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Exploring Student Passions: What is a Personal Project?

Exploring Student Passions: What is a Personal Project?

The Personal Project is the culminating event in the Middle Years Programme (MYP) in Grade 10. It is an opportunity for students to initiate, manage, direct and reflect on their own inquiry related to the MYP Global Contexts. The emphasis in the Personal Project is on the learning journey, not the destination. Ultimately, it is a process journal and reflective report, which are more important in the assessment of the Personal Project than the outcome or product itself. The MYP Personal Project is designed to be a deeply personal inquiry that puts students’ MYP learning into action, with a specific focus on the Global Contexts and the Approaches to Learning skills (ATLs) that students have developed in the MYP. The Personal Project follows a clear set of stages, starting with Investigating, moving to Planning, then on to Taking Action, Reflecting and finishing with Exhibiting. These stages are designed to allow students to take a step back and reflect on their learning as it happens over the course of several months. 

– Richard Goulding, Individuals and Societies Teacher & Personal Project Advisor

Here, four of our current 10th grade students explain the Personal Projects they are pursuing this year and why they decided to explore these topics.

DuncanDuncan: For my Grade 10 Personal Project I am attempting to answer the question, “Using knowledge of language and linguistics, how does one effectively teach a language’s grammar to someone through the form of a book?” To do this, I am creating the first two chapters of an in-depth guide to English grammar for Spanish speakers. 

I chose this question as it fits well with my passion for language and linguistics that I exercise both in and out of the classroom. With my project, I hope to look at English, a part of my identity as a native English speaker, from a new perspective. Looking at English through an analytical lens and attempting to relearn it myself so that I can teach it to others will require me to take a step back from my identity as an English speaker and learn to empathize with the identities of those trying to learn English as a second language.

ZoeZoé: The central question of my Personal Project is “How has the world’s past exploration in spacecraft development and space travel affected the world today, and what connections can be made by investigating the history, impact, science, and functionality of various spacecrafts?” I chose this topic because science and engineering is really interesting to me, specifically when it applies to space and how it can directly affect our achievements by allowing us to discover new things. 

The goal of my Personal Project is to create a booklet or magazine type of written work including images on the history of space travel and space exploration. This means I will have researched the entire timeline of past attempts and accomplishments in spaceflight, starting from the very beginning to today. In addition, I will be discussing how these events and the new era of space exploration have impacted and currently impact society, the environment, the economy, and the world we live in. My project falls under the global context “scientific and technical innovation.”

GrifyGrify: My personal project is PariKat, pronounced Parry Chat, a free online communications service. This entails creating and setting up the necessary infrastructure, design, and scripts in order to make a website. For this project, I’ve had to set up a custom database and server system for relaying information between clients via the server and database using a brilliantly useful technology called WebSockets. The main question I’m looking into is, “How do major online services structure themselves and develop/operate large, scalable, resilient internet infrastructure to ensure their internet presence?” I chose this because it is a very interesting concept, not very well known, and because it is very useful to me. 

YaraYara: I have always been interested in crime shows and unsolved mysteries, which is why I decided to focus my Personal Project on what makes a person become a serial killer. More specifically, “How does a serial killer’s background affect their psychological reasoning behind committing murder?” My final product will be a podcast consisting of two episodes that are each approximately 20 minutes in length. The first episode will cover general information about what a serial killer is, their background (childhood, schools, family, friends, etc.), types of serial killers, and psychopathy. In the second episode, I will use Ted Bundy’s life as a case study, as he was one of the most well-known serial killers of all time. 

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