I never dreamed about success. I worked for it. -Estee Lauder

Author: emily.ng (page 1 of 6)

Project Entrepreneur: Collaborator

As May is nearing to an end, our final project of the year is also coming to an end. Selling our products and goods in the cafeteria will be next week’s Tuesday and Thursday for our group, and we are looking forward to it. We have put so much time and effort into this project, and we’ve learned a lot, all while having fun. I’ve learned that to make this project successful, one very important skill we must have is being collaborative.

One strength I think I have as a collaborator is doing my part and trying my best to fulfill my roles. I think this helps my team because (hopefully) my teammates will be able to trust that I can be independent and reliable, and that I know what I’m doing or need to do. Trying my best to fulfill my roles will also mean my team members don’t have to do extra work that I’m supposed to do, and contributing will help make my team much more efficient. For example, as the designer of my group, I had to sketch a design of our prototype, as well as help my teammates whenever they had questions about our product’s design when we were actually making our prototype. For my job as the organizer and point person, I had to make sure I would collect all the necessary papers my group needed to complete tasks, and make sure I didn’t lose any of them (especially the finance checks) so that we wouldn’t lose any money or have to redo tasks. I felt that I had tried my best to do these things, and I’m glad that I didn’t lose any important papers.

One area of growth I think I could improve as a collaborator is to not put most of the workload on me, and evenly distributing it among everyone. I think because the dates for selling our product is nearing, things are starting to get even more stressful, and I sometimes feel like I need to work on everything. I still trust my teammates, and they’re doing the work they’re supposed to be doing, but I think they might want to have more things to do as well. I think at the beginning of the unit when we first started making our prototype, I might’ve also been overexcited about the project, and wanted to do everything and dive right in. Now, I think I’ve improved slightly because my team have developed a assembly line to make our product, where one person would work with the fabric and sewing while the other would work with the book covers. This way, everyone will have something to do.

Hopefully my team and I can make enough goods in time for the days we need to sell, and that it will be a successful end to Project Entrepreneur!

Project Entrepreneur: Prototype 2

This past week, my team and I have made two different prototypes of our book cover pencil case. For Prototype 1, both Samantha and I made a version of our product. This took longer than expected because the sewing machines kept breaking, and we also had to share the limited amount with another group, and this slowed down the process a lot. We then went and did some market research for some color combinations that some people may want to see for our product, and what additional feedback they had. Based on this research, we then started to make our first Prototype 2.

Something we learned when making our product this time was that if we used a glue stick to attach the fabric to the front of the book cover, it would work much better than liquid white glue. This was because the glue stick wouldn’t leave a stain on the fabric and darken its colors, it would keep the fabric smooth, prevent the edges from fraying, and was still very strong and durable. Something else I learnt was more along the lines of working as a group. Samantha and I had trouble figuring out the workload when making Prototype 1 because even though we had decided she would sew and cut the fabric, and I would gut and glue the book covers, I finished much faster than Samantha did. This was because measuring, drawing, and cutting out the fabric took too much time for one person to do. When making Prototype 2, Samantha and I would measure and cut the fabric together, then she would sew and I would decorate the book cover. This worked much better and we were way more efficient. The last thing I learned from making our prototype was that hot gluing the zipper to the book cover did not make it look very nice. The hot glue was making the zipper hard and bumpy, and we also thought that it’s not very durable or strong. We don’t know what adhesive is best for our situation to substitute hot glue yet, but we know we won’t use hot glue anymore.

Some wonders I have for Prototype 2 is that, will people like our second prototype more than the first one, now that we’ve improved it? What other feedback do people have for us? What other patterns and colors could we explore for future designs, now that we’ve found out more people really like the patterns? Hopefully we can answer these questions when we do our second round of market research. I didn’t mention Sally much previously (sorry), but that is because she has been working really hard on designing the logos and keychains, then printing them out. After we’ve found out that we cannot laser-cut on a precious plastics cake, and also because it’s really expensive, we’ve decided to use cardboard, which is also sustainable, for our keychain. Sally has made two different designs with the Earth and some recycling arrows for our keychains, and we have our first prototype of these done. Something we’re thinking we could improve is adding our business name onto the keychain, so that will people remember our name and hopefully this will help promote our business more.

Project Entrepreneur: Investors

Last Monday, my team and I pitched to an investor who was a parent from ISB’s PTA committee. We were able to meet all the requirements and have the full 1,000 RMB funding. After pitching our idea to our investor, my group and I think we won’t make any changes to what our product will be. Another thing we won’t change is how we’re going to make our product. We’ll follow our plan of experimenting when we make our first prototype about what adhesive is the best for attaching a book cover and fabric together. Something else we will continue to do after pitching to our investor is to still donate all our profit to the non-profit organization of NEBRA, because we think the cause they are trying to help is really important.

