mPol 2023

As the first semester ended, the time has come to review and reflect on our growth. Today, I will reflect on my growth and success throughout the first semester.

Defining Success

Before judging if my first semester is successful, I want to define what success means. Success means that my work represents not who I am now but who I want to be in future. In other words, I want my work to align with my goal and be at the level of the ones I admire. Under this condition, the sense of failure can occur often. At the start of this school year, I set my goal to 97%; therefore, to claim a project was successful, it must at least reach my goal.

Projects Overview

The Manhattan Project

Self Evaluation: A- ~ A
Impact: Communication & Critical Thinking

In general, I was interested in the scientific, economic and political impact of the Manhattan Project. Because I was curious, I did lots of research and thinking, which gave me more knowledge and broader perspectives on the topic. Specifically, for the writing itself, I think it was around an A. As I had a very different viewpoint than the mainstream, I needed to deliver my message well; however, that did not go well.

Like most people, I had more confidence in my writing than in speaking and presenting. I believed that my writing would be better than my speaking. The results confirmed my hypothesis in a very terrible way. Because I spent much more time phrasing my script than rehearsing the presentation, my presentation did not align with my goal. Shamefully, I chose the more simple, not more important, path, which was script writing. Overall, I think my writing was close to aligning with my goal, but the speech was not.

Shakespeares’s Macbeth

Self Evaluation: B+
Impact: Communication, Personal & Social Awareness & Critical Thinking

This project challenged me to question the fundamental beliefs I had. Shakespeare’s play often contains many philosophical questions and themes. Surprisingly, it changed my perspective on things within two months. It taught me that the world is not black and white, with clear answers to all questions. This project was memorable because of its impact on my personality.

The project in itself, however, was challenging for me. I struggled to understand Shakespeare in grade 10 when we were doing Romeo and Juliet; it was the same this year. Despite getting lots of support from friends and teachers, the performance did not go well, and it was entirely my fault. Not only should the play be rehearsed more, but I have also messed up my introduction. Fortunately, I was aware of the round stage and reminded myself to turn and face every side of the stage.


Goal vs Reality

Why didn’t I reach my goal

I remember at the first conference in PLP, and I asked: what is the formula of success? I never got an answer, though. I started to search for patterns and similarities in subjects I did well. Funny enough, I found the answer in a different topic called special relativity. Albert Einstein’s famous law: E=mc^2, gave me the ultimate answer to improve my learning. I have made some changes accordingly to the equation, as you can see below. What’s interesting about this equation is that it indicates the importance of thinking. A point one difference in thinking, positive or negative, would significantly change the final results. In other words, laziness in thinking and planning poses the greatest threat to success. Last year, I focused on the effort part, which drove me nuts with limited results. Although it may be effective in the short run, my body could not sustain staying late in the long term. With the realization of how crucial my thinking pattern is, I want to focus on the thinking aspect of my learning


Looking back, I have always procrastinated the assignments and tasks. Often, I can be distracted by external conditions. 80% of the time, I am not productive; therefore, I rely heavily on the burst generated in the rest 20% of the time. Procrastination has always been one of my most significant weaknesses, and it comes from the lack of desire for work. I have always been a nerdy and weird kid in physics 11 as I always wondered about different aspects of science; however, I become totally another person in arts when I am not interested. The desire to learn would reflect on my grade. Therefore, to be productive, I should keep my curiosity alive, as it motivates me to go above and beyond.

My growth

I realize that my goals and expectations for myself are often ridiculously high and challenging to achieve. Shamefully, I didn’t reach my goal last year. However, because of this ridiculously high goal and the high pressure it gave me, I could catch up, more or less, with other PLP learners who were wiser and experienced. And because of the crazy goal this year, I have notable improvements compared to last year.


In the first project of PLP, I struggled to get 80%. In other words, I work to reach an accomplished level. It took me an entire night to handle one keystone blog post. I didn’t understand the task; therefore, I failed. I remember doing three different blog posts on the same keystone simply because I did not know what to write. Fortunately, I no longer need to spend one night on each keystone we have. Although my work this semester didn’t quite accomplish my goal, it had significantly improved from last year.


Thank you for your time

Macbeth, Madoff & Winter Exhibition

On December 15, the Winter Exhibition was held. We, the PLP 11 cohort, each directed and performed our modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth during the winter exhibition. Without a doubt, it was difficult and painful. This blog post today will be talking about my learning journey throughout this project and how it changed me personally.

Project Overview

Scene & Modern Adaptation

As we each took only one scene of the play, I was assigned Act 5 Scene 8, the last scene of Macbeth. Originally in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, audiences would witness the death of Macbeth and the end of his tyranny. Immediately, I brainstormed all the possible events and characters that may fit this scene; however, I was not decisive. While spending plenty of time deciding what topic to do, it turned out that all the ideas I had in mind were unsuitable for this project. Looking back, all my themes are at least 100 years away today, which may not be considered a modern adaptation. Eventually, I connected it to the 2008 Ponzi scheme, the largest Ponzi scheme in history. It was interesting how Bernie Madoff deceived almost everyone, even the SEC. Even though it wasn’t mandatory, I watched the movie “The Wizard of Lies”, hoping to understand him better. Although he was gifted, his intelligence benefited no one. Although he had great intentions, his actions took the hope of many; Although he could be another Rockefeller, he chose to be a lair. Nevertheless, we should learn from him so that past wrongs never repeat themselves. Studying Bernie Madoff, the main character of my play proved to be significant to the final product.


Final Product — A Play


Our final product of this project was a play to present live to the audience at the winter exhibition. Not only did we get one take only, but audiences were also sitting around the stage, putting even more pressure on us. I could not possibly get more overwhelmed. Despite having trouble understanding Shakespeare’s language, I struggled with pronunciation. I never felt ready for the exhibition. As time passed by, I panicked more and more. Because of how nervous I was, I messed up my introduction. But with the help of my friends, I eventually regained momentum. Looking back, what helped me the most in this project was the feedback I got from peers and teachers.

