Tattooing is the most misunderstood art form in Japan today. Looked down upon for centuries and rarely discussed in social circles, people with tattoos are outcasts in this country, banned from most public spaces such as beaches, bathhouses, and even gyms. Tattoos have an extensive history in Japan, and to truly understand the stigma behind them it is essential to be aware of their significance. The first records of tattoos...Read More
Our 2020-21 school year is officially underway, and we’re excited to have welcomed 14 new students hailing from 10 countries into our CM2 cohort. With travel grounded for the foreseeable future, our students are collaborating virtually on a variety of teacher-led modules and personal projects. In case you are new to the learning concepts associated with THINK Global School, our Changemaker Curriculum puts students in charge of their own learning by having them investigate and respond to thought-provoking questions through the form of projects.
CM2 students were given the choice of three mini-modules to participate in, allowing our new students to acquaint themselves with the Changemaker Curriculum and having autonomy over how their project would develop. The common thread between all of the mini-modules was a focus on three fundamental human needs, food, shelter, and health, which all appear at the bottom of the pyramid in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
The first mini-module was centered around the concept of biophilic interiors, with participants answering the following driving question: “How can I incorporate biophilic design to upgrade my living spaces at home?” The module taught students how natural and green elements can be introduced into their living quarters since our wellbeing is so closely linked to our physical surroundings. Their project work can be found below.
Khanh B’s Living Space
“I’ve always been interested in interior design but I’d never really spend time researching the biophilic aspect of it. So this project helped me expand my knowledge on biophilic and interior design as well as skills on using a design app.” -Khanh B.
For her module project, CM2 student Khanh designed a living space that brought her closer to nature and Vietnamese culture. To do so, she created an ideal environment for both recreation and work. The room’s highlight being that most of the furniture and flooring were made from bamboo and rattan — interior design materials used prevalently in Vietnamese homes.
The main inspiration for Khanh’s project were the brocade designs made by ethnic minorities in the Northern Vietnamese town of Sa Pa. Brocade refers to a class of richly decorative shuttle-woven fabrics. In Vietnam, these are typically constructed from cotton, flax, or hemp. Khanh used yellow, turquoise, and green as her color palette since she believes they “complement each other well and bring out the cozy and calming vibe of the room,” and had her creations were designed to be attached to the wall like a tapestry.
Ella M.’s Bedroom
“My favorite aspect of this project was learning about all the different ways your environment can affect your wellbeing. I never knew something as simple as having the sound of running water or paintings of nature in a space could have such a huge impact on a person.” -Ella M.
Ella’s module project is a model of her bedroom redesigned to include elements of biophilic and interior design in a way that could improve her mental and physical wellbeing. Ella included a water feature, a living wall, and natural art. She also changed the colors of the walls to make the room seem brighter and more open and increased the focus on natural light.
Madhu S.’s Room
“This module sparked a love for redesigning and creating change in my own space. I loved learning about Thai and Indian cultures while celebrating their similarities and differences through my design.” -Madhu S.
For her project, Madhu focused on creating a room with natural elements along with cultural ones from Thailand and India. Madhu designed a room that includes plants, good sunlight, wind, and also cultural values such as purity, prosperity, wealth, health, and beauty.
Food, Culture, Action
The second mini-module explored food culture by asking participants to answer the driving question of “How can I share my food culture to the world?” Since our students hail from all across the globe, this module provided an opportunity to learn about each other’s cultures.
Each student identified a dish that represented where they are from and analyzed its ingredients. They then worked to build a film explaining how to cook the dish while highlighting the dish’s unique cultural aspects. This project was done in pairs, so each student could give and receive feedback on their organization and delivery of information to an audience.
Pan de Muerto by Marily M.
“I enjoyed learning about my culture and the origin of many of my traditions. Baking pan de muerto and recording the process was challenging and exciting at the same time. I learned how to communicate in a simple and interesting way.” -Marily M.
For her project, Marily explored Mexican culture and highlighted its unique characteristics. She chose to create a video of her making the dish, pan de muerto. as it is important to her and also a representation of her culture.
Maine Lobster Roll by Robyn A.
“This project helped me to figure out who I am and who or what I associate with. Creating the video for my dish was challenging since I’ve never created a film of any sort before. However, the end results were exciting to see all the work I put into it, pay off.” -Robyn A.
Robyn’s project demonstrates how to make the Maine Lobster roll and why it plays a big role in her home state of Maine.
Foundations of Global Health
The third mini-module introduced students to the foundations of global health by asking them to answer the driving question: How can I address some of the present threats to global health while promoting human rights and social progress? Participants discussed the complexity of global health challenges and their close relationships to human rights initiatives before tackling a global health challenge for a project of their own.
Students were introduced to the basic concepts, measurements, and determinants of health and a number of key perspectives for considering global health issues. The module also helped to underscore the complexity of global health situations and solutions and their close relationship to other social indicators including education for all, gender equality, and eradication of poverty and hunger. You can find their project outcomes below.
Mental Health in Bangladesh by Zoya A.
“By working on this project, I learned that I enjoy my work more when I have autonomy over it, the freedom to experiment with it, and research on my own terms.” -Zoya A.
