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History 4, Lesson 40

My favorite invention that I have learned so far is soap.

Soap is probably the most important invention ever made.  Soap cleans everything and helps keep diseases away.  Soap seems like such a little thing but plays a big role in life.  Just think, how many times do you use soap everyday, and why?  I personally use soap at least ten times a day.  You might use it to get oil off your hands and makes your hands smell good.  But, yes, I know, I’m just repeating the same point.  Soap is important because it cleans.  Being clean is very important.

My favorite part of the lesson was the story of how soap was made.  Even though the story isn’t true, it was very interesting.  The story about Mount Sapo explains that the ancient Romans would sacrifice their animals to the gods.  Wood ash from the fires of their altars mingled with the grease from the animal sacrifices forming a primitive kind of soap.  That’s where soap gets its Latin name from, Sapo, the name of the mountain. However, we now know that the story is not true for three reasons.  One, the Romans ate the fat and the meat; they left the bones for the gods.  Two, soap was not used in public baths; the soapy water would make the public baths lathery.  Three, there is no record of any place where the name Sapo appears in the history of Rome, nor among the current Italian geographical names.

As you can see soap is a very important invention.


History 4 Lesson 35

Small inventions.  Tiny but mighty.  Like the wheelbarrow, stirrup or heavy plough, assisted the Chinese and European cultures in farming and military.

The wheelbarrow was created by Zhuge Liang for military purposes.  As the wheelbarrow spread, the wheel changed its position.  The Chinese wheelbarrow had its wheel in the middle, but the European wheelbarrow had its wheel at the front.

cThe stirrup–historians aren’t sure specifically who made it–but they know it was invented in China.  The stirrup was originally a toehold in India but evolved into the modern day foothold.

Finally, the heavy plough was invented by the Chinese during the Han Dynasty in the 1st and 2nd century. Initially, it was made of wood and pulled by humans; then made by metal and pulled by oxen.  The heavy plough was more successful for the heavy soils of northern Europe. It had a mould board and coulter. The coulter cut into the ground, and the mould board pushed the dirt to the side. Thanks to the contributions of the heavy plough, the population in Europe increased because of increased farming yields.

I have only listed three of the small inventions, but as you can see the small inventions are minor but mighty

Lesson 30 History 4 – The Compass

The Chinese and the Europeans were very different in culture.  They used the same invention, the compass, for different purposes.


The Chinese invented the compass during the Han Dynasty, around 200 BC, and was adapted during the Song Dynasty, around 11th century AD. The earliest Chinese compass was a lodestone, suspended in air. The Chinese did not, at first, use the compass for navigating, but for fortune telling. The Chinese used the magnetic compass in their practice of Feng shui, which was to harmonize their lives with the environment. Other uses of the earlier Chinese compass were to find suitable areas for building houses, and finding valuable, rare gems.


The Europeans started using the compass in the 13th century. They created a floating compass for astronomical purposes, and dry compasses for sea-faring.  The magnetized pointer floating in a bowl of water made improvements in dead reckoning methods and developed Portolan charts. The compass enabled Venetian convoys to make two round trips a year instead of one.  The compass also contributed to European navies traveling to far off lands, and eventually colonizing them.

The difference in the cultures was the reason why the compass was utilized for different purposes.  In China, the compass served to enrich spiritual harmony while in Europe, it was used for more practical reasons such as navigation.


History 4, Lesson 25 -Essay Simple Machines and Their Everyday Uses

There are six main simple machines:  Lever, Wheel and axle, Pulley, Inclined plane, Wedge and Screw.  This essay explains how I use three of these almost everyday.

A lever is a simple machine that consists of a beam, a plank or a rod pivoted at a point on a hinge called a fulcrum.  The fulcrum provides leverage which is used to life heavy loads with only a small force.  You can see the lever at work on the playground as a seesaw.

The wheel and axle is a simple machine where both are attached to each other so that they rotate together.  Think of a bicycle wheel or a Ferris wheel.  The axle is attached to the larger wheel with spokes.  When the axle rotates, the large wheel rotates at the same time and in the same direction.

A screw is a simple machine that consists of a shaft that has grooves which are called threads.  The threads are cut into the shaft which makes it easier to force the shaft into any type of material like wood or metal.  A rotational force is used to fasten objects together.  For example, screws are used in everyday life to secure doors in place, hold furniture together or secure outlets on a wall.  I go around the house with a screwdriver tightening screws.

These simple machines may have been inventions in ancient times, but I use them to have fun!

History 4 Lesson 20-Contributions Made by Monks to European Development

After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Europe owes its revival to the efforts expended by monks and their monastic tradition.  They contributed greatly to the development of medieval and modern life.  Below are five areas where their contributions are recorded.