Here’s the video

(I want to thank Randy, Dries, Jordan, Keenan, Josh and Nathan for their kind support that made this play possible.)

Click here to learn more about the project


Answers to the Driving Question

What do the timeless themes “Macbeth” reveal about our society today?

Although the languages Shakespeare used were outdated, the concepts were not. Through literature, Shakespeare inspired countless philosophical debates and wonders. After 400 years, we still cannot have a definite answer to any of them. To put it in other words, humanity improved very slowly spiritually despite significant technological advancement. Specifically, in Macbeth, Shakespeare included timeless themes like the predetermination of fate, the existence of natural justice, the necessary violence for change, etc… One of my favourite themes in Macbeth is appearance vs reality. At the first glance, Macbeth and lady Macbeth are the tyrants, the villains. But I soon realized that they were not purely evil. On the other hand, Malcolm and Macduff seem like the heroes who ended the tyranny; however, we never know what terms and agreements they had with the British to gain their support. It took me a while to realize what Malcolm did could be considered treason, betraying your country.

One simple modern connection between the theme of appearance vs reality could be fake news. I encounter misinformation from time to time. Shamefully, often I cannot identify misinformation. The tendency to believe what you see or believe in, also known as confirmation bias, can be deceitful as they ignore reality. Honestly, I seldom question the source of information on websites I visit. Looking back, it is distressing how much fake news is out there on the internet.

(More About Fake News)

Reflection — Start, Stop & Continue

1. Start: What should I start doing?

Looking back, I lacked creativity throughout this unit. Although it would be easier to create a fictional story, my critical thinking often eliminate my creativity. I realized afterwards that all my ideas were based on historic events, and most were off the beaten track. I admire Randy’s final play as he creatively connected Shakespeare’s play with Kim Jung-un. While keeping the original language and message, he managed to keep the tone interesting and modern. Going forward, I will seek to learn from my peers and aim to develop my creativity.


2. Stop: What should I stop doing?

In general, procrastination was the cause of imperfections. As mentioned earlier, I procrastinated a significant amount of time on deciding themes and topics. At the same time, I was indecisive about selecting the props I needed. I thought tasks would be easier to handle with a longer timeframe; however, I was wrong. In brief, I relied on tomorrow rather than today. Considering the opportunity cost, I would’ve been more prepared if I never wasted my time. The time could be devoted to refining props, solidifying stage movements, rehearsing dialogues, etc…, which would help me perform better.


3. Continue: What should I keep doing?

If anything, curiosity was the largest motivating factor in this project. I was curious why Bernie Madoff committed such a terrible crime, even when he was both rich and famous. At the same time, curiosity drove me to learn about the philosophical debates around Macbeth. Furthermore, it enabled me to find the similarities between Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet. Not only does curiosity push me to learn in-depth, but it also inspires me to study diverse subjects.

Change in Personality

Lastly, I would like to highlight the shift in my personality because of this project. What I enjoy the most about this unit is the moral and philosophical debates embedded in Macbeth. After studying Manhattan Project, I was interested in all the philosophical debates as they challenged me to understand that there may not be a perfect answer to all questions. As you can see below, there are twelve well-known debates around Macbeth.

As there are no correct answers, everyone holds their unique perspective. Looking back, my answers before and after this project are notably different. Specifically, let us focus on the debate “Ambition is a virtue” as it changed the most throughout this project. Before learning Macbeth, I agreed with that statement. When we were doing a debate in class, I was the one believing this statement to the fullest. I was falling off of the extreme. People may wonder: Was Hitler’s ambition still a virtue? At the time, I immediately said yes. I thought what caused the problem was never the ambition, but rather the perspectives, ideologies, and core values. But after this project, I wondered if the statement, ambition is a virtue, is true. Virtue should be the evidence that you may go to heaven; therefore, I no longer consider ambition as a virtue. With that said, I still believe ambition, the desire to achieve greatness, is still essential in life. Knowing how stubborn I was before, it is surprising how one project changed my core perspective entirely within two months.

Thank you for your time!

Would you pull the lever?

(Picture Source)

Would you pull the lever?

Is that the right thing to do?

This was the question that Truman had to answer in 1945. To this date, the usage of atomic bombs is controversial; however, there’s no doubt that it changed the world forever. From September to October, we have been studying the Manhattan project and its significance. But not only was it influential back in 1945, but it also have profound impacts on modern societies. 

Project Overview 

(Just so you know what we are doing in this project)


Now, let’s go back to the trolley problem. Whether you would pull the lever or not, is a hard decision to make. Either way, you are right, and neither was the right answer. Quoting Ms. Madsen, our teacher for this project: “the beauty about philosophy is the process of thinking”

If you do pull the lever…

  • What right do you have to kill the innocent people
  • What right do we have to compare lives to make this judgment 
  • How can you prove your intention was not to commit a murder
  • Can results justify the process 
  • How do you know if the five people want people to sacrifice for them 

If you don’t pull the lever

  • How innocent are you to stand and watch five people die 
  • Why should we maximize the harm of the atrocities 
  • Is it reasonable to watch people die because you don’t want to carry any responsibility
  • Would the person you saved appreciate your decision 
  • If we have a choice, can we still blame it on the train

As you may realize already, the Manhattan Project and the trolley question are very similar. The bombing in itself killed hundreds of thousands of people; however, you can argue that it did save us all from millions of unnecessary casualties. Ideally, we don’t want wars; ideally, we don’t want to make the decision; ideally, we don’t want anyone to die. But under a worldwide, total war conflict, it was impossible to avoid deaths. The Manhattan project, in this case, would be the other railway to take. It led to the brighter world that we currently live in. In the end, the Manhattan project did prove to be a more effective way to end the war; but furthermore, it was also a turning point in science, military and medical fields.


