Spencer Ress, GBP Student
As one of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston has many neighborhoods rooted in rich history. Each of its neighborhoods have possessed unique and distinctive characteristics, as people from all over the world have came to Boston to foster and cherish their respective cultures in it. Through this great history, Boston has sustained its vibrant neighborhoods, which is evidenced in the highly-diverse and energetic populations that make up each part of Boston. With all this in mind, it is no surprise that GBP has asked us to look more into these neighborhoods with our latest major assignment - the Neighborhood Project. In pairs and trios, we’ve been assigned the task of creating an infographic that depicts information about the history and development from the 1950s to today of a certain neighborhood in Boston. A list of neighborhoods in Boston was presented to each group to pick from and observe. My group happens to be a trio, including fellow classmates, Michael Dateo and Vinny Troung, and we ended up choosing Beacon Hill to investigate.
A couple days into the project, we have commenced preliminary research on our neighborhood, having already found many basic current statistics. Many of these happen to be demographic statistics, which relate to race, gender, income, housing, etc. Michael and Vinny have also found some statistics, but I have mostly been responsible for this part of the assignment. For this reason, Michael and Vinny have mostly conducted research to find stories/developments related to Beacon Hill in contemporary news as well as past news. I will also look to find more demographic statistics from the past. As far as the infographic, I have started the formulation of one in the program, known as Piktochart. A small amount of progress has been achieved so far, as the overall theme and fonts have been chosen for the infographic and some basic information has been put in. As seen in this project as well as many others we have done this year, is the unique opportunity to practice skills that will be needed for college and the application of the real working world.
As three of many great skills we learn in GBP, this project allows us to practice visual communication, collaboration, and MSA skills. In regards to visual communication, this skill will be vital for things most likely such as presentations in college and business meetings beyond that. It is very important that pieces of visual communication such as power points, should be enticing and compelling to drive your main points you wish to convey in your dialogue. Along with visual communication, collaboration will also be important obviously. I would say this is the central and most important goal in GBP, as it will be a core practice in anything we do beyond high school. Whether in small or big groups, it will be critical to have the ability of communicating individual roles, decision making, feedback, evaluation of group progress or quality of product, and dynamics. If all of this can be achieved, only then will it be possible to successfully complete a variety of task in any subject. Lastly, this project will benefit our ability to model and do analysis of statistics in the future. As a core element in mathematics, perhaps any future job or internship I take on, may require me to break down statistical data to obtain key information and insight.
Jill Montesano, GBP Student
It is no doubt that surveys help others learn more about a specific group of people, whether marketers are trying to find the hottest trends, schools are trying to learn more about students’ drug use habits, or researchers are trying to understand if people's sleeping habits have any correlation with their late night device use. Surveys can be interesting, informational, and helpful for researchers and the people reading about the studies done.
What people often overlook about surveys is creating and analyzing one requires a thoughtful process. Surveys are created not only to be helpful and fun but also to find a trend or correlation of two factors. It is important when a survey is complete to take the time to compare answers which usually means creating graphs and drawing a conclusions from them. Surveys also have to be clear and direct with the audience, and have to be created based around who is going to be surveyed. There are many factors that go into making surveys and with our class activity we got some practice with creating successful surveys.
Peter Hood, GBP Student
As soon as I walked into room 728 on the 21st of October, I knew it was going to be a monumental day in my high school career. I finally got to combine my two loves for math and the Earth into one class activity. In preparation for this once in a lifetime activity, I went right home from school the night before and studied up on the whole operation behind Solarize Needham on solarizeneedham.org. I also dug through my AP Statistics notebook in order to be absolutely prepared to conquer any given math thrown my way by the math legend himself: Mr. O.
The main idea behind the big push for Solarize Needham is, “In addition to significantly saving money on your utility bill you will be helping your community’s local economy, promoting the use of sustainable energy and helping the planet reduce it’s overall carbon footprint!” (solarizeneedham.org). Our main goal in class was to explore the cultural change and subsequent paradigm shift that has influenced the Solarize Needham initiative.
After we were fatefully directed into our working teams based on the shapes on our grouping cards, all of us students were immediately engaged in the classwork, starting to converse about the perks of “Solarizing Needham.” Our conversations started to lead to overall ideas about cultural change regarding going solar. It seems that the big push for going solar is happening with everyone trying to “save the planet” and “be green;” it’s kind of become a sin nowadays to not be environmentally friendly. I think Needham, in particular, wants other towns around us to see that we are taking the effort to saving a lot of energy. Being energy proficient has started to become a fashionable thing, and Needham is no exception!
Once we finished discussing our initial ideas in class, I finally had the opportunity to put my math skills to the test. Comparing percentages of single family homes who solarized and average family incomes for all of the towns, we were able to compare data and analyze data (two of my favorite things). We ended up finding things like the z-score (observation-mean/standard deviation), and regression of the different towns that are trying to solarize. We had to find these factors in order to analyze and interpret the data correctly. We chose to examine the percentage of single family homes with solar power with average family income because we expected that the higher the average income of families, the higher percentage of single family homes with solar power would be likely. After calculations, we concluded that there was no correlation between income and percentage of single family homes with solar power.
This was surprising to me: if people had the money to pay for solar power, why were they participating just as much as families with a lower income? I think Solarize Needham is a great way of saving energy and money, benefiting our community here as a whole. It really pains me to see a lack of people participating in it. Families with a higher income see solar power as a necessary process to take on if they could just pay their regular electrical bills with no problem. On the other hand, families with lower income aren’t able to pay for this adaption to society. This interesting day in GBP really strengthened my belief in going solar overall. I believe that saving energy and money would be two things I would take pride in once I become a homeowner myself. In about ten years you will find me lounging on the balcony of my mansion, overlooking my gorgeous solar panels lighting up my roof.
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