Personal Project Report

Here is my personal project report. I spent lots of time working on it.

Personal Project Information:

Personal Project Report Writing Guideline:

 My Personal Project Product:

My Personal Project Movie:

Personal Project

Name: Adam Hsieh (Cheng-Han Hsieh)

Title of the project:

How to measure the distance to star: for the example of measuring the distance between Earth and sun.

Word Count: 3461 words


Sinarmas World Academy


The topic of my personal project is a science paper, and it is about finding the distance from Earth to star. In this topic I changed the focus a little bit. At first I was finding the distance between Earth and stars, and after I did more research and also set up the interviews, I found out I am lack of equipment and there are too much factors need to be add in order to find the distance. For example, the universe is expanding, the space is twisted by gravity…etc. It’s hard to find the distance that is millions of light years away, so I decided to focus on the closest star, the sun. I choose this topic because first of all I am interested in science and this is the part that I am comfortable with. When I was young I was always interested about the stars in the sky and wondering how far is star up in the sky? The interest pushes me to try to solve this question by myself, and after I did the research I was asking could I find the distance between the Earth and the sun by creating my own way? For the first time I decided to take this big challenge! I focused on the Human Ingenuity for my Area of interaction, because in this project I am going to show others that the method I create and also increase the   public general knowledge of the universe. Not only that I am even going to show the others the creative thinking in science.


My goals are to create a science paper that shows all the steps of my process finding the distance to stars. Not only that I am going to have a presentation to show others what I found during the process of the personal project. In this project I also made some experiments to find the distance to stars. My specifications for success are to finish a science paper, which contain three methods to find the stars that are created by myself. Not only that, the paper should show the results compare, and also limitations of my paper. In my process journal I also want to contain personal challenge reflection sheet and personal evaluation. At last, I am going to have a presentation to show others what have I learned and what have I created for my personal project.


In my personal project I am going to evaluate my product in many stages. They are the investigate stage which include the evaluation of the reliable of the sources, which should I improve in selecting the sources. The second stage is the planning of my paper, does it detailed enough and does the process followed my plan or why? The third stage is the process journal; I want the process journal to include the personal reflection sheet and also some relevant ideas or sources. The forth stage is the science paper itself. The paper should include how I get the data, how I do the experiment and show the whole process in a neat and clear way, and follows the formal science papers’ form. The fifth stage is about following the AOI, do I make connections between the paper and the AOI. The sixth stage is about the presentation, how can I make the easiest and most effective way to express my knowledge in my paper to others? And how can I increase the public awareness and interest of the topic?




By doing this project I need to do a lot of research and each research are mostly very valuable to me. In this project I did a lot of Internet research. I read the online science paper that is written by a grade 11 student for the science fair. This online paper helped me a lot in organized my own paper. I did the research about the online BBC newspaper to find out the latest information of the science development. In the newspaper I found out that the research center CERN’s experiment results show particles exceeded the speed of light. This news would threaten my science paper, because once the light is proven not the fastest, the whole physics would change. I also read two books that were borrowed from the school library. These two books are about the eyes and optics. Many online research are not very organized and they are often pieces of information and not relevant of my project. The Newton Science magazine is the biggest help of my project. In the Newton Science magazine I gained huge amount of information and this is even much more than all the websites combine. I learned many basic ideas of the universe, for example the speed of the universe is expanding faster and faster, the space would be twisted by gravity, the theories of space, and even some methods to find the stars. I watched some videos from YouTube to find out more for my project and maybe increase my understanding by watching visuals, but I found out the information I found on those videos are reaped in the magazines.


In the total of four sources were used during the process, they are books, interviews, online research, magazines. The online research includes online news article, online science paper, online articles and online videos.  For my science paper, I think the most important source for me is the online articles, and also the Newton Science Magazine. These two sources contained the most information, which are relevant to my topic. The problems of the Internet sources are many of them don’t have clear references for me to cite. This make the sources contains the danger of the reliable of the information. For example, the famous Wikipedia do not contain the “Writers’ information” about the article. The writer’s information is very important to this project, because the reliable of the information would depends on the writer. Is the writer professional about the topic is the main concern of the online sources. Another most important sources for me are the Newton Science Magazine is the most organized source I have. All the articles are well written by professionals like the professors and has been translated into Chinese, which is easier for me to understand. There is no need to worry about the reliable of the source. It is organized, relevant, reliable, contains lots of information, so the Newton Science Magazine is the best source I got during the process. Other sources also played an important role in my project. The two interviews were very reliable and there were also much information learned from the math teacher. The information I learned is all linked to the Human Ingenuity and the information helps me to think creatively to create my own way to find the distance to the star.



