Personal Projects Rocked!
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Personal Projects Rocked!

The Personal Project Presentation Evening is the culmination of months of independent research, problem solving, creating, designing and building. On Tuesday 17 December the students could finally present their findings and experiences to their parents, peers and staff.

By Ingrid Schmoutziguer, communications

As always I was blown away by the diversity of the interests and topics the group of grade 10 students had chosen for their projects. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to visit every single student, but here are the ones I talked to:

Molly – She looked at upcycling clothes, in order to give herself and her peers a more sustainable way to look fashionable. ‘I wanted to do something that is relevant to my own age group’, she says. ‘Thats why I went to thrift stores and up-cycled a jacket, a couple of T-shirts, some shorts and sweaters. It is really easy thing to do and the clothes and very wearable.’

Indicator lights for your bike

Evi – She expanded her sewing skills and made drawstring bags and other items she sold through her webshop. She also offered a repair service. ‘I raised €160,00 for Save the Children’, Evi tells me. ‘I would love to continue with this as I love sewing.’

Victor – He invented a set of bike lights that allow cyclist to indicate the way cars do, instead of sticking out their arm. ‘I was involved in a few bike accidents’, he explains, ‘because cyclists didn’t indicate before turning off’. He programmed a microchip, so the lights can be used to indicate, but can also be used as the main light on the bike. As soon as he figures out a good waterproof casing for the microchip, he will use the lights on his own bike.

Samantha D. – She is interested in manga and anime and looked into the history of these Japanese style drawings and comic books, that appeal to both children and adults. Samantha: ‘I built a website, providing people with the history of manga and anime and looked into the different styles in order to convince people that there is an anime for everyone.’

Moving abroad tips for teenagers

Peter – ‘I really wanted to improve my teaching and my public speaking skills’, says Peter. ‘That’s why I taught a grade 6 class about drones’. Peter loves drones and he thinks he might want to become a teacher. ‘I made a lesson and even made some worksheets. I practiced a lot and through the process I think I have become better at speaking in front of a room full of people.’

Kahn – To broaden his musical horizon, Kahn, an accomplished piano player looked more closely a pop music. ‘I decided to write the music score for some really popular songs, so that people can play these songs on the piano’, he explains. ‘I normally only play classical music, but now have a far better understanding of pop music.’

Kornelia – She made a Moving Abroad website especially for teenagers. Kornelia: ‘When I started looking online, I mainly found websites for adults who are moving abroad. There wasn’t much information geared towards teenagers.’ She interviewed over 30 students at the ISUtrecht, who all came up with tips and she also interviewed Ms Chell, the school psychologist.

Increase biodiversity around the school

Mikaela – She used the Personal Project process to see whether she would like to become a music producer. ‘I wrote and produced two songs in my own little studio at home’, she tells me. Mikaela also visited a professional music studio, where she not only got lots of tips, but she also got a really good feel for the way people work in that environment. ‘I really liked the making of the music and the atmosphere in the professional studio’, she says. ‘So I am one step closer to figuring out what I want to do later in life.’

Samantha L.– She took the school mascot, a cuddly toy produced from a drawing of a primary student, and designed a logo that could work on a school sports uniform. ‘I looked at the silhouette of the toy and decided to focus on the head, which I simplified in a series of drawings’, Samantha explains. ‘I then looked at the school colours used on our website, learned about the golden ratio, the use of colours and experimented with photoshop’. Before making a final design, Samantha asked both secondary and primary students to vote for the best preliminary design. Samantha: ‘I would like to continue with this process and make a printable design in Adobe Illustrator.’

Sophie – She is worried about the fact that so many plants, insects and animals are getting increasingly rare, because of the lack of biodiversity. ‘That’s why I came up with a plan to plant a variety of native plants on the school’s playground to increase biodiverity’ She researched which plants she would need to attract butterflies, insects and birds. ‘I would like to really make it happen.’

Music therapy to combat PTSD

Megan – ‘I wanted to expand my artistic and technical skills’, she says. ‘Because visual arts is my favourite subject.’ Megan wanted to create a art piece that would radiate positivity. ‘First I made a drawing, which I then wanted to engrave in plexiglass, putting a light behind it to get the effect I was after.’ After several visits to the hardware store and watching countless YouTube video’s on engraving, Megan took the plunge. ‘I am really please with the result’, she says. ‘And I would like to continue with this.’

Beata – She looked at Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and how this is used to help war veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This led her to look at music therapy its long-term benefits, before creating her own music therapy session. During the PP presentation evening, Beata led several music therapy sessions in the library. She first taught the participants a few basic cords on the Ukelele and then asked them to work in pairs, composing a song (four lines of lyrics) expressing how their week had been so far.

‘A mile at a time’

Prarthana – She built her own donation website. ‘I wanted to expand my coding skills’, she says. ‘And make something that could serve the community’. What she came up with is a donation website, where students, parents and staff can upload pictures of items they no longer need, but might still be useful to other members of the community, who can then pick it up for free.

Nayana – She made a very personal travel blog entitled ‘A mile at a time’. Nayana has written posts about her own trips to Paris, Berlin and Norway. Because she loves to travel, and is a keen artist, she made beautiful paintings from her travel pictures. Nayana: ‘In this way I would like to honour the artists who sell their paintings to tourists in all these places.’.