Alison Angell Sullivan English 1105B 2 December 2009 Odd Occurrences in Nature How we got started When presented with the task of making a pecha kucha, my partner and I brainstormed topics that interested us and then looked to see if we found any that were related. Giovanni and I both agreed that nature was a fascinating topic and at first thought we would take pictures of different parts of nature around campus and describe them in a photo essay.
After realizing the topic was too vague, we narrowed our focus to interesting facts about animals and plants found in nature. I was unsure of how interesting our topic would be until Giovanni sent his list of strange facts he found on the Internet. I was astounded at the many things I was unaware of, one of my favorites being a praying mantis can turn its head 360 degrees, the only animal to be able to do so. The research portion of the project was by far one of the most interesting I have done for a project. I found myself wanting to look for more.
Giovanni and I mutually decided that the most logical way to present our topic would be in the form of a photo essay. We did most of our communication through Facebook messages and an occasional email. Giovanni and I worked independently to find the facts for our pecha kucha but messaged back and fourth daily to give each other feedback. Content The content for the pecha kucha my partner and I designed included interesting facts about a variety of animals and a few plants that we thought would be new information for the audience.
The animals and plants we researched ranged all the way from birds in caves to the plants in the ocean. The content includes attention-grabbing facts such as penguins are able to jump six feet in the air, praying mantis’ are the only animal that are able to turn their heads 360 degrees, flamingos are pink because their diet is composed of mainly shrimp, mosquitoes are attracted to the color blue more than any other color, a snail can sleep up to three years at a time, a sea squirt eats its own brain and snakes can see through their eyelids.
The facts I found most interesting were the praying mantis’ can turn their heads 360 degrees, some species of birds can dive 15 feet underwater to capture a fish, a headless cockroach can survive for a couple of weeks, and sea cucumbers eviscerate themselves when in danger so the predator will eat their insides while the cucumber scurries. The information we provided on our pecha kucha was found online from various websites except for the information about the swiftlet birds that compose their nests of saliva, which we learned from Mrs. Sullivan. Form
Based on the content my partner and I chose for the project, we decided that something like a photo essay would be most appropriate to present the information. An actual photo essay would not work because we did not tell a story but instead, made a presentation about different plants and animals that all relate through nature. Also, we ruled out using a memoir format or a public service announcement seeing as our topic did not correspond with those two forms. The pecha kucha covers fifteen different organisms, some having more than one slide because of the amount of substance there is on those topics.
The pecha kucha was made using Powerpoint and Windows Movie Maker. Both Giovanni and I were familiar with Powerpoint so I was able to make my slides through that processor and Giovanni, who is knowledgeable with Windows Movie Maker, was able to transfer my slides. Lastly, there was writing on each slide that Giovanni added using Paint on his computer to help give an overview of each slide. Why we chose the slide material My partner and I wanted to pick a topic that interested both of us. After deciding on elements of nature, we met with Mrs.
Sullivan who sparked an idea to focus on interesting, unknown things about different organisms in nature. We were both intrigued by the subject, which made us want to choose it for our topic. After knowing that we were content with our topic, we knew that we had to present a pecha kucha that was going to be interesting to the audience. Giovanni and I agreed that since we were so amazed by the research we found, the class would most likely be as well. Both Giovanni and I split up to do research and messaged our findings to one another.
After we had more than enough information, we chose what we thought were the most interesting facts that would surprise the audience the most. How we chose the design elements present in the slides The pecha kucha was made using Powerpoint because both Giovanni and I were familiar with how to use it and also Windows Movie Maker. We added writing to each of our slides to highlight what the slide was on to help the audience summarize what we were covering. There are two movies included in our presentation and a few topics that required more than one slide.
For the design, we made sure to space the topics that required two slides and the movies evenly throughout the pecha kucha so that we would not have two similar groups of two slides next to each other or a movie next to another movie, to provide variety for the audience. Audio Component For the sound component of our pecha kucha, we chose to use pre-recorded audio. My partner has a fear of public speaking, which led us to using pre-recorder audio. Luckily, Giovanni has a headset and microphone, which we used to get the narration on the computer.
After we recorded our audio, Giovanni used sound-editing computer software to format the audio and create an eloquent narrative. Giovanni and I did not use audio during the two slides that had videos, in order for the audience to be able to focus on the video. Due to the fact that our audio is pre-recorded and may not get as much attention as a live narration would, we used wording on each slide to give people a summary of what our audio was about. Compromises due to working with a partner I have never been a huge fan of partner projects because of my obsessive-compulsive personality.
I am very controlling and feel that if things are not done by me, they will not be correct. I realize I am stubborn about these things and that working with a partner has upsides too. However, I usually like to take control and when working with a partner I am not always able to do that. Also, there had to be a compromise in scheduling. Giovanni and I had to compensate for each other’s schedules and find times to work together. Though I may have not had better ideas than my partner, I had to rid of some ideas because he did not agree and my partner had to rid of some of his ideas because I did not agree with them.
Also, I compromised in the way our pecha kucha was presented. I found it much easier to present our project orally in front of the class, however, since my partner was shy about public speaking, we went with pre-recorded audio. Lastly, though not a compromise, I am not a fan of partner projects because I am not a fan of confrontation. When I work on partner projects, I will rarely disagree with another person’s ideas because I try to avoid conflict, a flaw I need to work on. Benefits of having a partner
Though I am not interested in partner work, it does have benefits that can sometimes outweigh the compromises. Based off the saying “two heads are better than one,” working with a partner on this project helped lead to working on a very interesting topic that I would most likely not have thought of on my own. Also, since there were two people working on research, we were able to have an overflow of ideas and pick from those the most interesting, to create an intriguing pecha kucha. Whenever working solo on a project, it is hard to tell if your ideas make sense or have substance.
By working with a partner, I was able to consult him on whether or not my ideas were going to benefit the project. Working with a partner benefitted me greatly when it came to the technical work of doing pre-recorded audio and inserting movies. My partner was able to put together the audio to fit with each slide and integrate movies into two of the slides, two things I would not have been able to do on my own. Why I enjoyed the project The pecha kucha assignment was one of the more enjoyable group projects I have had to do throughout school.
What I liked most about the project was that we, the students, had the opportunity to basically create our own project. We were able to work with information we found interesting and had the opportunity to put it into several different forms. I sometimes find it challenging to start an assignment with as little reservations as this one, but with the help of a partner, the project came together smoothly. Overall, the ability to work with information that we found interesting made the pecha kucha assignment enjoyable.