In keeping with the theme of my blog (late blog posts), here is the latest addition to my tardy collection: The Winter Exhibition!
PLP hosts an exhibition every year before Winter Break, which shows off a project that each student has been working on. This year’s theme, as you may have guessed, is Star Wars! I was excited about this theme, because Star Wars is one of my favourite series.
(Side note: I’m pretty sure I said the exact same thing in this Scimatics blog post. Oops!)
As usual, there was a driving question for us to consider while we worked on this project:
How might I design and build an answer to my own inquiry?
This particular driving question was very broad. I case you didn’t get it just from reading the question (I certainly didn’t, the first time I heard it), the gist of this project is to make up an open-ended question about the Star Wars universe, and the create something to answer this question that you invented. Sounds simple. Let me assure you, it was not.
This project used a new and interesting format that we hadn’t used before: The LAUNCH Cycle.
There are 6 stages in the LAUNCH Cycle:
- Look, Listen and Learn
- Ask Tons of Questions
- Understand the Process or Problem
- Navigate Ideas
- Create a Prototype
- Highlight and Fix
Notice the acronym.
I recorded all my thoughts and ideas in the different phases of the LAUNCH Cycle in my LAUNCH Journal. It was a place to dump my ideas, so forgive the messiness. I actually received the feedback that I was making it “too perfect” (to quote Ms. Willemse), so there you go.
If you want, you can watch it.
This post comes in 2 parts: The Project, and The Exhibition. It’s really long, so hang in there!
Part One: The Project
Now let’s go through each phase in detail, starting with…
Look, Listen and Learn
This stage was all about gathering ideas, evidence, and knowledge before beginning the project. The best way to do this was to watch the Star Wars movies, which was fun (obviously). The very enthusiastic teachers gathered in the school theatre, along with some slightly less enthusiastic students, and we ate popcorn and had a blast. A pretty good way to start a project, if you ask me.
The Milestone to complete in this section was a How Might We form. A key part of this project was the question that we had to answer. Before we answered the question, we had to ask it. It took me a while, but I brainstormed and eventually came up with:
How might we determine the rights of droids and the ethics of droid ownership?
An interesting question, if I do say so myself. Droids are always overlooked in the Star Wars world. They are simply loyal servants bound to their masters, running the economy in the background as the “living” creatures enjoy a status as actual citizens on their planets. But aren’t droids equally deserving of such “luxuries” (basic rights and freedoms)?
This is the question I attempted to answer in this very large project. Which leads us to stage 2:
Ask Tons of Questions
This stage was where we really started our research. I made a spreadsheet with all my questions on it, and it made a pretty big list.
The questions were mostly about sentient AI (an awesome topic, by the way), Star Wars droids (of course), and real world examples of slavery. Relatively heavy topics, but super interesting.
Now that I had my questions, it was time to answer them…
Understand the Problem or Process
This phase was all about the research. I immersed myself in all sorts of crazy websites, most notably Wookiepedia: The Ultimate Star Wars Wiki. It has all sorts of random information about random Star Wars animals, characters, planets, weapons, quotes… the list goes on.
Anyways. I learned a lot. The question I chose was rather broad, so I did a lot of reading on a lot of subjects. Here’s an extensive list of all my links:
Now that I knew everything there was to know about droid rights, I had to figure out how I was going to show that research at the Exhibition.
The time had finally come to decide on my final product. I had pretty much no ideas, to tell the truth. Eventually I came up with replicating posters that had been used to advocate human rights over the last 200 years, and thought it would be a.) interesting, and b.) let me draw things, which is fun.
I found a bunch of posters to use, but narrowed it down to 4:
An anti-slavery poster from the 19th century U.S.
A Black Panther poster from the 1950s.
A modern Black Lives Matter poster.
Another modern equal rights poster.
Disclaimer: I realize that some of the above content is a sensitive topic for some people. I am using these examples purely from an academic standpoint in the interest of exploring similarities between the Star Wars universe and Earth, and I do not mean to trivialize these important and pressing matters or compare them to make-believe stories.
