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My Letter to Hillary

Dear Hillary Clinton,
My name is Elena, and I am 12 years old. I currently live in California, and am in the seventh grade. I have been a tremendous fan of yours since 2008 when you ran against President Obama in the Primary Election. My parents would gather the family, (then just my Mother, Father and I) and sit in front of a very old antenna TV to watch the Democratic debates and convention. I’d like to think that I, only 4 years old at the time, would speak with them intelligently about the political issues being addressed among the candidates, but it was not so. I barely understood what half your words meant, much less the importance of the event taking place on the screen. It all sounded awfully boring to four year old me, but I didn’t care. I liked to watch. Why? Because I thought you were great. Of course, I didn’t understand how great at the time, but pretty great. Great enough for me to sit at the table and draw detailed pictures of you in your orange pantsuit.



Now fast forwa…

The Day After

It was hard to wake up to the news this morning that America chose Donald Trump instead of Hillary Clinton. We did have a few bright spots, though:

1- Nevada turned blue.

2- Nevada elected the first Latina senator, Catherine Cortez Masto

3- We elected some great new women senators: Kamala Harris from California, Tammy Duckworth, Illinois and hopefully Maggie Hassan from New Hampshire. Maybe one of them will become president one day?!?

Maybe there's hope because if you look at this map on how young people voted, it is clear that they would have given us a different president.









Here we are at the beginning of the evening when we still thought Hillary's path to the White House would look like this:






Imagine if we didn't have the Electoral College. Hillary Clinton (like Al Gore in 2000) would be our president because she won the popular vote by more than 200,000 votes (and counting). Maybe it's time to consider whether we should have an Electoral College.


Sidebar: Our favor…

Crossing State Lines

We are so proud to be part of a large group of volunteers who came from places outside of Nevada to help the local Democrats get out the vote. As we compared notes with other volunteers, we started asking them why they came. Why did they take time away from work and their regular lives? The answers were always heartfelt and very moving.

For example, Leland from Alameda (a gay activist) and Pat from Grass Valley, CA met when they were working in Ohio in October to help with early voting. They became good friends and now are here in Reno together doing what they can to help. Pat remembers seeing John F. Kennedy speak and Leland remembers working for the 1972 Democratic candidate, George McGovern.

We've met so many interesting people who came to Reno to work on the campaign. One of the teams we met was a mother, Jacqueline, and her daughter, Ashley, who are both from Sacramento. They have worked together in swing states since Obama first ran 8 years ago. Ashley has become a community…

Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover

Day two of campaign canvassing was interesting. Why? Because we learned that looks can be deceiving. When we went door to door, we tried to imagine who would answer and how they might respond. At this one door, we were a bit anxious that maybe we had knocked on a Trump supporter's door.  There was loud music, the smell of cigarette smoking, and we could hear lots of men laughing inside. A bearded guy with a shaved head and a lit cigarette and baseball cap came to the door. As we introduced ourselves in the most polite way possible, we cautiously asked if he supported Hillary's campaign. To our surprise, he said that he was a BIG Hillary fan and that the other guy was an idiot. I think we were totally surprised. He went on to say that Trump did not respect people and that respect was really important to him. His stepson was our age and seemed very pleased that his stepfather was talking about his values in this way.

After we left him, we both admitted that we were totally shock…

And the Job Begins!

It's a weekend day and ordinarily it would be filled with soccer games, family parties and chores, but our job this weekend is to help get out the vote to put Hillary Clinton in the White House. So we head to Reno, Nevada from CA because NV is a swing state with 6 electoral votes at stake.

Little did we know that the very afternoon we we were arriving in Reno, Donald Trump was as well. How did we know? Well, we encountered a very proud Trump supporter with a t-shirt that said "Build the Wall, Trump." He then proceeded to tell us that Hillary Clinton didn't do anything as Attorney General and the conversation went downhill from there. His own mother had to correct him (as we did) that Hillary wasn't Attorney General but Secretary of State.  His mother was a Hillary supporter and she told us her son "didn't know anything" and that we should ignore him. He got even more in our faces, so we decided to take the high road as Michelle Obama has suggested i…

Candidate Evaluation

When Donald Trump first started campaigning for President, we all laughed. My 7-year old brother even perfected a hilarious impersonation of the Donald based on Trump's many speeches about his beautiful border wall.
But now that Trump is the Republican nominee, we are more worried than amused. My little brother even asked my immigrant parents whether Trump would deport us to Mexico or Ireland! 