One piece of feedback the investor gave us is that we could have told her what marketing strategies we had (Instagram account for our business) before she asked. This would be important in the future because by telling people that we had an Instagram account, it would increase the popularity of our product, and more people would buy it. Another piece of feedback our investor gave us is that we should make sure the books we’re using are actually old books that would be thrown away, so that we’re not just using books that people want and can still read.

Something new she suggested us to do is that we could expand our target audience to upper elementary school as well, because they need pencil cases too.  This way, we would have more people buy our product if not all people we surveyed in middle school who said they would buy our product, would actually buy it.

Project Entrepreneur: Mission and Team

My group and I have decided that our team name is Project Bookcycle, as it represents that our product has something to do with up-cycling books. Our mission statement is: To create sustainable products from old, recycled materials to inspire and encourage others to consume and produce responsibly.  My responsibilities and jobs for this project is to be the organizer (keeps and organizes papers), point person (communicates with our mentor), and the designer (designs and sketches product, as well as making it). Our group has also created an Instagram account for our business, and running it is also my job. 

Our mission statement

Our group member’s individual roles

Project Entrepreneur: Market Research

During this past week, my group and I have created a survey to interview middle school students about our product. Below is an image of our survey questions and results. Some things I have learned from our research is that many students said that they would buy our product, because the design looked nice, and it was also sustainable to the environment. For the people who didn’t want to buy our product, this was mostly because they already had a pencil case, and didn’t need another one, even if they thought it was a great idea. After talking to some teachers, we came up with the idea to let our consumers be able to donate their old pencil cases to us in return for a keychain made out of precious plastics. We would then use the materials from the old pencil cases to make new ones, or donate them to charities. Some thing else I learned after surveying students was that the average amount of money students would pay for our product was 20 RMB. Many of them said that they don’t like the pencil cases in the PTA stores, or thought they were too expensive. We had interviewed multiple students from both genders, and students from both groups were all interested and wanted to buy this pencil case. We established that our designs should be gender neutral, so that our target audience and consumers would be both middle school male and females.

Some wonders that I still have is that what percent of the ISB middle school will actually come and buy our product when we are selling it? Is it possible to survey the entire middles school student population? When the people we surveyed said they would buy our product, would they actually buy it? How can we let more people know about our product so they will eventually buy it?

One thing I think that our group should improve on is making sure that we are able to get our product done in time, but also making sure it’s good quality, and we can start to do that by making a prototype first.


Our survey questions

The results of our surveys analyzed in pie charts

Project Entrepreneur: Define Market and Initial Idea

My group and I are planning to make a pencil case out of old books and cloth. We found this idea online, and we thought it was a really cool idea that was also able to reuse so many books that would usually just be thrown away. We are also thinking that after “gutting” the book (taking the pages out of the book), we would have a lot of paper that might go to waste, so we’re going to make paper pencils out of the book pages. Because after people have already bought our pencil case, and don’t know what they’re going to do with their old one, we plan for them to trade in their old pencil case in return for a precious plastics or hand sewn cloth keychains. Our target audience is mainly middle school students, since we think they are the group in the ISB community that has the most need of pencil cases.

Our initial design for our book cover pencil case.

Our inspiration we found online for our pencil case.

book clutch with stationary supplies

A photo of inside the pencil case from our online inspiration.




River Field Study: Data Collection 6

On Monday, April 8, we visited the Wenyu River for our 6th data collection of the year. Most of the trees were already starting to look very green, grass was sprouting, and there were many purple flowers as well. The sky was bright and it was sunny, but also cloudy at the same time. Something my group and I noticed was that the water levels were lower than before, and we had to reach farther down to record the temperature.

Picture of Samantha taking the temperature at Site 2 during the April Visit

During this field study, the LabQuest wasn’t working so unfortunately we weren’t able to record the mg/L of dissolved oxygen, but we were able to collect the temperature for all three locations. For Site 1, the temperature was 15ºC, Site 2 was 13ºC, and Site 3 was 9ºC, which you can see in the data table below. Last time, my group thought that as the temperature increases, so does the amount of dissolved oxygen. But now, we aren’t so sure, because we had asked another group who was doing dissolved oxygen as well to give us their information so that we could fill in some of the blank spaces in our data table. We found out that in January, the amount of dissolved oxygen in mg/L for Site 1 was 15.94, and for Site 2 was 16.34, with an average of 16.14 mg/L. The temperature of both sites was 5ºC.

