The Personal Project is a long-term, open-ended project where students get to explore their interests and develop new skills, and later using that to make a product, representing it. At the end, the student has to write a report of their work. The project is similar to the PYP 8 or grade 5 exhibition, but all of it is completed individually from start to finish. It progresses from the start of the year until late February or early March. The focus for teachers is to analyze your ATL skills and overall work ethic.
A common problem with the project is that students choose a topic with which they quickly become disinterested and loose the motivation to work hard on it. It’s important to choose a topic that you are at least a little familiar with, but something different from your main interest, so that it changes your view on life and provokes further inquiry. The key element is that this is your chance to do anything you want to. Get creative!
Throughout the project you work in close coordination with your Supervisor, a teacher at your school, who guides you through the process; you create a record of your progress referred to as the process journal. In it you record decisions, thoughts, feelings, ideas and records of interviews, meetings, research and product development. Basically, it is the documentation of how your project came to life.
The project is an entry prep into the IB program and a predecessor, so to speak, of the Extended Essay completed in DP 2 or grade 12. The ‘official’ aim is for you to grow as a learner and expand your skill pool that you can utilize in the IB as well as later in life. The process heavily revolves around reflection; what you learned, how the project impacted your attitude, behavior, actions and decisions.
From my experience with the project, to me it was a lot of fun. I picked a pretty challenging goal of creating a photo album that shows impact of climate change on the general Basel area. I chose a topic that I share a great interest for: photography; I also combined it with a topic that I didn’t know much about, but I was keen on learning about it. The whole album is also in black and white so…
This years Works
This year, there was a multitude of different works, from novels to greenhouses to photography to musical compositions as well as websites. A lot of websites. A couple of examples from this year are listed down below. Use this as inspiration since this is a multitude of some of the best ones!
Photography album: Leszek Grzesinski
For my personal project, I decided to take an area of particular interest to me; photography and combine it with a modern problem or idea that has recently grown in popularity: Climate Change. I created a black and white album focused on portraying climate change in Basel. The main aim was to show how even an area whichis commonly known as a “green” country, is also affected and contributes to climate change in their own way. I got a chance to develop my interest in photography while also creating something which can teach others and potentialy save the planet in one way or another.
Retelling and illustrating Southeast Asian Folktales: Isabelle Teh
My Personal Project was about retelling and illustrating Southeast Asian Folktales. My goal ultimately ended up being a threefold process: retelling Southeast Asian folktales, analyzing Southeast Asian folktales compared to Western fairytales, and finally digitally illustrating the stories, so that I would end up with an illustrated, analyzed picture-book collection as my final product.
The Personal Project provided me an opportunity to explore the theme of “Personal and Cultural Expression”, not only by developing my interest in writing and illustrating, but also by reconnecting with my roots as I learned more about the vibrant culture and gorgeous stories of Southeast Asia. Ultimately, the Personal Project was a tough but rewarding challenge and an incredible learning experience!
Nature and Cultural Inspired Artwork: Kaitlyn Soo
My product is a 2 piece set of paintings featuring the Swiss and Singaporean flags and national flowers. I created these paintings to compare the features of the cultures. I wanted to compare the differences between the two countries with my own knowledge and research I have done, to showcase in a form of personal expression, and to inspire others to think about similar experiences and how they relate to being a part of two or more cultures or countries. In them, I have chosen a nature element, the country’s national flowers and flags, as a way to compare their differences, but also similarities, in a visual way. The elements represent what makes them who they are and the qualities and values that each country stands for. They contrast each other, but they also have a connection, maybe not very visible at first glance, but with the help of the analysis one can put together the significance that they have to me.
Coding a website from scratch: Samuel Melamed
For my personal project I designed a website. Specifically I wanted it to communicate to the general public about getting to the ISS using the Soyuz rocket. I also tried to fit some science in too so that they would take something valuable from the website when reading it. I made the website using HTML and CSS because using website builders would have been too easy to make, and my self growth would have been smaller.
Pottery based on Mexican Culture: Sarah Martinez
The goal of my project was to be able to learn more about my Mexican heritage while combing it with art. I enjoyed being able to learn more about Mexico and also be able to improve my pottery skills in the process.
Get ready for next year!
With the presentations over and all of us grade 10’s completely exhausted, we wish the upcoming grade 10 a successful project and we’re excited to see your own ideas! Don’t forget about recording your progress in your process journal and space out work evenly! Don’t leave everything until the last second!