I have used all the sources effectively. In this project I also set up two interviews. The first interview took place in my research stage, and in that interview I told my math teacher about my ideas of the project and showed him about the first method by using Kepler’s Law to find the distance. I also asked the math teacher if we could have a chance to go to the observatory in Bandung for the Astronomy Club (After School Program). Sadly, because the members are not enough, I lost the chance of visiting the observatory, which would be very important for this project, and the Astronomy Club is canceled. In this interview, the math teacher said that I don’t have enough equipment to find the distance and he wanted me to change the topic. After the first interview, depressions were created and I almost give up the topic. I decided to go back to the research stage. I did a lot of online research in this period, but this doesn’t help much. I decided to change the topic into Green Building that might be easier and has a design cycle to fellow. Until I found the “Math Paper” I did in North Jakarta International School. The math project had given me a lot of inspiration and I regained my confidence about the paper. The math paper is about finding the size of the image you see if you know the length and distance of the object. My idea is why don’t I work backward? Using the size of the image I see and the length of the object to find the distance! After I came up with this idea I started to design experiments and tried to find out the solution of the math project that I never finished.


The use of technology tools to help me to graph and also analyze the data I collected. This part doesn’t need research because it is about how I analyze the data. When I was making the first method of finding the distance to star, I setup the second interview with my math teacher. The second interview is mostly about the questions and the limitations of my method.  The math teacher told me to do more research about the optics because there might be some limitations of human eyes. The two interviews played an important role in “Guide” me through my personal project. The math teacher gave me the ideas of what should I research more by asking more questions of my project.


The online news article is used for writing the process journal about how the news might effect on my project. I used the online science paper for a sample to organize my paper better. Some of the online articles helped me to gain more knowledge to create ideas. For example, I used the information of articles of “Orbital Inclination”, “Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion”, “Inclination” in Wikipedia, the “Venus Fact Sheet”, “Sun Fact Sheet”, and “Earth Fact Sheet” from NASA to be the data of my calculation. The article of “Inclination” help me developed a new hypothesis of the position of the planets in the solar system, and that hypothesis had developed into one of my method created to find the distance to stars. In the Newton Science Magazine, there is an article talking about force, and in the magazine I learned all kind of force in the Universe and that information also gave me an inspiration of another hypothesis to find the distance. I can use the force to come up with a new method which is based on the Centrifugal force of the Earth should be same as the Gravity force between the sun and the Earth.


The two books were the most useless for my project. The two books about the optics do not contain enough information to solve the limitation of the eyes measuring, and this resulted the error of the first method in my paper. The way I complete my science paper was step by step, and each methods of measuring the distance to the star are all based on the each information I got. Think creatively is not easy, by creating the science paper that is related to the Human Ingenuity, I need to have a huge research. In this project, the research stage does not end while I started to create the paper. I researched while making the paper, so I can keep getting new information and using it to improve or create new methods to find the distance between the Earth and the star.


In my first stage of Investigation I think I did a great job. Most of my sources are reliable, but not all are relevant. In my investigation stage, Internet source were top used, and many of them are from Wikipedia. However for a science paper, Wikipedia’s source is not acceptable and it is because the sources is not most contribute from an expert of that issue. This is also the main problem of many Internet sources; I can’t make sure that the sources in the Internet are reliable. The only way I think I can improve on this is to use more information from professional websites like NASA and other observatories, which I did for collecting some of the data for my paper.  Many other sources, like all videos, the two books are actually useless at all, the information are repeated and many of them are not even relevant at all. In all my sources, interviews and magazines are most useful; I got most of the reliable sources and information from those two and also my Grade 8 math project. The two interviews played an important role of guiding me through the project, there are times when I was giving up, and the interview with the math teacher gave me courage and more confidence by telling the problems of my hypothesis and what should I improve on and how should I start. Without the two interviews I might give up the topic and I would never have a chance of finishing this paper. The Newton Science magazines are very useful for my project and also the most reliable in all my investigation resources. The information gave me the ideas and helped me to develop new hypothesis for the paper. The math project that I did in Grade 8 also contains some information about the experiment that I decided to use in this project. So far I considered my investigation Stage is successful and I would give myself eight out of ten.