  • It prepared for Nuclear fusion
  • It laid the foundation for universe exploration
  • It enabled Nuclear power plants 


  • It determined how the Cold War would be fought
  • It enhanced missilery and Air Force technologies
  • It prevented direct military combats


  • It intensified medical research on the human body
  • It produces gamma rays to detect tumours and cancers
  • It inspired Nuclear medicine to fight against cancer 

Most importantly, the devastations of atomic bombs did show all of us how brutal, tragic and destructive wars can be. That awareness to this date forced nations to have peace with each other and prevent wars from happening. Today, none of us have to live in air raid shelters; none of us today have to live under the fear of being bombed or invaded, none of us today have to live under a worldwide, total war conflict. All of the statements above proved how the Manhattan Project relevant is.

After all, we can debate whether the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki could be justified or not; however, the significance of the Manhattan project is

Aftermath Reflection 

After all, I think writing is significantly better than speaking. Not only was writing an easier task for me, but I also devoted more time to phrasing and rewriting. The fear of public speaking is often compared with the fear of death. Looking back, I lacked speaking practice. Although I read out my script, it was a different story to present in front of the class. As it turned out, my result prediction was very different from the actual result. With that said, I still appreciate the opportunity to learn it in grade 11. It was challengingand stressful, but it also allow me to grow. 

Thank you for your time!

Rewind 2022 — tPol

In the first PLP year, I have had many meaningful, remarkable projects that shape me into a better person. At the same time, I met mature friends along the learning journey. As the school year is ending, it is time to reflect on my progress this school year. In this blog post, we will be talking about my growth as a learner, and spaces for improvement.

Did I reach my goal?

The intention of getting 96% was to get a higher GPA for the year, which will be easier when applying to universities. As you can see from the graph, my academic grades have increased rapidly after mPol. However, that may not fill up the gap to 96%.


Spaces for Improvements: Efficiency

After all, my biggest problem is being inefficient. For humanities, half of my works weren’t handed in on time, while 75% of Maker’s works were overdue. Some assignments are fast-paced, but most of them we have enough time to do. As Ms. Maxwell had pointed out, I have spent too much energy in the wrong spot. For example, the Chinese discrimination blog post could’ve caused more chaos as it was unnecessary. I am not saying putting more effort in is a bad thing, but I am saying that being effective is more important.

How might I improve?

  • Stay on topic
  • Set time-bound
  • Use tools to manage the schedule


What have I learned from PLP

is it worth joining in the first place?


Hands-on experience

Experiences like Destination Imagination challenge us to turn ideas into reality. Often, we face disappointment and frustration; however, the process of problem-solving taught us what determination and responsibility are.


Loon Lake trip was like an adventure. We were completely away from our comfort zone, moving to a new place. There, we took risks to discover new things and new perspectives. Meanwhile, I overcame fear when rock climbing and high roping.

Influential environmental

In PLP, I have classmates as my role model who is always optimistic and problem-solving. At the same time, they take risks and challenge themselves to go beyond their comfort zone. But what is the most important is that they all have the strong desire to achieve success.

Cray Cray Yay Yay

In the last month of this school year, we studied impact makers, specifically the crazy ones, unveiling the secret of greatness. We have each created a portrait and shared it with others through the spring exhibition. Moreover, we had the honour to have some of our local impact makers with us during the exhibition night. But how do we define an impact maker in the first place? What makes someone an impact maker? In this blog post, we will talk about our last project: Cray Cray Yay Yay

Before we talk about what makes someone an impact maker, I would like to highlight the slight difference between an impact maker and a crazy one. A crazy one, originally from Apple’s ad, means someone who challenges the status quo to push the human race forward. In other words, Einstein may be a crazy one as he challenged Newton’s theory which was the foundation of science. But for this project, we focused on individuals that influence us daily. A crazy one doesn’t have to be as influential as Einstein, but the one who is determined to make impacts and changes. What is special about the impact makers and the crazy ones is that they take action on their desire to make the world better despite the situation.

(Picture Source)

For the impact maker, I studied Don McPherson, the founder of the Grouse grind. Today, the Grouse grind is one of the most popular places in North Vancouver; however, it wasn’t anything like that in the 1980s. It was difficult to climb, and beginners could never experience its nature and environment. Interestingly enough, no one wanted him to build it, not the expert who didn’t require assistance or the land owner himself. But yet he decided to do so, spending all his free time on the trail. It was for himself and the community, and the legacy of his effort will continue to benefit us.

(Picture Source)

But the hardest part for me can be showing our understanding by making a portrait. I was unsure how my product would stand out during the presentation. As I am familiar with picture editing, I thought it’s better for me to photoshop. However, my friend Jakub inspired me to do something different, lenticular photos. It brings the effect that you see unique things from different locations. (Here’s the online version)

But even though that was a much more interesting idea, it was also chaotic. Sadly, DIY videos may turn out very differently from actual products. The idea was to cut the two images into pieces of the same size and rotate placing them. As my hands weren’t good at cutting, I took another approach. I realized that it’s best to cut it digitally because it’s more accurate and precise. After I have the picture ready, I built support in the back so that it can stand on its own.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend the spring exhibition. Surely, I could’ve done a lot better in the art aspect. I didn’t focus on face and symbols which can be improved next time. Despite that, I should’ve included more elements in the picture. But without any doubt, this is one of my favourite projects of the year. Not only was it fun to experiment with different designs, but it was also meaningful and delightful to study the ones who change our life

Thank you for your time!

Post War Canada

WWII brought tremendous destruction to the world, killing over 70 million people. But have you ever wondered how we have recovered from the harm? In this unit, shore to the core, we investigated the significant developments in Canada during the post-war era; Moreover, we have applied our knowledge to publish an essay for Monava. In this blog post, I will be sharing with you my investigations and learning journey

The Significant Development — Improvements in Educational Systems

During WWII

During WWII, school enrolments were incredibly low. In 1941, high school enrolments were around 6.7 million; however, there were only 5.5 million by the end of WWII. Besides that, the teaching force also dropped by 30 percent. Dropouts were common at the time, and all post-secondary programs were shut down.

