Exhibitions are some of the most important milestones in a PLP students learning career. It shows the overall learning and achievement over a term or even a year. I’ve participated in two exhibitions now, the first one being the STAR-WARS EXHIBITION and just recently focusing on the UN-Sustainability Goals. The exhibitions were a part of our maker class, which just finished up, and let me tell you. It was not a walk in the park. We had to work hard, persevere and make connections with our classmates and teachers. Now, let me get back into the exhibition. The last exhibition was Star-Wars themed, but instead of that, this time the topic is the UN-Sustainability Goals. Us students would have to choose one of the 17 goals and come up with a solution. Of course, like the rest of the world, this exhibition was much, much different from the last regarding COVID-19. We would be led by the driving question “using one of the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals as a guide, how would you solve a problem facing our community/province/world?” So we sat down and got to work basing our solutions on the goal we chose. We would also be assessed on the competencies seen below.
Research and Understand: How might I research and understand a problem, process, or challenge using different perspectives?
Take Creative Risks: How might I use technology to create in new ways?
Revise: How might I see this as a First Attempt In Learning and revise?
Now lets take a quick reflection on these competencies then move forward and take a deeper look into each. I think I have shown a good or great understanding of these competencies and shown them in my work so far. Now before we take a deeper look into each competency, lets see what this project is and what I did for it.
The spring exhibition was based on the 17 UN Sustainability Goals. Of course, the first thing we had to do would be choosing a goal to work on. I had trouble with this part as I had a couple of main goals that I thought were interesting or needed attention. The first goal I had in mind was Quality Education. I think this goal needed attention as I though quality education would be a good basis to start solving the 16 other problems. The second goal I had was Clean Water and Sanitation. I thought this goal would be good to work on as I think the ocean is in a really bad state at the moment and needs help being cleaned up. The third goal I was thinking about was Sustainable Communities. I thought this goal also needed special attention as I know many people an families live in poverty and if that were to change, they too could contribute to solving these goals instead of basically fighting for their lives. I knew I had to pick a goal that would interest me enough to keep me finding solutions, but at first I didn’t know which. Eventually, I chose the second goal on my list or the sixth goal on the UN’s list. Clean Water and Sanitation. I knew this goal would keep me interested and finding new ideas and solutions. I already had a few ideas for my finished project do thats what tipped the idea over the edge. Some of the ideas I had were creating a water filter for those in need of it, but the one I found myself thinking about the most was the idea of creating some sort of boat that collects trash out of the ocean. I chose this as I knew the ocean was a very dirty place in some countries and I felt the need to change that as it wasn’t only affecting the people and the ocean but also the sea creatures. I knew I wanted it to be as cheap as possible so all countries could benefit from it. Before I started construction on the prototype, I had many tasks. It was time the spring exhibition LAUNCH cycle began.
Now lets take a deeper look at my performance and completion in each of the competencies. The first on is Research and Understand.
Research and Understand: How might I research and understand a problem, process or challenge using different perspectives.
This competency was a part of the L, A, U and N stages of the LAUNCH cycle. This is where we would do the research so we could further our understanding of our goal, solution and to create a smooth platform for the other parts of the project. During this exhibition, we had a lot less time due to Covid so this phase was a lot harder. We only had a single week to complete all of our research. The research included creating our HMW. The HMW that I created was quite simple for what I wanted my project to be about. It was “how might we set up a system in our community to clean our oceans and set an example for other countries and communities to follow?” I started all the research, I looked at designs of boats, mechanisms to pick up garbage filters to collect garbage and everything that had to do with boats and garbage collection. I should have thought a bit more during this process and been a bit more keen to have questions. It would have been a lot easier if I had researched more and been excited to create an organized document with all my research in it. All my questions were related to boats and garbage collection as I knew that’s what I wanted my end product to be. Once we finished all the research in the 4 stages of the LAUNCH cycle, it was time to work on the project pitch form where we sum up all our research and pitch our project idea to the teacher. Now I knew I wanted to create a filter on a boat to collect garbage from the ocean but I failed to realize that I also had to make a boat to put it on as I didn’t have one laying around. The boat would be a general catamaran design but my filter would be much different from other garbage collection designs. In other words, it would be my own. This topic was interesting so I was very interested in the research. This part of the LAUNCH cycle was hard as I couldn’t see the project from my point of view, I had to put myself in the shoes of a 3rd world government asking why I should buy this. Although it was hard, it was very beneficial to my end design as I cut down on costs, material and size making it more appealing to my audience. I would definitely say i’m proud of myself during this competency as I think I worked hard and came up with a competent solution.
Take Creative Risks: How might I use technology to create in new ways?
This competency will be a lot shorter as I don’t have as much to talk about. This competency mainly focuses on the C phase of the LAUNCH cycle. This is always my favourite competency and phase in the LAUNCH cycle as I love to build stuff and create things based on my ideas. Using your research to create something to benefit someone is such an amazing feeling once it is all done. You just look at your end product and feel proud of what you have done regardless of if it works or not. I had many great parts to this phase like when I made the breakthrough to create pontoons out of balloons, then thought it would be more stable using a pool noodle, then I took that idea and implemented it into my actual design. Of course, you can’t have success with out failure and perseverance. I had a couple of things go wrong but I will mention those a bit later. Something to always keep in mind during this phase is allowing your creation and design to change during creation as you won’t always have the materials or know how to create the idea you had at the start. It is bad to think like this as you will get frustrated if something doesn’t work, but instead of doing that, you can think of new ideas. I learnt this lesson during this project and I think of it as a good one that everyone should have an experience with. This kind of falls under the next competency revise as it showed how I had a F.A.I.L. I didn’t have a motor that would work underwater so I had to improvise and cover it with putty so MAKE it waterproof. This experience made me a more well rounded person as I learned to improvise when things weren’t going my way.
Revise: How Might I see this as a First Attempt in Learning and revise?
Yes, I failed during this project, i’m not keeping it a secret. I didn’t just fail once, I failed many times during the last month that we worked on this project. Here in PLP, we don’t just see failure as a fail, we see it as F.A.I.L or in other words a First Attempt in Learning. We also see failure as an opportunity to grow as a learner. Because I was failing, I had to reevaluate the steps I took to get to that point. Then I had to backtrack, figure out the point of failure and fix it. This shows my growth as a learner. One of the first F.A.I.L.s that I had was when creating what my boat would float on. At first, I chose long balloons to keep it afloat, but they have their downsides, they made the platform too high in the air so the propeller couldn’t work properly. They also had high friction in the water, but most of all, they lost air over time. When I woke up in the morning, the balloons we super small and shrivelled. I went to work again thinking of new ideas until I thought on cutting pool noodles in half and mounting them to the bottom. I thought, they should be sturdy, supportive and floaty so I put them on. They worked like a charm. This was a great experience as I learned that if you persevere you can come up with greater ideas. I also learned the failure is not a bad thing, it only leads you to greater ideas. Going through the failure process and revising can be hard, but if you work through it, it will always turn out better.
Presenting the exhibition online was unique to say the least, but the way it was executed online made it fun and interesting. Although it was very different from the last exhibition it was still an enjoyable and good learning experience for everyone. I will definitely remember this exhibition as it will stand out for years to come. That was an amazing start to my grade 8 year and i’m very thankful for all the teacher that made it happen even with Covid.