Through their love of manual labor, monks transformed the wild landscapes into cultivable land.  A swamp would be turned into fertile agricultural land.  They raised cattle and horses, cleared forests, recovered marshes, planted trees and conserved forests, introduced new crops or production methods, brewed beer, raised bees and fruit, corn, cheese, salmon fisheries, and vineyards.


The monks introduced waterpower for industrial use on a large scale for crushing wheat, sieving flour, fulling cloth, and tanning.  They introduced metallurgy and methods of mining of salt, lead, iron, alum, gypsum, quarrying marble, glassworks, and forging metal plates.  They developed furnaces to extract iron from ore.

Charitable work

The monasteries were always open to charitable activities such as serving as hospitable inns to people lost in the woods, giving alms, feeding wanderers, creating safe harbor for sailors by introducing bells by the seashores, repaired bridges, roads, and medieval infrastructure.

Preserving classical literature and tradition

The monks translated ancient literature into various European languages preserving it for future generations.  They displayed an appreciation of ancient scholarly work by quoting works of Horace, Virgil, Cicero, etc. in their writings.


The monks educated students of religion and laymen which also included children of nobles.  They established schools, taught people how to read and write.  They laid the foundations for universities, and were thinkers and philosophers, and shaped religious and political thought.

The five areas above describe the immense contribution of monks and their monastic traditions.

History 4, Lesson 15 Essay

How do new building tools impact the size and shape of buildings?

Cranes make a big impact.  With cranes, we can build higher and sturdier buildings.  The Greeks invented the crane around 500 B.C.  The crane in the past only consisted of a winch and pulley.  A simple winch is a spindle with a crank attached to it.  A simple pulley is a wheel mounted on an axle.  When these two devices were combined together, it created the ancient crane.  If we didn’t have cranes, our buildings would be limited to what materials a few men could carry.  We wouldn’t be able to make tall buildings like skyscrapers.  Now we can build buildings that are over 500 meters high and have over 100 floors!  For example, the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, is 828 meters high and has 163 floors!

As you can see, cranes impact the building’s size and shape.

New Military Inventions — History 4, Lesson 10 Essay

This essay is about how machine guns and bombs, new military inventions shaped the outcome of a war and why.

Machine guns shaped the outcome of a war by killing the enemy fast.  Unlike a regular gun shooting one bullet at a time, the machine gun can shoot hundreds of rounds of ammunition in one minute.  Bombs are already dangerous but when shrapnel is added into the mix, it is twice as dangerous.  Shrapnel consists of nails, sharp stones, and other sharp things.  They are put into bombs, and when the bombs explode, the shrapnel flies everywhere, wounding the enemy’s soldiers.

All in all, new military inventions like machine guns and bombs greatly shaped the outcome of wars.

My Favorite Things To Do — English 5, Lesson 20 Essay

In this essay, I’m going to tell you my four favorite things to do.

My four favorite things to do are acting, singing, dancing and reading.  I love acting because when I grow up I want to be a musical theater performer.  In musical theater, there is singing, dancing and acting.  When you act, you become a whole new person.  You can tell a story when you’re dancing, and well, singing is just so much fun!  I also love to read.  The stories bring me into a whole new world.  The characters, the scenes; what’s not to like?  Well, except your eyes hurting afterward.

These are my four favorite things to do.

My Favorite Summer Vacation

       My favorite summer vacation was when I went to Hawaii when I was four.  In Hawaii, my parents and I went to the beach everyday.  At the beach, my Dad and I swam in the ocean and made sandcastles.  I loved the smell of the salt in the water; the bright blue color sparkling in the sunlight; the warm weather, and the warmth of the sand between my toes, although, I didn’t it getting into my eyes.  My Mom and I took a hula class together!  My favorite part of it was getting a grass skirt, a flower necklace called a lei, and seeing my Mom dance!  I loved the weather, the beaches, the culture, and the hotel room.  This was my favorite vacation.

History 4, Lesson 5 Essay

Cyclical View of Time vs. Linear View

This essay is all about how holding a cyclical view of time makes someone pessimistic about the future, as opposed to a linear one.

First of all, when you have a cyclical view of time, you believe that you’re born, you struggle, you die, and the cycle repeats.  After sometime, a person would probably think, “There’s no end to the future,” or “I’m living a repeated lifetime,” or “Am I going to be stuck in the same place and situation for eternity?”  We humans were built to pursue goals.  Without goals, we become bored and depressed.

If you believe in a linear view of time, you believe that there is a beginning, middle and an end.  This means there is an end to the cycle of life, and you are not stuck in the same time-lapse.  I believe you transform into a spiritual being devoid of a physical nature.

I believe in a “linear” view of time because I have witnessed the arc of life, but I have not met anyone who is reincarnated.