BSGE is starting its 13th year of the Middle Years Program (MYP) for sophomores by beginning the personal project process. The personal project is an important part of the International Baccalaureate Organization’s MYP because it requires the student to use skills learned from the 7th through 10th grades. It encourages the student to explore their own interests and creativity under certain guidelines. 10th graders have to choose their own Guiding Question and Area of Interaction while exploring the project. During the months before tenth grade, part of the summer assignment was to come up with the initial personal project topic and explore the topic through research at the Mid-Manhattan Library. Not only is this project self-directed, it also helps prepare students for the IB program and Extended Essay in 11th and 12th grade. Students are required to create a product, whether it is a book, a sculpture, a film, or any other culminating piece of work. During the process, they keep a process journal to record their plans and actions for the project, and they also write a project report that describes the process they underwent. The majority of the personal project work is completed independently and outside of school, except for times when students need to discuss their project with their advisors and supervisors, usually during advisory or office hours. After finishing and submitting their projects, the 10th graders are required to present their projects to 7th, 8th, and 9th graders in order to help the students prepare for their own personal projects. Below are a few interviews from some selected sophomores on their personal projects:
1) Sakina Ali
- What is your personal project topic? My personal project is about memorizing the 206 bones of the human body.
- How are you going to display your project? I am going to create a paper mache skeleton from memory and then use many cultures of the world and their art to decorate the skeleton.
- Why did you choose this topic? I am interested in both art and science and want to connect them together through the personal project.
- What do you think will be the best part of this project? I think part of it is because I’m interested in the topic and also that it will be quite easy to document the process in my process journal.
- What do you think will be the hardest part of this project? The memorizing part and also when I will do the work and divide it up. I also don’t know how I will connect memorizing the bones with making a decorative skeleton.
- What benefits do you hope will come from exploring this topic? I will have the bones all memorized if I decide to approach science or biology as something I want to explore in the future for my career.
2) Kyra Richardson
- What is your personal project topic? My personal project is about fashion/ beauty journalism.
- How are you going to display your project? I am going to make a website with tutorials and editorials.
- Why did you choose this topic? I have always LOVED creative writing, and I have recently become extremely interested in fashion and cosmetology, so I figured that I would combine two of my favorite things into one project.
- What do you think will be the best part of this project? I would say the best part is the satisfaction of knowing that eventually, I will create something that I never imagined I would’ve been able to do in 10th grade. I feel that after researching and really understanding the components to fashion journalism, it will be something that I want to continue doing for the rest of my life.
- What do you think will be the hardest part of this project? Right now, gathering my thoughts and actually starting the project is the hardest part for me. I’m still kind of intimidated by the whole thought of this project and how many different aspects there are to it. Actually beginning it will be a big step for me, but once I do, I think I’ll be fine.
- What benefits do you hope will come from exploring this topic? I know that I really want a career in this field in the future, so I think that this will prepare me for that. Also, I will be spending a lot of time working with and learning about a topic that I love, so that is a benefit in itself.
3) Ryan Zhuo
- What is your personal project topic? I plan on doing something involving anatomy/sculpture/engineering.
- How are you going to display your project? My current idea is to make a kidney that could distill salt water similar to how a normal kidney filters blood.
- Why did you choose this topic? For the personal project, I want to do something that involves three of the favorite things I like to do and learn about, so I combined anatomy, art and engineering.
- What do you think will be the best part of this project? The best part about this project is the fact that I will be learning a lot about the topic as I progress through it.
- What do you think will be the hardest part of this project? The hardest part about my prospective topic would be the mechanism behind replicating normal kidney function. I’ve been toying with the idea of compressing a solar still (device that shipwrecked people use to purify salt water) so that many could fit into my kidney model, but in that case I would need a heat source to evaporate the water. That’s where I’m roadblocked. If anyone has an idea, he or she should totally email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What benefits do you hope will come from exploring this topic? I will be able to explore the things that I am interested in in much deeper depth than I’ve ever imagined.
4) Joseph Fallait
- What is your personal project topic? My personal project is based on Jungian psychology.
- How are you going to display your project? I want to write a novella on the topic.
- Why did you choose this topic? I’ve really enjoyed writing fiction, and BSGE doesn’t really offer many opportunities for us to do that. I’m also pretty interested in psychology, and I thought that Jungian psychology could offer for a really interesting story.
- What do you think will be the best part of this project? Watching other people present their personal projects will be way more meaningful now that we personally know just how much work has to go into them.
- What do you think will be the hardest part of this project? Developing a good work ethic for the project.
- What benefits do you hope will come from exploring this topic? I’ll learn how to write a somewhat longer story, and will also know much more about Jungian psychology by doing so. In other words, it’ll make learning about it more fun than simply reading page after page.
5) Sahat Mahmud
- What is your personal project topic? I want to inform others about the effects of bullying.
- How are you going to display your project? I want to make a film on bullying.
- Why did you choose this topic? I believe there are many people out there who don’t have a life like ours that are unknown to us. I want to notify more people that such people are out there and that we should take steps to prevent them from being bullied and to keep ourselves from bullying others/get bullied.
- What do you think will be the best part of this project? I decided to do my project in a very own production film that I’d create myself. I was excited to create another video as it was hobby I had since I was younger.
- What do you think will be the hardest part of this project? The personal project is a difficult assignment which requires the student to have full background knowledge and a good amount of prior knowledge about their topic. I believe the hardest part will be to get all my research and knowledge about this project covered.
- What benefits do you hope will come from exploring this topic? I will be able to further educate students and teachers at BSGE with the health and social education issues in our environment.