The Personal Project Begins

The new school year is now in full swing and assessments are already coming in, disrupting whatever peace and serenity that remained from summer – the only time in the school year when homework isn’t always the top priority. But now, instead of homework, the 10th Grade students have the Personal Project to worry about.

I’m sure all the veterans of DP will remember the Personal Project – and no doubt, some of them still have nightmares about it. But for those who haven’t been in MYP, or are in Grade 9, the Personal Project is the culmination of all the learning done since grade 6 up until grade 10 – a year-long assessment that’ll prove to be the hardest, most daunting, and most arduous assessment for 10th graders up until that point in their lives.

But here’s where the “Personal” comes in. We get to choose the topic – anything, as long as it has some relevance to the community or the rest of the world. This aspect, I feel, is the most unique part of the Personal Project – you can’t exactly ask your friends what the homework is when they can be learning about tattoos when you’re learning about AutoCAD – and what’s more, you have to decide the homework yourself.

So, I asked a few people about their topics – and from the 11 people that I interviewed, I got a whole range of topics from basketball to dictatorship in South America. There is even an idea for a binary calculator – but when I asked further, it turns out the calculator only adds up to 7, or “111” in binary. When asked about their progress, I received a similar range – there are those who are already writing the first draft of their story about social injustice, and there are even those who still don’t know what they want to do.

But in addition to variety, I feel that these projects do, in fact, help to better the world around us. Unlike most school assessments, where it is centered around our understanding of the topic, the Personal Project is a chance for students to make a change. For example, Ruan (10th Grade, obviously) is making eco-bricks – made from bottles stuffed with plastic and waste paper, this eco-friendly material is already being used in many poor communities worldwide.

Eco-bricks in Philippines - from ecobricks.org

Eco-bricks in Philippines – from ecobricks.org

“What are you doing?”, you may ask. For my own project, I am building a website from scratch – HTML, CSS and all the boring stuff – to promote a Vietnamese charity.

So, I hope you all will come to the PP Exhibition in April – showcasing the product of all our hard work over the coming year. And for the 9th Grade students – start thinking now! The project will come much sooner than you think.