After the War

From 1945 to 1960, school enrolments continued to grow. From 2.3 million enrolments to 5 million, remarkable changes in education were visible within 15 years. At the same time, women made tremendous contributions over 70% of the total teaching force. Furthermore, many universities tripled enrolments due to the influence of baby boomers. Because of the rapid population growth, the Canadian government built campuses for necessary areas. Not only were the schools available to students, but it was also pleasurable as gyms, cafeterias and band rooms were included. Meanwhile, students in the different grades were finally separated for more effective learning.

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However, everything costs money. 90% of the funding came from the Canadian government; therefore, schools were expensive. Even though the cost of schooling was high, the majority of residents supported increasing locals tax for school developments. Meanwhile, the Universities of Canada held a conference asking for aid from the federal government. As students could get a well-paid job easily, some didn’t even finish high school. Therefore, policies were established to keep involvement.

Significance & Impacts

“Why was it significant?”

Overall, the improvements in the education system contributed to Canada’s success in other areas. Canada became the third country to arrange and construct its satellite after USSR and the US. At the same time, developments in highways and computers allowed us to be more efficient with time. Furthermore, nuclear stations and the oil industry were visible across Canada. However, everything couldn’t happen without the fundamentals. Education developments laid the foundation for Canada to achieve greater success.

The Learning Journey

Overall, this unit wasn’t easy for me. As I started writing my essay, I realized how inefficient I was if compared to others. I found it challenging to articulate my understanding through essays, so I had to spend more time catching up. Although I was never familiar with essay writing, this project helped me to communicate more clearly through writing. Despite the challenges, I still enjoyed learning this unit. As I am interested in the stories from WWII, it’s also interesting to hear the stories of post-war regeneration. Meanwhile, it’s also intriguing to learn about the past of North Vancouver, and how developments shape us uniquely

Thank you for your time

7 Habits — Becoming the Best Version of Ourselves

7 Habits for Highly Effective people is one of the most popular books in the world. It has sold over 25 million copies and translated into 40 different languages. Its impact is worldwide, impacting millions of people. The reason why it is so significant is that it summarizes the key to success. In this blog post, we will be talking about the concept of 7 habits and how I have become a better person. 

My understanding of the 7 Habits

Private Victory

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The first three chapters was explaining the idea of independence. Stephen Covey taught us that we are responsible for our lives no matter what environment we are in. He unveiled that we can become who we would like to be. At the same time, he also gave us the tool “mission table” to identify and achieve our purpose and goals in life. In brief, Private victory is about self-management that helps us to perform better when facing challenges.

Public Victory

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Habits four, five and six are about contributing to others. Public victory is about how you collaborate with others to bring greater impacts to the environment. The idea of win-win is believing there’s a perfect solution that will benefit everyone. In other words, it means collaborating rather than competing. Similar to win-win, synergy unveiled that teamwork will produce a greater impact than each individual would. Meanwhile, seeking first to understand was to consider others’ perspectives instead of being self-centred. In general, public victory is about collaboration to contribute to the world.


The last chapter, sharpen the saw, reminds us to practice and further develop our skills. As life is a continuous journey, we will face greater and greater obstacles; therefore, it’s important to update and renew ourselves. To put it in another way, it’s about evaluating and enhancing yourself.


Overall, 7 Habits unveiled that everyone can achieve their goals and purpose in life. In other words, everyone can be successful and influential. Not only did it shape our core values and personalities, but it also allows us to live our lives to the fullest and be the best version of ourselves.

The Learning Journey

“How can we be our most effective selves?”

Throughout this project, we have studied 7 Habits seeking to be the best version of ourselves. Unlike other projects, this unit is about the mentality, attitudes, and how we apply them to actions. Therefore, we have created three types of products to represent our understanding. They are the visual, audio and Kinesthetic


My visual product is an interactive picture. (A HUGE thanks to Keenan who discover this thing) If you scroll it from right to left, you will see the world from a dark, fixed mindset perspective. On the other hand, you will experience how proactive people see the world differently if you do the opposite. When facing the same challenge, proactive people see opportunities while reactive people see pain. Through a paradigm shift, I aim to deliver that life is only pleasurable for people with growth mindsets.


My audio product is storytelling. In the first theme, the team blame each other for the defeat as none of them wants to take any responsibility. On the other hand, the second theme is about understanding and supporting others. In the end, they accomplished something that was out of their abilities. I believe this represents the idea of public victory because it demonstrates the power of collaboration. After all, the message I want to deliver is that you must collaborate well with others to accomplish the “mission impossible”.


For kinesthetic, I have built a model analyzing my role models. John D. Rockefeller is one of the most successful people who always motivated and inspires me. He was from a pole family; however, he built dominated the oil industry and became one of the richest men ever. He used nothing but his determination, passion, and his burning desire. Studying role models can help us identify who we want to become and specify how we can accomplish success.

Overall, I believe we will be our most effective selves by continuously learning and adapting. Learning from others can help us shape our identities and core values. At the same time, learning from history is also important as it allows us to reflect on our mistakes. Although none of us are perfect, constantly adapting ourselves will open the door to opportunities and greater growth.

Special Thanks

Keenan.C — Who discovered Picture Slider

Ryder.OG,  Qyle.M  & Nathan.T — Who helped me with the audio story

Thank you for your time

Loon Lake Journey

(Picture Source)

From April 4th to April 11th, the grade 10 PLP cohort went to Loon Lake for field studies. Within just three days, everyone developed one plan or habit that will help us later in real life. But how can a habit or characteristic be established within days? What evidence do we have to demonstrate the growth? In this blog post, I will be sharing with you my Loon Lake journey.

