CyberFair Project ID: 5649

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: The Magic Red Rice: Monascus (Anka)
Category: 4. Local Specialties

School: Wulin Public Elementary School
    Taipei County, Taiwan, Taiwan (R.O.C)

8 students, ages 11-12 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on February 27, 2009. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): none

Classes and Teachers: AN-CHIH YI, LING-FEN HSIEH, AI-YI KUO, PI-E WU, TAO-TE LIU and eight 5th grade students

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Shulin City is located in the Northern Taiwan of R.O.C. It used to be a township. Due to the rapid development of industry and population, it was promoted as a city in 1999. At an early stage once Shulin was famous for producing 'Hung Lu wine'(red wine) in the island, and even overseas. And as the ' Hung Lu wine' major fermentation bacteria: the 'red rice', has gradually developed from behind-the-scenes hero to a shining star among health foods today. It is also applied to a variety of related products.

2. Summary of Our Project

Through this project we want to learn the application history of Monascus(red rice) in our hometown, Shulin. We share the knowledge of 'red rice' and the variety of applications and hope people around the island or even around the world get to know about Monascus(red rice) culture. In addition we would like to explore how people in the city or other cities feel about Monascus.

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:more than 6

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):

At school, we made the use of fiber-optic backbone to connect the school computer architecture, and then by the T1 line to connect the Taiwan Academic Network. ADSL broadband was used at home to gain data and upload.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

The Limitation of the Time Our team mainly got together at noon each day to study. In addition, we had to prepare for regular examinations so the research was temporarily suspended for some time. Time was so limited. Anyway, we had to fulfill the project. Subsequently, we took a portion of the work home. We also make the best use of holidays and winter vacation to school to study and visit professional Monascus related workers and promoters to gain more information about Monascus. Finally we completed this task successfully.

Team Tacit Agreement Since we came from different classes, so the tacit agreement at the beginning was not that good. In addition, it's the first time we took part in such learning activities, so we didn't get to the point immediately. We spent some time in trial and error. Later on, the teachers constantly and patiently reminded and guided us then we could go step by step into the situation. The tacit agreement between us was getting better and better. Therefore we can achieve the requirements of the teachers.

Interview Skills Interviews took a very important part in our activities. It required lots of preparation. The teacher made appointments with the interviewees, usually Monascus related workers and promoters. We had to prepare an interview outline in advance and to imagine some possible answers. But when we got to the scene, we forgot something. Sometimes, the interviewees expressed in Taiwanese dialect so that some of us couldn't follow. Fortunately, the teacher had taken the video film which helped us a lot for the language problem while we made the report. Again and again in the interviews, the teacher patiently reminded us what we should do and how to do. At last, when we finished the interview with mayor of Shulin City the teacher smiled and told us 'Great! You did it!'

The Integration of Information In the process of the research, we collected data from books, websites and the contents of the interview had been a lot of first-hand information. How to integrate these data and make a clear report was a big challenge. The teachers made use of 'relationship chart' and the '5W' way to help us focus on the point, and to find the connection between questions. We discussed together again and again. We were tired but nobody gave up. This is the first time we can work in a team with the teacher and fulfill a meaningful task.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

While we visit we are treated with some Monascus related products such as the kind aunty prepared Monascus rice cakes for us, the owner of Monascus producing factory prepares Monascus milk for us and the mayor gives everyone of us a gift set of Monascus related foods. However, after the visit the best gift is the encouragement from the people and more confident we become.

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

During the research process, we apply different skills and knowledge which we have learned from different fields at school.

When we analyze the history of Monascus, We apply the knowledge from social study field to combine the geographical concept and early history of Taiwan. When we observe and tell various kinds of Monascus we apply the analyzing skills from science field. When we interview and collate information, we apply the communication and writing skills from literary field. When we analyze the questionnaires, we use the percentage and statistical calculation from math field. We apply team discussion skills from integrate field. The skills we learn from computer class have also given us great assistance to deal with our pictures and photos.

With all the knowledge and skills which we have learned from school we can successfully complete the project.

Project Elements

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

At the beginning of the study, we use the Internet and library to look up the information which we need. At this point, we often use desktop computers and network to help us. In our research process, we also visit groups of people who are related with Monascus in Shulin city. Before the interview, we do some preparations. First, we make phone calls to invite our interviewees. And we use digital cameras and digital cameras to record our interview. We use these devices to make our interviews more easily organize the information. Finally, we use Microsoft Word to collate our information, and Adobe Dreamweaver to edit our homepages in school. In addition, we also use a scanner to scan some pictures and use Corel Photoimpact to edit our photo and images.

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

In our research process, we not only collect and analyze Monascus data but also visit groups of people who are related with Monascus in Shulin city. We visit and interview with Monacus producers, sellers, promoters and users. More over, we give questionnaires to people living in Shulin and people living in other cities to understand how much they know about Monascus.

We hope that everyone would know better the benefits of Monascus.

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

Shulin used to be famous for Hung Lu Wine which is made from Monascus. Shulin City, by the time we are doing the research is transiting from 'Hometown of Hung Lu Wine ' to 'Hometown of Monascus'. People around Taiwan have known that Hung Lu Wine is a specialty of Shulin. How to make use of the feature and then to carry forward in the promotion of Monascus is a big issue. We hope people around Taiwan to know :'Monascus is a specialty of Shulin. It's good for health.' We believe that we can make it.

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

In order to enrich the research report, we have to visit and interview some Monascus related people, such as Monacus producers, sellers and promoters. Before the interview, we do some preparations. First, we make phone calls to invite our interviewees. Then we write down the interview outline. When we arrive we buy their products, make friends with them and discuss our topic and then do the interview. As for contacting the mayor, in order to show our courteous we politely ask our principal to make the appointment for us. Then we visit the mayor at the City Hall. When we take part in the Monascus Fair in Shulin we chat with the vendors. When the vendors know that we are studying Monscus they kindly tell us what they know about Monascus and cheer us up. We are so touched because so many people like to help us. We pay much attention on intellectual property. All the data we refer to or cite is indicated in the Bibliography page. For film or photos we indicate directly in the film or photos. For interview films or photos we cite after we've sought the authority of the interviewees.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

During the research process we learn that Monascus ,'red rice', is not only a kind of food but also we gradually understand that it's the crystallization of culture and technology. We not only get into more detail in Monascus culture in our hometown Shulin, but also see a cultural transformation from a different perspective.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 5649)

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