CyberFair Project ID: 3880

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Going Forward to the Old Taiwan –- The Sulphur Mining Story at Sulphur Valley of Beitou
Category: 6. Historical Landmarks

School: Dunxu High School of Industry & Commerce
    Taipei,, Beitou,, Taiwan

14 students, ages 13-18 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 11, 2005. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2004, 2005

Classes and Teachers: Mr Chang Yung-Hsiang Ms. Wang Huey-Woan Mr. Chang Chau-Chern second year student of Architecture Program / first and second year student of general high school program / first year student of Data Processing Program /

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Beitou (in Taipei City), our “local community,” is the “Ketagalan” community of the “Pingpu” tribe. The place is surrounded by sulphuric mist all year round, and the Ketagalanians believe that it may have to do with the presence of necromancers. This area is therefore named “Pataauw”, meaning The Witch. Later when people from Quanzhou came to reclaim the land, “Pataauw” was transformed to the Minnan dialect and became “Beitou” or “Batou”. The area of our research project is Sulphur Valley at Beitou.

2. Summary of Our Project

Sulphur Valley, famous for producing sulphur and for its hot springs, is located in the southwest part of the Yangmingshan National Park. In 1697, Yu Yung-he was sent by the Qing government to Taiwan for collecting sulphur. His journey marked the beginning of the Han Chinese exploitation of the Taipei Basin, and provided evidence for the early history of Taipei. Yu Yung-he recorded his voyage in his diary, Bi Hai Ji You, describing in details the terrain and the exotic customs of Taiwan. The book is considered to be the earliest travel notes on Taiwan and one with the richest content about it. The title of our project is “Going Forward to the Old Taiwan – the Sulphur Mining Story at Sulphur Valley of Beitou” It is based on Bi Hai Ji You’s description of Yu Yung-he’s journey to Taiwan and the arduous sulphur mining stories at Sulphur Valley, and further supplemented with an exploration of the terrain and landscape, sulphur-resistant plants and the geothermal hot springs. It is expected that the project would arouse greater public attention to and better understanding of this land.

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:none

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):

The networking environment at school: The school has external connection to the T1 network. The networking environment of team members: For the purpose of this study, we have used five school computers searching for information and printing the project. Every team member has a computer at home, and most are networked with ADSL connection. We communicate and exchange information through the instant message system and e-mails after school.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

(1) Realizing a character of the book: By actually walking through Yu Yung-he’s sulphur mining route, the hardship of the ancient people in their exploitation undertaking and sulphur mining effort can be understood. Through our record and the website planning effort, the hardly readable historical figure in a classical Chinese book becomes more easily understandable and approachable, and their contributions are recognized.

(2) Difficulty in collecting historical pictures: Since we are studying the history of 300 years ago, when there was no camera, we can only try to understand the sulphur-mining situation at Sulphur Valley at that time from the photographs taken during the Japanese occupation years.

(3) Insufficient discussion time: We have established an “online discussion group,” making use of the two hours on Thursday afternoon. The 18 team members all come from different grades and classes. We have little commonly free time apart from the time for group activities. Therefore, we make use of the lunch hour everyday for group discussion with the teachers.

(4) Lack of experience in webpage construction: This is the first time we participate in the CyberFair. The three supervising teachers and most of the team members lack previous experience in webpage construction. We have to consult others whenever difficulties arise, hence, we have to overcome all kinds of hardships and difficulties during the process.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

(1) Ancient books are enchanting for their legendary nature: Bi Hai Ji You is an ancient book. It is more than a journal and travel notes. It is also a record of Taiwan’s geographic landscape and humanistic history of the late 17th century. With the help of this book, we come to understand the sulphur-mining history at Sulphur Valley 300 years ago.

(2) Applause comes only after hard work: We have learnt a lot about communication with others. The sweet fruit comes only with hard work, this ability will be a long-life benefit for us.

(3) Learn to communicate and trust through teamwork: By working together we have a fresh knowledge about ourselves. We see the merits of others, and realize the strength of ourselves. We learn to “respect, communicate, be considerate and understanding”, and we come to understand the meaning of “humility, contribution, agreeableness and gratefulness.”

(4) The wheel of history ceaselessly pushes us forward: In this research project, we not only reviewed the history, but also developed a better understanding of the changes of environment and the temporal changes throughout history. Hot spring traveling has been the focus of the government’s promotional effort in recent years. We hope that people coming to Beitou for the hot spring would also have a deeper understanding of the place’s geography and history.

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

(1) Engagement in a research project: The project is directed by three supervising teachers, namely Mr. Yun-shiang Chang (Architecture teacher), Mr. Chao-cheng Chang (Geography teacher) and Ms Hui-wan Wang (tutor) using their after-school hours. Twelve students are led by them in the study of the book “Bi Hai Ji You” written by Yu Yung-he of the Qing Dynasty, which describes the sulphur mining story at the Sulphur Valley of Beitou in Taiwan 300 years ago. The team finally produces a website for this research project.

(2) Promotion of countryside education: The sulphur mine and the origin of the hot springs are just 50m away from the school’s wall, hence, our school’s goal of “countryside education” is to integrate with the surrounding geographic environment so that students can learn more about and be acquainted with this land. Also, the school library has collected many books about the “Yangmingshan National Park” to facilitate students’ studies.

