The Stock Market

The last project that we finished in 6th grade Language Arts of the year was The Westing Game book and stocks. The Westing Game is a brilliant book by Ellen Raskin. In the book, one of the main characters invested in the stock market. We took this idea and our math specialist helped us create a spreadsheet for stocks. We invested as close to $20,000 fake dollars in the stock market to six different companies, and bought as many shares as necessary to make it to the set price. We started checking the stocks on April 14th and ended on May 30th, checking every week. When I first checked my stocks after a week, I was up $275.80, and the last time I checked them a couple of weeks later I was down $2003.20. You can invest in stocks in the real world, and you can actually end up gaining more than you bought. This project was fun to put ourselves in the shoes of a beloved character, and I loved checking it every week to see the results.

My World

When I read The Last Cuentista, it was a totally new genre, and probably new for everyone in the class. Mexican folklore and Sci-fi is not a mix that I have ever encountered. But it was a brilliant book, taking winding turns that I never would have expected. The Last Cuentista is about a 12 year old girl who goes to a different planet because earth is being destroyed. Sadly, her grandmother is going along with the earth. The spaceship is high tech, and will keep them trapped through time for over 300 years until they arrive at the next planet. Little did they know they were trying to erase the kid’s memories and make them servants, like robots. Petra is trying to find her parents, while also trying to use the power of stories from her grandmother to keep the children’s’ memories of earth and their parents alive.

The power of stories is a key concept. She had to keep the stories going, and they were the one thing that lit her up when she was feeling helpless. Keeping stories going is important because a lot of them are passed down from our ancestors and are part of our culture. So keeping these stories alive, is also keeping part of our culture alive along with them.

Coming off of the topic of traveling to a new topic, we were asked to make our own ideal world, our own ideal planet. It was really fascinating to get to make all the decisions. That means, I got to create a planet, even if there was magic, or it was totally unrealistic to let say, earth. I got to create the wildlife, and I chose  to make continents reflecting the four seasons. This project does make you think about what you wish the world would be, and what you wish it wouldn’t be, for example, my world wouldn’t be polluted, and it would have a sunset sky all day and night long.

After we made our ideal world and put it down on a google doc, we made a planet book. We had a guest local artist named Peg Gignoux come and help us create the cover, and press and ink nature into paper using akua ink. We also had a surprise opening in our book reflecting on a scene we could find in our ideal world, and a way to see it. I used leaves that I pressed, and the scene I used was from the continent of autumn. We folded, cut, and eventually, made round covers for the whole planet appeal.then, we put our planet’s name on the cover. My planet’s name is planet Ziabong, named after the luscious ziabong fruit. 

In conclusion, this was a great activity in our language arts class that made us think, and pushed us to make the world we wanted to see, to be creative, and to put ourselves in the shoes of others. I really enjoyed this project, and am seriously considering taking the ideal world to a new level, and even writing a book about it, because you can be creative, and it will unfold in front of your very eyes. Because of this, I encourage you, the viewer of this post, to take at least five minutes, if not more to consider what your ideal would look like. You can think about this anywhere, in bed, a brain break from working, and feel free to jot your thoughts down.

My TED Talk Experience

What do you think of when you hear a TED talk? I think of a meaningful presentation that teaches you something or hopefully lots of new things. But I also think about the amount of effort the presenter put in to be there, and to be able to present fluently. At Least now, after presenting one in front of my language arts class I do.

We started out by listening to real presentations at the TED environment, picking up introduction ideas, getting ideas for our calls of action, and whatever else we noticed. Then, we picked out a topic. We could present about any topic, it didn’t have to be school related, so I chose “Interpreting Dog Body Language”. It was a broad topic, but when I wrote the script, I was able to include lots of examples. It was also really fun to learn more on the topic, because I love dogs. I feel that it’s important to know what our dog is trying to say to us, because they are our family. Then, we presented. My presentation went well, except for a couple minor technical difficulties. I had decided to have a couple video examples, but they did not load well on the TV. Other than that though, it went pretty well. I made sure to have a lot of pictures of my dog demonstrating the topics, and I also made sure to look up and make eye contact. These ideas were fundamental to keeping my audience’s attention. 

