Updated 10 months 2 weeks ago
In the last previous Phases, I did a lot of work that led me to be in this Phase of the process. In Phase 0, I explained all of my topic options and explained why I chose local cuisine/popular foods. In Phase 1, I created questions that will be the 'fuel' for my research about my topic.In Phase 2, I got some sources that would help me with my research. In Phase 3, I collected all of my information and all of the information from local contacts. In Phase 4, I planned out how my final product which will be in this section.
My name is Nina A. and 9 students including myself have traveled to a province called Yunnan, in which there is Xizhou where we are staying. Microcampus is a 28-day trip where a group of 8th graders is taken to a wonderful place called Xizhou. We are given the chance to study an inquiry project of high interest. When still in Shanghai, I had 3 options that I could pick from and those three options were sports, photography, and food/local cuisine. If you want to see how I chose food click HERE. For my Inquiry Project, I chose to study food.
As food/local cuisine was a very broad topic when I got to Xizhou I decided to narrow it down to Local Snacks you can find in the village. In Shanghai, I was interested to learn about foods here in Xizhou, but now that I am here there are so many topics that you can narrow it down to I had to make my final choice. This final choice was also a decision as I had spent most of my teacher support time going out and about and looking at snacks.
For my sources, I went around Si Fang Jie, the market and other places where I could find people who sell snacks. I talked to them and asked them questions that were related to my hangers and hooks. The first thing I asked them when I approached them was the snacks that they are selling or what they put in the snack. Mostly relating to what they are selling. The second thing was to ask them who usually buys what snacks they are selling, and the third thing I asked them was the time that these snacks could be purchased. The Alumni Sources that I used were Jerry X. (R), Michael C. (E), Mallory B. (P).
In order to understand snack options in Xizhou, one might consider the available snacks, the target markets, and the times that snacks can be purchased.
Sharing My Learning:
My final product will be a video, in which I will be informing people about local snacks. I will be their "tourist" guide. In order to do that, I will be showing photos and be explaining information you need to know to understand local snacks.
From my inquiry project, my take way was that I understood that there is so much to learn about when you go to a new city or country. I also l acknowledged how to discover and not feel awkward when I go to new places. The big thing that I took away from this project was that there are a lot of snacks in Xizhou, and I also learned about what they eat and their eating habits. For example: what type of foods do they eat. I really enjoyed studying food and I took away a lot of things, learning about local foods and snacks was a really great opportunity to try new things. If I did not come to Microcampus I would have never known the different cultures and what people eat in local provinces in China. In Shanghai, I would never go up to someone and ask them what they are doing, or even talk to them. I am really glad I came to this trip for this unique experience.
My topic did not completely change during the course of our 28 days here. The main idea of my topic did not change over the time I was here in Xizhou. Something that did change was me changing my topic from very broad, to slightly more detailed. In Shanghai, my topic was originally going to be Local Foods/Cuisine and I thought that I could narrow it down to Popular Foods in Xizhou. So when I got here, I decided not to change my topic to Popular Foods in Xizhou, but to Local Snacks. This is when all of the information that I got was divided into 3 categories; the available snacks, the target markets and the times that snacks can be purchased. I then had my "hangers and hooks" talk. I really enjoy doing this topic and I really am glad that I narrowed down my topic more so I got to learn more about the local foods. I learned about the Cheese Fan, the Noodles that are available here and Xizhou baba. I was first introduced to the Cheese Fan, by an Alumni in the E group. Her name is Catherine W. and she chose to make the Cheese Fan as her Final Product. The second snack that I was introduced to was the different types of noodles. Lastly, I was introduced to a very famous snack called Xizhou Baba. It is their "local pizza".
The most difficult part studying the Inquiry Project that I chose was too narrow it down to something that would be good to have enough information about. I feel like another part that was hard as some of the experts that were selling really interesting snacks did not let me ask them some questions. I had to find ways and problem solve to find people that sold the same snacks and let me ask them some questions. Overall I think that if I was better at speaking Chinese and I could communicate with the locals that sell the snacks.
