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 possible choices. 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.
After reviewing my choices carefully, I eventually chose Local Food Products/Cuisine as the topic that I am going to study while at Xizhou. 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 as Local Food Products/Cuisine. 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 Inquiry Project process in 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 about a certain dish 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 therefore help me understand my topic even more.