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A Look at Our CM1 Term in Dubai

Following terms in Botswana and Oaxaca, Mexico, our Changemaker Cohort 1 students had the opportunity to live and learn in a decidedly more cosmopolitan country for Term 3: The United Arab Emirates.

Dubai, their host city and where they spent most of their time, holds the distinction of being the first Middle Eastern city recognized as a UNESCO City of Design. As part of this network, Dubai is committed to applying creativity in all aspects of its urban planning and development. This dedication to design and creativity made Dubai the perfect location for our students to work on projects related to technology and the future.

Students interact with an exhibit at Expo 2020

Another key factor in our decision to hold a term in the United Arab Emirates was World Expo 2020, which took place between October 2021 and March 2022. The Expo was themed around “Connecting minds, Creating the Future” and the concepts of global citizenship, communication, and healing. Students had the opportunity to visit 191 different country pavilions, many of which were architectural marvels. Each pavilion offered immersive cultural experiences for students to participate in and insights on what makes each country so unique.


Each term at THINK Global School includes a week-long excursion called a weXplore. During weXplores, students depart their host city and venture to another part of the country, where they engage in a series of learning experiences and team-building activities.

For their United Arab Emirates weXplore, CM1 students focused on diving deeper into Emirati culture by exploring various emirates outside of Dubai. THINK Global School partnered with The Knot for the weXplore,  who are an organization focused on educating people on Emirati culture, customs, and history through immersive experiences and open dialogue, where asking tough or uncomfortable questions is encouraged.

Throughout the week, students had the opportunity to participate in various outdoor activities, such as kayaking, dune-bashing, and hiking through a wadi, while also taking time to learn more about the local area, its people, and economy. One particular focus was on the honey industry, which plays a vital economic role in parts of the UAE. In addition to visiting a honeybee farm, students spent the day with Mr. Ali Al Dhanhani, who established the first mountain honey reserve in the UAE. After touring the reserve, the group was treated to an incredible meal in his museum.

On day three, the focus shifted to cultural storytelling and archaeology. The morning was spent in a souq (market), where students were expected to find something to eat and a story to share from any of the shopkeepers. Lunch was spent at the Al Taibah museum, where students met with a local Emirati entrepreneur to learn more about local customs, particularly women’s experiences in the UAE. The afternoon and evening was a desert experience in Maleha, where there were several activities focused on archaeology and the local environment. The day finished with a cultural storytelling circle and a local meal under the stars.

The final two days of the weXplore took place in Dubai and Sharjah, where students continued exploring the parallels between the ancient and the modern. In Dubai, the morning was spent at the Future Labs and Youth Hub where students learned about future technologies and the history of Old Dubai.

In Sharjah, which is considered to be the most “conservative” emirate, students explored several museums and locations on their own, reflecting on what terms like “Arab,” “Muslim,” or “conservative” actually mean and how they might be conflated or misused.

Seaside Sundays

CM1 students and staff gathered at a local Dubai beach this term for “Seaside Sundays,” where they participated in whole-cohort circles followed by a series of games, exercises, and swimming. The festive events were similar to “Mountain Mondays,” which took place during our 2019 term in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Seaside Sundays became an excellent way for the community to kick the week off by having some fun and focusing on personal health and wellness.

Community PE Sessions

This term, CM1 also introduced Community PE sessions. Through Community PE sessions, students took turns leading sessions and sharing their passions as a way to encourage the community to be active and healthy. The sessions were a valuable way for our students to practice leadership skills and develop the TGS core values of ubuntu and grit.

Students had the option to focus on basketball, swimming, or ice skating and would meet with their group twice a week. Community PE proved to be a great way to take a break from studies, learn a new skill, or see a different side of Dubai. We look forward to continuing with Community PE in Greece and other future locations.


This term, Max F. helped his fellow CM1 students develop their basketball skills as part of our community PE sessions. Max shared that while growing up basketball was always being played, from the pros on TV to the locals in the park. When he first got into basketball, Max wasn’t the best at it, but with years of practice, he eventually made his first team, and then went on to the Amateur Athletic Union, where he won a few cups.

Teaching basketball has been a throwback for me, a really great one too. Basketball is definitely one of my passions, to say the least. Being able to teach it has been a throwback that I needed and a way to connect the TGS community with a part of me. Teaching has been a blast, and I’m excited to see how the TGS community uses the skills we learn to play in the future.

-Class of 2024 Student Max F.
Ice Skating and Swimming 

Class of 2022 Student Effie H. led students in ice skating sessions this term. A native of Finland, ice skating was a common occurrence for Effie growing up, and she was happy to teach her classmates how to skate. On the swimming side of things, Class of 2023 Student Rachel C. headed sessions up, teaching participants technical skills and encouraging them to strive for one more lap in the pool.

