CyberFair Project ID: 4004

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: When drinking water, think of its resource.~ A story about Cao Jin and Caogong Canal.
Category: 6. Historical Landmarks

School: Dong Guan Elementary School
    Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Taiwan

25 students, ages 11-12 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 19, 2005. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): never

Classes and Teachers: Yi-lun Yang/ The gifted class (sixth grade)

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

The Caogong Canal is located in the Fengshan plain in southern Taiwan. The Gao-ping River, The Hou Ching River, and the Love River provide water for the farmlands; of these, the Gao-Ping River is the main water supply. Cheng-Ching Lake, Lotus Lake, Jin-Shih Lake, and Sian-lin lake are all in this area. Among them, Cheng-Ching Lake and Lotus Lake are the most famous. The building of the Caogong Canal has made this district the “rice basket” of southern Taiwan. The canal is a model for Taiwan and for other countries.

2. Summary of Our Project

In the tenth year of Daoguang, Cao Jin was appointed magistrate in Fengshan county. During a drought, Cao Jin used water from the Lower Dan Shui River to supply dry farmlands. He built the original Caogong Canal in two years. Later he urged Cheng Lan and Cheng Hsuan Chih to build new canals. It was the biggest hydraulic engineering achievement in the Qing Dynasty, and people still benefit from it to this day. The Caogong Canal is still the primary water source for agriculture, industry, and private use. The purpose of this paper is to explore the life and achievements of Cao Jin.

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:not sure

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

Our school has fiber optic cable with an upload and download speed of 10MB. Our classroom altogether has seven computers, and each computer can access the Internet through a dedicated line. The server provides all types of Internet service, and our connection is always very accessible. Each person has an e-mail address, which has been a very important tool in our research.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

1.Language barrier: Most of the older people that we interviewed during this field study were Taiwanese native speakers, so it was somewhat difficult for those who mainly speak Mandarin Chinese. We recorded every interview, and consulted other teachers and students’ parents when we had questions. It took us a lot of time to edit our interviews, but it was a very good language lesson for us.

2.Transportation: This study was conducted by all 25 of the students in our class. Transportation was a problem. We asked the students’ parents to help us out. Luckily, the parents were very helpful. We had three all-day field trips, and some parents were there with us the whole time.

3.Insufficient Layout skill: In the end, the key for the success of the web page was layout skill. After two years of learning, everyone is much more familiar with the web page creation software, but as for the artistic appearance, we still need work. In order to make up for this insufficiency, we hired a professional web page creation instructor to teach us correct principles and skills of artistic layout. After a series of special web page training classes, our aesthetic senses and designing capabilities were greatly enhanced.

4.The difficulty of finding pictures: Half of our study is about Cao Jin's achievements. Since he was born in the Qing Dynasty, no photos remain. We took some photos of the gold statue in the Cao Jin Temple. In order to make our web page more interesting, we held a four-frame cartoon competition, and all the cartoons had to depict scenes from Cao Jin's life. Originally this was only an idea, and I didn’t expect the students to be so creative. They not only collected research about clothing worn by officials during the Ching Dynasty, but also attentively drew the images they had in their minds of Cao Jin. As a result, our web page was more spirited!

5. Our Project Sound Bite

In the beginning we knew so little about this topic and wondered who Cao Jin was. In five months, we got to know him better and learned to really appreciate what he did for us. Caogong Canal was not just a great hydraulic engineering achievement, it was the saving grace for the farmers. We have been to the places that the canal runs through, and introduced those places by map. We hope people can learn more about Cao Jin and his achievements, and also learn more about our hometown. We’ve learned a lot from this research and gained a lot of skill and knowledge that we wouldn’t have learned from textbooks.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

1.How can you combine this study for “Taiwan Net Exhibition” with your curriculum in school? “The Nine-Year education” puts emphasis on curriculum integration. It is school–centered and aims to empower students. Our study has successfully targeted these three goals. In this study, we used the Internet and libraries to do research. On the field trips, we scouted the current watershed and made a watershed map. With our computer technology and the knowledge of history, we have integrated different fields of learning. That’s the spirit of “The Nine-Year Education.”

As for the school-centered part, our school is close to Feng-shan City. Caogong Temple is one of the important parts in our local study curriculum. Through this study, we had chances to investigate more history, and we compiled a lot of information on our web pages.

