Phase 4: Preparing to Share: Emerging Ideas

Updated 5 years 2 weeks ago

In Phase 1 I chose a topic. In Phase 2 I found helpful resources. In Phase 3 I interpreted the information I got from local contacts; and in this phase I am going to develop a plan for how to report my findings and share the most important things I learnt during my journey.

I looked at some previous final inquiry projects from the “Inquiry Project Hall of Fame” to use their projects to find what they did good and incorporate those things in my project. I first looked at Gayatri B.’s project from the Dynamite group; she studied the small spicy potato businesses. She created a keynote with the stories of the potato stand owners. Her final presentation was very detailed and interesting, blending the stories with facts about the businesses. I like how she created a short video on how to make the spicy potatoes as the product aspect of her project.

I also looked at Clara C.’s project on Bai Minority Architecture. She focused on main entry gates in Xizhou. She did a product project and through her research on gates managed to create a gate that integrated the Microcampus group into it. I think her approach was definitely a more creative one and I hope I can take my research and turn it into something creative and different, like her.

Nike H.'s project was about the recreational life of children. She studied about what kids in Xizhou do in their free time, where they go to school and what they do there, and especially what games they played. I applaud Nike for choosing such direct sources, like the children. It takes a lot of guts to just try to connect with children, it is a lot harder than adults. I will try to be as courageous as her.

My audience for this is a general group of people; mostly my classmates, family, and teachers. In order to make this a presentation that is right for this audience I must clearly and creatively convey my journey and Mr. Zhang's journey, of his business.

When we do a thesis statement at Microcampus we have the hanger, which is the broad idea, and the hooks, which are the specific details. My thesis statement is: As I look back on my experiences of learning about Mr. Zhang's barber shop, one must consider Mr. Zhang's life story, the economics of his business, and my own journey throughout this process.

There are many different ways I can present my final project like creating a keynote, movie, or article. Most likely I will create a movie with a few keynote slides in it so I can show my 3 hangers in clear ways. Some other supporting information/details I can use for my hooks are other people's business stories to try to bring more emphasis on Mr. Zhang's story.


  • Basic introudction:
    • Microcampus is a 28 day experience where selected students travel to Xizhou, a small rural village in China, to study a specific topic of interest. My topic was 'Small Business Economics Case Study' and I studied a specific person's business. I chose Mr. Zhang, a local barber. I spent days having fruitful conversations with him and learned a great deal about his life and business. As I look back on my experiences of learning about Mr. Zhang's barber shop, one must consider Mr. Zhang's life story, the economics of his business, and my own journey throughout this process. 


  • He has been a barber for over 50 years, inheriting the job from his father and grandfather
  • He learnt to be a barber when he was very young
  • When he was young he was in the army and when he was 20 he decided to work as a barber
  • His barber chair has been used for 100 years and was created by his grandfather
  • Hundreds of thousands of people got their hair cut in that chair, including me


  • It costs 6 RMB for a hair cut and wash
  • 5 RMB for just the hair cut
  • He does not pay housing tax because it his own private property, and he does not pay business tax because it is not officially recognized as a business
  • Costs of the tools (e.g.. scissors, razors, soap, etc.)


  • I got first hand experience with Mr. Zhang's skills when I got my haircut
  • Before and after pictures
  • I spent many hours taking with him and getting to know him
  • It was the highlight of my day and was very peaceful to watch him cut people's hair


  • Talk about the challenges, the highs, the lows, of this project
  • Reinstatement of thesis

I am now ready to move onto my final project which can be found here.

My name is Alex L., and I am an 8th grader at SAS Pudong. At SAS I am in MUN, the musical, and CISSA. My time at Xizhou was truly transformational. My topic was small business economics case study. I studied Mr. Zhang, a local barber. My favorite thing about Microcampus was the freedom and opportunities we got. Microcampus showed me the real experience of China and opened my mind up to many different possibilities.