Phase 4: Preparing to Share: Emerging Ideas

Updated 1 year 5 months ago

I have now completed my Phase 3 of Microcampus work and I am ready to continue onto Phase 4. In Phase 0, I was busy identifying topics that I would be interested in looking into, and ended choosing the topic of farming. In Phase 1, I created a list of 10 major questions that would help filter my research in Xizhou. In Phase 2, I searched for helpful resources that could possibly help me guide my research. Phase 3 was mostly about doing background research to learn more about my topic and information I learned from my local contacts in Xizhou. 

Looking at Previous Projects

Before I start to make my own project take shape, I took a look at some of the projects of previous Microcampus students.  

I started off by looking at the work from Carlos L. of group I. 

One aspect of his project work that I noticed from the beginning was that he started off with a large variety of questions, and ended up specifying them into one aspect of farming. I also did this while I was working on inquiry work because I ended up focusing on the lifestyle and daily work of farmers instead of the other questions I had on my list. Carlos also emphasized on how the hangers and hooks conversation with Mr. T really helped him get his information into order instead of letting all of it confuse him. I think that's really interesting because that's exactly how I felt when I learned about the process as well. 

After looking at Carlos' reflection, I went on to look at the work of Isaac X.  of the group J. 

After looking at his final product, I thought it was really cool how he focused his product on the impact that one crop had on Xizhou, instead of farming in general. I thought it was really cool how he narrowed all of his information down so far and yet still managed to make a really great video and a great presentation. I also thought it was interesting how in his pictures, he showed pictures of farmers that I also worked with in my time here. 

I now went on to look into the work of Alina Z. from group G. 

Alina Z. is a member of the Inquiry Project Hall of Fame so I think looking at her project was really inspiring. I think everything about her video was very spot-on. Her pictures and audio matched very well, and the background was a great addition as well. Her video was very well done, and I think it's something that will be a great reference when making my video. I think it's very clear why she got into the Hall of Fame.

I also wanted to look at a product of a topic other than farming, so I chose to look at Caleb K. from group J's work on fishing. 

I think Caleb's reflection was really interesting because he mentioned a lot of experiences he had, why he valued them, and how it impacted his final project. I think that keeping my experiences in mind is beneficial in the end because then I can reflect on them as well as look at them from another perspective. 

Final Product Outline

There were many things that I had to take into consideration about my project before I could start getting to work on it. One of those things were what kind of product we wanted to produce for people to see. Mr. T gave us many options to consider but in the end, I chose to do a Would I Survive As... project with a little bit of personal journey incorporated into it. I chose to do a Would I Survive As... project because I think that my topic mostly revolved around the lifestyle and living of farmers in Xizhou so doing that sort of project made the most sense to me. I also chose to do a little bit of Personal Journey because I wanted to talk a little about how my perspective of food changed and how my life will be different after coming on this trip. 

The audience for my project will mostly be family members, classmates, and teachers back in Shanghai. Also, there may be a chance that anyone interested in Xizhou agriculture or rural life may happen to look at the work I have done. 

My objective I want to reach in creating my product is to inspire people to learn more about things they are interested in. If I could spend 28 days in a village gaining knowledge about what I'm interested in, then other people can too. I also want to build awareness around the fact that there a more than one group of people in the world. Although people close to me buy their food in supermarkets, there are also people in the world that plant crops and get their food straight out of the ground, and I want people to acknowledge that. 

The thesis that I will be sharing is as followed: In order to determine whether or not I could survive as a farmer in Xizhou, I would need to consider the lifestyle, financials, and government policies.

I decided to use a video as my form of media because I think that it will be effective when it comes to portraying my ideas and visuals through videos and photos. I also feel like I a pretty strong background in making videos and documentaries so I should be pretty comfortable with making a good one. 

I also think that some personal stories of the farmers should be included as well because that could make my product more impactful and inspiring for the audience watching. 

I. Introduction

  • Along with 15 other students, we came to Xizhou, Yunnan for 28 days to study, research, and investigate one topic of personal choice.
  • Everyone got to pick their own topic and I decided to go with the topic of farming because I thought it would be an interesting topic to study because of the absence of it in Shanghai. I am really glad I chose this topic and it was an awesome experience to get to talk to farmers about their stories and learn about their lifestyles. 
  • Give a basic introduction into what I chose to do for my topic
  • My thesis: In order to determine whether or not I could survive as a farmer in Xizhou, I would need to consider the lifestyle, financials, and government policies.

II. Daily Life

  • The daily schedule that farmers have to follow every day and why it is important to them.
  • The crops that they grow in their farms and the process that they go through.
  • Their lives at home with their children and grandchildren and how they support their lives.
  • Hardships and negatives effects of farming as a career
  • Seasons of crop farming

III. Financials

  • The amount of money and income they make every day.
  • The amount of money they need to make sure that their family will be able to be supported.
  • The value of the crops they sell.
  • The life at the marketplace.

IV. Government policies

  • The policies the government places on farmers and farmland.
  • The effect of the policies on the farmer's daily lives.
  • The reason behind the policies

V. Conclusion

  • The lifestyle, financials, and governmental policies need to be considered to determine whether or not I could survive as a farmer in Xizhou. 
  • How my perspective on farming and food changed.
  • How I personally grew as a person.

Now that I have completed Phase 4 I will be moving onto my Final Product.




My name is Alan Z, and I am a 13-year-old eighth grader in SAS Puxi. I was born in the US, and right now I live in Shanghai. I am so happy that I got to be a part of the Microcampus program. I was in Xizhou for 4 weeks, and I am really grateful for everyone who helped me throughout my journey.