Get to Know GESS: Grade 10 Students’ Personal Project

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This article was written in partnership with Middle Years Programme Coordinator Ms. Rebecca Scrivener.

All students in the IB Middle Years Programme will come to a juncture in Grade 10 when they will have to undertake a Personal Project. There are many components to this Personal Project and an exhibition is one of them. Every single time we have been to a MYP Personal Project exhibition, we have come away completely in awe of the students’ dedication to the exploration of ideas, knowledge and research. While we often only see the eventual output of students’ work, we know it is a process that lasts 7 months and parents too, often, have many questions about what this Personal Project entails. This year, we decided to speak to MYP Coordinator Ms. Rebecca Scrivener to understand what the Personal Project is.

One of the interesting things we learnt is that students get a lot of freedom to pick a topic – that probably explains how students end up with such unimaginably creative research topics every year!

“What would you like to learn?

This is the question that starts the students off. As Ms. Scrivener explains, “The students can pick anything of interest to them, and this does not have to be connected to the curriculum. They have to select a learning goal and work towards a product or outcome that demonstrates their learning.”

This year students opted for a variety of topics spanning across practical and skills-based learning, researching topics of personal interest, further developing an existing skill and connecting with their own heritage.

Some topics explored this year:

  • Creating digital content including animations, websites, coding, brand recognition software
  • Building a cryptocurrency rig
  • First aid
  • Flower arrangement
  • Dressmaking
  • Sculpting
  • Boxing
  • Sailing
  • Home brewing
  • Crafting polo mallets
  • New language acquisition
  • Photography
  • Playing an instrument
  • Cookery
  • Gardening
  • Research on Pharaoh Hatshepsut

Once students have chosen a topic, they embark on their research process. The IB recommends that students spend about 25 hours on their projects. Eventually, students share their projects with the community through the Personal Project Exhibition.

Because students were given autonomy both in the choice of their projects and in the way they wanted to use the exhibition opportunity we got to see a wide range of personal interests, styles and ideas.

Ms. Scrivener

Personal Project Exhibition

This year’s exhibition was designed to have the feel of an open space art gallery and students had to submit an exhibition card that explained their project and exhibit artifact.

Students had to independently think of their exhibition concept and how best they would like to showcase their project to the rest of the community. This is always an exercise in creativity and students usually come up with very remarkable approaches. This year there was everything from digital presentations, handcrafted food packaging, bamboo models, home-brewed beer, sculptures, drawings, artworks, information style exhibition booths and more.

The exhibition was initially planned to run for two days but was then extended to another week due to the massive interest in the projects that really captured the attention of the wider community.

It was really very positive to hear the buzz around campus, people talking about what was on show in the pods, it certainly drew the community into the pod space and had a feel of excitement about it. Because each project was unique, the exhibition really had something for everyone to find interest in.

Ms. Scrivener

The entire exhibition itself was built around the theme “Learning Journey”. The theme reflects the long process behind the Personal Project and the educational journey it takes students on for 7 months. The exhibition poster this year was designed to look like the MRT map and the invitation looked very similar to an EZ-link card (the card used for public transport in Singapore). On the map itself, there were 6 different coloured lines, symbolic of the IB’s six global contexts that frame all the learning in the MYP programme. These contexts allow students and teachers to connect the learning to the ‘real world’.

Personal Project Report

The exhibition is also a great opportunity for students to gather community feedback – this feedback comes in useful when students have to evaluate their project in the Personal Project report.

The Project Report is an assessed component. Students have to communicate the entire process of completing the project in the report and can submit either a written report or a mixed media report. The assessment of the report itself is moderated externally by the IB and there is an achievement grade and an IB Personal Project Certificate awarded to the students.

Having seen her students do such a wonderful work with the Grade 10 Personal Projects, MYP Coordinator, Ms. Scrivener reflects:

Grade ten appeared very proud to exhibit and showcase their work. It is always positive and motivating as a teacher to be reminded of the talents our young people have beyond the classroom and curriculum. That is what makes the Personal Project Exhibition such an important time of celebration for our community.

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