One of my biggest "a-ha" moments was when I got to try and make the Cheese Fan and I did it successfully. I think that once I had watched Mrs Zhang make her cheese I really got inspired and I wanted to try. This is when Mr Tafel asked her if I could try and make it, I tried and accomplished making cheese. This is when it hit me, I decided to do Local Snacks as my inquiry topic. I really enjoyed making it and I am glad that I went to the cheese factory. It really helped me to understand what people eat and consider as snacks here. Thanks to Mrs Zhang and Mr Ying I accomplished narrowing down my topic and having a moment where I made something.
I think that this project helped me to understand different perspectives on snacks that you can find in the village. I really got to understand what people eat, when and to whom the sellers sell it to. I got to understand how some of the food I ate on the first couple of days were made. For example, I got to watch and then try to make the Cheese Fan. Something I also got to see getting made was the Xizhou Baba, I really wanted to know how the food I was eating got created. For the local noodles, I went to a few shops that sell it and asked them how they make the Wan Dou Fan. Before you eat it, the shop owners use this utensil that makes thin noodles or thick noodles from a paste textured round dish that looks like jelly. They explained how it is made, and information that I wanted to know about this topic.
I really think that this project was great for communicating with my surroundings and getting to know the community even better. I looked around, observed and every time I came across one of the snacks, I looked at how many people were there, who was there (residents or tourists). I wondered whom these snacks were created for. This was also a really good topic to communicate to our surroundings and the community. As I had to go around and I had to talk and make connections with many different people. I interacted with them, watched what they were doing, asked them about what they were selling, saw how they interact with other people. I feel like this helped me to establish more connections with the village. For 28 days it would be surprising if I came back and had made no connections. I really think that this helped me to grow as a person for making connections with my surroundings.
This inquiry project helped me to understand myself better and see how I interact with people in my community. I am sure that if I had not come to this trip I would never have stopped on the side of the road to talk to someone selling things. I think that my biggest take away from understanding me as a person is that I am now better at managing some deadlines. For Inquiry work you can never procrastinate, everything has to be done when you are given the assignment. I am the type of person that procrastinates until the last minute. I think that at the beginning of the trip I had some slips with the deadlines, but when I understood that in Inquiry Project there is no such thing as procrastination.
Studying Local Foods, helped me as a learner, as I understood what it was like to go out and about in the village and ask people some questions. Thanks to this trip, I understood how to go around talking to people who are doing things that are related to my topic. For now on, when I will be doing a project that requires these skills I am lucky enough that I have already done something like that before. I think that as a learner something that I understood about myself in that was I get my work done by the time I have to get it done. If I am focused and on task, I can get everything that has to be done, I will get it done.
If I went back and gave advice, something I would for sure not miss out on is to be confident and talk to the people. At the beginning, I did not feel that comfortable talking to strangers. If I did know what it is like to talk to people who are selling things on the road I would not stop and acknowledge them. I think that something I could give advice on is never procrastinating. Not like any other things for Inquiry Project you have a time, and that time is it. You do not have all the time in the world to finish it. I think that this is something everyone should have known to make it a better experience.
Some new directions other Microcampus students might take would be to try and make all of these local snacks. I know that I have made 1 of these snacks but if I could try something new I would go ahead and try to make these other snacks. Something I could also do to take new directions would be from these popular snacks just to focus on one of them and see how it is made and try to make it. Really focusing on that one snack would be a great final product.
I am really thankful to all of the experts that I talked to and everyone in this community who made my inquiry project a really great one to study about. Studying this inquiry project has made me have a more open sense to all different kinds of cultures and foods around the world. It was a really great chance that I got to have this as my topic. All of these things that I learned would have never been something I learned at school or anywhere else. This experience was really great to get out of our comfort zones and to try new things.