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Conflict Minerals

Why is it so important to mine conflict minerals when many people can die from working?  Conflict minerals are minerals that are mined by people who work so much in dangerous conditions just to get paid a little. The minerals used are tin, tungsten, tantalum, gold, cobalt, aluminum, etc. Those minerals come from mines in Congo (DRC), and it is used in electronic devices such as iPhones and computers. The minerals are used to make phone plastics, the battery, microchips, coat wires, and used as a soldering agent. The minerals are so useful because for example, tantalum has high capacitance in a small volume, which makes it great for phones because it would not make the phone big. Gold is another great example of why it’s so useful. Gold is very useful because it’s ideal for coating electrical  components because it conducts well and doesn’t corrode. But to get these minerals miners need to work in harsh conditions. Hence, safety of the miners should be more recognized.

Harsh working conditions of miners include not only the lack of protective gear but also child slavery and threats of the arm dealers who are in charge of the mines. According to UNICEF, for a shift up to 24 hours underground, you can only earn around $2, and many don’t even get $2. Around 40,000 children work in mines in DRC, even children as young as 7. Children who are usually working in mines are orphans, or are very poor who needs to work to live, even if it’s only getting $2. Working in mines with no protective clothing for a long time can result to health problems, and also since the mines aren’t very organized, people sometimes get buried alive when it collapses. But the harsh conditions also include the threats from arm dealers who buys weapons when they get money from the minerals, so they could stay in charge and make people work. If they used money wisely, DRC would probably be very rich because of all those minerals, but since companies demand minerals all the time, the arm dealers need people to work for them to be able to keep producing minerals. Therefore, child slavery and the threats could be mediated by increasing the overall product life of phones and computers.

As a school to help mediate the issue, we could learn more about our electronic devices and increase product life. If we learn more about our devices we use at school, we could probably use it more carefully, so we do not need to change our computers as often as we think we need to, and use it longer, which could help. We could use keyboard covers to protect our computer from getting dust, food crumbs, or some kind of liquid in the computer, which would increase the overall product life. Also we could get laptop covers, so that it would protect our laptop better, and have a better chance of surviving a drop if we drop it accidentally. Even if we don’t buy special protection for our laptops, if we all have days where we learn more just about technology, it could help because when you think it’s time to change a laptop when it’s not we would know and we wouldn’t change it. So from now on, we could learn more about our electronic devices and help mediate the problem in Congo.


Merchant, Brian. “Were the Raw Materials in Your IPhone Mined by Children in Inhumane Conditions?” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 23 July 2017, www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-merchant-iphone-supplychain-20170723-story.html.

“Mining & IPhone Recycling.” Metallurgist & Mineral Processing Engineer, www.911metallurgist.com/mining-iphones/.

“Periodic Table – Royal Society of Chemistry.” Royal Society of Chemistry – Advancing Excellence in the Chemical Sciences, www.rsc.org/periodic-table.

ENOUGHproject. “Conflict Minerals 101.” YouTube, YouTube, 18 Nov. 2009, www.youtube.com/watch?v=aF-sJgcoY20&feature=youtu.be.

Kelly, Annie. “Children as Young as Seven Mining Cobalt Used in Smartphones, Says Amnesty.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 18 Jan. 2016, www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/jan/19/children-as-young-as-seven-mining-cobalt-for-use-in-smartphones-says-amnesty.

(www.dw.com), Deutsche Welle. “Child Labor Still Rife in Democratic Republic of Congo | Africa | DW | 11.06.2017.” DW.COM, www.dw.com/en/child-labor-still-rife-in-democratic-republic-of-congo/a-39194724.

“How Long Should You Keep Your Computer?” Bruceb News, www.brucebnews.com/2016/04/how-long-should-you-keep-your-computer/.

Nick L.   Posted in Hardware. “Should You Buy A Keyboard Protector For Your MacBook?” MacInfo, 9 Jan. 2017, macinfo.us/should-you-buy-a-keyboard-protector-for-your-macbook.

Myth Re-Telling Finale

My audience was three 1st graders. They all said they enjoyed it because of the illustrations and the touchable things in the book. They also said that they liked the last page, where the life lesson is written on because the keywords are done in the glitter pens and it’s touchable. They said they didn’t have any feedback, and most of the time, all of them were looking at the book so I think they actually enjoyed it.

I think to improve, even if I explained in easier words, I can write the story in easier words because sometimes they looked confused with the words I chose. Also, next time, I would like to write the life lesson in no-glitter glue pens like the keywords because it was hard to read. I think I would like to keep the last page the same, because they all enjoyed pressing down on the bumpy glue pens and feeling the bumps of the keywords.

Art Critique

My cultural influence is the buildings at the bottom and the sakura blossom. The buildings I printed are tall buildings and new buildings that are dark in the night because the lights been turned off. I chose the building to describe my cultural influence because Japan has lots of tall buildings and when they are next to each other, they look bumpy. The buildings aren’t really buildings in my neighborhood, but when I go outside, I see lots of buildings far away so I chose those buildings. The sakura I printed are simple, but represents the sakura filled times in Spring, which reminds me of when I went to the park with my family when I was young so I chose it because it’s important. My personal interest was the cat on the moon. This is my interest because I like animals like cats and dogs and also because I like it when it’s the time of the day when it’s dark because I don’t like when it’s very bright and when it’s dark, it’s usually quiet. When I chose the big part of the whole motif, I made the whole theme ‘Night’ so I chose a cat which might seem more like the night than the dog. The moon is important for me because I feel like it brightens the whole night but then, it’s still dark and also because it changes shapes and it’s unique. Also, the cat is important for me because animals are a big part of my life since I had a pet from when I was born and I love cats and dogs. I don’t really have a favorite pet because I loved all my pets.

I think I did very well of carving out the petals of the sakuras because the curvy parts of the petals and the lines printed out very clearly. The idea I am proud of is the idea that the crescent moon interlocks because not many people did designs that interlock to make one big thing because it might be a little risky. My solution to the problem that it might not interlock was photo copying the test print and putting the copied print next to it to make sure it interlocked. The next time when I do this project, I think I will make the end part with the star near the moon bigger, or just not do it so it will always appear much clearer.  I think I could improve my buildings(cultural influence) by making more differences of the height because when you print it, some of the prints I test printed didn’t show the differences of the height of the building very well. I think I could improve my cat on the moon idea(personal interest) by making the cat’s tail longer and less curvy since the tail was hard to carve and also since the cat’s tail just ended where the moon was so you couldn’t see the end part of the tail very well.

The types of lines  I used in the art work are curvy lines, wavy lines and straight lines. The shapes I used are the 6-pointed star, a tear drop kind of shape, a sakura shape and  lots of rectangles to make buildings.The colors I used in the artwork is the colors, crimson red, magenta and blue. I chose these colors because those colors are sort of near each other in the color wheel, analogous colors, and also because they look good together next together.The pattern I created by interlocking is the moon and the buildings. The interlocking is really accurate because I checked by photo copying the test print and putting it together. My color plan was planned to have yellow paper for the whole thing so the whole thing looks together because of the contrast of the color of the ink and the yellow paper. I made the color plan to have only a few colors so that the middle and the corners have the same color ink.

Design Specification

My book is going to be successful because:

  • Eye-catching
  • Sequence
  • Fluff
  • Have something touchable
  • Have something sparkly/glitter
  • Colorful
  • Good illustrations
  • Interesting fonts
  • Flip flap
  • Different layouts
  • Contrast
  • Unity
  • Balance

Steps required:

  • Get materials I need
  • Make the front, and back cover and the spine
  • Do the illustrations
  • Write the myth
  • Join the pages together
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