2.What skills have you learned? (1) Skill of collecting research information. (2) Skill of conducting interviews. (3) Skill of using digital camera. (4) Skill of making a Website.

3.Which cooperation ideas have your teammates practiced? (How did you and your teammates work together?) Our teammates are from seven different classes. We could only spend seven hours together a week. We really didn’t have much time to work together, yet each one of us was very responsible for his or her assignment.

4.What specific ideas or concepts have you experienced during this research? We heard about “Caogong Temple” and “Caogong Primary School” before we did the search, and we didn’t know where the name was from or who the school named after. We found out the reasons behind the name and his achievements and contributions to the people who lived after him.

5.How does this study integrate with the needs of your class? Quite a few of our students are from Feng-shan. People know about the famous “Caogong Temple” and”Caogong Road” without knowing the origin of the name “Caogong.” We have provided the community and the school a chance to know more about our hometown.

6.What kind of role did your school play in this project? In this learning process, we were not only the learners but also the providers. We have created a complete study for the local residents and the public.

7.Compared to the traditional approach, is online instruction and learning more efficient? What’s your viewpoint? Through the Internet, we can do research anytime we want to, and we can easily share our ideas and results.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

1.Television: We watched a video of Caogong visiting his hometown. It helped us to start our project.

2.Tape recorder: We used the tape recorder to record and organize our research.

3.Digital recorder: We recorded our field trips and interviews.

4.Digital camera: We took photos for the web page.

5.Computer: Information collecting, typing, editing, web page design.

6.Internet: Research for the related information.

7.E-mail accounts: Helped with communication, sending information, and getting information from a distance.

8.Computer software: (1).Fireworks: An art design program for web pages. (2).DreamweaverMx: A of webpage design program. (3).Photoimpact: A photograph and map program. (4).Microsoft Word: Word processing program. (5).FlashMX: Animation program. (6).Explorer Browser: A program to surf the Internet.

9.Scanner: To scan maps and illustrations.

10.Copier: To copy articles and information.

11.Telephone: To call students, parents, coworkers, scholars and interviewees.

12.Books and pamphlets: By reading related books and information to know more about our topic.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

In order to make our project more complete, we invited the director of “Feng-shan Society of Art & History” to be our guide. He provided a lot of information to us and even gave us a tour around the Tsao Kung Canal area. Besides, whenever we visited neighborhoods the local residents were delighted to be interviewed because they were very impressed with our students’ passion. We used the phone a lot. We called people before we made appointments.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

We were so impressed with our ancestors’ wisdom when we saw Caogong Canal. However, the current neighborhood is seriously polluted due to development, modernization and technology. We need to learn to cherish our environment, and hopefully the canal can last forever.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

1.Mr. Zheng Wen-Chian: Mr. Zheng was our advisor of history. He provided a lot information and gave us many tours on the field trips.

2.Mr. Lu Rong-Hsiang: Mr Lu is the president of Farm Irrigation Association of Kaohsiung. With him as our guide on Sept. 23rd, we learned a lot. The Caogong Memorial Day arranged by Mr. Lu really opened our eyes.

3.Mr. Ye Shi-Siu: Mr. Ye is the sectary of The Foundation of Tsao Kung. We interviewed him twice, one on Caogong Memorial Day and the other on Jan. 26th. We really appreciate his help.

4.Mr. Cao : Mr. Cao is the fifth-generation grandson of Caogong . We met him on Memorial Day and did an interview with him.

5.Ms. Chen Zhi-yi and Ms. Huang Weng-chi: Ms. Chen and Ms. Huang work for the Department of Water Analysis at the Association of Farm Irrigation. We learned about the pollution problem of the watershed of the Caogong Canal and the knowledge of water analysis and the work of river preservation.

6.Mr. Wang Gi-bei: Mr. Wang is professional web page designer. Our web page designing skill improved greatly over these months. With his help we completed our web page.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

1.New findings: Through this project, we found out the achievements of Cao Jin and the future development of the Caogong Canal.

2.Lessons: It was amazing that a canal built hundreds of years ago could be preserved even now, even though the canal has lost its function of irrigation today and some of the aqueducts have been polluted or have simply disappeared. What we need to work on is protecting our environment, since people nowadays are getting more environmentally aware.

3.Surprises: We were really amazed at Caogong's intelligence and achievements. The Caogong Canal has existed for 168 years.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 4004)

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