My goal — Becoming Independent

One of the most significant mistakes I made in DI was being dependent; therefore, I wanted to take this chance to solve one of my fundamental problems. Becoming independent is relevant to our lives because it allows us to live our lives how we want. But how can we establish independence within three days? How can we measure success? I never knew what specifically I could do to accomplish this goal. However, with assistance from peers and teachers, the structure became clear. Meanwhile, we have also shared our ideas through a gallery walk. This gallery walk was remarkable because I have gained different perspectives and further developed my goal and plan. Here’s the Smart goal I created to help me gain independence:


After all, the only thing I was unsure about was how I could achieve this. My partners, Quinn and Julien, brought up a valuable point: “What specifically would you do to prove that you have achieved your goal?”. Not only did they point out the weakness of this plan, but they also reminded me to take notable actions. To specify what good looks like, I have created a rubric that defines success criteria and expectations.

Throughout the journey, the rubric played a significant role in helping me achieve my goal. It allowed me to narrow my thoughts and focus on the categories that can be identified. Meanwhile, the rubric also functioned as a reminder to track my progress. The Smart goal chart and the rubric guided me to take action and reach my goal.


1. Morning walk

With the goal in mind, I immediately took action in the morning. Although taking a walk in the mornings wasn’t something I can’t do, my laziness always stop me from waking up early. Jakub and I, however, wanted to make a difference. We went on a hiking trail around Loon Lake, hoping to get a better view. During the walk, we experienced a different style of Loon Lake than we usually see. While the sun was rising, Jakub and I discovered unique flowers, lovely birds and some weird-looking trees. At that moment, I found inner peace in my mind with nature. As I intended to rule my emotions, I felt accomplished at the end of the walk. Even though we never had the time to finish our walk, this experience with nature calmed me down and prepared me for the day.

2. High rope course

On the same day, we had a high roping course. Since I was a kid, I have always been terrified of my heights; therefore, I wasn’t comfortable at all when we started our high ropes lesson. Eventually, I gained confidence as I watched my classmates go. I had the wrong assumption that everything was easy up there, so I also took the chance. As I climbed up the pole, fear took over my mind. When I arrived at the platform, I had the question: “Can I go down?”. I was terrified and the height scared the crap out of me. I didn’t want to go because I believed there was a good chance I could die up there. However, my fear disappeared as my partner, Ryder, climbed up. I realized people were supporting me, which empowered me to take risks. After all, the high rope course challenged my understanding of myself and made me a different person. It was an experience I will never forget in my life.

3. Shelter

On the next day, we learned about survival strategies in forests. According to Stantevia, you can only survive three hours on average without a proper shelter. In other words, shelters are more important than water or food. I found it shocking because we often think water has the highest priority. Fortunately, we have a chance to design and build our shelter. My team, Indy, Sophia, Nathan, Jakub and I eventually built a cabin. Although it wasn’t exactly what we suppose to do, it was still evidence of our creativity. One of my criteria for success was being able to turn ideas into reality. From that perspective, I realized I didn’t succeed our cabin was incomplete. Interestingly enough, in the end, our cabin barely fit us and neither did we have a roof. However, I have gained a lot of hands-on experiences and had fun.



While I was working towards my goal, I also noticed changes that occurred in my classmates. Jakub and Liam became more determined and focused; Nathan and Ethan became better listeners, and Logan continuously expand his comfort zone. These role models and their accomplishments helped me clarify many uncertainty and confusions. Meanwhile, it’s also interesting to see how my effort towards the goal had affected others. Each of us interviewed four-person to reflect on our journey and accomplishments. While learning about other people’s goals and journeys, we also got feedback from an outsider’s perspective. (Click here to see the interviews)


Looking back, I have changed throughout the trip. Although I never established full, complete independence within days, the journey at Loon Lake laid a foundation for future growth. Overall, this trip offered many valuable opportunities and experiences, yet it was enjoyable. I look forward to incoming trips in the future!

Thank you for your time

The DI Era

For the past three months, we have been working on Destination Imagination. It was the longest, most challenging and arguably most significant project. But how did DI prove so affecting as to change us entirely? In this blog post, I will be talking about our DI learning journey.


Why did we have this project in the first place?

Before we can do anything, we have to begin with the end state in mind. In other words, we have to recognize what our goals and purposes are first. According to Ms. Willemse, three main benefits are doing DI are:

  1.  To inspire our creativity
  2.  To develop a problem-solving mentality
  3.  To learn how to collaborate with others

Although we never launched a rocket as Elon Musk did, DI allowed us to experience real-world and experiment or ideas at a low cost. Unfortunately, I was not in PLP throughout grade 8 or 9, which means I only have this year to participate. Therefore, I was interested in this project.


How did we plan to accomplish the goal & purpose?

With the purpose in mind, we focused on the process to accomplish our goal. My team, Amy Sophia, Josh, Indy and I, also known as the “(Inset Team Name Here)”, were in the Fine Art challenge. Although there were a lot of things to do within three months, our focuses can fall into five categories:

  1. Central Challenge — Story
    The overall topic is a trickster who attempts to overcome a tricky situation. For the challenge, our trickster uses information or secrets to trick or break rules. Most of the points came from successful storytelling and dramatic character portrayal.
  2. Central Challenge — Illusion
    Illusion should be designed to be wrongly perceived and enhance the story. In other words, tricking the audience using visual and or auditory effects. The success of the illusion would be evaluated based on its impact on the story and audience. Creativity is also important
  3. Central Challenge — Costume Transformation
    The costume transformation is used to enhance the story; however, it must not be worn by the trickster. Similar to illusion, the appraisers would evaluate the impact of the costume transformation but also the technical design and method used to accomplish the task.
  4. 2 Team Choice Elements
    The two team choice elements contain 15% of the total points. It must be specific and not used for illusion or costume transformation. The team choice elements represent the interest or talents of the team. Each element would be assessed in originality, quality, effort, integration and creativity.
  5. Instant Challenge
    The instant challenge contains 25% of the total points. It would be a random, quick challenge to test how well you work under pressure and uncertainty. At the same time, the appraisers also looked for collaboration and creativity throughout the challenge.


