My name is Valentina Flechas, and I am part of the group which is made up by two other students. Initially that included Thomas pichon and Justine Destailleur, however, du to the departure of Justine Destailleur, she was replaced by Hélycia Chansavang. I am in the same class as my co-students which is: European maths which is equivalent to first year of A-levels in the UK. We prepared our TPE project based on the theme Biomimicry that concerns these following subjects: Science of life and physics. To study this subject we chose to exploit the construction of the stadium l’Estadio Ciudad de La Plata in Argentina. My co-students and I decided to answer the following problems: Is this structure indeed sturdier than another stadium and if so how?
From the start I wanted to study Biomimicry, but the final decision was a group decision. I personally based and made my choice, because I consider this subject to be very interesting. I initially did not know a great deal about the subject, so it was a great opportunity to discover it. Finally, what confirmed my choice was that it is very accessible in terms of knowledge: it is not to complex that it becomes out of reach; and it inspired me, so I quickly had a couple of ideas for our project.
I started my research right after the first session, even if it was simply to be comfortable in terms of my own knowledge. A lot of my research was done during school hours but mostly out of school. The difficulty I mainly encountered was sorting out all the information, because there is a lot about the properties of the spider silk and very little about its structure. I started writing the content of our TPE bit by bit as did Hélycia to try and gain more time, this was all originally done in English, we only decided later on to add French as a language. For our experiments, I started off by choosing the material to be used to create our webs. Shortly afterwards we decided what experiments we wanted to do including the patterns we wanted to test. From that point forward, everything was planned. Quite late on I chose a website as our way of presenting our project, because it is something I have always wanted to try.
This project has first of all permitted me to develop my ability to adapt to different situations, but also improved my communication skills. I have learnt new skills, like, how to create a website and how to adapt in different languages (French and English.)
In our TPE project, I did question my way of proceeding, which lead us to share out the work more evenly and advance more rapidly. We did in fact, encounter a few problems that lead us to a disadvantage at the start of our assignment. As I mentioned above, my original partner which was also my friend abruptly left the school without any warning, taking along with her big part of our work. However, she was fairly quickly replaced by my new partner Hélycia Chansavang who as adapted very quickly considering that she came from a different field. The second problem was our experiments. Once we had created our initial spider webs, we realized that they may not be totally reliable. So, we chose to re-make all of them as well as our experiments to get better results even if that meant sacrificing a lot more time. We also changed our problematic slightly, half way through the project as we wanted to expand our view. Instead of only studying the spider web structure including exploiting different reasons why the stadium L’Estadio Ciudad de La Plata is, or could be more solid than another. I believe that I invested myself into our project and lost time was made up quite well given the conditions. My co-students and I handled what came to us.
To answer our problematic, first of all we chose to discuss: what is the spider web’s structure? Why is it different, and potentially more efficient? So, this part concerned mostly Life Science. Then we tested the resistance of the spider web compared to other patterns as well as analysing the materials used on the stadium, to check if it has any influence on the stability of L’Estadio Ciudad de La Plata. So, this is the part that integrates physics.
I think, that the stadium is indeed more solid than another, partially because of the structure they chose, but also because of many other reasons. We chose to explore the materials used, but there could be other reasons, such as the position which has a favourable climate.
To conclude I am satisfied with our final project. I feel as though we have accomplished what we aimed for. Firstly, I would like to thank the teachers that helped us during this project, and for being the critical eyes that helped us be more objective about our own work: Mr Nassiet and Mrs Rossignol and not forgetting my co-students Thomas Pichon and Hélycia Chansavang. I thank you for being very understanding, hardworking and a great team.