May 8, 2008


My experience in my placement was very uplifting. I found it easy to connect with the students and my teacher made that experience even easier. The students helped me realize how much diversity id in the world. I meet people from Mexico, Somalia and other parts of the world. These students were around my age and were very smart. I volunteered with students that were learning to speak English and at the same time learn diverse topics of education. In the hour that I had with them every week we went over many of the basic scientific and biological material that is taught throughout high school and some middle school. I saw them learn many things about plants, like where they come from and what classifies a plant. Many of the students found this topic interesting while others needed some help from both the teacher and I. Many of the students already knew a lot about plants and how to plant them. However, they did not know what a plant needed to survive. The first thing that they did when I started to volunteer was to plant a seed and see what it needed to survive. They did this using the scientific method. They followed all seven steps to come up with a conclusion. They also had a control group and an experimental group. The topic that they had the most trouble with was classifying animals in their specific kingdom. They learned where the scientific names of animals came from and how they derived from both classifications of kingdoms. Another thing that we did was to go to the Rapson Museum here at the university. I found it interesting that the students had so many questions that they were wondering about. The volunteer that was there giving us the tour answered all of them very well.
Throughout my days at my volunteering site I noticed many things about the way that people are taught when they come from a different country. I, myself experienced this at first hand. I was born in Colombia and left to come live here and have been here since. I knew what these kids were going through and I knew that it was rough. Although I came at a young age I still remember how hard it was to try to communicate with other people when they don’t understand your language. So during class most of the time the students that were from Somalia, talked to each other in their native language while the Mexican kids talked in Spanish to each other. The room had three Spanish native speakers and the rest were from Somalia. I noticed that sometimes the teacher had a hard time trying to communicate or maintain order in the classroom while people were talking in different languages. I think that this mixture of culture is what makes this country what it is.
There were certain students that tried to connect with me more than others. They would always ask me to sit by them or ask me questions about the handout that they were doing. Luckily I took Biology classes in high school and knew most of the answers. They would ask me questions about the scientific method or about plants. I was surprised to see how much interest these kids had on the subject at hand. They were always curious and tried to make sense of the material by connecting it to material that they had already covered. There were two or three kids that always knew what they were doing. They never asked for my help in any of the subjects that we covered.
The thing that I found the most difficult was to get to know the students in a more personal level. It was hard for me to keep up with what they were doing and to continue what we had started. They always had a new topic that they were doing when I got there every week. It was difficult for me to know how much of the material they had already covered or what they already knew.
Overall, it was a great experience. The kids were great and it was nice to teach other people what I knew. It was also fun to see these kids in the same situation that I was back when I was younger. It was a really good experience and I hope to repeat it sometime in the future. While I had already done this in the past, it was certainly a different experience to do it with people from other parts of the world and different cultures.

May 6, 2008

Critiquing Evaluations: Goal 2

This group decided to focus on Goal 2 of the UN Millennium Development Goals. They decided to focus on the build environment side of the issue. For their goal they decided to look at Somalia. They focused on how the children there could get an education that was proper, yet easy to come up with. So for their issue they decided to build a sustainable schoolhouse. The school would be delivered via freight. The panels of the school could be arraigned inside a freight container where they would be shipped off to the site. There the instructions to build the school would be readable and easy to understand. Once the school would be built, there would be an incentive to go study and children would go to the school and learn from teachers that would go there from other countries or from adults in the area.
This goal is not as realistic as the other. It would take too much money from individuals to help maintain this project up and running. It would cost too much money to buy the materials and have a company build the panels. Also it would be expensive to ship the container to the contry and have it delivered in a truck. The economical aspect of the issue is not the only problem. It would depend too much on the ability for kids from surrounding villages to go to school for this project to work out in the end. Also the teachers that would be from around the area would have to be certified in order for the students to get a good education. I think that it is a really good idea, but it is unrealistic.