Now that I had my vision, I was ready to execute it.
Create a Prototype
This one isn’t too hard to figure out. I basically had to make a prototype of one of my posters, to see what worked and what didn’t. Here it is:
I chose poster #1, from the 1800s. I traced a picture of a battle droid, and added chains and a banner with my message. It turned out pretty well, in my opinion. A bit rough, and lacking in colour and texture, but it is a prototype, after all!
I just needed to fix a few things, and then I would be ready…
Highlight and Fix
In this final phase, I cleaned up my posters so that they would be as nice and clean as I wanted them on exhibition day. I made changes to the designs of some of them, and fixed some details that weren’t working. One of the most notable changes I made was in the Black Lives Matter poster, where I changed one of the fists that was taking up too much room.
Finally, I was done with the LAUNCH Cycle. It was a lot of work, but I am proud of the results!
Poster Number 1: 1800s Anti-Slavery Poster
Poster Number 1: Modified with a Battle Droid
Poster Number 2: 1950s Black Panther
Poster Number 2: Modified Poster with C-3PO
Poster Number 3: Black Lives Matter Poster
Poster Number 3: Modified “Droid Lives Matter” Poster
Poster Number 4: We Are All Created Equal Poster
Poster Number 4: Modified Star Wars Stick Figures Poster
Now, on to part 2…
Part 2: The Exhibition
Let’s hope that this part is less than 1,000 words (sigh).
A key part of this project that I forgot to mention in Part 1 is our planets. The grade 8s and 9s of PLP are separated into groups, and each group is assigned a planet. My planet was Endor, land of the Ewoks (hooray!). We got to work dressing the Annex up as a forested planet full of furry little creatures.
First, we planned. And planned. And eventually made a floor plan.
*This is actually draft number 4 of the floor plan. I’m not going to show every draft because they are irrelevant and I don’t want to extend this blog post past 2,000 words.
Then, we planned some more (who brings what, what are the snacks, what is the game, when do we start decorating, etc.) I ended up on snack duty bringing ants-on-a-log. Yum!
Finally, on exhibition day, we started to decorate. We set up the Great Tree (made of a cardboard box, green paper, and green tinsel), laid out the tables, hung streamers from the ceiling, positioned the Scream Box (someone’s past project) as an Ewok house, set out the snacks and game, and finally… we were done. With approximately 15 minutes to spare.
It took us way to long to set up, partially because Tatooine’s stuff was in our room, but mostly because we didn’t know where to start. I spend ages stringing tinsel onto the Great Tree, but after that I wasn’t really sure what to do. I the future, I think we could have spent more time communicating exactly what had to be done on exhibition day so that everyone understood. Overall, though it worked out.
Here’s a slideshow of pictures of Endor on Exhibition Day.
All the tables set up in Endor. We put up a lot of paper trees!
A very dark photo of Endor. We had the lights dimmed during the Exhibition to make the room feel more mysterious.
More tables and projects.
The Great Tree that I spent so long setting up. Next to it are my posters!
My exhibit, with all my posters.
My Scimatics project: and X-Wing Starfighter with lasers on it.
The snacks, the Ewok house, and the streamers hanging from the ceiling.
My mum took a video of me presenting my project. It was the first time I’d presented it, so I was feeling a little awkward, but looking back on it, it actually wasn’t that bad. I said the words ‘um’ and ‘stuff’ a lot though. I guess I could improve in those areas. Writing is always so much easier than speaking.
The video is too big to upload onto this blog, so I have a link for you.
The reason I’m dressed up as Rey is that we were supposed to dress as a Star Wars character, and Rey seemed easy and fun. In case you are going to need a Rey costume any time soon, here is a link that I found helpful: Rey Costume
Well, I think that concludes what might be my longest post yet! 1,475 words is probably a bit excessive, but that’s how I roll. Sorry, Ms. Willemse.
See you soon in my next post!