“I think there’s a particular strength brought to the community by connecting through physical activities. I learned so much through leading the group (even if I tormented them with laps and somewhat embarrassing games from time to time). The energy we shared while laughing and refining our technical skills drove me to improve my coaching abilities in a way I don’t believe anything else could.”

-Class of 2023 Student Rachel C.

Project-Based Learning at THINK Global School

THINK Global School does not employ a traditional classroom dynamic; rather, learning is student-centered and focused on projects that explore real-world challenges.

Each term, students select a teacher-led module to participate in. These eight-week modules are designed by our educators and ask students to solve a driving question by term’s end, with their findings being shared during an end-of-term showcase.

Each module is built on learning targets, which serve as the backbone of our curriculum. By constructing modules around learning targets, we can ensure that each student receives a comprehensive education, as satisfying each learning target at least once is a condition for graduation. Science-themed modules will likely have science-based learning targets attached, while an art project will focus on art-themed learning targets. 21st Century Skills, which include applicable life skills like communication and critical thinking, are also a mainstay of our students’ projects.

You can find all of our learning targets below and learn more about them here.

Valuable Place-Based Experiences

Over their eight weeks in-country, students regularly interact with local experts and other community members as they work towards solving their driving questions.

These firsthand experiences are integral to the THINK Global School educational experience, as they breed empathy and cultivate a deep understanding of peoples, cultures, and surroundings. Better yet, they help develop the skills, knowledge, and experiences necessary to become the changemakers of tomorrow.

During their time abroad, students also build lifelong bonds with their classmates, who hail from over thirty countries and inform discussions just as much as the locations THINK Global School inhabits. By reaching across cultural and geographical divides, students at THINK Global School overcome biases while developing a deeper understanding of their shared humanity.

Dubai Modules

This term, students were presented with two teacher-led modules to select from, but most terms offer three options. In the spirit of Expo 2020, both modules focused on technology and the future.

You can learn more about each module and find actual project outcomes below.

Learning Targets

  • Creation of an original piece
  • Communication
  • Mathematical Reasoning and Modeling
  • Applied Sciences & Technologies
  • People and Cultures
  • Self-development and Social Intelligence

During their time in Dubai, our CM1 “Building Blocks” module explored the use of blockchain technology to create future innovative ventures. They focused on the driving question: How might we use blockchain technology to create future innovative ventures?

In this module, students explored the concepts of blockchain, non-fungible tokens, and cryptocurrency. They looked at the ethics of these new technologies,  learned how to create their own, and considered how this technology is changing our world today.

This module allowed me to explore the fourth industrial revolution and how blockchain is going to become the new normal. I met with guest speakers that allowed me more insight into how blockchain works, what they’ve done with it, and how they think the future of this technology will shape out to be.

-Class of 2022 Student Dia K.

The term featured a variety of guest speakers who were able to shed light on the complicated subject, including Class of 2019 Alum Maxim Sindall, who is one of the co-founders of Altura NFT. Altura is an NFT platform that provides the tools necessary for game developers to create and integrate smart NFTs into video games and applications.

Their first field experience was a visit to an NFT art exhibition hosted by the Morrow Collective. The Morrow Collective is a group of curators and consultants who specialize in working with artists to bring their art into the rapidly evolving non-fungible token (NFT) market. Students had the opportunity to visit the exhibition and use augmented reality technology to view both physical and digital works of art. The visit to the exhibition was followed by a Q&A focused on the collective’s mission, the future of NFTs, and what blockchain technology means for the fine art industry as a whole.

Another visit of interest was to a workshop with the founders of an NFT collection called Abu Crypto, whose name is an Arab play on the term crypto punks.

Abu Crypto comprises 4,800 characters, each built with a maximum of eight different traits (background, cigar, headcover, etc.). Like most NFTs on the market, the various traits of the 4,800 Abu Crypto NFT characters denote their level of rarity, with some being rarer and hence more valuable than others.

The founders talked to students about their business and how they grew their brand. First they set out to create a vision and then they had to create a community around it. With Abu Crypto, the community drives the value of the products. They used a variety of social media, giveaways, and physical gifts such as merch or parties to promote their NFTs over the course of six months. The pay off? They’ve made around $180,000 off their $3,000 dollar investment and amassed a large Instagram following to boot. The founders have now scaled their business to include workshops, community engagement, play-to-earn crypto games, and consultations and partnerships.

Participants in the module also paid a visit to Expo 2020 to search for implementations of blockchain and other digital innovations in the various country pavilions. They noticed that in many of the pavilions, countries were focusing more heavily on digital innovation rather than their sustainable or cultural achievements.

