1. Vroom Room

    June 13, 2024 by Sally S.

    Driving Question:

    How might I refurbish a van to a standard at which I can comfortably travel, live, and thrive in ?

    Project Summary:

    Sally, a grade 12 student from the UK, has always had a passion for adventure and the outdoors. Whether playing rugby, helping in the garden, or camping, she was often found outside, regardless of the weather. This love for nature inspired her mastery project: transforming a cargo van into a tiny home on wheels, aptly named “Vroom Room.”

    The project began with Sally purchasing a 2016 Renault Kangoo van, which she named Reggie. The process was lengthy, involving careful consideration of mileage, age, and build size. Once she had the van, Sally embarked on learning interior design, focusing on color schemes and creating electrical systems, particularly solar-powered ones. She developed a 3D model using an analogous color scheme with yellows, greens, and oranges.

    Sally faced significant challenges, especially with the electrical system. Despite seeking help from friends experienced in robotics, she had to experiment repeatedly before successfully creating a dual system powered by solar energy and the van’s starter battery. This system now supports a fridge, USB ports, spotlights, and a water pump.

    The construction phase involved measuring, cutting, insulating, and wiring the van. Sally encountered multiple obstacles, such as ensuring the wiring wouldn’t break from the van’s vibrations and addressing condensation issues to prevent mold. Time constraints also pressured her, but with the help of an external mentor specializing in furniture design, she completed the interior furnishings swiftly.

    With the assistance of another mentor in renewable engineering, Sally learned wiring, soldering, and connecting systems. After overcoming numerous hurdles, she successfully transformed the bare cargo van into a functional tiny home. The finished van includes a bed, foldable tables, flowing water, and fully operational electrics.

  2. Agents of Change: Empowering Brazilian Youth through Political Education

    by Luiza B.

    Driving Question:

    How can I promote political and civic education in my local community in Belo Horizonte through engaging workshops for young people?

    Product output from this module:

    A curriculum created by me to teach political education and securing external funding to allow for its implementation.

    Project Summary:

    Luiza, a senior from Brazil, has always been passionate about politics. Her Service Learning Mastery project, “Agents of Change: Empowering Brazilian Youth through Political Education,” stemmed from her concern about the political apathy prevalent in Brazil. Statistics show that two-thirds of the Brazilian population feel disconnected from politics, posing a threat to the country’s democracy.

    Through the service learning curriculum, Luiza delved into this issue, discovering that the root cause of political apathy was a lack of political education. She conducted a strategic statistics project, engaging with young people in her community to understand their views on politics and education’s role in shaping political engagement. She found that politics were not effectively communicated to young people, making it difficult for them to see their potential impact.

    To address this, Luiza aimed to promote political and civic education through engaging workshops for young people. She invested time in learning about politics and education, drawing inspiration from Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy, which emphasizes active, reflective learning rather than traditional, passive education.

    Luiza designed a three-lesson plan focusing on public policy creation in Brazil, emphasizing hands-on, interactive activities. The first session introduced students to politics and democratic values, encouraging them to see themselves as current political agents. The second session involved analyzing local issues and developing solutions. In the final session, students implemented their solutions to effect change in their community.

    Securing an international grant through Civics Unplugged, Luiza conducted her workshops with 20 students at an NGO in her hometown. Initially, students associated politics with corruption, but by the end, they saw it as a means for social change and collective effort. They identified and addressed hygiene issues at the NGO, benefiting 400 students.

    Luiza found the project both challenging and rewarding, witnessing significant personal growth and the empowerment of other students. She expressed gratitude to her teachers, mentors, and the NGO for their support and belief in her vision.

  3. VR Touch

    by Mishkatul Ain N.

    Driving question:

    How can I create a prosthetic device using my knowledge of haptics, brain computer interface and human body?

    Product output from this module:

    1. A virtual environment

    2. A pair of haptic gloves

    3. A system that uses the above along with a BCI to allow someone with disability in hand to function as a prosthetic device.

    Module Summary:

    Mishkatul, one of our senior students, from Bangladesh, presented her mastery project, VRTouch, which aims to integrate haptic technology with virtual reality (VR). Inspired by her early interest in creating devices, such as a traffic LED glove for her country’s congested roads, Mishkatul explored the potential of haptics to enhance VR experiences. She aimed to create a haptic device that allows users to feel weight and tactile sensations in a virtual environment.

    Mishkatul’s project involved creating a haptic feedback glove with actuators that simulate pressure, temperature, texture, and weight. She encountered various challenges, particularly with soldering small components, but her passion and perseverance helped her overcome these obstacles. She constructed prototypes and tested them, integrating them with VR technology to create immersive experiences like a virtual gym.

    Throughout her project, Mishkatul was guided by mentors, including Kenzie from TGS and Ross, a PhD student from Berkeley, who provided support and resources. She also conducted extensive research, reading over 50 academic papers to deepen her understanding of haptics and VR.

    Mishkatul’s future plans include studying biomedical engineering at the University of Rochester, where she hopes to further develop her ideas and contribute to advancements in haptic technology for prosthetic and robotic arms. Her project exemplifies her dedication to blending technology and empathy to create innovative solutions.

  4. 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.

  5. Building Grit Through Physical Education

    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.

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