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  1. Beyond New Zealand

    June 12, 2024 by Rianon T.

    Driving Question:

    How can I promote global awareness in New Zealand youth through teaching primary school students about different countries and cultures around the world?

    Product output from this module:

    A collection of classes I have taught and lesson plans inspired by the classes I teach and the different countries. 

    Module Summary:

    Rianon, from New Zealand, undertook a service learning project called “Beyond NZ” to address the lack of global awareness among New Zealand primary school students. Geographic isolation has made New Zealand a peaceful country but has also limited its interaction with the rest of the world. Rianon observed that New Zealand’s education, especially at the primary level, is heavily focused on local content, leading to cultural insensitivity, limited problem-solving skills, and ineffective communication.

    To tackle this issue, Rianon reconnected with her old primary school, where her former teacher became her external mentor. She observed his teaching methods and then taught classes herself. Her goal was to inspire interest in global awareness through engaging and fun lessons about different countries. Rianon taught six classes with three different teachers, totaling eight hours of teaching time. The students, aged 8 to 9, were taught about Botswana, South Korea, and India.

    For Botswana, Rianon shared personal stories from her travels and had the students create informational posters. The South Korea lesson included fun facts and cultural traditions, and the students planned their own trips. The India lesson focused on cultural diversity and celebrations, ending with a competitive quiz.

    Rianon used visual communication and collaborative activities to keep the students engaged. Although she acknowledges that the project didn’t change the primary school education system, it successfully made the world seem a little closer for these children in Devonport, New Zealand.

  2. The Little Frog’s Dilemma

    June 13, 2023 by Samara M.

    Driving Question:

    How can I use my personal life experiences to write and illustrate a children’s book that explores the topics of race, culture and identity?

    Project Summary:

    Samara M., one of our senior students, shared a deeply personal project inspired by her multicultural background, having lived in Kenya, China, Malaysia, and Tanzania. Despite loving books like “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” and “The Gruffalo,” she felt a lack of stories that reflected her unique experiences.

    Identifying as a third culture kid, Samara highlighted the challenges and feelings of isolation that come with this identity. To bridge this gap, she created a children’s story that resonates with the third culture experience and beyond.

    Samara conducted research across schools in Kenya and Tanzania, revealing a significant underrepresentation of black characters in children’s books. Motivated by these findings and Susan Sontag’s belief that stories shape our world, Samara wrote “The Little Frog’s Dilemma,” a tale set in a pond divided into four regions, each with distinct skills.

    The protagonist, a frog with parents from different regions, embodies a blend of these cultures but struggles to excel in any single skill. Despite initial failures in dancing and magic, the frog’s unique croak, a metaphor for its mixed identity, ultimately earns it the honor of performing for the queen.

    Through this story, Samara aims to reflect diverse experiences and foster connection. She encourages everyone to embrace and share their personal narratives, believing they have the power to ignite empathy and break down barriers.

    Samara’s hope is that “The Little Frog’s Dilemma” will resonate with readers and become a cherished story, inspiring others to create bridges through their own unique tales.

  3. Foodstainable

    by Andrea D.

    Driving Question:

    How can I reduce food waste, help dog shelters, and start a campaign in Peru and Oman by creating dog food?

    Project Summary:

    Andrea D, a Grade 11 student from Peru, observed the plight of stray dogs and the immense food waste generated each year. With over 300 million stray dogs globally and six million in Peru, many of which forage in garbage dumps, she saw an opportunity to tackle these issues simultaneously.

    In 2021, it was reported that half of Peru’s food was discarded, and Andrea realized that this wasted food could potentially feed countless stray dogs. Motivated to make a difference, she founded “Sustainable Kibble,” an initiative focused on creating dog food from food waste.

    Through extensive research, Andrea discovered that many commercial dog foods contain harmful preservatives and artificial colorings, which can cause health issues like allergies, high blood lipid levels, and cancer. She found that natural preservatives such as cabbage and beets not only preserve food but also provide natural coloring and make it more appealing to dogs. Additionally, papaya seeds were identified as an effective natural dewormer.