Zoya’s project focused on mental health not being recognized in Bangladesh, and her research conveys how mental health has never been a part of Bangladesh’s primary health system. Because of this, Bangladesh lacks mental healthcare specialists, making treatment possible only for the economically privileged. Zoya’s strategy to help improve this problem is to enforce having school psychologists check on students’ mental health and well-being, increase the number of psychiatrists in the Bangladesh health care system, and bring more mental health support centers across the country.
Addressing Anxiety in the United Kingdom by Seb O.
“Overall, I really enjoyed the module! The thing I was most surprised about was how fun I found the policy brief to write: I had challenged myself and done a lot of research in the earlier weeks of this module but by the end, writing the final product was so satisfying.” -Seb O.
For his policy brief, Seb researched global health, social determinants of health, and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. He focused his research on anxiety in the UK and how mental health in the UK isn’t always addressed.
HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Ukraine by Zheka C.
It was extremely interesting to be learning about a crisis in my own country. I think being online helped to focus on my community and environment, which definitely was really rewarding.” – Zheka C.
For her project, Zheka looked into the background of the HIV/AIDs epidemic in Ukraine and the government’s current solutions. Zheka determined, based on her analysis, the most effective solutions to prevent the spread of the virus. These measures include Ukraine focusing on paying for HIV/AIDs consultations, screening, and treatment while also preventing situations that lead to the spread of HIV, including harm reduction programs, the distribution of condoms and lubricants, and needle exchange and distribution.
Coronary Heart Disease in the United States of America by Alex N.
“I really enjoyed spending time on reading and researching. I think that the most challenging part is writing the policy brief but I like it because it can improve my academic-writing skill.” -Alex N.
For his project, Alex wrote a policy brief addressing Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) in the U.S.A. From his research, Alex realized that the root problem of the situation is that the U.S. is focusing on CHD treatment instead of advancing cardiovascular health. Alex suggests that the two major risk factors to address and solve are lack of physical activities among individuals and poor eating habits.
HIV/AIDS in South Africa by Arora V.
“It was interesting to learn about how culture affects health. I had never thought of the different ways that everyone can think of health, how to be healthy, and how that can affect how we deal with health issues” -Arora V.
For her project, Arora took on the role of the Minister of Health for South Africa and wrote to the country’s minister of finance to get approval for new policies to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Arora goes over how HIV has affected South Africa and who the main at-risk groups are: mainly lower-income individuals, women, and sex workers. Arora then goes over the best cost-effective strategies to combat HIV dealing with each at-risk group, including national sex education programs and making contraceptives more readily available.
Tackling Malaria in the Democratic Republic of Congo by Sofia W.
“I enjoyed hearing from my peers how the health care systems function in different countries. A challenge was writing in the concise and precise way required for the policy brief.” -Sofia W.
Sofia’s project is a policy brief about the Malaria situation in Congo. It includes its nature and magnitude, the most affected populations, the socio-economic consequences, and the potential solution to reduce the burden. The policy aims to convince the finance Minister of Congo to invest in solutions for Malaria.
As part of our two-year service-learning program, students at THINK Global School research their home communities, identify gaps in what the communities want and need, and design and execute projects that respond to these wants and needs.
One of the biggest milestones for a student at THINK Global School is submitting their service learning project proposal. Following two terms of research, Grade 12 students pitch their project ideas to staff members for formal approval. From now until the end of the year, Grade 12s will collaborate with organizations and individuals in their own community to implement their service learning projects locally. Here are some of this year’s Grade 12 proposals.
Redefining Value by Isa M.
“This project has opened my eyes to a frustrating reality. We have been indoctrinated to reduce the life cycle of resources significantly. Nevertheless, my new awareness has brought me an infinite line of possibilities to solve this. Understanding what the circular economy is, I can now innovate its implementation in my local community. Food waste is a sad reality that is often overseen; however, wasting food is essentially turning our backs on those who have had fewer opportunities.” -Isa M.
Driving Question: How can I raise awareness and facilitate alternative solutions to food waste and loss in Mexico?
Isa’s plan is to facilitated a circular economy system to reduce food waste in a local cafeteria. These efforts can then be reshaped and implemented into a guiding booklet for other gastronomic establishments.
Promoting Sustainable Fashion by Zheka C.
“It easy to be able to combine my interests such as fashion and sustainability to help my community in Ukraine, and spread awareness about ecologically- friendly daily habits.” -Zheka C.
Driving Question: How can I promote sustainable fashion practices in Ukraine to reach a wider audience?
Zheka will be building an online platform through Instagram to promote sustainable fashion. The Instagram feed will include sharing factual information on landfills in Ukraine along with providing information on different second hand and vintage stores in Kyiv and Ukraine.
Reducing the Impact of Covid-19 on the Latinx Community in Georgia by Estelle W.
Driving Question: How can I use education as a tool to reduce racial inequities during the Covid-19 pandemic?
Estelle’s service-learning project will consist of creating educational bilingual infographics to distribute in predominately Latinx public schools in the stae of Georgia, USA. The goal of this project is to combat the disadvantages facing minorities during the pandemic.