Updated data table

The pattern we noticed last time does not make sense anymore, since the average amount of dissolved oxygen in November was 13.5733333, with an average temperature of 7ºC. The amount of dissolved oxygen in January was greater than the amount in November, while the temperature in January was lower than the temperature in November. So right now we are not sure what pattern and connections there are between our data points. Next time when we collect the amount of dissolved oxygen in the river, I wonder if it will show that the data from January was wrong and the pattern we first noticed is correct, or if there’s another pattern that hopefully we’ll be able to figure out next time.

Site Visit vs Temperature: Graph that shows the average temperature of the river during each visit

Site Visit vs Dissolved Oxygen: Graph that shows the average amount of dissolved oxygen in the river during each visit


Eco-Friendly Places in ISB 学校的那个地方环保?♻️

This is a photo of a wooden box in the cafeteria where we get our eating utensils. I chose to take a photo of the box and its contents because I thought it was an improvement the school has made in terms of being environmentally friendly. The past few years and even during the beginning of this school year, the cafeteria used to have plastic straws, cups, forks, knifes, and spoons that would only be used one time and was thrown away. Now, the cafeteria has changed all our utensils including cups to be stainless steel so it’s reusable. Takeaway cups are now made paper because it’s biodegradable. I think it’s great that the school has become aware of the marks we’re leaving on the environment, and making small improvements in our daily life to help resolve the environmental crisis.

Project Recharge

Looking back on Project ReCharge, I think that freedom and power are related because whoever is in power, determines how much freedom you have. For example, when we were learning about forms of government at the beginning of this unit, we learned about the different types of government, and who has power in each type. For example, in a dictatorship, the dictator of the nation has all the power and can make any decision he/she wants to at any time, and the citizens of that country don’t have much power or voice. But for a democracy, although there is the executive branch and a president, the people of that country are able to vote for decisions that need to be made. So in this case, the citizens of a nation have some power as well, as they get a say in decisions that need to be made.

Connecting back to our final topic in this unit regrading child labor, the owner of child laborers that are forced to work in the Ivory Coast and Ghana have all the power over these children. The child laborers have very little to no power at all especially because they’re children, and therefore they have no freedom. So people with the power are able to determine who has freedom. I also learned that power can come in different forms. For example, when you have many people protesting for something, you have power, because power can come in numbers. You can also have power in the form of force, and an example of this are dictators. Dictators usually have their power from military force. Another example that power can come in is wealth, where some people have more power over things or others because they are rich and wealthy.

During this unit, I also learned that when you are learning about a new topic or problem, you should always define the problem first. Making notices and asking questions first, and then trying to find answers to these questions would help you know more about this topic. After this, you would start doing research, making connections, and looking through different viewpoints that people have on the topic, so that you can understand this topic in a more in-depth level.

Something I also learned in this unit is that if you look at an issue through multiple perspectives, you are able to better understand the topic. This is because when you try to understand different people’s opinions on something, you are able to learn more and be able to further develop your own ideas as well. In class, we watched a video that says when you have a hunch, or the “seed” of an idea, you are able to develop that hunch when you share ideas with other people, or as the video put it, combining two hunches together. This shows that when you look through different lenses on a topic, you might develop your original idea and improve it, or you might even completely change your opinion on the issue, because someone has given you a completely new idea.

When you share ideas with each other, you can also strengthen your own idea, because other people might have questions about your perspective that you may not have the answer to. By answering these questions, you have a stronger argument for your opinion. An example of this during the unit is that we had to interview someone in the ISB community about their opinion on child labor in the ISB supply chain, and what they think we should do about it. We would then write an avatar page about their perspective on this issue, and a proposal that states what our character thinks ISB should do about it. My peers would then pose questions they had for our proposal. By answering these questions, we would have a better argument for our proposal, and if someone asked us these questions in the board meeting, we would be prepared with an answer for it.

Before this project, I didn’t think that seeing a problem from multiple perspectives would be important, because I thought you would have one argument and one opinion on something, and you would be arguing against another opinion. Now, I think that even if you don’t agree with another opinion, you should still try to understand why people think that, so that you can fully understand the issue and then solve it with information from all sides of the story. Overall, this unit was really fun, and I was able to learn a lot. Working with my group, looking at an issue through different viewpoints, and being my avatar in a board meeting was all a great experience.

Kevin, Angel, Julian and I creating a door with gargoyles in drama class.

Our board meeting regarding the topic of child labor in ISB’s supply chain.



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