    Andrea experimented with different formulations and flavors, even testing the kibble on her own dogs to ensure its effectiveness. Her research, which demonstrated the viability of using natural ingredients in dog kibble, was documented in a paper she encourages others to read.

    To broaden the impact of her project, Andrea created a multilingual website (available in English, Spanish, and Chinese) where people can access her research, donate, share information, replicate the project in their communities, and purchase affordable dog food. Her ultimate goal is to establish a non-profit organization funded through donations and sales, with profits used to sterilize stray dogs to help reduce the stray dog population.

    Andrea’s vision is to feed and deworm stray dogs while reducing food waste, fostering a compassionate community, and promoting sustainable practices. She invites everyone to join her in making a positive and lasting impact on both the environment and the lives of stray dogs.

  4. Info Link

    July 26, 2022 by Siphokazi S.

    Driving Question: How might we use blockchain technology to create future innovative ventures?

    What were your goals for this module? How did you achieve them?

    At the beginning of this module, I wasn’t quite sure what blockchain was and all I wanted to do was figure it out. By the end of the module, I was able to go beyond just understanding basic blockchain I was able to merge it with something that I enjoyed in my summative product.

    What new things did you learn about yourself?

    I learned to embody the TGS core value of grit, as I was online because of COVID this term. It really taught me to be patient with myself and to let my curiosity fuel me and challenge me to learn something new. This term was full of a lot of personal growth and I can proudly say I’m not the same as I was in the beginning of the term.

    What are your big takeaway lessons from this project?

    I think that my biggest lesson is to trust myself. At the beginning of this project, I was scared that I wouldn’t understand anything because I didn’t have a background in tech and coding. I thought I would really struggle, and before I even started the module, I was stressed about it. But I convinced myself to open my mind and be positive and to link it with something I understood.

  5. Kolmnaist: A Female-focused NFT Project

    by Methini G., Helena F., and Viktoria L.

    View their project here: https://viktorial33.wixsite.com/kolmnaist/

    Driving Question: How might we use blockchain technology to create future innovative ventures?

    What were your goals for this module?

    Helena: My biggest goal for the module was having good teamwork with my peers, learning about blockchain, and applying it to something I am really passionate about. Having an impactful final summative that showcases an issue is so important for our community, and I’m proud to see that we achieved all of them together.

    Methini: For our module summative, my teammates and I designed a project called Kolmnaist, which means three women. The theme of our project was using blockchain technology to create an NFT collection that empowers women from India, Estonia, and Brazil.

    My goal for this module was to understand what blockchain is and how it works because blockchain was a whole new topic for me. When we started learning about blockchain, all I could think about was its negative aspects, like affecting the environment and people. But later on, we explored how we can use blockchain for a positive impact.

    Studying the fourth industrial revolution is genuinely a shock on how innovative the world is becoming.

    What new things did you learn about yourselves?

    Helena: I learned that I am actually very interested in exploring this technology that, at first, I didn’t think I was ever going to connect to.

    Methini: I learned to develop my pitching skills and also realized that I’m not too fond of blockchain and its future roles in our day-to-day life.

    What are your biggest takeaway lessons from this project?

    Helena: I think I learned a lot about adversity and dealing with things going out of plan, but still being able to adapt and make the most out of it.

    Methini: My biggest takeaway from this module is to be confident while pitching/presenting, have clear eye contact with the audience, and understand ways to use blockchain positively.

  6. Cash $Back

    by Noah D.

    Driving Question: How might we use blockchain technology to create future innovative ventures?

    What were your goals for this module? How did you achieve them?

