1. Description of Our Community
We live in Taipei, a 120 year old city in the north of Taiwan, and with a population of 2,620,000, it is of considerable size. Aside from being highly developed industrially and commercially, Taipei is also the cultural and political center of Taiwan, and with building a sustainable city being one of our foremost objectives, we are impelled to realize various public policies concerning healthcare and environmental protection. Our school is situated in the bustling East District of Taipei City, right next to Taipei City Hall. In compliance with the government policy of integrated curriculum, our school has successfully established courses that encourage students to engage in them as if they were student club or groups, and integrates resources from the school itself, teachers, parents, community and society as a whole in order to further develop future coursework. We wish to create a unique sense of belonging in this urban jungle, and to thereby realize our vision for education in the new century. During the crisis of plasticizing agents, school authorities actively promoted the importance of food safety, provided teaching tools for teachers to utilize in the classroom, organized skits during morning assembly to demonstrate food safety knowledge so that students may enjoy their meals without consuming excessive amounts of food additives. Eating safely and eating healthily is the only way to bring up children with healthy minds and bodies.
2. Summary of Our Project
Sometime ago we were caught up in the crisis of plasticizing agents in food products, when it was became known that plasticizers causing hormonal changes in the human body had been widely used in consumer products. This issue of chemical additives caught the attention of the general public, and drew inquiries into the nature of food additives. Why is it that the “products” we consume are “foods” enhanced by and treated with chemical additives? The purpose of this project is to begin with the plasticizer crisis and inquire into the nature of food additives, to discover the extent of their usage, and to uncover their potential effects on the human body. We wish, as a further step, to educate consumers how to choose their foods wisely and carefully, to enact our objective with skits, and to promote our slogan of “No Food Additives” at campus fairs, so that more people may learn how to adjust their eating habits, how to say no to artificial flavoring, all with the goal to live a healthier life.
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:4-6
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:4-6
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
Our school provides ADSL for linking to internet with an upload speed of 100Mb and download speed of 100Mb. The wireless internet was completed in 2004. We can receive the internet message in the campus everywhere. There are four computer classrooms and a multi-media center for making teaching materials in our school. Moreover, a desktop is equipped in every classroom, and laptops are provided to all teachers. Each computer connects to the internet through an exclusive line, and various web services are available for application. The school’s servers, including Web Server, Mail Server, DNS Server and Proxy Server, provide convenient online application environment. Every student has his or her own E-mail address, and all are capable of web making.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
(1) Experimental materials not readily available Part of our research calls for usage of food coloring flavorings and other chemical additives to recreate the sodas and soft drinks children love to drink. We found that most chemical additives can only be purchased wholesale, but the amounts were so large it was out of the question. We were almost in despair until “Tse-Xin Organic Agriculture Foundation,” an organization that has been continually promoting food safety knowledge, came to our rescue and provided us with the materials and formulas we needed. (2) Chemically treated foods difficult to dispose of In order to make comparisons between natural foods and chemically treated foods, as well as to obtain product information from packaging, we purchased a considerable amount of foods and drinks with chemical additives. After our experiments were done, we encountered the problem of disposing of these chemically enhanced products. It seemed wasteful to simply throw them away, but we hesitated to eat them ourselves, and we have been in a dilemma since then.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
Usually, the more vibrant-colored, fragrant, tasty and inexpensive the food is, the more likely that it is chock full of food additives. Commercial products such as bottled tea and juices seem healthy and tasty, but they may also have undergone chemically enhanced processing, and having completed this project, we don’t dare to purchase these drinks anymore!
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
(1) Illustrating The subject of food additives may seem a little hazy to most elementary school students, so in order to arouse their interest in the topic, we tried to embody our slogan of “Say No to Artificial Flavoring” in illustrations so that it is more accessible to young children. (2) Making Posters In order to promote our slogan of “Say No to Artificial Flavoring,” we set up a stall in a campus fair. To properly demonstrate our objective, we needed to make posters that illustrate the importance of reading product information before making purchases, as well as to directly paste food product ingredient lists on the posters, and that’s how we learned to use “PrintMagic” for poster production. (3) Image Processing A project report is only complete if photos are edited into the content; photographs also projects validity, and that’s why we learned how process images using PhotoImpact. (4) Research Skills Thanks to the internet, we were able to find abundant information and videos on the web and on web media. As long as you are perceptive and persistent, the internet can be a handy tool for research projects. (5) Report Writing The contents of this project report have been obtained through reading, interviewing, watching videos and experimentations, and it has been a challenge for both students and teachers to systematically integrate and edit all this information into a coherent narrative. First, we went over all of the information we obtained, then we categorized the data and added to that our experimentation results and personal findings while our teacher assisted us with editing, and that is how we gradually put together a group report.