Origins of the Universe

11th Grade Humanities/Biology

 

Studying our Origins through Mythology and Science

 

This semester, our project focused around the essential questions, “Where do we come from? How do borders/barriers (physical/symbolic) affect our lives?” and “How does language affect our interaction with the world around us?” 

 

(The picture on my left is one of the three papercut silhouettes that were made in order to illustrate various themes of the stories we submitted for the final book.

This project had three main deliverables: a memoir, argumentative paper, and an origin story (a story/myth as to how the world came to be).

 

We began by writing a memoir that addressed one of the essential questions, and I wrote mine about the borders I face as a runner and track athlete, which range from my over emotional personality, constant injuries, and just the mere fact that I can't always be the best. While autobiographies typically aim to retell the entire life of an author, a memoir serves to share a certain chunk or part instead, but add very vivid details that should give a reader a clear understanding of the different senses and feelings they were experiencing at the time of the memoir's occurences.

 

The final draft of my memoir is attached on the right. If you cannot view the document, click this link to view instead:

http://tinyurl.com/originsbordersmemoirfinal

I spent the rest of the semester conducting research and writing about the topic of continental drift. We started out by visiting the Creationist Museum and hearing their theories as to how the world came to be the way it is. We were then assigned a specific topic and were instructed to write an argumentative paper where we argued in favor of the scientific explanation as to how that particular thing came to be. My topic was continental drift. Creationists believe that the reason for this was that there was because of a giant flood caused by God in order to rid the world of sin. Earthquakes apparently opened up the crust, which caused water to shoot out from between the cracks. I argued against this by saying there is no observable evidence that a flood did in fact occur, but there is evidence of continental drift due to tectonic plates. There are three different types of tectonic plates (divergent, which are those that move away from each other, convergent, which are those that collide and move in the direction of each other, and transform, which are those that move sideways), and there is evidence to support the claims of each, such as faults and trenches.

 

I have attached my final argumentative essay on the right. If you cannot view, click the link to view instead: 

http://tinyurl.com/originsargumentativefinal

After writing our argumentative papers, we wrote original origin stories about our topics. We started off by reading origin stories from Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics, and used them as inspiration to write our own. I wrote about Hector, the evil god of anger and greed, who was confined to a lifetime sentence underneath the earth’s crust. He grew lonely down there, and one day, as he trudged through the underground gold mines, his eyes fell on a beautiful girl touring the mines with her boyfriend, and he immediately fell in love. He kidnapped her and shook the ground in order to shake her boyfriend and other tourists out of the mine, but the girlfriend begs to see her boyfriend one last time. When summoned, he reveals the news that the shaking caused Pangea (the supercontinent) to split, and Hector, realizing the girl will never loves him, decides to place her on one continent and her boyfriend on the other so that they can never be together, and if they fly or travel to see each other there will be a world ending apocalypse, and every time they long for each other, he will cause an earthquake to remind them of what will happen if they act based on their heart rather than head.

 

I have attached the final draft of my origin story on the right. If you cannot view the document, clink on this link to view instead:

http://tinyurl.com/originsstoryheavenfinal

I created three paper cutting pieces to illustrate scenes from my origin story. The one on the left is of Hector’s hand holding a piece of gold, which signalizes his hunger for greed. The one in the middle is of the beach, which is what Hector sees when he looks into the girl’s eyes. The one on the right is of the girl and her boyfriend standing on their new respective continents reaching for each other as they shift away.

 

(The picture on the right is of me helping set up our exhibition space, the Downtown library. In this specific picture, I am putting things on the back of the silhouettes that would help stick them to the wall.)

I learned a lot during this project, which is technically typical after completing any project anyways, but what made this project different was that I still learned many things outside of doing the project. I've come to realize that in the past, especially with joint Humanities/science classes, the project will take over all the class work and lessons, and we won't get to learn much else on the side that doesn't relate to our project topic. This time around however, Jesse, my biology teacher, did an incredible job of not only having us do a separate science project on the side, but making sure that she still taught us a ton of traditional biology, which I strongly appreciate. I also like how Paul, my Humanities teacher, split up the different writing assignments and helped improve our argumentative writing, research, autobiogrphy writing, and original story creation skills through the project, as well as having us read, analyze, learn vocabulary rootsm and become well-informed intellects through different activities on the side. 

 

Something I'm proud of, even though it's rather miniscule in the grand scheme of things, is my argumentative paper. I'm usually not very good at writing those, and I've gotten pretty unsatisfactory grades on them in the past. This time around I did a lot of research prior to drafting, and made sure to sit at quiet corners during classtime so that I wouldn't be distracted. I wrote a detailed outline to assist me, and I made sure to have all of my teachers, as well as numerous peers, edit my paper a plethora of times. I was very satisfied with my final grade of 99%, because it is very important for me to write good arguments since I want to go into the field of law.