1. Building Grit Through Physical Education

    June 12, 2024 by Andrea D, Doeun K, and David O

    Driving Question:

    How might we demonstrate the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness while attending TGS?

    Project Summary:

    Andrea, David, and Doeun presented their project, “Building Grit Through Physical Education,” highlighting how physical activity at TGS fosters resilience, community, and personal growth. Each shared personal anecdotes illustrating their journeys through physical challenges and the support they received from their peers and mentors.

    David shared his experience of running a quarter marathon in Greece despite a shin splint, emphasizing how community support helped him recover and persevere. Doeun recounted her struggle to maintain physical activity, ultimately achieving a 10K run through persistence and encouragement from friends. Andrea discussed her fencing project across different countries, overcoming challenges like adapting to new teachers and techniques, and how sports can unite people regardless of cultural differences.

    The trio emphasized the importance of community in PE, citing their weekly “tough tummy time” sessions led by their PE coach, Shasta, which fostered a sense of togetherness. They also highlighted student-led sports sessions, where students like Aryna, Luiza, Sally, and Liam took on leadership roles to coach and support their peers, developing personal skills and contributing to the community.

    The project showcased how TGS’s physical education program instills values such as grit, ubuntu (togetherness), and responsibility, leaving a lasting impact on the students.

  2. Wall E^3: Exploring the Eras of Energy

    March 2, 2024 by Sigurd R. and Sarfo A.

    Driving Question:

    How might we understand the relationship between humans and energy in the past, present, and future of Japan?

    Module Summary:

    The module “Wall-EEE: Exploring the Eras of Energy” investigated the relationship between humans and energy in Japan, focusing on past, present, and future perspectives. Students learned about energy management, use, and production from cultural, spiritual, and scientific viewpoints. The module included guest speakers: one discussed Shinto Buddhism, another from the Japanese government, and a historian/scientist on atomic bomb survivors.

    Their investigations involved exploring Hiroshima’s energy systems, experimenting with renewable energy models, and visiting various sites. These included a Shinto Buddhist temple, Disneyland, museums, a nuclear power plant, and Mazda’s factory, to understand different aspects of energy use and management.

    The module culminated in creating a model and theoretical framework for an energy system in Hiroshima, addressing existing gaps. They employed human-centered design principles, inspired by insights from Disney and Mazda, to ensure user-friendly and efficient designs. They concluded by inviting attendees to see their demonstrations and final products.

    For their final product, Sigurd R. and Sarfo A. developed an automated circuit designed to store and utilize the limited power generated by solar panels for Hiroshima’s tram system. Their aim was to eventually take tram stations off the grid with an effective battery management system. During their survey of Hiroshima, they noticed tram stops that provided shelter to passengers. Inspired by this, they proposed installing solar panels at these stops to harness energy.

    In Hiroshima, trams are much more prolific there than in most other cities, which typically have metro systems without above-ground stations and therefore cannot utilize solar energy. Additionally, the tram system of Hiroshima was one of the first infrastructures rebuilt after the bomb, symbolizing hope and reconstruction after the war.

  3. A Tale of Two Cities 

    by Kenzo W.

    Driving Question:

    How can we apply the Japanese approach of cultural conservation to design for architectural renovation or innovation in our own home cities?

    Module Summary:

    The teacher-led module “A Tale of Two Cities” focuses on architectural innovation and cultural conservation. The students got to explore how Japanese cultural conservation approaches could be applied to architectural renovation in their home cities. Throughout the term, they had the opportunity to learn from local and global architectural techniques and delve deeper into their own cultural techniques.

    Kenzo W.’s 3D design for the Tale of Two Cities module is a modern Japanese resort/vacation home located in Karuizawa, a town in Nagano prefecture, Japan. This house is designed to accommodate 2-4 residents during the summertime and integrates both traditional and modern Japanese architectural concepts and furnishings, reflecting a blend of his artistic choices and elements from the Japanese lifestyle.

    The key Japanese architectural concepts Kenzo W. focused on were Oku (depth) and the Doma (earthen floor), which were highlighted by guest speaker Professor Daniel during the Kyoto Wexplore. Professor Daniel explained these concepts and their connection to Japanese culture, and the session venue itself represented Oku, the Doma, and the Nakaniwa. In Kenzo’s design, Oku is represented through the flow of the house, emphasizing the concept of depth within a building. The bedroom, the most private part of the house, is the room that requires the most walking to reach, with personal activity spaces like the living room, recreational room, and dining room leading up to it. Despite the large windows on the second floor, there is no direct access to the outside environment.

