Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection
My name is Taylor and I am a member of the V group traveling to Xizhou in the year 2018. The Microcampus trip is 28 days long and through those days, my fellow students and I will be studying a topic of our choice. The students were provided a large list of possible choices and after careful consideration and feedback from my family and teachers, I have narrowed down the topics to 3. The topics that I am considering for the Microcampus inquiry project are Local Lake Erhai Fishing Industry/Fishing Techniques, Farming, and Local Food Products/Cuisine. I am most interested in studying Xizhou style cooking, but fishing seems equally interesting. Farming also sounds great. However, it is not as appealing as the other two topics.
I eventually chose Local Food Products/Cuisine as the topic that I am going to study while at Xizhou after reviewing my thoughts carefully. I chose this topic because cooking is relatively important to me. I have grown up visiting my Great Aunt every summer and spending time baking and cooking with her. I also really love cooking because every treat or meal is different, resulting in a new experience every time I cook. From the topic descriptors that Mr. Tafel has provided, if this is the topic I choose for Microcampus, I think that I will need to be open minded, thoughtful, respectful, and precise to guarantee I have meaningful interactions with the village and its community members. I plan to fully understand the techniques of cooking in the Xizhou culture and make new experiences that I can hopefully learn from, while studying this topic. I am hoping that Mr. Tafel will allow me to begin learning about how the food is made and then follow the process back to where the food first began, the farm. I am really interested in the whole process from farm to table.
I did not choose Local Lake Erhai Fishing Industry/Fishing Techniques or Farming because neither seemed as appealing to study to me. For instance, I imagine that because it is winter, not many plants will be growing during the cold. I did not choose fishing either because patience is not one of my strongest character traits, so I predict it will be difficult for me to be patient for a month while waiting for fish. While, both of these topics were very interesting and some of my favorite hobbies, I definitely think that cooking is the best topic for me.
From previous students that traveled on a Microcampus trip, I learned a few tips on how to make sure I work through the process of my topic the best way possible. For instance, Anna S. from the Alumni-D group mentioned that it helped her to focus on one food to study, instead of a group of foods. This helped Anna S. due to the fact that she was able to specifically ask a few cooks instead of many. Orion H. from the Alumni-G group says that making sure to start the project early and not procrastinating was very helpful in his learning process.
In Phase 0, I have narrowed down the provided Inquiry Project topics down to 3 interesting topics and then chose the one topic that I am most interested in studying for the trip. I explained the reasons behind these choices and some tips from previous Microcampus students on what I should do on this trip. Now, that I have completed Phase 0, I am on to Phase 1 where I will be coming up with 10 specific questions about my topic that I will answer and help me understand my topic even more.