    My goal for this module was to develop a solid and applicable understanding of blockchain. Coming in, I knew absolutely nothing about NFTs, cryptocurrency, decentralized finance, or web 3.0. Now, I can say that I have a significant knowledge bank about these emerging technologies. I was able to apply my understanding to create a wireframe and white paper for a decentralized face-to-face loaning platform: Cash $Back.

    What new things did you learn about yourself?

    Through this module, I learned a lot about the feedback process. I had multiple ideas for my module summative that I was really excited about. However, when I brought them up with guest speakers and module leads, they got picked apart and heavily criticized. I realized that I didn’t know quite as much as I thought about blockchain, and as such was able to begin seeing this feedback not as something to fear, but something to learn from. By the end of the module, I hoped for critical feedback on my work, as I knew that that is what would help me the most.

    What are your big takeaway lessons from this project?

    From this module, I took away a really good understanding of a technology that could be very relevant to all of us in the future. I found a passion for design – spending hours on end choosing color palettes, font combinations and arranging features for my wireframe. I came to new realizations about how educational access and wealth inequality can hinder or aid the adoption of new technologies – an insight into the privilege I have to do so. Finally, I came up with an idea that, if developed properly, could lead me to a path of dApp development and entrepreneurship. Blockchain is now a huge passion of mine.

  7. Fila Tigui

    July 25, 2022 by Yeli K.


    Driving Question:
    How might we use blockchain technology to create future innovative ventures?

    What were your goals for this module?

    My goal for this module was to design a decentralized app, token/coin, or NFT collection based on a concrete understanding of what blockchain is. I achieved my goals by being particularly attentive with our guest speakers and asking many questions to understand what blockchain is.

    What new things did you learn about yourself?

    I learned how interested I am for the potential impact of Web 3.0 on our world.

    What are your big takeaway lessons from this project?

    Blockchain is the future.

  8. Spice Hazard

    July 21, 2022 by Saffron B.

    Driving Question: How can we improve our spice tolerance through a mixture of science and cultural understanding?

    Project Summary: This project was a dive into the science and Mexican cuisine and culture. Saffron and Santiago researched many different kinds of chili peppers before deciding on five local peppers that they and a group of volunteers would be eating to increase their spice tolerance: costeño, pasilla, jalapeño, chiltepín, and habanero. The pair recorded themselves doing so to share their findings.

    Student Reflection: “Working on this project was painful, but it was so fun and totally worth it. I learned that eating spicy food can make you feel like you’re being stabbed and yet fill you with a rush of adrenaline, and to be able to share that feeling is simply amazing.” – Class of 2024 student Santiago D.

  9. Leftism Through Zines

    by Ella M.

    Driving Question: How can we represent the evolution of leftist movements in Mexico through a zine?

    Project Summary: Ella and Luiza’s project is about the evolution of leftism in Mexico, especially in the region of Oaxaca. They explored the Mexican Revolution, the Feminist Movement in Mexico, and the future of Indigenous leadership throughout the term, which cumulated in a final zine showcasing their learning.

    Student Reflection:
    “I loved this project. Truly, I cannot describe how proud I am of this Zine and the work Luiza and I accomplished. Also, there is no way to describe the joy and relaxation of sitting cutting out magazines for hours on end; it is the best thing ever.”- Ella M.

  10. Photography Oaxaca

    by Raf W.

    Driving Question: How can I create a photo album capturing the true essence of street art in Oaxaca City?

    Project Summary: Raf’s personal project is about photography and photo editing. His project aimed to capture the essence of street art in Oaxaca. Due to the fact that Oaxaca has an abundance of incredible street art, Raf felt it was of high importance to capture this beauty using photography and exemplify it using Photoshop. You can see the pictures Raf has taken and edited below, which hopefully provide a sense of Oaxaca’s beauty.

    Student Reflection: This project gave me the time to just pause amongst all the craziness in a term. When taking photos, I felt relaxed, and that I was really appreciating Oaxaca for what it was. I learned that if we don’t pay attention to the small details of a given environment, we might miss its beauty.

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