Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection
I am about to go on a 28 days (4 weeks) trip to Xizhou for Microcampus. Microcampus is basically an amount of eight graders that are chosen to leave their typical lives in Shanghai for a month and go to the heavily cultured place called Xizhou. Something that we do in Microcampus is called the Inquiry Project. An inquiry project is an exploration topic where students choose a topic which interests them and research about it by experiencing it first hand, asking some local people, and doing everything ourselves rather than relying on a friend, teacher, or parent.
Choosing inquiry projects was pretty tough for me. I realized that once I chose one, I will have to stick with it for a whole month. I scrolled down the list of inquiry projects looking for a few that would interest me. At first I came up with Local Food Products/Cuisine, Farming, Local Lake Erhai Fishing Industry/Fishing Techniques, and Local Recreaton/Hobbies. Those four seemed to be a better fit for me and after a bit more of thinking and weighing the pros and cons of each topic, I have decided to stick with Local Food Products/Cuisine and Farming. The projects that interested me most were: Local Food Products/Cuisine and farming. After some guidance and help from Mr. Tafel, I've decided to focus on Local Food Products/Cuisine of Xizhou rather than Farming. I decided against farming because the farmers there have already planted their winter crops (mainly consists of garlic and beans).
I think that local food products/cuisine of Xizhou is an interesting topic and will intrigue me for the month that I will be there. Local food products/cuisine interested me because I enjoy trying new flavors and methods of preparing food. I heard from other students that went on Microcampus that the food in Xizhou is very fresh and delicious and I would like to see how they make their dishes that way. In order to gather information for this inquiry project, I would first focus on one or two specific foods. Then I would walk around villages finding people who sell or make the foods that I am researching. After that I would spend a few days asking them about the foods, and how they make it; such as how the food can be prepared in different ways or if the food is popular in Xizhou.
Phase 0 was about topic exploration and selection. Phase 1 is about posing real questions, which means finding a specific questions we want to research about.