Critiquing Evaluations: Goal 1

I chose to critique UN Millennium Development Goal 1 group. Their evaluations and problem solving of this issue was very well done. I think that this group did a fantastic job looking at a huge problem and coming up with a simple decision to it. This group decided to concentrate their project on the country of Bolivia. Bolivia is a country that is located in the middle of South America. This causes a huge problem for the country because it is land-locked. The country has no coast for importing or exporting goods out of the country.

The way that this group decided to fix the issue of extreme hunger in this country was to use the sources that were easily available to them and used them to their maximum extent. The main problem that the group focused on was that the poor people that need food live high up in the mountains and these areas are too rural for any reasonable transportation of food to reach them. To solve the issue the group decided to have pig farms installed in these rural communities. By doing this, the people can learn to maintain themselves and provide food for the community. I thought that this way of looking at the problem, solved it in a simple manner. There were no complicated gizmos or solutions that would cost millions of dollars to fix. Their solution was can be done. Another solution to the problem was to deliver green houses that used little electricity to run. This can help the people have more money to buy the necessary goods for survival. To build the houses, the people would build their homes out of material that could be found near the area they live. Since the poor people in this country mostly live high up in the mountains, rocks and some timber can be used to build the houses.
Overall, this group did a really good job at solving the issue at hand. They gave a really well prepared presentation and did a good job explaining what they were going to do.

April 3, 2008

Choosing a Design

I think that this design would be greatly represent our goals for the Millennium Goals research

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Water Polution.jpg

March 13, 2008

Environment Process

The magazine that influenced my layout the most was the Graphis Magazine. Especially this image
Birds.jpg PH06-10-11.jpg

When I saw this image it reminded of flight, freedom, air, rainbows, all of these things are things that are affected by the environment. I really like how the background is black and it helps the birds stand out even more. I think how the environment is affected by the human race when I saw this picture. How each bird has a tag attached to it, construing it from the life that it had before. I found myself thinking of the rainbow and seeing how pollution and harmful elements that are going up into the air affect us and every creature in the planet.
When I look that the constraints that humans gave the birds it reminds of the constraints that people have in society. The poor have to endure this the most. They have to life with the physical constraints that society gives them, such as the walls that are but up between the poor and the rich. Or the economical constraints that they have.images769-2dmumbai-2dairport-2drunway-2dslums-small.jpg

This picture shows the massive amount of pollution that is in the skyline of Los Angeles.

Another magazine that impressed me was in the cmyk magazine. This picture was drawn by Devin Soisson, a student from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He made it using a sharpie pen and some computer enhacements. It is important to see that the artist used his art to show people the amount of pollution and overpopulation that we are undergoing.

I guess that I am most interesting on how the colors impact and contrast each other. I find it that when you use the right amount of color or the right ones, you can make a masterpiece. This is how I want to set up my presentation. Use many colors.