(Overall Scoring)


(Central Challenge Scoring)

After we divide the challenge into smaller tasks, we assigned roles and responsibilities. Amy was the overall manager, and she would be working on the story; meanwhile, Indy was responsible for character development and helping Amy with costume transformation. Josh and Sophia would design and paint our backdrops according to the story, which was one of our team choice elements. On the other hand, I will be carrying out the illusions and the second team choice element — background sound effects.


What actions or processes did we take to carry our ideas out?

After knowing our responsibilities, we started working on our part. However, as we were uncertain of what’s the soul of the challenge, we were lost and unsure what to do. For example, should we write a story based on Character or should we develop a character based on a story? Should the Illusion be one of the tricks used by the trickster or accidental? We were stuck on questions like that leading to the “planning period”. During the planning period, we gathered many ideas but lacked the action to turn them into reality. Fortunately, Amy came up with an awesome idea for a story about time travel. While the story and the script were processed, we experimented with our ideas. Arguably, the ideas we gained from the “planning period” laid a foundation for the “hands-on period”; however, we have lost a valuable amount of time which caused the rush later on.

Meanwhile, we practiced our instant challenge during the first and second rehearsals with the teachers. Although we struggle with different instant challenges, the experience allows us to handle our instant challenges faster and better. Looking back, it’s the more we suffer from instant challenges, the more prepared we are.

Time flew by quickly, but we were still not prepared. As we sensed the time urgency, we ended our planning stage and took action to turn ideas into reality. Although we managed to finish the costume transformation and our illusion, we still had to practice our acting and paint the backdrops. At the same time, we have created many props for our performance. However, time was not on our side as we only had one week left by the time we reached this stage. Eventually, we finished the two team choice elements before the tournament.


As we pulled everything together the day before the tournament, we never had the chance to do any more rehearsals and adjustments. Worse yet, we discovered that the backdrop and the light pole, which were part of the props, were too big to fit in the room. In the end, we managed to tell the story using illusions and props. But as you can see, it wasn’t impressive nor outstanding. On the other hand, our instant challenge went well. Even though we came 2nd in the tournament, the scores or placement would change how I view my work

Key Lesson: What went wrong?

During the DI era, I made many mistakes and caused many problems, which led to my defeat at the tournament. Looking back, I realized I never put in my best effort. It was painful when I realized what I could have done to enhance our performance. In other words, I figured it was me the whole time letting the team down. Here are the six main points that summarized most of my mistakes

  1. Dependent
    Dependent was one of the most significant mistakes I have made throughout the months. I relied on environmental conditions and my teammates when working on a project. This mistake was costly because it created more workload for my teammates and decreased productivity
  2.  Lack of communication and collaboration
    While one of the purposes of this project was to collaborate with others, I have failed miserably. My miscommunication led to the failure of the double-sided backdrops, which had different sizes. Because of that, we had lots of chaos when we were trying to pull everything together before the tournament.
  3. Misplanning
    From the start of this challenge, I have overestimated the time and space we had. I lacked a sense of time and urgency which was why the planning period was so long. Because of the wrong assumptions, we have also made the backdrop and the light pole too big. Furthermore, we never have a backup plan for obstacles and surprises.
  4. No sense of risk or quality
    We took huge risks when we decided to use LED lights for costume Transformation. I found it unbelievable how I never considered the risk of that and how well it would turn out without darkness. No sense of risks or quality forced us to deal with more troubles later on, such as the backdrop transformation
  5.  Ineffective/ Inefficient use of time and resources
    Although I have devoted a decent amount of time, I was inefficient and ineffective in making remarkable progress. Because my solutions to problems were often ineffective, I have spent more time and effort than needed. Potentially, the time I “wasted” because of inefficiency could be used to help out my teammates
  6. Lost of the overall picture
    While I focused on the task and project, I lost track of the overall picture. In other words, “I have won the battle but lost the war”. Looking back, I spent too much time refining the details and spent almost no time reviewing the purpose of the task. In the end, the products I produced were often irrelevant.

Conclusion & the answer

“How might we learn and experience the creative process while developing our creativity, curiosity, and courage?”

Even though this unit was challenging, it was still enjoyable. While I was working on the light pole, I experimented with many solutions to make it stable. I have designed and built many structures aiming to prevent them from falling. Unfortunately, none of them work well in the end. Nevertheless, I have learned a lot of structural techniques and had fun. Destination Imagination is a simulator that tests our courage and resilience while encouraging us to think creatively and globally. Although the result may not be as well as expected, I have never regretted participating in DI

Special Thanks





Thank you for your time

Greatest Atrocities ever — WWII

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Throughout human history, WWII was the largest and bloodiest global conflict ever. Around 3% of Earth died because of the War; in other words, 70 – 85 million died because of WWII. More than 30 countries participated in the war, making it the most significant and influential atrocity. At the same time, WWII had completely changed the course of history and shaped our identity. In this blog post, I will unveil the hidden chapters of history — WWII.

Causes of WWII

Before we go into the war and its consequences, we must understand how it happened. Back when WWII, Germany was forced to sign the treaty of Versailles. The allies forced them to take responsibility for all the harm produced in WWII. Although it was beneficial for the allied forces, the treaty of Versailles ruined Germany’s economy badly. Before the Treaty of Versailles, the currency between dollars and marks was 1:4. However, the ratio immediately jumped to 1:100 after the Treaty of Versailles was signed. Worse yet, the Great Depression in the 1930s further damaged Germany’s economy. In 1924, the currency ratio of dollars to marks reached 1: 4 trillion. Not only was the economy was terrible, but Germany also had to give up military forces and lots of territories. Under extreme situations, people take extreme actions. During the time, the communist and socialist parties were the most popular in Germany. Under the lead of Adolf Hitler, the socialist party won the election in 1933. Almost immediately, Hitler and the Nazis killed their political opponents. It was a turning point for Germany, from socialism to fascism.