This gave me some empathy for my dad, a doctor, who goes on trips and gives presentations. The process can be tricky, and is easy to procrastinate on, but it is a helpful experience. It was kind of nerve racking to go up in front of my class, but it got me ready for when I am older, and it taught me a lot about my topic. Overall, this was a great end of year project.


¡Hola! Mi nombre es Emily. Tengo 11 años y soy una estudiante de Durham Academy. Asimismo, soy de Chapel Hill, Carolina del Norte, y tengo un perro y un gato. Hoy, voy a hablar de Durham, Carolina del Norte. 

Primero, en Durham, puedes visitar el parque estatal Eno River, donde puedes caminar por el bosque y correr con tu perro. También, puedes nadar en el río, y observar la naturaleza. ¿Te gusta caminar? ¿Dónde nadas generalmente?

Segundo, en Durham puedes ir al estadio de béisbol de Durham Bulls, donde puedes ver un partido de béisbol y mirar a los jugadores. Asimismo, puedes comer comida y chatear con tu familia. ¿Te encanta ver partidos de béisbol? ¿Cada cuánto ves partidos de béisbol?

Tercero, en Durham puedes visitar el museo de arte Nasher, donde puedes observar arte muy bonito y aprender sobre los artistas. Además, puedes comprar recuerdos en la tienda, y caminar en el edificio. ¿Te fascina el arte? ¿Cada cuánto visitas museos de arte?

Cuarto, en Durham puedes ir a la universidad de Duke, donde puedes estudiar y leer afuera. También, puedes caminar en el campus, y chatear con un profesor. ¿Te gusta estudiar? ¿Dónde estudias?

Finalmente, Durham está lleno de gente, y hay muchos edificios. Asimismo, tiene árboles, muchas mascotas, y vida. Yo creo que Durham es interesante, divertido, colorido y bonito. 

¡Gracias por tu atención, y que tengas un buen día!


Emily Wood


Recently, our Spanish class has learned how to write emails that can reach six paragraphs. I think that the concept of learning a language other than your original language is pretty cool. In our class, we also learn about Spanish culture as well. Once, we had the option to learn the merengue, or act as a famous person with Hispanic heritage in our auditorium for Hispanic heritage month. 

I chose Spanish out of French, Spanish, and Chinese because its the main language in 21 countries, and is spoken around the world. It’s also good to have a different language in your head if you come into a situation where you need it.

As stated before, my Spanish class has recently learned how to write emails. This could be beneficial to everyday life, especially when I grow up. When I grow up I might have to write an email to, lets say, my colleague, and they could only read Spanish and could have simple conversations in English. Like I said, conversations like this could come in handy. 

I love learning Spanish, and if I could, wouldn’t change to Chinese or French, because I find it very interesting and enjoyable to learn. It’s also fun, because my mom can speak a little bit of Spanish as well, and I can practice when I need to. If you could speak another language, what would it be?

My Ideal World : Planet Ziabong

Come visit planet Ziabong, named after the giant Ziabong fruits. Ziabong fruits taste like any delicious tropical fruit you like, growing everywhere except for that one sixth of the planet. For the actual planet, there are continents that are like the seasons we have here in terms of weather, and/or visuals. One continent has lots of plant and animal life, that is sunny, but not too hot like spring. Time goes faster there than on earth, so plants grow full sized within a week. There could also be a continent with wind, and autumn colored leaves like fall. One that’s hot and sandy, like summer, but not like a desert. This would be the smallest continent, with beautiful beaches and tropical fruit trees. Last but not least, a continent like the Arctic. The continent of life would be barely connected, the others, islands.

Some animal life that you would be able to find there would be not many insects, (except ones that are really necessary) there is an uncountable number of different species of animals. There are animals that you never have even imagined, totally creative, and beautiful. All the mammals and birds, except vultures, are on this planet and a mix of all other types of animals.then, is the giant variety of random creatures.

