These past months have been full of firsts and lasts. Of course a first was living though a world-wide pandemic, and during this time, our last projects were upcoming, and that means I was approaching the last few months of my Grade 9 year. A first for me was learning about the UN sustainable goals, which are 17 goals that the world needs to achieve by 2030, to keep our world safe and healthy again.

UN Sustainability Goals PLP was using to drive our projects

Our BlueSky projects usually come around this time, and you can probably guess this, but we incorporated and built our projects this year around these goals. Each of us would choose a goal, and build a project that would help take one step forward to achieving that goal. But before this, we had to get familiar with these goals so we did a little background research. In the LAUNCH document in our Basecamp, where we store all our learning, assignments and research, we did a couple activities to get comfortable with the 17 UN Sustainability Goals. We did a chair design project, watched videos on these goals, and even wrote about what we think these goals could really improve in our world. After this step we exported our iconic LAUNCH journal straight to Explain Everything to start annotating!

*Competency Break!

Before we move on, lets talk about the Research and Understand competency. This competency tests our ability to research and understand a problem, process or challenge using different perspectives. I think I demonstrated this competency well in my How Might We pitch form. This is where I ask a question, that starts with how might we…, but I don’t necessarily answer my question right there. A How Might We form, is our foundation for starting our BlueSky projects. Now heres another first, last year it took me almost 2 weeks to get my pitch forms approved, but this year, I got approved on both my How Might We and my Project Pitch forms the first time I handed them in. Obviously I had to do a little celebratory dance in my kitchen, but after that I decided I should get to work because I had more time than I did last year to create and finish the project.

If you read the forms above, you are a 10/10 blog reader, but if you didn’t, it’s all good I’ll do a small recap for you. Basically I had pitched the idea of having a more efficient way of sanitizing or keeping the public safe and clean while entering and exiting the bus. My dad is a Transit Operator, and we talked everyday at dinner about how with the sanitizers on the bus right now, slow down the the entering and exiting of people, especially when there is a longer line. It also makes the bus late for others waiting at the next stops for it. This is where the idea of the Sky Blue Sanitizer flourished.

As we were starting to create sketches of what we would want our prototypes to look like, we were simultaneously writing and recording these things in our LAUNCH journals.

With the A, U and N phase of the LAUNCH process, we were required to fill out a parts form, another step towards creating our final product. Here was another first. Now in the parts form I wrote materials I thought I would need to create my final product, normal stuff. I wrote thins like cardboard, and tape, and maybe some paint. But right now, I’ll tell you my final prototype (which is sitting right across from me), has no cardboard or tape on or in it. Like Selena Gomez sings in the Wizards of Waverly Place theme song: “Everything is not what it seems.”. Now I’m not saying I’m a wizard (though there could be that possibility, you never know), I want to tell you how unexpected your outcome can be, even when you write down on paper what you need or sketch it out to the T on what you want it to look like. This is where I feel I demonstrated the Revise AND Take Creative Risks.

*Competency Break!

Two competencies in one? What is this, crazy town? No, but if there was a crazy town, I guarantee you I’d be the mayor of it. I can send you my campaign ad later, if you want. Back to the competencies, Revising is really pretty self-explanatory but its all about seeing things as a first attempt in learning and revising on it. I’m actually reading a book right now called “How to be a Bawse” by Lilly Singh (just for fun), but it actually has some really good tips on how to life your most effective life. There’s a chapter on just learning how to make mistakes, how making those mistakes can lead you once step closer to success. Keeping that concept in mind, every time I felt that something wasn’t going my way, I’d tell myself that I’m not taking 2 steps back, but 2 steps forward. Taking Creative Risks is also an important competency to use in life. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever achieve being a risk taker, but someone once said “Everything you want, is always just outside of your comfort zone”. I love this quote because it drives me everyday to think about how I can exceed my expectations of myself in my eyes. Using my technology in creative way is always something I’m constantly learning how to do, but using that quote I can slowly push myself to combine skills I already have with skills I have yet to learn. An example of this would be the actual live Exhibition, lets talk about that.

As you can imagine, we couldn’t do the exhibition the traditional way, at school with a bunch of people in the same space. During a pandemic, thats not such a good idea. So our plan was to present via Zoom. Over the Zoom platform, we had to figure out a way to tell a story about our products and prototypes without just holding it up in front of the camera and saying (imagine a monotone voice, that would help right about now) “Hi, I’m Malaika. This is my project. This is why I decided to build this. It was fun. Thanks.”. Would you want to spend an hour listening to almost 50-something kids do that over and over for their projects, or would you rather go watch Brooklyn 99 and cry with laughter because Andy Samberg is hilarious. Probably the second option right? Taking creative risks here was important because this time we had a live audience, who could switch off at any time. We needed to keep them engaged in our stories, and stimulate their brains so they wouldn’t get bored. We were put in groups based on our project types and who they were for. My project revolved around Goal #6: Sanitization, and involved the public using it. So I was put in the Public group, and I worked with other students that had projects that also involved the public using their products. I worked with an amazing group: Izzy Leonard (from Grade 10), Ben Dinh, Felix Labistour, Gabe A, Jude DeVille, Kaden DP, Matthew T, Amy S (from grade 8) and Nate Fraser-Klein (also from grade 8).

We created a story that told the audience about Bill (our main character). We told a story of Bill’s infomercial adventure, and each infomercial was 2 or 3 people presenting their projects. Ben Dinh played the role of Bill, and Izzy L was our narrator. Our story changed a couple times, and it took a lot of decision making, but we all finally agreed on this story as our presentation. We had a total of 10 minutes to tell this story, but we actually aimed to cut that time down and have at least 3 or 4 minutes to spare. We wanted to tell our story effectively by keeping the audience engaged, but not for too long that they would stop following. We added an interactive portion to it, where the audience would help Bill decide if he should buy the products the infomercials were pitching.

Overall it wasn’t as stressful as I’m probably making it sound, but my main goal right now is to help you understand and see the progress I made, using the competencies, analogies and situations from my life, and tell you the story of the Spring (online) Exhibition 2020! Thanks for reading the last ever post for me as a grade 9 in Maker. I have one more blog post coming at you, which is all about PGP! Go check it out!

Thats it from me! Have a great summer guys and remember, vote for me as your future mayor of crazytown, I won’t disappoint!