1. Description of Our Community
LuJou sits on the lower west bank of Tamshui River, looks out to Taipei Shihlin district on the northeast across the river, borders with Wuku on the west and Sanchung on the southeast to shape like a rhombus. The city is some 8,321 kilometers, and only slighter larger than Yangho among the twenty-nine townships that constitute Taipei County. LuJou is built on a land formed by depositions the river brought, and hence is low-lying that makes it vulnerable to flooding but fertile for farming. Such elements have made the city development rather slow. Fortunately the Sanchung and Yangho Urban Building Plan initiated by the central government a decade ago together with completion of Taipei Flood Prevention Plan and Erchung Flood Regulating Waterway, the city is now relatively safe from inundation. With the flooding problem solved the location’s convenient access to Taipei City brought in considerable residents that soon elevated LuJou from a township to city status.
2. Summary of Our Project
Did you know that the ever-ubiquitous Bidens pilosa that can be easily spotted in any wilderness has only reached the shore of Taiwan three decades earlier? The journey was inextricably tied to Luzhou. By chance a pupil’s father alluded to the story of how his father in an attempt to improve his bee farm in Luzhou imported seeds of Bidens pilosa from Okinawa, which eventually spread throughout the district. Being a kind, generous man he gave away seeds to bee farmers in the central and southern regions for improving their economies, and at times even sprinkled seeds along the way to dispense such gifts that turned the plant into a predominant variety in Taiwan. Intrigued by the amazing proliferation of Bidens pilosa throughout the island that originated in Luzhou we set out to trace the footsteps and the people involved, and by means of information gathering and scientific methodology to unfurl the wonderful journey of Bidens pilosa to the island. The sweet journey of how the little white flower first settled in and then set out from Luzhou was to be shared by fifteen pupils under the guidance of three teachers!
3. Our Computer and Internet Access
A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%
B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:2-3
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:2-3
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
he school network is a 10MB fibre-optic link to Taipei County’s education network centre; at home most pupils are able to get on line via ADSL.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
I.Schoolwork and tutorial detract time for research Nearly every member of this team had tutorial after school and additional lessons for English, piano and painting in the evening during school days, and weekends were generally jammed with more arts and crafts learning. Therefore discussion and execution of the research project could only take place during the one-hour lunch break at half past twelve. The entire team forwent the lunch hour from October 2004 through January 2005 to complete the project in a period of three months. Naturally the relevant interviews, promotions, field survey, the play rehearsal and production had to be allocate to weekends and holidays vacated by leaves from the talent-honing lessons and tutorials. II.Challenge of island-wide survey of Bidens pilosa Based on the data we gathered in the twenty years since Bidens pilosa was introduced into Taiwan the plant has spawn throughout the island. Curiosity impels to verify, yet actual field visit covering the entire territory was quite out of the question, hence we came up with the next best solution: to send an email comprising characteristics and photo of Bidens pilosa to all school webmasters, whose addresses we looked up from individual county network centres, requesting them to be on the look out for any trace of the plant in their vicinities. The search for these webmasters’ addresses was a time-consuming task that taxed an already overloaded team. III.Four-month observation from burgeoning to seeding To gain firsthand understanding of the growth process of Bidens pilosa we had planted its seeds in the class’s flowerbed upon the decision of our research subject. Daily observation was duly made and documented. Originally we had hoped to see our labour to blossom, but by December, already two months into the study, our planting showed no sign of blooming, thus we had to seek more developed versions (before-budding) from outside sources to continue observing the subsequent plant development from budding to blooming to seeding.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
The old adage-“world is reflected in a grain of sand, paradise mirrored in a single flower”-is an apt metaphor for our experience of Bidens pilosa. Originally it was no more than a nondescript wayside flower, after a few months of history tracing, growth observation, distribution survey and storytelling in promotion, it became an instrument that helped us better understand our hometown, learned various methods and expanded our social contact. Moreover the journey the research project led us through touched the blissful part inside all of us!
One of our teachers told us: “To make something truly unique and valuable is to give.” Just as in the fairytale where the rose becomes unique because of loving care from the prince, a wildflower like Bidens pilosa is made precious to us for our labour; hereon we will always be able to spot it right off in any wild growth and to recount it’s history in Taiwan.
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Language learning sphere The research project was linguistically orientated from interviewing experts and locals, gathering and studying of relevant literature, designing poster and website, keeping research log, devising promotion and writing and performing the play; these activities were all thematic that contributed to cultivating pupils’ reading, writing and speaking skills in a meaningful way.
Social learning sphere The research led the pupils to learn the history and process of bee farming, and through interviews to gain insight into the lives of bee farmers and the fostering of Bidens pilosa in Taiwan, and further understand the original breeder’s, Mr. Li Jing-zhou, compassion for his fellowmen. Though bee farming has faded to near oblivion in LuJou, but Bidens pilosa is thriving robustly throughout the island, and is brought to light by the pupils’ recounting of the rise and fall of the bee farming, of the touching story of Bidens pilosa in Taiwan that illuminates on Taiwan’s social, cultural and environment changes.
Art and culture learning sphere The designing of promotional poster, thank-you card and webpage served to cultivate creativity and aesthetics, while the stage design and prop production, body language and facial expressions required for stage performance all contributed to enhancing artistic skills.
Nature and living science learning sphere The process of growing and observing LuJou was propitious to bolstering a wide of capabilities including observation, inquiry, planning, categorisation, evaluating and determining, communication and collaboration as well as sharpening judgment call, thinking process and creative sensibility on top of learning how to use technological resources as research tools for problem probing and data sourcing and sorting, motivating pupils to learn by investigation and to think independently while relishing the process.