Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection
In March 2018, a group of 16 SAS puxi 8th grade students will go to Xizhou for 28 days to learn and grow as a person. In Xizhou we will each investigate a topic of might interest to us. To prepare for Phase 0 of Microcampus, Mr. T gave us a list of about 40 possible inquiry project topics. Our job was to narrow down the list and pick our top three topics. With lots of help from Mr. T we each had to choose one inquiry topic. The final topic that I chose was textile production.
To pick my topic I first read through all of the topic descriptors, and then I cut those down to my three possible inquiry topics: farming, business management, and textile production. After I picked my three possible topics, I went and looked at some finished projects about farming, business management, and textile production.
I was really interested in researching about farming in Xizhou, I wanted to learn about the process in which the crops are grown. I was interested in this topic because I love being in nature and working outdoors. I decided not to follow through with this topic because Mr. T told me that farming has been currently halted in Xizhou, so he said that if I wanted to choose farming as my topic the focus would be mostly on the recent restrictions. The second topic that I considered doing was business management, I wanted to see how businesses in Xizhou differ from businesses here in Shanghai. I choose not to continue with this topic because this did not interest me as much as the other two topics.
After a lot of thinking I have chosen bamboo weaving as my final inquiry topic. I decided to do this topic because I love sewing and doing crafts, and I would like to see how textile is produced. There are many types of textile production including tie-dye, batik, bamboo weaving, and embroidery. I have chosen to look at bamboo weaving, I plan to find out what the steps are to bamboo weave. I am hoping to be able to try bamboo weaving, so I can experience how much work is put into bamboo weaving.
After I chose my final topic, I have looked over some Microcampus Alumni projects and read their suggestions about bamboo weaving. Ryley S. from the Alumni-N talked about bamboo weaving in Xizhou. In her reflection, her advice was to take lots of photos at the beginning of the trip, organize information neatly to save time, and she said that translating the 10 big questions into Chinese before leaving for Xizhou would be a big help. Maya K. from Alumni-O also did her inquiry project about bamboo weaving. Her main piece of advice would to not be afraid. Ryley S. and Maya K. both suggested that if future Microcampus students were to do bamboo weaving, they should focus in on one part of the bamboo weaving process. Looking at these projects have definitely helped me gain a stronger understanding of this topic and how to go about my research.
Overall in Phase 0, I have looked through possible inquiry projects and chosen my final topic. I have also looked at other Microcampus students' projects to see what they have done and to see their suggestions. In Phase 1, I will be researching my topic and finding questions.