    The Doma is incorporated through the literal use of an earthen floor in the entryway, serving as a foundation and a slight height difference from the garden and the interior of the house. This facilitates the Japanese tradition of removing shoes when going inside and outside, supported by a shoe box, and acts as a border and gateway to the outside spaces of the house. Kenzo also included Shoji, Tatami, and Futon furnishings to suit the Japanese lifestyle for the intended residents, making the house cozy and representative of a traditional Japanese lifestyle, ideal for his family as a vacation home.

    One of the unique elements Kenzo W. focused on is the roofing, which he considers a key identifying feature of a Japanese house. The design features an angled sloped gable roof fused with a smaller gable roof at a 90˚ angle, emulating the curves of natural environments and avoiding a cubic appearance. This roof design opens up on one side to create more space for windows in the living and recreational areas, directing the house’s face towards a scenic view.

    Kenzo chose to incorporate modern architectural elements as a personal aesthetic preference, inspired by the style of Japanese villa homes, such as those designed by M’s architect. This is reflected in his choice of a gray and brown color scheme from wood and metal materials. He also considered the environment by incorporating large windows facing a predominant direction to take advantage of views such as a sunrise, sunset, or mountain scenery.

  4. Manga Evolution

    by Nefertari J. and Esha V.

    Driving Question:

    How can Japanese visual storytelling techniques document historical and cultural events?

    Module Summary:

    The Manga Evolution module explored how Japanese visual storytelling techniques document historical and cultural events. The module covers traditional Japanese art forms like sumi-e (ink painting), ukiyo-e (woodblock printing), kamishibai (oral storytelling), and manga (contemporary art form).

    The students practiced dynamic movement in sumi-e, created layered prints in ukiyo-e, analyzed anime like “Demon Slayer,” and learned to read and draw manga. They visited the Manga Museum in Kyoto, attended drawing workshops, and honed their storytelling skills by creating narrative storyboards based on photos taken in Hiroshima.

    Field experiences in Kyoto and Tokyo included visits to the Studio Ghibli Museum, TeamLab Planets, and the Tokyo National Museum. The final project required students to choose a significant historical or cultural event in Japan, create an eight-frame storyboard, and bring one panel to life using their chosen medium.

    Esha V.’s final product is a scaled-up version of a Hanafuda card of her own design. This artwork incorporates watercolor, an element she integrated based on her experience with sumi-e. Through practicing sumi-e, Esha learned about opacity and color, skills she then applied to her final product. By iterating on her design and creating multiple drafts before commencing the final piece, she ensured she evaluated numerous ways of presenting her ideas. This thorough process allowed her to ultimately decide on a composition that effectively communicates the story within the frame.

    For her final project, Nefertari J. chose a historical and cultural event to explore the meaning of being in Japan: the Atomic Bomb. Creating a storyboard helped her turn complex events into a coherent visual story, enhancing her narrative skills, whilst the module’s workshops and practice improved her artistic abilities. She examined the distinctions between Japanese culture and her own, particularly the Atomic Bomb.

    Balancing research, creativity, and technical skills, she thoughtfully selected scenes, showcasing her growth in visual storytelling. The project refined her techniques and allowed her to experiment with traditional art forms.

  5. I See You Module

    December 4, 2023 by Agnes, Chema, Kali, Koko, Luiza, Raya, Santi, Satya, Yana

    Driving Question:

    How can we use media to respectfully share Indigenous Australian Dreamtime stories and cultural knowledge while honoring Aboriginal rights and sensitivities?

    Module Summary:

    The module titled “I See You” challenged students to engage deeply with complex themes of power dynamics, equity, and oppression, examining their manifestations both in Australia and their respective cultural contexts. Emphasizing experiential learning, the module aims to cultivate an understanding of media’s multifaceted roles.

    A significant focus of the module was on respectfully sharing Indigenous Australian Dreamtime stories and cultural knowledge, while honoring Aboriginal rights and sensitivities. With over 500 distinct Aboriginal groups and a history spanning 60,000 years, Aboriginal culture’s profound connection to the land is central. The module included immersive experiences in Aboriginal communities, such as in North Queensland, where students explore fundamental questions about land and its significance.

    The culmination of these experiences often results in creative projects like films. For instance, “Dear Yabula” and “Lore of the Land” are films crafted by students. These works aim to convey the deep perspectives and wisdom of Aboriginal cultures, particularly their relationship with ancestral lands. Inspired by the songlines of various Aboriginal peoples, including the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung, Bunurong/Boon Wurrung, Gimuy-walubarra Yidi, and Dyirribarra Bagirbarr, the films are developed with permission and serve as respectful conduits for sharing Indigenous stories and knowledge. The module thus underscores the importance of media in fostering understanding and appreciation of Indigenous cultures while navigating ethical considerations and respecting cultural protocols.

