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Personal Projects, Personal Dreams

May, 2018
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When students are studying the IB MYP and considering their personal project, most of them tend to choose something that they have been fond of doing for a while. But that’s not the case with Gloria Gao, a 10th Grader at Beanstalk International Bilingual School (BIBS) Shunyi Campus.

img_0880-gloria-gao-bibs-shunyiThis teenage girl has a passion for competitive combat sports, like Jujitsu, Judo and boxing. But when it came for her to plan her personal project, she wanted to try something more sedate. “I decided to try art and creation, which I had never done before. And painting for me is too plain, so I chose metalwork and ornament design, which is quite special and requires a great deal of manual dexterity,” she recalls.

She then got the inspiration for the theme of her project from a cartoon called The Secret of Kells, which she watched with her sister. This Irish cartoon mainly talks about how Book of Kells was written by magic. She discovered that Irish culture is really interesting and that the cartoon talks about Christianity, which is her religious belief system. The goal of her personal project is to study about Irish culture and Christianity and, based on that, to make jewelry inspired by these ideals.

Starting from scratch, Gloria learned cutting, melting, polishing, and making enamel, etc. She designed all the pieces based on the theme. To accomplish her goals, se had to go to the metalwork studio almost every Saturday and Sunday and work from ten in the morning until five in the afternoon.

More than three months of work eventually paid off: beautiful silver jewelry pieces in the shape of animals like wolves, cats and deer, and various enamel jewelry pieces in different colors and shapes, all made from entirely raw materials such as silver bars and enamel powder.

“In accomplishing this project, I have learned not only how to do jewelry design and metalwork, which have become an important hobby for me now, but also how to be patient and quiet, which is something I used to lack. And I got to know more about the history of Christianity,” she concludes.

img_0899-mike-qian-bibs-shunyiThis is why Gloria is one of the 29 Grade 10 students of the BIBS Shunyi Campus that put their creations on show at the MYP Personal Project Exhibition on 8 March. In contrast to Gloria, music guru Mike Qian went deep into his love of music and produced a music video album of four songs lasting a total of ten minutes and fifty-two seconds. “I love music and filmmaking, and such a project just combines the two so I can develop my abilities in these areas,” he explains. The title of his project was Known Tunes, Unknown Possibilities.

Motifs in the song include the world-famous nursery rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb, the iPhone default ringtone Marimba, and the WeChat default ringtone, as well as the Alphabet Song and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

During the production process, Mike entirely composed, recorded, produced, mixed, and video-edited the whole project. He worked for more than 50 hours in his home studio, utilizing his instrumental skills, including the drum-kit, the piano/keyboard and the guitar, and his music production skills, such as sampling, drum machines and scratching. Rather creatively, he sampled various everyday sounds such as bicycle bells, bus horns and hitting a cup – making them into instruments that he used extensively in the project.

Through the creation of this music video album, Mike managed to extend and combine his existing music knowledge and skills. And he already has an idea of where this might take him in the future, saying, “I want to become a music producer who can create good productions out of simple tunes.”

The exhibition was an opportunity for these young talents to inform and reflect on their development as IB learners. A variety of exciting projects were presented including fashion design, jewelry design, music albums, iOS APP development, Chinese Shadow Play, PSA short film, Chinese Pipa performance, and much more.

“The personal project summarizes the skills that students have developed throughout their experience in the MYP and showcases their own holistic development as people. By engaging in a project of their own choosing based on their own personal interests we get a glimpse of what the future may hold for our students. The quality of the projects, the displays and the passion the students used when speaking about their projects was inspirational,” says Terry Linton, BIBS MYP Coordinator.


By Qin Chuan,

LittleStar Magazine


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