CyberFair Project ID: 5712

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Hokutolite rocks!!
Category: 5. Local Attractions (Natural and Man-Made)

School: Yu Da High School of Commerce and Home Economics
    Taipei City, taiwan, Taiwan

6 students, ages 17-18 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 23, 2009. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2007,2008

Classes and Teachers: Yi-ping Shih

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Beitou is filled with abundant natural resources such as the acclaimed hot springs, Guandu Waterfowl Reserve, Xiabaxian, and Yangmingshan National Park, which offers a variety of different activities and attractions for people in Taipei to relax and have fun. That being said, when we talk about Beitou, the first thing that comes to mind is always the famous hot springs there.

Beitou's hot springs come from volcanic eruptions underneath Datun Mountain, where the groundwater is heated by the volcanic heat; this water then leaks out through the cracks between the rocks. There are two kinds of hot springs: green sulfur springs and white sulfur springs. Green sulfur springs can get as hot as 100 degrees, while white sulfur springs are only around fifty degrees.

Besides hot springs, Beitou is also famous for Gueizikeng, a place that is known for producing white porcelain clay, an important substance when making porcelain products. Gueizikeng has been famous since the Japanese occupation area.

It is refreshing to find such a natural place in the midst of the busy Taipei City. Beitou is certainly a place worth discovering

2. Summary of Our Project

Hokutolites were very unique stones, which could only be found in Beitou and Japan. Hokutolites were the first minerals to be named after its place of origin in Taiwan. Hokutolites were also known as barites, which could be found along Beitou River. What you may not know is that along the streaks in Beitou, Hokutolites were formed very slowly. Due to the amount of time it took to form, Hokutolites were very rare, and therefore very expensive. It was once reported that it could cost up to four hundred thousand New Taiwan Dollars for a kilogram of Hokutolites. Because of its rarity and the illegal quarrying, nowadays you can’t find Hokutolites anywhere except in the Beitou Hot Spring Museum. We can do something for the Hokutolites, and hope that it’s not too late to do so.

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:more than 6

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

Our school uses the fiber speed internet broadband system, with a hundred megabytes storage capacity for each computer. Therefore, most students used the computers offered in school after class to process the data and save the web pages they created. Students also used the broadband internet at home to communicate or send processed data to each other via instant messengers or emails.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

A. Difficulties encountered while gathering the information.

Our topic was Hokutolites, and there was very little information we could find online about it. Finally we went to Beitou Library, where they happened to hold a local community history exhibition. We found a lot of information there, dating from the Japanese occupation area to the present day. We also visited Beitou Hot Spring Museum and interviewed a volunteer there.

We also found a thesis on Hokutolites by Nobel prize winner Dr. Yuan Tseh Lee. It became another source for us to understand more about Hokutolites.

B. Clash between school work and the contest We were in the elite class in school, so we already had a lot of school work and tests to prepare and study. Therefore, it was very challenge to balance this with the time and hard work it took to prepare for the contest. C Progress monitor This was the first time we created web pages on a particular subject, so we weren’t very familiar with the framework and process. However, with the assistance from many teachers and our leader, most members were able to complete their assigned tasks in time.

D. Problems with scheduling interviews. We couldn’t go to Beitou Hot Spring Museum during school hours, and the museum could only be interviewed on weekends. Fortunately, our school gave all the students a day off because of the school anniversary celebration, which allowed us to finally conduct the interview.

E. Problems with designing the web pages. The initial mock-up for the web pages weren’t particularly inspiring. Fortunately, it was time for the winter break, and we were all able to relax and recharge during this time. When we got back, we all shared our thoughts and finally came up with a unified idea for the project.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

By entering the competition and choosing Hokutolites as our subject, we’ve come to a better understanding of these unique rocks and hopefully teach our community to cherish this nature’s wonder. And for us, we’ve learned the beauty of persistence and hard work, which ultimately helped us to become more mature.

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

I was very much intrigued when I first heard about the Cyberfair from my teacher. However, my initial ideas kept getting rejected by my teacher. I was very frustrated. Even so, my partners and I never gave up and finally chose a topic. The Cyberfair helped me to be a better communicator, and I learned to listen and cooperate with other people. The utter feeling of satisfaction that all the members in our group worked so hard for a common goal was incredible. You could never learn that in the everyday school life. This semester in school we had courses about designing web pages and conducting special projects. The school also held several competitions regarding these areas, which helped us tremendously with our project for the Cyberfair. The Cyberfair was also a great opportunity for cross-department cooperation. Through our teachers, we’ve recruited a student from the Department of Information Processing. We’ve learned a lot from him. This competition not only helped us to improve on our technical skills, we’ve also made a good friend out of it.

