Reflection #2: CREST AWARDS

Initially, I was extremely excited for the opportunity to be able to explore a topic I was genuinely passionate in. I knew I wanted to do something with Neuroscience and psychology, but I wasn’t quite sure what. Using my passion for music, I narrowed down on examining the effects that music has on the brain, but I hadn’t decided on a specific group to research yet. I conducted general research to look at the groups of people that music was seen to have an effect, and I decided to focus on individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This was because I didn’t know much about the disorder and was curious to learn more about what causes it and why music can help. Through researching on sites like autismsociety, and national health society, I saw that music therapy was a certified method of treatment for those with ASD, and therefore, I decided to pursue this as a communications project, to raise awareness about it. 

My final research question that I decided on was “What are the benefits of music therapy on those with ASD?”. For context, Those diagnosed with ASD may find communicating effectively, picking up tonality or changes in emotions, or empathy, challenging. There isn’t any “treatment” for ASD, as it’s a lifelong disorder, and affects individuals differently. However, playing Music and listening to music, interestingly, according to studies done under cochrane reviews, has multiple neurological benefits which help with these social difficulties that people with ASD have. 

I wanted to present my project as an accessible and engaging animated video to help parents who are worried and confused when their children are diagnosed with ASD. it would simply outline one of the proven methods of therapy that is most effective when started from a young age, and would provide support and comfort for the parents. I also intend to send this out to local organisations like autism associations or hospitals, to see if they would like to share it with parents who have children who have been newly diagnosed with ASD. This would make both the parents and the child’s life easier, and would be a way to make an impact in the real world. 

After I had decided that my target audience would be parents and children who have little to no scientific background or knowledge, I started research. Although I knew my final product could not have too in-depth information, I still needed to delve into the science of both ASD, and music therapy, to ensure I had a full grasp of the topic and could then later simplify it. I broke up my research into 4 different parts: 

  1. What is autism and what causes it? 
  2. How does it affect the daily lives of these individuals? 
  3. How does music affect the brain? 
  4. What is music therapy and why is it effective with those who have autism? 

Dividing the research into 4 parts made it manageable and gave me tangible goals to focus on in the limited time that we had. It allowed me to set goals for every weekend and every lesson, ensuring that I was progressing forward in my research. I mainly looked for and used scientific studies either from PubMed, PMC or Cochrane Reviews, which ensured that my research was coming from a reliable source. However, finding studies that actually provided relevant information that were conducted under fair trials was a lot harder than anticipated, and therefore I barely managed to actually stick to my time goals. 

Once I had completed my research, I started creating my video. My goal was to make it engaging and easy to follow, which meant I had to not only simplify the information I had obtained from scientific studies, but I also needed to add animation, effects, music, and a voiceover. 

This proved to be a challenge in the time-frame that I had since it was a new video making software and therefore required 3-4 days before I fully understood how it functioned. This therefore limited the amount of information I could put in, such as the different degrees of ASD, how music therapy is conducted, and whether music therapy is more effective in those with stronger symptoms of ASD or weaker symptoms, which would’ve proved useful for the parents since each child with ASD is different, would’ve been information I would’ve added if I had more time. 

If I were to do this again, I would’ve narrowed down my research to just children rather than individuals. This would have made my research more targeted towards parents and the studies I would use to back up my conclusions would be conducted on children, providing more accurate and reliable conclusions that just researching on individuals with ASD. 

Although I believe that the video was the right outcome for my purpose, I also plan to create a brochure with more detailed scientific information for those who are curious about the real neuroscience behind both, ASD and music therapy. 

Overall, the CREST project taught me many essential skills, such as time management, in which I learned to break up my work and not be too detail oriented, rather getting the bigger picture done first. Moreover, I learned the importance of evaluating scientific studies, ensuring they’ve been reviewed and were conducted fairly without bias. This skill will assist me in all subjects in IB to ensure that all my sources are reliable. 

My Quarantine PE Padlet

Over the past month, we have been updating this padlet with physical, mental and social aspects. It was really striking to me to realise how little I prioritise social wellness in comparison to physical wellness and even mental wellness. I think its because as a society we’ve been taught to think that healthy = physcially fit, but it means so many more things, and I’m starting to realise that. In addition, I think I’ve been lucky to be born into a family where we have a lot of family time that I don’t even consider it as social “wellness”, rather just normal daily life. This padlet taught me to stop taking the privileges in my life for granted!

Reflection on Political Cartoons


  • What have I learned about creating meaning through the interaction of visual and lexical elements? 

I have learned that thought goes into every detail in a photograph/political cartoon/framing of a scene etc. The amount of symbolism that can be found in each object, color, and background urges me to look past the surface of the photo and dig deeper. I also learned that researching the context and why the cartoonist/director may have chosen to depict an issue a certain way would provide another dimension for the analysis, just like analyzing a piece of literature.

How are ideas communicated through the interaction of visual and lexical elements?

Ideas are communicated through the placement of objects, (for example, if a man is higher than the woman in the cartoon, it may represent the power that males exert over females in today’s society), colors and their uses (the use of red may symbolise warnings, blood, thus depicting danger and fear), and facial expressions/lack of (if there’s no face it may mean the anonymity and perhaps power they control). Every single detail is used to represent an idea or an opinion, but more than that, it strives to present a NEW idea to a current issue or an already known topic. The ability of these symbolic items to interact with texts and captions creates a new depth to the cartoon. Often satirical lexicon is used to grab the attention of those who are viewing the cartoon to incentivise them to continue looking further. In our cartoon, we used “money or honey”, a play on words to make it rhyme, and for it to relate to the visual of Winnie the pooh reaching for the honey. We labeled honey the “security law”, making the context easier to follow and analyse. The words gave insight into the context, but the visuals gave insight into China’s fundamental greed for power by associating him with pooh, who will do anything for his honey!