I am far too young to vote and am glad Paulina and I can go to Nevada and try to make a difference there. 
I am excited to help elect our country's first female president, Hillary Clinton. Paulina and I researched both candidates' positions on several issues we care about and it reinforced our commitment to help Clinton win. 

Here's what we found in our research:

1) Who is their running mate? TrumpClinton  Mike Pence  Tim Kaine
2) What job did they have right before running in the elecion?
TrumpClinton  Founder of Trump Enterprise     Secretary of State
3) In the following section you wi…

Elena and Paulina's Excellent Adventure: Election 2016

I'm excited to introduce my friend Paulina to my blog. She and I are very big supporters of Hillary Clinton and we are going to Reno, Nevada to help get votes for her. We would be very proud if Hillary became our first woman president.

We leave with the hope that she will be elected.  We know it is important to have as many of her supporters vote as possible.

This is us, before we leave for Nevada:
In preparation for the trip, we looked at the different opinions between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump so that we could answer questions if an undecided voter asked why we are supporting Hillary Clinton.

We watched videos, did research and made a comparison chart on how they differed. See more nonpartisan information here: http://presidential-candidates.insidegov.com/compare/40-70/Hillary-Clinton-vs-Donald-Trump

Next blog, we will share our chart based on information that we found from trusted sources.

Kodu Engine Game Design

Yeah, video games are cool: Buying them, playing them, talking about them... But you know what's even cooler? Making a video game. Designing, building, advertising, and everything else.  In STEAM class we recently designed and produced our own video games using a game engine called Kodu Game Lab. With Kodu, we could easily work on our games using a simple and reliable method.

Let me tell you a little about Kodu Game Lab. Kodu is an application for windows PC's that you can use to create and edit your very own video game. The engine uses a block-like learning structure, making it easy for users to drag and place commands, instead of typing them.  There are also some customization features, such as land forms and colour preferences. Kodu Game Lab also comes equip with premaid characters for users to program. This kind of product is aimed at children or students, but if you have never coded before, it's a great way to learn the basics.

To design our game, my partner and I ske…

Rube Goldberg Reflection

The ball moves down the ramp. It makes a swirling sound as it moves through the funnel.  The dominoes tumble over each other in an orderly fashion. The last one pushes the car. The car spins through the scale. The pin rolls over... and BOOM!! The balloon pops. What causes this chain reaction? It's called a Rube Goldberg Machine, or in simpler words, a series of events that provoke something even bigger; like the example we just had, the ramp, the funnel, the dominoes,.. they all worked together to make the ballon pop. These series of events are called simple machines, which are several working manuevers (in this case 6) each assigned to complete a different simple task. The impact of one is not great, but together, they can cause an expolsion.

Here are the six simple machines:

Wheel/Axle: Used to carry around heavy mass with less effort

Pulley: Uses wheel and rope to raise, move, raise, and lower a load

Lever: A rod balanced on a fixed point that can move more wheight effortlessly

LED Fashion Show

Have you ever been to an LED fashion show? We actually just completed one in our STEAM class, and it's pretty awesome. You go into a pitch black room, with a catwalk surrounded with white lights (so that the participants can see where they're going). Then loud music comes up, and you see these bright lights moving down the runway, outlining clothing, or swords, or accessories. It looks amazing, but it's not that easy to pull off. It takes a while, and whole lot of effort.  Honestly, this project was very frustrating at times. The connection between my wires was constantly breaking and I had to start all over a couple times! But in the end, it was all worth it.
---Here's how to make your very own LED light-ups--- The first step is making a sketch or an outline of your design, including measurements for the wires you're hoping to attach onto your clothing etc. Then, you must sew or tape the wires onto their designated place on your design. Once you're finished wi…

LED Light-up Cards

I recently finished the holiday LED project where we created holiday cards containing small LED lights connected to circuits made of copper tape. First, you created image or pattern design using paper scraps on the front of your card. Then, you make a plan for the circuits. Your circuit design must be thoroughly thought through in order for the lights to work. The type of circuit you must build is called a ladder, because the LED wires look  like steps of a ladder, placed on the two main beams on either side of the circuit (made of copper tape).
After that you solder metal onto the breaks in the copper and use the melted metal to stick the LED wires onto the copper tape as well. And then, after adding a coin battery and ending the circuits, your card should be all set. I think I learned a lot about circuits and engineering in this project. If I could change anything about it though, I think I would have a more organized way of building the cards. During the project there were people …