The second stage is the planning of my paper. In the planning stage my plan is very detailed and also reasonable, but however things changed during my project. In my planning I only planed to create two methods for the paper, and I should spent most of the time on the first method that is about the experiment of eye optics. I should also research on the expanding universe and add the factor to my calculation in the first method. However, when I was calculating my first method, I was surprised that this can be solved in a very simple way, and after I researched about the expanding universe, I found out it does not had any effect on my calculation at all, and it is because of the gravity is preventing the closed planets from getting away! These two surprises information had made my paper more successful than planned. Lots of time were reduced by finding out these two facts and I even have a time to researched more and create my third method of finding the distance between the Earth and sun! I am going to give ten out of ten for my planning stage.


The third stage of my evaluation is the process journals. This stage is one of the most successful stages I think I did. In the process journals, I have includes all the steps I have taken, all the sources, and also the evaluation. My process journals also include relevant sources like the record of the two interviews, BBC news…etc. In my process journal I recorded all the sources, ideas and all my process. I even record the time when I was depressed and almost gave up for this topic. Many ideas were record, these includes the problems I meet, the new hypothesis, relevant sources…etc. I even wrote the “Challenge Reflection Sheets” to setup ideas of what I am going to do when I meet the problems. The only thing that I think I still can improve on my process journal is I want to make it more organized, because many times I am writing the process journal for the past and catching up and that’s because I was researching and making the product at the same time. I would like to give eight out of ten for my process journal stage.


My fourth stage is the product. My product is a science paper that includes three methods to find the distance between the earth and the sun. My paper is written in a scientific way and it is neat and clear, and shows the whole process of creativity. I have cited all the sources I used for the paper, and also included my own experiment, data analyzing, results compare, and also the limitation. I have put a lot of work on my product and my product had met all the specifications I made. I would like to give my product a score of ten out of ten. My fifth stage is the reflection of the AOI link. I think I have reflects on the AOI nearly always. My AOI for my personal project is Human Ingenuity, and it is about creativity and should reflects on how ways have different of thinking. I did this very well through the process journal and the paper. In the paper I had created three different ways of finding the distance and these ways are creating by myself originally. I had applied the information I learned and then come up with new hypothesis, and then I use calculations to prove my hypothesis. In the process journal, I created “Challenge Reflection Sheets” to show that I have different ways of thinking and also the creativity of this project. This part is very successful and I would like to give ten out of ten for the fifth stage, AOI connections. The last stage of my evaluation is the presentation that I think was very successful and I’d give ten out of ten for it. To sum all up, I would gave fifty-six out of sixty for my personal project. I think I worked hard for this project and this project had been very successful according to my specifications.


By doing this personal project I had learned a lot and had a deep understanding on the topic of finding the distance of the stars. In this project I did a lot of research about the ways of finding the distance, and also research many basic understanding of the universe. Online articles, books, science magazines, interviews had increase my understanding in this topic. When I was doing the project I improved both math and science knowledge. For example, in math area I had better understanding in trigonometric and in science area I had a better understanding in astronomy. Not only that many new skills were learned in the process of the personal project. The personal project helped me developed the skill of searching in different sources better, and right now I can easily find all different kind of sources in different ways, and also select the relevant to use. Another skill I learned in the process is organizing skills. I had learned and successfully organized a formal science report and I believed the organizing skills would help me to write any type of essay and also science papers. The third skills I learned are problem-solving skill. In the process journal I created the challenge reflection sheets to help myself step-by-step solving every difficulties. I think this is the most useful skill I learned in this process. Create a method of solving problems can apply on every subjects in school and also future career. This would be very useful skill for me. The forth skill is creative thinking skills. I had more ideas in thinking now, and the project had increased my creativity in many different areas such as science, art, historical prospects…etc. Now I think things in many different ways and sometimes I also create my own way of thinking. The successful of the skill of creative thinking had developed me as a thinker in the IB profile, and this is also shows the deep understanding of the Area of Interaction.


In this project I had contain so many thoughts, ideas, and also solutions for all the problems I meet during the process of the personal project and this shows that I had think creatively in the Area of Interaction. The method of finding the distance to star is created originally and contained a range of different solutions to the topic. I used three different ways of thinking to create three methods to find the star. The three main ideas are when you find out the equation between how many percent the object’s image would decrease verses distance, you can find out the distance by substitute the length of the object and the size of the image you see into the equation. The second idea is the hypothesis of the position of the planets, and the last idea was the idea of the balance of the force. The ideas showed that I had meet and successfully demonstrate the Area of Interaction that is Human Ingenuity. At last, I believed this is the first step for me to start an in-depth research and problem solving. In the future I am going to use all what I learned and apply them to my future science career.

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