What are the similarities and differences between an opinion article and a political cartoon?


Opinion articles follow a particular structure, whereas political cartoons rely much on the artist’s creativity and originality. Political cartoons use tactics such as exaggeration of a certain feature (the mouth), to suggest the character’s loudness, ability to reach people/annoy or their public platform. Opinion articles are not able to exaggerate features or draw too much symbolism since it is meant to be presenting more factual information, whereas a political cartoon can take a clear stand.

Reflection #1: CREST Awards

For the longest time, I did not know what research topic I wanted to do. I definitely knew I wanted to research on a psychological and biological area, but I could not place my finger on a topic. I was listening to music one day and realised the way my mood drastically changed after. I went from feeling lifeless, to humming along, a small, but very real smile on my face. This gave me an idea to relate music to mood – I had experienced the way it reduced my stress countless times before. I went onto the CREST website to look at the types of projects they were looking for. I realised that the research projects required primary data, or a “fresh perspective” on an issue in STEM. I could not put my finger on what type of project would be suitable under our current circumstances. I felt like I was going in circles. I did not know what topic I wanted to do, which type of project I should do, I was overcomplicating what CREST was looking for, and I felt quite unmotivated. After a few conversations with my teachers, with my friends, and researching on the topic of music therapy, I finally decided on a question:

“What are the psychological and biological effects of music therapy on individuals diagnosed with autism?”

I realised that its okay to take time to decide on what needs to be done. Refining of a question or a thought will always continue, but committing to an initial idea will be the first step forward. I then decided that I wanted to do a communications project, in which I’ll be able to (hopefully), make an engaging video which I can show to communities that support individuals/families with individuals who have autism. This will give me more satisfaction than a “Gold Award” for CREST – I’ll actually be making a difference to people’s lives, and that’s something I am passionate about. From now on, I will be researching the topic by breaking it down into different segments and recording my bibliography along the way. I aim to set a goal for each weekend so that I can ensure I’m progressing steadily towards the end result! I can definitely tell that time will be a huge challenge and struggle for me, but I need to keep pushing forward. Understanding that this project is NOT school work – it’s a way to discover what you love, and potentially a way to help people, is what will keep me motivated and happy no matter what.

Amolika’s Personal SWOT Analysis


  • Interested in both, music and science. Curious mindset, and love the mesh of psychology and science.
  • I think I can hold my ethical ground above all else in most situations. I have a strong moral compass that I feel the need to abide by.
  • I have creativity, a willingness to learn and curiosity.
  • Teachers (hopefully) think I’m hardworking, intelligent and cooperative.
  • I’m proud of my achievements in Singing, where I have overcome my stage fright.
  • I believe that one must follow their moral compass and ethical knowledge to guide them. Getting swayed by the shinier things in life do not always have positive consequences.


  • I don’t feel confident doing things such as playing sports in a highly competitive environment, or attempting skills in front of others who are perfect/professional at said skill.
  • I can be too negative – might be demotivated easily by setbacks/lose confidence
  • I think I’m quite organised, however, I get quite stressed when I have multiple things to be doing which can distract me from my main focus. I dislike it when people tell me how to do things.
  • Not a fear per say, but I dislike taking risks.


  • I can use surveys/emails/social media to contact individuals willing to participate in any studies
  • Something to help people stay more focused/to help with their mindfulness?


  • Lots of things going on at school which can make it challenging to complete this task with the dedication I desire
  • Applying for GOLD will be challenging and competitive. I need to come up with an idea that will present a unique finding

“You Clap For Me Now” Poem Analysis

Cinematographic structure:

All the camera shots are taken head-on, at eye level. This suggests that this matter is serious, which requires a real connection with those speaking (in the video). Eye contact is maintained in a conversation mainly when we want to engage or get a message across – this video’s camera angle enforces that. 

Wearing their uniforms/workplace attire, such as doctors, delivery drivers, teachers to suggest how these “immigrants” are involved in everyday life, almost all the time, and we depend on them as these roles are deemed “essential.” 

This woman is seen to be wearing a hijab, suggesting that she may be muslim. We know that many Muslims face discrimination due to prejudices against them. However, the choice for her to wear the stethescope with her hijab may completely change people’s mindsets, because they now see her as a doctor. It may suggest that when they put on their uniform, they are treated well, but on a day-to-day basis, they suffer discrimination. 

Furthermore, the stereotype of men having to be doctors and the “white” ethnicity to be seen to be superior is also addressed by the doctor being a colored, female individual. The doctor also has a cleft palate surgery “scar” , which may have caused her to face bullying in her past and implies that she has gone through more than racial discrimination. The word “toil” creates the image of someone struggling or squirming, linking to how this situation is painful for the health care workers. 

This video is seen to be taken at a hospital. The equipment seen in the background such as the sink, air ventilator, and stethoscope are all essential to fight off this pandemic. This may bring out the idea that fighting this pandemic is within the hands of doctors and nurses, hence they will be seen as superior despite their ethnicity during this pandemic everyone plays a part and is bringing people together.




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