March 3, 2008

Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water

When you look around any city no matter where you are you can distinct from one and the other. The logical way that you can do that is by knowing that you are in that certain city, but what if you didn’t know that you were in that city. The first thing that our mind sees is the recognizable objects around it to help us orient ourselves in this world. If you see the Empire State Building you can recognize that you are in New York City, if you see the Sears Tower you see that you are in Chicago, if you see the Eiffel Tower you know that you are in Paris. Even if it is the corner gas station that you go to fill up your car every time you need to. It is important to see this to relate how the build environment helps us travel and orient ourselves in this world.
Untitled.jpg From top left clockwise: Empire State Building, Sears Tower, Eiffel Tower, Shell Gas Station
We can see how cities have a sense of frameworks. Everything around you has a sense of a constant relationship. You can see this in the skylines of the cities. Every building that breaks through the horizon has a relationship to the one that is next to it. The same thing with nature, nature can help us understand how certain things have a relationship that will never change. For example, the relationship that flowers have with bees. Bees need to take the pollen from the flower and give it off to another in order for the plant to have offspring and continue on surviving.
939933827_c2e9b1c7df.jpg bogotapanoram1.jpg Skylines of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Bogota, Colombia flower_bee.jpg
We can also focus on the build environment around us as clockwork. We can see this in the Milwaukee museum of Art. Here there are pillars on the building that expand out when the winds pick up to resemble a flying bird. When the winds die down the pillars return to normal. This constant way that things go back to the way that they were before help us understand why the build environment can help us see things in a clockwork manner.
Milwaukee Art Museum.jpg Milwaukee Art Museum
The best way that I can explain phenomena through the build environment is the city. Cities consist of frameworks, clockworks, and things. All of these behave in a hierarchy. And the city consists of all of these. Everything in a city has a sense of flow. A city will aways have a begining and it will have either a sense of mortality or it will die off. bogota11.jpg Bogota, Colombia one of the biggest cities in the world.
Oppositions rule the way that the build environment affects us. Everything that is build or created is to help us survive the oppositions that surround us. We have to work and build around these oppositions because there is only so much that we can do to help us fight against them. The first is the earth. Everything that we build is built on the ground that was here before us. No matter what we do, we have to accommodate to this fact. The next is how precipitation affects us. We have to build and find materials that help us fight against these natural occurrences. Whether small as light rain and overcast skies to the tropical storms of the south and Asia. Also we have to accommodate to the fact that gravity impacts everything. Gravity and the movement of the world as seen in earthquakes impact how we build things and the way that we build them to withstand nature. Hurricane_Isabel2.jpg This is a picture of Hurricane Isabel
All of these things impact me in my daily life. They help me realize who I am. As said before, we need the things around us to know where we are and where we are from. All of the elements around us impact us. Earth, Wind, Water and Fire, are we the fifth element? Is the way that we manipulate the world around us that missing part? No other creature on this Earth has done manipulated and changed the world as much as we have, both in a good way and in a bad way. Are all of these ways of manipulating, Frameworks, Clockworks and Phenomena part of that?

February 28, 2008

The World is our Backyard

I believe that I would go out into the world and explore. I would explore the world and see what is wrong with it. See the genocides that are occurring as we speak all through out the world. See how people all over the world do not behave in a matter that benefits the world as a whole. I would not only witness these events, but also act on them. Most likely I would go to the Peace Corps and volunteer my time with them. Try to help the starting children around the world. Help to get them fed and to get educated.


A way that I could help the environment architecturally would be by designing places for people to live in. Help design houses that are cost friendly and help these people that are in the ruins, come back to the top. Help others build these houses.

I would also try to show people here in the United States that the people that live in poverty need our help. That people all over the world need food and a shelter. Things that some people here take for granted. These things are the ones that need to change. Go to fund raisers and help get the word out that the world is not a happy place for everybody.

February 21, 2008

"There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed." - Mohandas K. Gandhi

In the world today there are many things that impact people's everyday life. Saving the Environment is an issue that affects every person in the world no matter where they live. It is important to notice that the world so far has ignored this issue and that we have not put this into a top priority. As time has passed we have been noticing that the way that we have been treating our planet is not acceptable. The time for change is now. We need to fix this problem before it is too late for us to take action. Many people have begun to think more about this issue and how we can prevent, or fix it.


A huge part for the betterment of the world is to have drinkable water for the majority of the population. This epidemic is something that people around the world that have the resources to help people that live in poverty can help to solve.

As always there needs to be a huge emphasis on recycling to help the environment

Also there needs to be a better way to design our houses and our means of transportation. Car exhaust consists of many harmful chemicals that cause the greenhouse effect on our planet.
One of the many designs that have been proposed to seek a new, better way of building houses to help the environment.

This is the new Honda FCX Clarity. It is the first fuel cell car to go out into the public. This car only releases clean 100% water Vapor. Also it gets around 270 miles per refueling. Also the energy efficiency is more than 40% compared to a regular gasoline powered car.

"There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed." ~Mohandas K. Gandhi
"Don't blow it - good planets are hard to find." ~Quoted in Time
"Modern technology Owes ecology An apology." ~Alan M. Eddison
These quotes are the best quotes that I could find that described at best how I felt how the human race has been wasting away their planet.

