each practice, which the members are expected to attend to. He also says, “Science Bowl is like science jeopardy, but harder.” They have to use buzzers to answer questions instead of having a plain old written test. Science Bowl also designs and builds a model car to race against other schools within our region. Currently, according to research by recent studies, it is proven that by the beginning of 2019 for Science Bowl, there will be 9,000 high school students and 4,500 middle school students, which is a huge amount of people. Daniel Wright’s team is amazing, and we should root for them. They are the former regional championship champions. Good luck and GO DW!!

If you want to learn more about this topic (Science Bowl), you can visit the following websites to explore and learn more facts about it:



By Alex

The first space race occurred in the 1960s. It was a heated battle between the United States and the now defunct Soviet Union. Now, in 2019 a new heated battle for privatization of space travel has arisen. There are four main competitors.

SpaceXVirginBlue OriginULA
   Founded and run by eccentric billionaire owner Elon Musk, SpaceX is best known for its extremely successful Falcon 9 and launching a car into space on the Falcon Heavy, a variant of the Falcon 9. The Falcon 9 is a 23 story tall twin stage rocket that has a reusable first stage. The Falcon 9 has around half the government contracts for national security and the International Space Station, who they supply. The Falcon 9 is also used in the private sector.   English conglomerate Virgin has two units that deal with space travel. The first, Virgin Galactic, is known for its quad engine, dual body plane, White KnightTwo, which launches an eight seater reusable spacecraft, SpaceShipTwo, from between its wings. At the end on 2018, Virgin launched SpaceShipTwo into sub-orbit with passengers in it for the first time, starting its era of space tourism (only $250,000 a pop!). Virgin’s second branch, Virgin Orbit, plans to launch smaller, lighter cargo rockets from the wing of a 747. Although this is only in prototype stage, it still works and will be somewhat revolutionary, as this is a less expensive way to launch a rocket, by around $70,000,000    Blue Origin, a space flight company run by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, specializes in suborbital rockets. The first rocket is New Shepard, named after one of the first American astronauts, Alan Shepard. It is nearing the end of its testing stage, and will soon not only carry experiments, but humans. Just like Virgin and SpaceX, the New Shepard is reusable. Blue Origin has a second rocket, although only on paper.They have designed the New Glenn, named after famed astronaut John Glenn. The New Glenn is a is a two stage, 31 story rocket with nine engines. Although it has not yet been built, it has already secured national security contracts and others in the private sector, most likely because it has two times as much storage then any other rocket on the market.     ULA is an acronym for United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between national security contractors Boeing and Lockheed Martin space divisions. They hold the other half of the United States space contracts. They are producers of the Atlas family, and the Delta family, both of which are cargo rockets. ULA is also working on the starliner, a replacement for the cargo pod atop the Atlas 5, so the Atlas  can launch astronauts, and is expected to start ferrying astronauts to the ISS this year, limiting our dependence on Russia’s Soyuz for transportation.

Photo Gallery

The Falcon 9 illuminated at its Vandenberg, CA launchpad.

An under view of Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo, with SpaceShipTwo underneath.

Virgin Orbit’s 747-400 with the LauncherOne attached.

New Shepard illuminated at night at its west Texas launch site.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard flight path. The Karman line is defined as the start of space and you can earn US astronaut wings if you go above it.

Blue Origin’s New Glenn Rocket, as compared to a human (Which is the tiny grey spec in the bottom right corner).

A ULA Delta IV heavy taking off in California

A ULA Delta IV on the launch pad

A ULA Atlas 5 approaching the launch pad. This launch is carrying the Mars probe Curiosity.

Black Holes: Yin and Yang

By Smaran

In every end there is a beginning. For every beginning there is an end. When life is take away, life is also given. We all know that the standard black hole devours and destroys and it is the end of all things. We know that once something enters the gravitational field and has passed the point of no return, kaput. But what if i told you that a black hole actually could give life. When you think about it while factoring in the information and evidence, it starts to piece together so just here me out. The incredibly immense gravitational pull of the black hole – what we call its tidal force, the same force that the Moon exerts to cause the ocean tides (only on a much larger scale) – will tear the star apart, and devour, or accrete, the remains. But if the star is a white dwarf, the evolutionary endpoint of low- to middle-mass stars like our Sun, something interesting can happen. In these white dwarves, hydrogen fusion has already come to a halt before they get gobbled up. But as the black hole’s tidal forces simultaneously stretches and compresses the star in opposing directions in what is called a tidal disruption event, the compression can actually reignite fusion in the star’s core, even if just for a few seconds, according to new simulations. The destroyer of worlds instead feeds the spark of life.