  6. Snapshots of Nature’s Symphony

    by Keetah B.

    Driving Question:

    How can the art of analogue film photography serve as a powerful conservation tool, revealing the intricate interplay between plants and animals within vulnerable ecosystems?

    Module Summary:

    The module titled “Snapshots of Nature Symphony,” explored how analog film photography can serve as a powerful conservation tool by revealing the intricate interplay between plants and animals in vulnerable ecosystems. They began by explaining their use of pinhole cameras, which were made from cans and operated by capturing images through a small hole acting as a lens. These images, initially inverted, were then processed digitally to reveal their true colors.

    The students also learned from Doug Gimy, a renowned wildlife conservation photographer, who taught them how to create compelling stories using photographs. Additionally, they experimented with cyanotypes, a photographic process that involves creating images on fabric or paper using light-sensitive chemicals and natural elements like leaves and flowers, which were then developed in sunlight.

    A visit to the zoo provided them with insights into ongoing conservation efforts and allowed them to apply their film photography skills to capture images of wildlife. They also had the opportunity to visit a dark room, where they learned about the film development process, including techniques such as developing, stopping, enlarging, burning, and dodging.

    The module included a field trip to the Daintree Rainforest, where they engaged in field studies to analyze water quality and learned about local conservation initiatives. They also designed and printed conservation-themed t-shirts using a silk-screening process, which involved coating screens with emulsion and exposing them to create designs.

    For their final project, Keetah B. wanted to focus on the relationship between wildlife conservation and the dying cultures of the aboriginals while also celebrating the diversity and beauty of Australian nature. In the Daintree, the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people are nowadays part of the wildlife conservation effort, but in the past, they had their land taken away from them by colonizers who destroyed their native land. Although these issues mainly occurred in the past, there are still cases of this today. A sacred birthing hole was taken away from the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people, and they are no longer allowed on the site. Not only that, but climate change and other environmental factors pose a huge risk to Australian wildlife conservation, and the Daintree is not exempt from this. Although it has been around for hundreds of millions of years, it can very quickly be destroyed by human actions.

    Keetah wanted to bring these themes together into one image by taking a piece of aboriginal culture, the boomerang, an object known for “coming back,” and placing it with the wildlife that is at risk, all while showing the beauty that is important to preserve.

  7. Over/Under: Air, Water & Physics 

    by Rianon T.

    Driving Question:

    How might we understand the relationship between physics and human performance in aerial and aquatic environments?

    Module Summary:

    The module Over/Under: Air, Water & Physics explored the relationship between physics and human performance in aerial and aquatic environments. Their project involved taking trapeze classes for five weeks, where they learned and practiced various tricks, reflecting on the physics involved in their movements. They focused on understanding forces, pendulums, and the transformation of kinetic and potential energy.

    Midway through the term, they participated in a workshop in Cairns, where they learned additional aerial arts and tight roping, and completed a water safety diving course. This course included pool training in breath-holding techniques, streamlining, and basic swimming skills, which they later applied in a lake, encountering real-world aquatic conditions, such as swimming with a crocodile. They also visited the Great Barrier Reef, where they swam with turtles and saw sharks.

    The educational components of their module emphasized the physics of trapeze, such as gravitational, centripetal, and air resistance forces, as well as pendulum motion and energy transformation. In diving, they focused on swimming strength, equalizing pressure, rescue techniques, and efficient breathing.

    Rianon T.’s final product is a physical scrapbook titled “A Physicist’s Guide to Trapezing and Free Diving!”. This scrapbook serves as an educational and informative overview of the physics involved in trapezing and free diving. Throughout the module, she focused on developing the 21st-century skill of adaptability and managing complexity. This was exemplified through various activities, including trapezing, creating physics experiments, building a car, launching a baking soda rocket, experimenting with pendulums, learning to free dive, and adapting to new challenges constantly.

    She found this module particularly engaging and enjoyable, especially the trapezing aspect. The open-ended nature of the summative assessment allowed her to creatively interpret your learning, resulting in a fulfilling and engaging final product.

  8. AI Journalism

    August 31, 2023 by Santiago D.

    Driving Question:

    How can AI be applied in investigative, opinion, and solutions-based journalism in the context of digital communities in Bosnia?