"Donde Jugaran Los Ninos" - Mana
"Que Pasa" - Juanes
"Lost Cause" - Beck

February 14, 2008

The Rich Stay Rich the Poor Stay Poor

Imagine being a person that has no job and no place to live in a place like Minneapolis or St. Paul. To be a person that has to endure incredible changes in temperature and to be seen as a scar on the face of the city. To have to try to survive through subzero weather conditions and to see people driving by in their comfortable and warm BMW Z3’s or their Audi A4’s. To have to make a sign out of old weathered cardboard and to degrade yourself and put yourself in the eye of the public for them to judge every inch of your soul and body. To be brought down in society and to have no sense of security. This is what every homeless person here in the twin cities has to face on a daily routine.


I have seen these people buried underneath bridges to escape the shriveling wind chill and freezing weather and put on layers upon layers of clothing on and cover themselves up with blankets that they found in a trash bit. And what does the government do to help these people? Of coarse they serve them food and give them a shelter for them to stay in, but what of the people that arrive late? What about the people that couldn’t make it to the shelter and had to stay out in the blowing winds from the Artic. Instead of helping these poor souls by building more shelters making more jobs available the government does the opposite. They spend money to build fences and to block the only place that they can have a sense of protection. The Government blocks the areas under the bridges where these people sleep.
It is important to notice that the people in this city instead of helping these poor few, they see them as a disgusting being. They rather buy themselves a better new universal control than spending their money on something that would actually help another person beside themselves. I know that there are few people that help the homeless, but not enough. Sure you might say that the homeless are people that chose to be there because they don’t strive for a better life or because they are lazy. Sometimes this might be true but it is important to realize that most of the time that is not the case.

Over 8,000 people are homeless in Minnesota. That is a number that needs to be changed to zero. We as a community need to start to focus on the ways that we can impact our community. We need to help others that are less fortunate than us. It is time for us to give something back to the community. It is time to start a change in the way that things are going. We need progress and we need to help the homeless. Volenteering our time to help them would be a huge start. It is time to find these people a home.


February 6, 2008

Untitled Thought

As for the idea of energy, there is energy in everything. The matter that energy is conserved and that new energy cannot be created can be applied to the city. Nothing in a city can be created without first applying energy to it. It is important to realize that the energy that we spend in our jobs and in school is given back to the city by the things that we do in our jobs that help the community and also later in life with our education that we use to help our community as well.
The transformation of a city can be seen when one looks at history. One can see how big cities like New York or Boston used to be small and how later in history they became huge metropolises. Even when looking at a city like Minneapolis one can see the transforming of the city now days with it expanding. Another way of looking at transformation of cities is how they have transformed from housing communities to industrial places and then commercial markets.
I believe that there is the idea of flow all over the city. It can be seen in the aspect of one person or in the aspect of the city as a whole. If you think about it, it is important to realize that the way a person walks through their daily life is an idea of flow. The people in a city get up in the morning and do everything in routine. Like the way a river is flows through the land and how it is directed around by its original path, the people in a city behave the same way. People always have a routine that they follow and they are guided by their own path. The elevator takes them down to from their apartment and then they get outside. Here they are directed by lights that tell them where to go and how to get there. It is important to see this as a way that the person is guided and only allowed to flow in a certain direction. Then they get into their car or the bus and their means of transportation flows through the streets.
One can see the city flow as a whole because it moves in a pattern. The city always has to be in motion for it to function as a whole. The Visa commercial reminds me of this. Where there is a flow in the store where everybody gets their things and everybody pays with their Visa and when someone pays with cash the flow gets ruined and motion stops. One can view the person that pays with cash as an accident on the road or construction. Something that prohibits the flow through the city. Everybody allows the city to flow. From the people at Starbucks that make the people going to work drinks to the executives in their offices that help the companies stay in the market. Everybody contributes to the flow of the city.