But here’s the catch: this can only happen if it’s an intermediate mass black hole. For some reason, those seem to be missing from the Universe. There are two categories of black holes in the Universe. There are your regular stellar-mass black holes, typically below around 100 times the mass of the Sun. These are the ones whose collisions are responsible for gravitational wave observations. Then there are the supermassive black holes, ranging from a lower limit of  around 100,000 solar masses, but ranging up to millions or billions of solar masses. Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, is about 4 million solar masses. But the problem is that neither stellar-mass nor supermassive black holes will produce the white dwarf resurrection effect. It is basically as Goldilocks being the dwarf star and the little bear’s stuff being the teenage black holes. A stellar-mass black hole is quite physically small, which means that initially the white dwarf will engulf it; and a supermassive black hole’s tidal forces are so strong that the star will fall into it before it can be disrupted. Only the teenage sized black holes provide just enough leeway for the process to happen.

But for the sake of the article, lets just say that it actually happened. If a white dwarf was to be swallowed by an intermediate mass black hole, the reignited nuclear fusion can convert the typical white dwarf composition of helium, carbon, and oxygen into heavier elements such as iron and calcium. Simulations show that, when the white dwarf is a little farther away from the black hole, more calcium is produced; but when it’s closer, more iron is produced. Since not all of the star ends up devoured by the black hole, these elements can then be blown out into space, where eventually they’ll be incorporated into new stars. So it is basically a win win for both the black hole because it is getting more food and for the universe because it just had a couple of new stars born.

And you can make your own star for the low low price of your soul, Mc. Scrooge’s bank account (Duck Tales), and the Eye of Vishnu. If you give me that then with a little compression here, a time machine there, a white dwarf over there, and a whole lot of matter all the way over there (I don’t know why we need matter but what’s the matter with you), you will make your own little star! Batteries not included.

Like how for every beginning there is an end, this is the end of this article and this series, and thank you for reading the black holes series. If you have any ideas, please ask this email account, and no it is not my real name and my actual account.

Black Holes: Introduction

By Smaran

Black holes, a bundle of information that no one can read. They shatter what was regular physics and create a whole new dimension. What is a black hole? Black holes are naturally formed when the largest stars, those with more than 20 times the mass of the Sun, collapse violently and explode. Here the density of matter is so high, the escape velocity exceeds the speed of light.

Think of it this way, space is a blanket held taut and the objects in space make divots in it depending on the mass of the object. The larger the object’s mass, the bigger the divot. A black hole makes a divot so deep that the speed that you need to escape the black holes is faster than the speed of light, which the speed of light itself is impossible (speed of light: 299,792,458 m/s).

Scientists can find black holes by seeing warped light. Around a black hole, light is warped because of the black hole’s gravitational pull, which is kind of obvious. Also, when they pass between you and another object you can see the space distortion and a red aura if the black hole is eating something. They even give of the radiation in the ultraviolet spectrum. But the most noticeable act of a black hole is when the overload and spit out lots of energy that can strip planets and maybe even whole solar systems of their life and each of their planet’s atmosphere.

If you are scared about black holes and think that no one will ever remember you if you’ve sucked into one, don’t worry because your image will always be on the surface/ event horizon of the black hole and everyone who is unfortunate enough to come that close to a black hole will see it thanks to the magic of time dilation. If you think that your image will fade away then don’t because through the magic of time dilation your image will stay there and just redden one tint per eternity for the low low price of you dying to a black hole. The only thing you should fear from a black hole is the agonizing pain of your body stretching as it gets stretched until it is one atom thin, but it all happens in a flash for you but the viewer never sees it happen through the magic of time dilation for the low low price of you dying to a black hole.