Project Outcomes
Fila Tigui by Yeli K.

What were your goals for this module?

My goal for this module was to design a decentralized app, token/coin, or NFT collection based on a concrete understanding of what blockchain is. I achieved my goals by being particularly attentive with our guest speakers and asking many questions to understand what blockchain is.

What new things did you learn about yourself?

I learned how interested I am for the potential impact of Web 3.0 on our world.

What are your big takeaway lessons from this project?

Blockchain is the future.

Cash $Back by Noah D.

What were your goals for this module? How did you achieve them?

My goal for this module was to develop a solid and applicable understanding of blockchain. Coming in, I knew absolutely nothing about NFTs, cryptocurrency, decentralized finance, or web 3.0. Now, I can say that I have a significant knowledge bank about these emerging technologies. I was able to apply my understanding to create a wireframe and white paper for a decentralized face-to-face loaning platform: Cash $Back.

What new things did you learn about yourself?

Through this module, I learned a lot about the feedback process. I had multiple ideas for my module summative that I was really excited about. However, when I brought them up with guest speakers and module leads, they got picked apart and heavily criticized. I realized that I didn’t know quite as much as I thought about blockchain, and as such was able to begin seeing this feedback not as something to fear, but something to learn from. By the end of the module, I hoped for critical feedback on my work, as I knew that that is what would help me the most.

What are your big takeaway lessons from this project?

From this module, I took away a really good understanding of a technology that could be very relevant to all of us in the future. I found a passion for design – spending hours on end choosing color palettes, font combinations, and arranging features for my wireframe. I came to new realizations about how educational access and wealth inequality can hinder or aid the adoption of new technologies – an insight into the privilege I have to do so. Finally, I came up with an idea that, if developed properly, could lead me to a path of dApp development and entrepreneurship. Blockchain is now a huge passion of mine!

Kolmnaist: A Female-focused NFT Project by Methini, Viktoria, and Helena

View their project here:

What were your goals for this module?

Helena: My biggest goal for the module was having good teamwork with my peers, learning about blockchain, and applying it to something I am really passionate about. Having an impactful final summative that showcases an issue is so important for our community, and I’m proud to see that we achieved all of them together.

Methini: For our module summative, my teammates and I designed a project called Kolmnaist, which means three women. The theme of our project was using blockchain technology to create an NFT collection that empowers women from India, Estonia, and Brazil.

My goal for this module was to understand what blockchain is and how it works because blockchain was a whole new topic for me. When we started learning about blockchain, all I could think about was its negative aspects, like affecting the environment and people. But later on, we explored how we can use blockchain for a positive impact.

Studying the fourth industrial revolution is genuinely a shock on how innovative the world is becoming.

What new things did you learn about yourselves?

Helena: I learned that I am actually very interested in exploring this technology that, at first, I didn’t think I was ever going to connect to.

Methini: I learned to develop my pitching skills and also realized that I’m not too fond of blockchain and its future roles in our day-to-day life.

What are your biggest takeaway lessons from this project?

Helena: I think I learned a lot about adversity and dealing with things going out of plan, but still being able to adapt and make the most out of it.

Methini: My biggest takeaway from this module is to be confident while pitching/presenting, have clear eye contact with the audience, and understand ways to use blockchain positively.

Info Link by Siphokazi S.

What were your goals for this module? How did you achieve them?

At the beginning of this module, I wasn’t quite sure what blockchain was and all I wanted to do was figure it out. By the end of the module, I was able to go beyond just understanding basic blockchain I was able to merge it with something that I enjoyed in my summative product.

What new things did you learn about yourself?

I learned to embody the TGS core value of grit, as I was online because of COVID this term. It really taught me to be patient with myself and to let my curiosity fuel me and challenge me to learn something new. This term was full of a lot of personal growth and I can proudly say I’m not the same as I was in the beginning of the term.

What are your big takeaway lessons from this project?

I think that my biggest lesson is to trust myself. In the beginning of this project, I was scared that I wouldn’t understand anything because I didn’t have a background in tech and coding. I thought I would really struggle, and before I even started the module I was stressed about it. But I convinced myself to open my mind and be positive, and to link it with something I understood.

Learning Targets

  • Global Awareness
  • Teaming and Collaboration
  • Mathematical Reasoning and Modeling
  • Applied Sciences & Technologies
  • People and Cultures
  • Self-development and Social Intelligence
  • Human Systems and Stewardship

The other module this term was focused on robotics and innovation. Students were asked to answer the following driving question: How might we explore innovation through robotics?

For their final project, students were asked to build a prototype of a robot that included a coding sequence and the ability to execute a task within the framework of the overall intended design.

