Q: What did you learn about the Constitutional Convention? Of course you learned it was about compromise, but please go a little deeper. What were the overarching issues that required compromise? How were those compromises achieved? What does that tell us about the founding of our government and about the nature of our democracy?
In the constitutional convention, delegates from almost every state came together to discuss the purpose of the government, and its goals in relation to the rights of the people. Before, each individual state governed much of itself, and as such, there was lots of conflict between the states. The convention was convened in order to decide how power would be divided, and how representation would work (whether it should be population- or state-based, and if slaves would count in the population count). The delegates were locked into a stalemate, since many did not agree on the issues at hand. Thus, they had to compromise to achieve their goals. With regards to representation, the delegates decided to have a bit of both population and state-based representation, resulting in the Connecticut compromise and the electoral college. Our government was founded with compromise integrally tied into its workings.
Q: This was a unique project in that it involved the whole class of 16 students. Reflecting on the group aspect of the final project (video documentary), how did collaboration go? Had you ever worked in such a large group on a project of any kind? What seemed to work well? What did not? What challenges were presented? How were they addressed? Explain.
I’ve never worked with such a large group before. Decision making was very difficult, since people disagreed on many things and often refused to let go of their ideas. I found it difficult to work in such a large group, since many members were not as involved as they could have been. Though our group discussions did work well in the end, I think that smaller groups were more capable of making decisions in a timely manner, and time was one thing we were short on during this project. With regards to what did not work well, people were often distracted by their technology, resulting in slipshod work that took up more time to work with than it could have if people were motivated.
Q: Reflect on your own role in the group. What did you learn about yourself in this project? What did you notice about your role in the group? How did you interact with your peers? What tasks or kinds of roles did you choose to complete? How effective were you? Did you like being part of this project?
I learned that I am generally good with working in groups, but if work is not getting done, I will often take it upon myself to do that work. My role in the group was not one of a leader, but I did the work I needed to, and more, to the best of my capabilities. I chose to be part of two groups, the interactive presentation group (initially) and then the editing group (mostly) I was very effective with the jobs I did, and though I found much of the work enjoyable, it was sometimes frustrating to have to do extra work I shouldn’t have needed to.
Q: Think about what you learned in general about working on a big project over such a long time. What if anything would you do differently if you were faced with such a project again?
I would try to take more of a leadership role in the next project. Due to my absences, I was not a part of the decision-making process, and I feel that I could have made valuable contributions to that process. For the next large group project, I would try to limit class technology use and reduce distractions as much as possible.
Q: Finally, think of one skill that you think you were either challenged to improve, or one in which you showed really excellent skill. For example, did you notice you really improved your communication skills? Or perhaps you were able to really demonstrate your organizational skills and help the group. Please explain about this.
In this project, I think that I was really forced to improve my organization and time-management skills. This is for two reasons: 1) I was at ISEF for a week, and I had to really focus on managing my time so that I was able to participate at ISEF, and contribute to Age of Ex as well. 2) With the editing, the filming finished very late, so we were short on time for editing. As such, time-management skills were required to make sure that the video was finished on time.