(3) Breaking out of classroom learning: We break out of the classroom, and learn from the real-life environment and experiences and from various experts in history and culture. Through this research project, we have learnt how to search for information, how to conduct an interview, how to organize information. These abilities will become our life-long assets.

(4) Uniting with civilian associations: The “Peitou Eco-museum” and “Cyuanyuan Li Community Development Association” spare no pains to promote local affairs. In this project, we interviewed these associations in person. Utilizing the resources of these civilian associations produces an even more fruitful result for our research.

Project Elements

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

a. Hardware facilities: computer, digital camera, digital voice recorder, audio recorder, scanner, printer.

b. Computer software: Dreamweaver for webpage editing, PhotoImpact for graphic processing, Microsoft Word for textual information editing, Outlook Express for receiving and sending mails, Internet Explorer for browsing website, ACDSee for image browsing, CuteFTP for transmitting information.

c. Internet: Instant messaging system, e-mail, message board, FTP server, ADSL broadband network, network hard disk.

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

a. Playing the role of community ambassadors: We consider it our responsibility to make the public understanding the “history of Sulphur Valley”, thus we should play the role of “community ambassadors” and reveal this history to others.

b. Participating in community activities: We participated in the “Exploring Taipei” journey organized by the Department of Information, Taipei City Government, in order to learn more about the sulphur-mining history at Sulphur Valley. We also joined the “Beitou Season for Hot Spring – Blooms and Springs” activity organized by the Beitou Hot Spring Development Association, in order to find out more about the history of hot springs in Beitou.

c. Assuming the role of tour guides: We try hard to tell others about what we know. We successively invited students from the Taoyuan Junior High School, Danshuei Junior High School and Jeng Der Junior High School to visit the Sulphur Valley. We even assumed the role of tour guides and explained to the junior high school students the history of Sulphur Valley.

d. Establishing the countryside homepage: We realize our research result in the form of signboards, as well as a homepage hosted by the school website. Apart from being a resource for countryside education, the homepage also allows citizens to deepen their understanding of the local history through the Internet.

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

a. Better understanding of the Sulphur Valley: Through this research project, we have come to know more about the history of Sulphur Valley. We are fully confident that our work, when finished, would be the most exhaustive online resource on “sulphur-mining at Sulphur Valley” at the moment.

b. Realizing the importance of cultural assets: In the process of research, we have felt the public’s concern about the future development of Beitou. Protection of cultural assets has become the most concerned issue in the past decade. We hope that our project would not only deepen the public’s knowledge of the sulphur-mining history at Sulphur Valley, but also arouse their recognition and passion for cultural assets.

c. Sharing passion and building confidence: We all have a kind of passion and confidence unique to ourselves. Through this project, we have established good interaction with the community. Our actions are full of passion, and we behave with full confidence.

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

a. Government offices: We interviewed the Yangmingshan National Park Administration Office, “Hsiaoyoukeng Service Center,” “Longfong Valley Service Center” and “Chingteingang Service Center,” in order to learn more about the sulphur mining history at the Sulphur Valley of Beitou.

b. School teachers: One of our major trips in this research project is going to the Tainan Girls’ Senior High School for an interview with Mr. Jin-liang Yan, the author of the book “Going forward to the Old Taiwan – the Legend of Yu Yung-he’s sulphur mining”. Mr. Yan has provided us with a lot of valuable information. Besides, we interviewed Mr. Jia-fa Li, Gardening subject supervisor at Songshan High School of Agriculture and Industry, who introduced to us sulphur-resistant plants in the Sulphur Valley. Mr. Chian-hong Chen, Geography teacher at Dunxu High School of Industry and Commerce, also introduced to us the geographical scenes of the Sulphur Valley.

c. Civil societies: We interviewed Lin-song Chen, the President of the Ecomuseum Workshop of Beitou, and took part in the “Exploring Taipei Journey” and the “Blooms and Springs – Beitou Hot Spring Festival,” in order to learn more about the sulphur mining history at the Sulphur Valley and the past history of hot springs in Beitou.

d. Local seniors: In addition to the above, we also interviewed Mr. Jin-chi Chen, Head of Village of the Cyuanyuan Li at Beitou, and Chi-chen Chen, President of the “Cyuanyuan Li Society Development Association,” to deepen our understanding of the current development of Yangmingshan cable car, and what benefit the project will bring to the tourism of Sulphur Valley Scenic Area after completion.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

a. Discoveries: Through this cyber-project, we realize the hard work of the eld Yu Yung-he, and find that history is all around us. We see the role model of the ancient people from Yu Yung-he’s courageous journey to Taiwan and the hardship of the sulphur mining process. And from the prospering effect of sulphur mining on Beitou to the plunge of the sulphur mining industry, our knowledge of the history expands and becomes more dimensional.

b. Lessons: In the process of teamwork, we came across difficulties in cooperating with each other, and the pressure of our academic work. We have learnt how to understand and encourage each other, and we know that only through sincere communication and with a sense of responsibility can we persist and finish the project.

c. Surprises: Unexpectedly we finish the website, and finish the learning on the website. Also, the project makes us become the interpreters of the historic relics in our community, and gives us the chance to present our findings to other community members. The team’s potential surprises ourselves, and also tells the schoolmates the history of the historic relics beside our school. It is also a surprise that the website has become an expert site for knowledge about Beitou and sulphur; things like being interviewed after getting the award … make us feel that learning is inexhaustible!


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 3880)

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