    Module Summary:

    The “AI Journalism” module explored the intersection of artificial intelligence and journalism. The module aimed to understand the capabilities and limitations of AI in news writing and its impact on current events.

    Students investigated the origins and evolution of journalism in their home countries and Bosnia, comparing human-written articles to AI-generated content. They examined various types of journalism—investigative, solution-based, and opinion—and learned how AI can be ethically and legally integrated into these fields.

    The module included excursions to notable sites like the Al Jazeera Balkans, the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Sarajevo Film Festival. Guest speakers provided insights into wartime reporting and modern journalism challenges, emphasizing the irreplaceable human element in storytelling.

    Through practical experiences and reflections, students created their own articles, juxtaposing them with AI-generated pieces to discern the unique human touch in journalism.

    For instance, senior student Santi D. created an article titled ‘Unraveling the Web of Deceit: Serbian Media’s Role in Spreading Fake News During the Yugoslav Wars,’ which examines the impact of misinformation during the 1990s conflicts in the Balkans. The article outlines how the Serbian media played a crucial role in shaping public perception and exacerbating ethnic tensions through the dissemination of fake news and propaganda.

  9. Carpentry Innovation

    August 1, 2023 by Niko W.

    Driving Question:

    How can you use traditional Bosnian carpentry techniques to create innovative product designs?

    Module Summary:

    The “Carpentry and Innovation” module, tasked students with transforming a plank of wood into an innovative and culturally significant piece over five days. Working closely with local experts in Konjic, the students learned traditional Bosnian carving techniques. They designed and created wooden carvings and objects, using both sketches and 3D models.

    Students visited the Zanat factory and a wood carving museum, where they were introduced to different types of wood, carpentry, and woodworking techniques. They also delved into the innovation aspect, learning about the difference between innovation and invention, legal and ethical considerations, and the process of idea protection through patents, trade secrets, and copyrights.

    After mastering the basics, the students created their final products in two factory spaces: Elektra, where they worked on sawing, chiseling, and filing their basic shapes, and Zanat, where they refined their shapes, added intricate patterns, and completed their projects with sanding and oiling.

    Niko W.’s final product is an oak wooden boat with a unique texture designed to enhance its hydrodynamic performance, akin to the dimples on a golf ball or sharkskin texture. He employed two types of chiseling techniques—flat-headed, curved, and V-shaped—to serve different purposes in crafting the boat. The rip saw, while providing a cleaner cut, required more time compared to the bow saw, which removed more material but left a rougher finish.

    Initially using the rip saw for shaping, Niko later switched to the bow saw based on feedback from Alestra staff, prioritizing time efficiency over surface smoothness, as he planned to refine the boat’s sides through subsequent shaping and sanding. To achieve smoother edges and surfaces, he utilized a file initially for its material-removal capability, followed by 80-grit sandpaper to refine the texture further.

  10. Oral Storytelling

    June 13, 2023 by Rianon T.

    Driving Question:

    In what ways can the art of storytelling be adapted to communicate across disciplines and for different purposes?

    Project Summary:

    Rianon T., a grade 11 student from New Zealand, embarked on a journey of storytelling and cultural immersion during her time in Botswana. Inspired by the diverse voices and experiences of the local storytellers she met—ranging from published authors to musicians and safari rangers—Rianon was tasked with creating her own story based on her encounters and observations. This experience profoundly shaped her understanding of the importance of listening to elders, the beauty of nature and wildlife, and the timeless lessons imparted through children’s stories.

    The core of Rianon’s story focused on a young girl named Impo, who learns the vital lesson of listening to her elders as she navigates the Okavango Delta. Through encounters with various animals, including a hippo and a crocodile, Impo learns not only about the unique characteristics of each creature but also gains wisdom about the consequences of not heeding advice. Each encounter in her story serves as a metaphor for the deeper cultural and moral lessons imparted by the elders in Botswana.

    During her presentation, Rianon shared a snippet from her story, where Impo encounters a hippo while crossing a river. This scene beautifully illustrates the importance of paying attention and listening, as Impo attempts to identify a zebra based on her limited knowledge, only to learn from the hippo that listening to one’s elders is crucial for survival and understanding. The encounter with the hippo also emphasizes the gentle and wise nature of the elder animals, who impart their wisdom to the younger generations.

    Rianon’s story resonates not only with the audience but also with her own personal growth and understanding of the world around her. It showcases how stories can transcend cultural boundaries and impart timeless lessons that resonate with people of all ages. Through her storytelling, Rianon not only honors the traditions and wisdom of the people she met in Botswana but also carries forward their teachings to inspire others to listen, learn, and grow.

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