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Pacific War

While the Nazis gained most of our attention, We often forgot Imperial Japan and the Pacific war. Like Germany, the Japanese economy was also terrible before WWII. As nationalism grew, soldiers became one of the best jobs for many Japanese. Because they fundamentally lacked natural resources, they were looking for some from another country. They capture Korea, Taiwan, and Manchuria. At the time, China was extremely weakened, and they couldn’t stop all this from happening. At the same time, the allies never thought Japan would be dangerous to them. The allies traded with Imperial Japan, offering all the natural resources and battleships they lacked. Moreover, Japan sent students to study and learn western technologies, which helped Japan long term.

Gaining momentum

Back in Europe, Hitler and the Nazis never stop expanding. Hitler launched a “friendly invasion” against Austria. As Austria and Germany see each other as their “cousins”, there was almost no resistance at all. Soon, Hitler launched another invasion against Czechoslovakia. The allies didn’t want to start another war, so they tried to fulfill Hitler’s desire. On September 30th, 1938, Hitler, Mussolini, French Premier Edouard Daladier, and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Pact. They died together which part of Czechoslovakia should be Germany’s. In exchange, Hitler promised that he would stop invading others. However, Hitler didn’t keep his promises. On September 1st, 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. France and the British immediately declared war on the Nazis. Although Poland was the 4th largest Allied arm force, it couldn’t defend the Nazis and USSR attacking from two sides.

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Meanwhile, since Japan didn’t have any predators, they could expand quickly. In 1937, the 2nd Sino-Japanese War started. It was an all-out war between China and Japan. Many historians considered this as the start of WWII. The Imperial Japan Army quickly swept through the main cities. Moreover, the Chinese Capital, Nanking, fell in the same year. As soon as they entered Nanking, the massacre began. It continued for three weeks, causing the death of 300,000 Chinese civilians. Furthermore, the Japanese generals had a competition “Who can kill more?”.

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Imperial Japan thought China would surrender once they occupied the most industrialized cities. However, they were wrong. They faced stronger and stronger resistance from Chinese fighters as they expanded in China. In 1938, the Chinese government created the yellow river flood. It was an attempt to stop the Japanese from invading. 20,000 Japanese soldiers died because of the yellow river flood. On the other hand, almost 1 million Chinese died because of the flood. I believe it was one of the most idiotic decisions the Chinese government had made.

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Meanwhile, Japan also wanted Siberia from the Soviet Union. They decided to invade Mongolia, which was a Soviet puppet state s during the time. Because Japanese tanks were underdeveloped, they lost the decisive battle at Khalkin Gol. The Imperial Japan army lost its best squads. The battle of Khalkin Gol forced Japan to abandon its plan to expand through the land. So instead, they focused on naval battles.

Axis at its peak

With the fall of Poland, the Nazis and allied powers had a “phoney war”. The phoney war was known for its peacefulness. There were no invasions or hostility from either side. It was kind of like the Cold War, except that both sides were preparing for a large-scale invasion. France and the British tried to launch a “friendly invasion” against Norway to control their Natural resources; however, the Nazis were faster. The oil, steel and coal from Norway had helped the Nazis a lot throughout the war. One month after, Hitler launched his well-prepared invasion against France. They went through the forest Ardennes and split the allies in half. The allies launched many counterattacks; however, they failed to stop the Nazis. Although It was an astounding success for Hitler, the Nazis failed to eliminate Allied soldiers. The evacuation at Dunkirk saved many people, which allowed allies to continue fighting the Nazis. Along with the evacuation at Dunkirk was the fall of France. Hitler also wanted to capture England; however, the plan was scratch as the British eventually gained air and naval superiority.

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At the same time, Imperial Japan decided to expand southward. As the United States noticed what was going on in the Pacific, they embargoed Japan from getting more natural resources. It was terrible for the Japanese, but they knew exactly how they could overcome it. If they could capture the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia, they could have all the oil needed. But before their dream came true, they wanted to overcome the biggest obstacle: the United States. So on December 7, 1941, they bombed Pearl harbour. They tried to knock out the US for at least six months so they could do whatever they wanted. Specifically, they were looking for US carriers. Unfortunately for Japan, all three aircraft carriers were out to sea. They did not accomplish their objective; however, they still damaged/sunk more than 20 battleships at pearl harbour. Along with that was the fall of the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Guam, Wake Island, the Philippines and most importantly, the US declaration of war.

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Turning point — the year 1942

The defeat for Hitler — Battle of Stalingrad

One of Hitler’s fundamental goals was to achieve Lenbresaum(living space). He would have to expand eastward to capture all USSR territories. It is also known as operations Barbarossa. Everything was going well for the Nazis at the start. The Northern Nazi army pushed to Leningrad; the Centre army pushed to Moscow; the southern army pushed to Stalingrad. Although many Nazi generals suggested that Hitler should capture Moscow first, he decided to invade Stalingrad anyways. Because of symbolic and strategic reasons, Joseph Stalin defended the city furiously. The Soviet Union launched an encircle counterattack and trapped the Nazi army. In the end, the USSR defeated the Nazis and destroyed their best forces. The battle of Stalingrad was the bloodiest battle during WWII, suffering the death of 2 million people in total. It was the turning point for the allied powers to win against the Nazis

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Tide turning in Pacific — Battle of Midway and Guadalcanal

Meanwhile, the tide was also changing in the Pacific. The United States and Japan were both preparing for a decisive battle. Both sides knew whoever won the battle would control the Pacific Ocean. We now know the invasion would be at midway, but how did the US know that? Through decoding Japanese messages, the US knew Japan was launching an invasion towards “AF”. However, they weren’t sure if  “AF” meant midway. To ensure AF is midway, they set up a trap. They told the Japanese that Midway was running out of freshwater. Two days later, they block a radio report saying AF was running out of fresh water. The US immediately reinforce midway. On June 4, 1942, Imperial Japan launched their invasion. Although they have naval and air superiority, they failed to capture midway. In the end, the US sank all for Japanese carriers with the cost of one aircraft carrier. It was an astounding success for the allies.

