Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Alex's Second Solo Essay

Song:  Magic Forest

Group:  Future World Music

We are so proud of Alex's grasp of writing concepts...
and in his willingness to spread his wings to fly on his own.

Below is Alex's second paper for school in which he had done 
completely on his own.

He was given an English assignment to write a paper delineating 
the technological advances of the weapons of warfare throughout history.

After dinner today...
he sat in front of his computer...
outlined his paper...
researched the information...
and had written this paper without any help
(except for a couple of factual corrections involving chronology).

Alex did such an exceptional job...
especially considering I had just recently taught him how to organize 
his thoughts by outlining.

In his outline, he had broken down the weapons by ages and types...
and then put it all together in a well written paper in a few hours.

Alex typing his report


(due to the incompatibility between Alex's writing program 
and my blog...some of the margins are off)


Unit 5: Reflection: Report

Alex 6B 4-10-12
Unit 5: Reflection: Report

     Weapons have come a long way, from prehistoric times, to modern ages.  In this report, I will describe how various weapons have changed over time.
     Over 60,000 years ago, bows and arrows were invented and used.  Humans also threw weapons made out of sticks and stones at each other, including clubs and maces.  Some African cave paintings show people with clubs, along with tipped spears.

     Later, in the Copper Age, weapons evolved to knives, slings, and swords. Chariots were also used. In this era, domesticated animals were also used for battles (i.e. pulling chariots).

     In the Bronze Age, there were siege towers and battering rams.  Chariots died out and were replaced by cavalry.  As people were taking advantage of natural resources in the Earth, weapons also progressed.  The Greeks were planning ahead of their enemy in order to fashion the proper weapon, and used a different style of warfare.  They defeated the Persians, but the Macedonians emerged, and they had advanced weapons such as sarissas 1(long spears with iron heads), artillery, catapults, and ballistae which were improved by generals such as 
Alexander the Great.

     The Medieval Ages spanned a large period of time, and saw great progress in weapon development. The Normans built castles for defense, longbows were used, and hand ballistas were invented.  However, in this time period the Barbarians were invading the Roman Empire.  They, along with other tribes, such as the Vandals, developed their own weapons as well.  Those weapons were superior to Roman weapons at the time.  They were weapons such as throwing axes, barbed lances, and double-edged axes.  Later in the Medieval Ages, the earliest guns were invented.  Handguns were also popularized during this time.  Forts were built to both defend and attack.  Indian soldiers at the time used tulwars, 2 or curved swords.

     During the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, weapons evolved to new levels. Machine guns were invented, the revolver in 1835 eliminated the need for standard swords, steam engines changed war at sea, hulls in ships were made of iron, and explosives, such as TNT and dynamite, replaced gunpowder.

     Finally, in the modern times of the 20th century, the tank was introduced by the British, and the Zeppelin by the Germans.  Dive bombers were used by aircraft during WWII.  During that same era, two cities in Japan (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) got bombed with atomic bombs within three days of each other.  The hydrogen bomb, an extremely powerful bomb, was invented during the 20th century as well. 

In the Gulf War of 1991, laser guided missiles were used to great effect.

     Nuclear weapons originated in the mid-20th century, when scientists started to better understand atoms.  Earlier, in 1898, Marie and Pierre Curie discovered radium, which furthered scientists’ understanding.  The earliest nuclear weapons were atomic bombs, developed by the United States during WWII.  After atomic bombs came the first thermonuclear (fusion) weapons.  These weapons would start the process of nuclear fusion when activated.  They were planned to have been about 1,000 times more powerful1 than regular atomic bombs.  In the 1950s and 1960s, many nuclear tests were conducted.  V-1 and V-2 rockets, nuclear-tipped rockets, and ballistic missiles were a result of these. During the Cold War, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) were developed, and produced in great numbers, until the signing of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABMT).  The last known nuclear weapon detonation was performed during a 2009 North Korean nuclear test. 2

     Biological and chemical weapons played a large role in warfare over time as well.  Back in the Middle Ages, the Mongol Empire had armies that used a deadly disease, later known as the bubonic plague.  They would infect besieged cities by catapulting dead, infected bodies over their walls.  Black Death, as it was later known, spread to many different countries in Europe and Asia, killing about 1/3 of the European population at the time, and many more people of the Asian population.

     Biological weapons were also used around the 18th century.  There is evidence of the British disseminating smallpox-infected blankets among the native American population to infect them.  As much as a quarter of their population died.  These diseases likely came from Eurasia where many people there had developed immunity.3  However, the American population had not, and many died as a result. Much later, during WWI, the German Empire placed anthrax on Russian horses.  In WWII, the Imperial Japanese Army targeted the Chinese with disease.

     Finally, there are chemical weapons.  These weapons were used millennia ago, as poisoned arrows and spears.  It was during the Renaissance, though, when chemical weapon usage was at its peak.  In the late 15th century, the Taino people created smoke screens with peppers and ashes before attacking. Spanish conquistadors found this out in their travels.  In the 17th century, armies started fires by launching incendiary artillery at their enemy.  During WWI and WWII, Chlorine and Phosgene gases were used, despite the Hague Declaration of 1899 prohibiting “the use of poison or poisonous weapons” 4.

     Weapons have come a long way, from primitive clubs, maces, sticks, and stones, to guns, missiles, and bombs.  They have changed, from simple sticks and stones used mainly to hunt, to the most advanced, dangerous, and feared weapons of warfare.  As time passed, humans developed more, and better, strategies against such weapons.  Even though weapons have undergone a very long history, and many modifications, there is one thing in common all weapons have: 
for man to kill man.

Works Cited

“History of Weapons.” Wikipedia. 10 April 2012.
History of Weapons.” Wikipedia. 10 April 2012.
3 Lambert, Tim. “A Brief History of Weapons.” Local Histories. 2011. 10 April 2012.
4 History of Weapons.” Wikipedia. 10 April 2012.
5 History of Weapons.” Wikipedia. 10 April 2012.


Alex is doing such a great job applying what he has learned.
Because he has such a strong desire to learn...
he is learning at a rapid rate.

All he needs is gentle guidance pointing him in the right direction...
and he takes off with great gusto.

After I had read his report...
he asked me if he had done a good job.

I immediately replied that he had done a great job!

My heart was singing great praises to him...
as it was just a few short months ago that he was still struggling with...
not just writing a cohesive paper (assigned...not free writing)...
but with being able to extract salient points from a story or from his research.

he had completed this paper without any help...
including his outline, research, or the correct citing of his references.

He merely told me when he was done.

Yes, my wonderful son...
with your drive to learn and to apply...
you are doing an exceptional job...
more than you yet realize.

Sorry...I simply cannot contain my pride...
pop...pop...there go my shirt buttons again  :)


  1. Amazing progress by Alex! Hard to believe that this was such a weak area for him not too long ago. I can see why you would be so proud.

  2. What makes it even better...he is proud of his new set of skills. He enthusiastically works on his projects in anticipation of producing better results. He knows the great importance of being able to relay his thoughts to others in a concise and precise manner.


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