The conditions on this planet are simple. The air is breathable and you can drink the water safely. The plants are ten times bigger than normal size, so a couple blueberries could be your filling breakfast. There are giant varieties of plants and unprepared foods. All of the animals are vegetarian, yet the population never explodes, surprisingly. The gravity, on the other hand, allows you to jump 15 feet into the air. All the water is warm due to non eruptive underwater volcanoes.

Outside of this planet, it orbits around a slightly dim giant star. It has three moons, with no possible life, and the sky always looks like a sunset. Light also comes from bioluminescent plants in all continents, and a special tree with glowing orbs on it. The orbs are holdable, but they are pretty warm, and catch fire easily. The grass is soft and fluffy as well. 

Some special features that are added to this are clouds three feet from the ground that animals can securely sit on, and waterfalls pooling out. There are also no carnivorous plants that could harm anyone or anything. There is a sixth of the planet with no life. It has rough terrain, and there is nearly no soil to plant things. But most places you go are guaranteed to have a beautiful landscape to feast your eyes on.

Ziabong is a nice place to live for most animals and many reasons. With beautiful landscapes, colorful continents, and delicious, giant fruits, who wouldn’t want to at least tour there? Enjoy calming hot springs, relaxing clouds to read on, and many other various features. Come visit Ziabong today!


6th Grade Museum Field Trip

All photos taken by DA staff.

This last week, our Durham Academy grade six took a field trip to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. We were split up into groups of two advisories. Our group got to see a lot of exhibits, including some interactive and live animals. Today I’m going to talk about some of my favorites.

First, the RACE exhibit would definitely go on my list. The pictures on the posters were beautiful, and I learned a lot about what some groups have to face, and race in general (it technically isn’t real). I learned that more people with black/Latino etc skin, have more covid deaths than people with Caucasian skin.

Another exhibit that I really liked was the one on gems. All the gems were real and dazzling. Some of the rocks there were worth at least a  thousand dollars, if not, more. A rock that I liked the most was the amethyst because amethyst is also known as the stone of peace (I don’t know if that was a fact in the museum).

Lastly, one last exhibit that I thought was really interesting was the place that had these fish with really long noses. They were in fact, not swordfish, but had quick reflexes and pointy teeth. We got to see these skills in action, because some employees started feeding them and the other smaller fish in the tank.

All in all, this trip was really fun to get off campus for a day and learn in a different setting. I had fun with friends while learning about science. I would recommend this museum to any person, because it’s interesting, interactive, and mind blowing. I am grateful to have this experience and I hope you will too sometime!

Tornado Brain

Image from Sora

This week, I read a book called Tornado Brain. It’s a really good book about a girl named Frankie that doesn’t like being touched or big changes in life. In this book, her friend goes missing and Frankie tries to look for clues, and ways that she can find her friend. 

This book feels like a window for me, because she lives at a beach house, and is braver than I think that I am. 

This is a great mystery by Cat Patrick. It sucked me in within the first page of the prologue. I chose this book, because it was recommended from a book website that I went to. I usually don’t like mystery, (or read it) so I decided to try this book to read a new genre, and I was surprised. This book starts as realistic fiction, gradually making its way into mystery. This is good for people that like mystery, and people that like realistic fiction, because it eases in in a transition. I would recommend this book, because it was hard to put down.



Book Idea


Earlier this week I finished a book called One for the Murphys. I really enjoyed it and I found myself unable to put the book down. I highly recommend it. It’s about a mishap that lands a girl in a foster home. She ends up having to go to a new school, and doesn’t let herself show any feelings toward her temporary home. This is hard, and she finally finds a strong liking for the parents and three children. When she has to go back to her mom, it feels like a struggle. 

I love this book, and I finished it in three days. The chapters were short and good, and were titled nicely. If you’re looking for a book, I would definitely recommend this. Happy reading!

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