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However, the defeat at midway didn’t stop Imperial Japan from its ambitious goals. They believed it was still possible for Japan to defeat the allies. They focused on Australia. From August to November, Japan took many attempts to take over the Henderson field. Once the Henderson field fell, the Japanese could isolate Australia and eventually capture all of Austria. However, they didn’t accomplish their goal because they lack air and naval powers. In total, Japan lost 22,000 men while the US only lost 1000. The series of battles was also known as the battle of Guadalcanal. From now on, Japan held on to a defensive position.

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End of the War — 1945

After the turning points, the Axis forces were weakened. Let us start with the Nazis. Since the battle of Stalingrad, the USSR had launched many counterattacks, forcing them to retreat. At the same time, the Allies captured all of northern Africa, which exposed Vichy France and Italy. The successful landing at Italy and Normandy made the situation even worse for the Nazis. Hitler tried to avoid fighting two fronts; however, now they were surrounded by all three sides. Hitler knew, sooner or later, all Nazis would get annihilated. So on April 30, 1945, he committed suicide. Along with that was the fall of Berlin and V-E day.


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At the same time, Imperial Japan wasn’t doing so well either. The US decided to break through their defensive line to land on the Japanese mainland. It was also known as the operation downfall. Eventually, they approached Iwo Jima, which was only 750 miles from Japan’s mainland. Because of strategic reasons, Imperial Japan defended Iwo Jima furiously. In the end, the US suffered the causality of 27,000 while almost all 22,000 Japanese fought to their death. Japanese warriors believed it was an honour to die on the battlefield; meanwhile, surrender would be the worst thing that could happen. Therefore, they never surrender nor accept POWs. With the fall of Iwo Jima, the allies approach their final step, capturing Okinawa. The battle of Okinawa was the bloodiest throughout the Pacific war. The allies suffered the death of 49,000 men while all 110,000 fought to their death. Because of the blood at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, the allies realized they would suffer massive casualties to land the Japanese mainland. So they gave up on their original plan and Nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Along with that was the Soviet Union’s declaration of war on Japan. On September 2, Imperial Japan finally surrendered. The decision Hiroto made seemed to be unbelievable for many Japanese fighters. The V-J day officially marked the end of WWII.

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Consequences — Who won in the war?

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In total, 50 to 56 million people died directly because of WWII with an estimated an extra 20 million dying indirectly because of WWII (From starvation & disease). After all, there was no clear winner in WWII. US suffered 405,000 men throughout WWII. Meanwhile, the British suffered the death of 384,000 soldiers and 70,000 civilians. Germany lost 4.1 million soldiers, including both killed and missing. In addition, 500k – 2 million German civilians died because of USSR war crimes. Meanwhile, the Japanese lost a total of 3 million lives. The Jewish community suffered the death of 6 million. China suffered the death of 4 million soldiers and 18 million civilians. Moreover, the Soviet Union lost 10 million soldiers and 24 million civilians. So who won in WWII? The economic destruction was also remarkable. After WWII, many countries desperately needed money to rebuild their country. WWII was the most expensive war ever and it caused inflation to jump over 20%. Not only did WWII cause large-scale destruction to all nations, but it also lead to more civil wars and even the Cold War.


Conclusion & Answer to Driving Question

“How might we use stories to better understand to cause and consequences of WWII?”

Most of us today have never experienced WWII. Eventually, everyone who had participated in WWII would leave before us. We have paid a heavy cost in WWII, and it is our job to keep the stories alive. Not only do stories structure and organize our knowledge, but they also keep our culture alive and allow us to relate to the situation. Moreover, stories help us to shape our identity and core values. If everyone understands how brutal wars can be, no one will start the war. Therefore, I value the stories passed down from WWII, and I believe we should maintain a strong public awareness.

Learning Journey

Novel Study

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For my novel study, I have recently read Maus, written by Art Spiegleman. Everything we have talked about previously was from “god’s point of view”; however, it could be a different story if you view it from civilians’ perspective. Within 300 pages, Art Spiegleman shows the brutality of the Axis, specifically the Nazis. Through drawings, he showed how difficult life was as a Jew; moreover, he showed dynamic characteristics of human nature. Not only did Maus show the significant consequences of WWII, but it also challenged me to view different perspectives. Through unique characters, Art Spiegleman encouraged me to see things from their point of view. Although Maus was tragic, perhaps dark, it is worth reading.


After we had enough knowledge, we created a podcast to spread our knowledge. In total, the grade 10 cohort had published over 20 episodes. Each of us chose our topic. From the vehicles to psychological impacts, we have studied diverse fields of WWII. For my podcast, I investigated the Pacific War and Imperial Japan. Although I have lots of trouble recording my script, I managed to produce a podcast with decent quality. While making the podcast, I also investigated different podcasts to increase my podcast quality. Overall, I have learned a new technique — communicating with others with just voice.

Russian and Ukrainian Studies

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One of our fundamental goals in this unit was to prevent WW3 from happening, we’ve been studying Russian-Ukraine conflicts. The Russian-Ukraine conflict was the largest conflict since WWII. Many consider this would trigger the start of WW3. I can see the effort the United Nations have made. At least, they didn’t repeat the failure of appeasement. To this date, over 600 civilians have died, with 1000 injured. It is still ongoing; in other words, we have a chance to stop WW3 from happening.



Thank you for your time

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