Project Elements

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

We complete our Cyberfair project by the following tools: 1.Communication:Cell phones, telephones, e-mails, messengers 2.Appliance for interviews:Digital cameras, recording pens, paper, pens, laptops. 3.Source of Information:The internet, books, libraries, museums, interviews 4.Editing tools:Computers,notbook, printers, laptops 5.Software:(For briefs) Microsoft Word?PowerPoint; (For designing web pages)FrontPage?Dreamweaver CS3 (For animation)Flash CS3;(For processing images)PhotoImpact 10?Photoshop CS3;(For Communicating)Yahoo?Yahoo Messengers?MSN 6.Hardware:USB, computers, laptops, scanners

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

We want to let the world knows how precious Hokutolites are and how important the environmental protection is through CyberFair. We achieve the goal by the following ways: 1. interview 2. project 3. presentation in the class. The first interview we conducted was with Beitou Hot Spring Museum, where the rarely seen Hokutolites can be found. We went to the museum first and had a tour with the volunteer there. We asked the volunteer if we could conduct an interview with them. He gave us a contact number, which we used right after we got back to school. Eventually we met with Lee Yun-Chow, the first chairman of the “Beitou Culture and History Workshop.” She was a selfless and knowledgeable person who was an expert on Hokutolites. We had a great interviewed with her. We also found the contact number for Dr. Yuan Tseh Lee and scheduled an interview with his secretary. It was a great honor to meet Dr. Lee in person. And the whole experience was exciting and informative. We were very proud to make this interview happen.

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

Through the Cyberfair, we wanted to help the world understand that it’s no coincidence Hokutolites can no longer be found. It is a direct result from human being’s selfishness and greed. Hokutolites are very unique minerals, which is why people all want them. Through our web pages we want to draw attention to this subject, and ultimately help people realize why it is important to preserve the remained Hokutolites. In our web pages, we want people to learn the history of Hokutolites, and that in Beitou there are not just hot springs but also a very unique and rare kind of minerals: Hokutolites.

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

To complete this project, we’ve had a lot of help along the way. First we’d like to thank Miss Lee Yun Chow for her kindness and help. It was with her knowledge on Hokutolites that really helped filling the blanks and answering the questions we had.

We also would like to thank Teacher Shoo Yi-Pin for helping us find the thesis Dr. Yuan Tseh Lee wrote on Hokutolites.

Also we would like to thank our instructor Teacher Yo Li-Chin for correcting our mistakes and guiding us through the whole process.

Finally we would like to thank Dr. Yuan Tseh Lee for taking time from his busy schedule to sit down and talked with us. Dr. Lee was very nice. He shared his thoughts and knowledge on Hokutolites and taught us a lot of information we couldn’t find online or in books.

Without these people’s help, we could never have completed this project. Therefore, we would like to express our gratitude to all of them, and to everyone who have also helped us one way or another along the way.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

Lesson 1: The importance of environmental protection. It will be too late before you know it.

As we mentioned before, it was no coincidence that Hokutolites can no longer be found. It was the result of the extreme urbanization that deteriorated the purity of the water in Beitou to a point that Beitou was no longer a suitable environment for the formation of Hokutolites.

The extinction of Hokutolites is just one of the much evidence that our environment has been severely damaged. We shouldn’t wait until more precious things disappear to finally take the environmental protection issues seriously. We should do something about it. And we should do it now. Lesson 2: Be humble and not afraid to ask and you can achieve anything

Dr. Yuan Tseh Lee is a Nobel Prize winner and an important figure in Taiwan. Therefore, we weren’t sure if he would be willing to be interviewed by us. Nonetheless, we gave it a shot and call his office in Academia Sinica to discuss the possibility of conducting an interview with Dr. Lee.

It was because we did not give up and ceased every opportunity possible that we got this incredible opportunity to meet with Dr. Lee. Discovery& Surprise: The wonder of nature.

There are so many things in the world that are unbeknown to us. Through this project, we learned to appreciate that even the most common looking rocks might harbor the secrets of the wonder of nature. A centimeter long crystal on a Hokutolite takes a hundred and thirty years to form. We also learned that Hokutolites are one of the very few minerals that contain radioactive elements. All in all, this has been an eye-opening experience for us and taught us to learn to appreciate more the wonder of nature.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 5712)

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