Students were required to also include the following elements:

  • A code of ethics for robotic design based on their Ethics of Innovation criteria
  • A pitch deck for an expert audience / key stakeholder group

Students learned to code, build robots and explore the concept of innovation through practical application. Context for the module was drawn from the UAE, the World Expo, and the UN Sustainability Goals, specifically goal number 9: to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.

During the online week at the start of the term, students took part in a design challenge. For this exercise, they assumed the roles of Emirates Airlines employees and used design thinking to create something that replaces human effort with automation. This fun exercise was a great way to get a feel for what the module would be covering while in-country.

The biggest takeaway for me was learning how to create a company with ethics at its center. I will be working with technology in the future so I believe that what this module taught me is priceless. It taught me how to see technology as a service to the world rather than a money-making industry.

-Class of 2022 Student Seckhen A.

During their first trip to Expo 2020, students visited the Emirates Pavilion, where they explored technologies that will contribute to the “future of flight,” including robotics, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence. Students compared what they saw with their own designs, and were asked to reflect on the ramifications, limitations, and ethics surrounding innovation and technology.

CR8 Robotics and Innovation Design Workshops

During their visits with CR8, a robotics and innovative design group based in Abu Dhabi, students received an introduction to robotics, including their purpose and what the essential steps of creating a robot are.

For their first session, students were given legos and encouraged to build a robot of their own. The trickier part, however, was using a coding language similar to PYTHON to provide the robot with functions that could be entered into a loop. The robots would translate the code and interpret it into movement. Students competed against one another in a handful of scenarios where they picked up balls and “sumo wrestled” against one another. The afternoon was an excellent primer on how robots work and encouraged students to explore the design process and rely on their critical-thinking skills to succeed.

For the second session, students concentrated on principles of design, including determining what materials should be used for the robot in their final project. Students had the opportunity to sketch out their robots on paper before physically constructing one for another series of challenges.

Robo Cafe

In another outing, students visited a robot cafe to see how robots can be programmed to prepare food. The interaction was an interesting one for students, as through the course of their studies, they had learned that robots are supposed to perform tasks that save time, money, and effort; however, the process took longer than if the food had been prepared by hand. In this way, the experience was valuable, as it gave students a lot to contemplate alongside a glimpse into what the future might hold.

Project Outcomes

Agro Bot by Wil and Mat

What were your goals for this module? How did you achieve them?

Our goal for this module was to create a working robot completed with a prototype and functioning code. We spent lots of time brainstorming and sketching ideas for this robot. We also wanted to make sure our robot was super unique and one of a kind.

Our final prototype was a success and could perform the actions that it was intended to do. Our robot is also innovative because it is different than anything you will see on the current market.

What new things did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I should be more open to failures and feedback since those things could only help. My thoughts before were “get everything right” or “no mistakes,” now I am open to failure and will welcome it with open arms.

What are your big takeaway lessons from this project?

The biggest lesson for me is that everything is a process, and nothing amazing can come from nothing.

Amana Delivery by Nada K. and Mmetla M.

What were your goals for this module? How did you achieve them?

Our goals were to create a contactless delivery robot and pitch it to a panel of experts. with the help of the robotics team from the workshops, we learned all the basic concepts to create our own innovation.

What new things did you learn about yourself?

It was really interesting to realize that we were capable of coding, and we loved using our hands to create a robot.

Drono by Seckhen A. and Chadi S.

What were your goals for this module? How did you achieve them?

  • Work in a team: we achieved this by consulting each other before making any sort of decision and keeping open communication
  • Choosing the best market: we conducted a multi-continental global analysis that allowed us to decide that Japan was the best place to begin our operation
  • Create a brand: we designed and branded a whole company behind our invention

What new things did you learn about yourself?

Seckhen: I learned that I am really passionate about robotics. I want to not only create software inventions but also hardware ones too. In the future, I will be doing computer science (in college). I plan to use the knowledge I will acquire to create ethical robotic innovations.

Chadi: I learned that I am interested in building robots and designing them. I have also enjoyed the coding part of this project.

What are your big takeaway lessons from this project?

Seckhen: The biggest takeaway for me was learning how to create a company with ethics at its center. I will be working with technology in the future so I believe that what this module taught me is priceless. It taught me how to see technology as a service to the world rather than a money-making industry.

Chadi: My biggest takeaway was that the goal of robotics is to serve people and deliver a finished product that makes life easier, rather than an incomplete and flawed product.



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Ready to embark on the educational journey of a lifetime?

A passion for travel. A strong academic record. And the desire to improve the world as you experience it. If this sounds like you, you just might be our ideal candidate! Start your application with a five-minute inquiry form - you never know where you might end up.

It all starts here.

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