February 7, 2017 2:56 PM
Forty middle and high school students from the Experimental School Affiliated to Haidian Teachers Training College (ESHTTC) in Beijing, China visited Mid-Pacific on February 7 to visit the campus. Established in 1998, ESHTTC has over 2,100 middle and high school students and is listed among the Excellent High Schools in Haidian District and was selected in 2011 as one of nine pilot schools in China for educational system reform.
The visitors were divided into four groups, visiting various classes including Robotics, Geometry, Integrated Science, Game Design, Dance, Acting, Band, Design Thinking, and Project Inquiry. As they walked into Wood Hall, the visiting students were surprised to see Mid-Pacific students using Minecraft on their laptops and thought they were playing a game until 6th grade Project Inquiry teacher Sumoha Janis explained that her class was actually working on a joint project. Each 6th grader was busy researching different biomes like forest, desert, and tundra in their Social Studies class; designing and measuring appropriate shelter for each habitat; and creating the shelter using Minecraft in their Project Inquiry class.
Upon seeing the 3D printers and laser printers in the Weinberg and Chew Technology Centers, one of the visiting teachers exclaimed, "Our schools have very similar classes focusing on the Science, Technology, Arts, Math (STEAM) skills! I also do the Toothpick Bridge Project with my students and have them build the lightest bridge that will hold the most weight." However, the use of technology in other subjects blew their mind as biology teacher Michael Valentine passed around a 3D print of a famous skull and showed them their latest project of using augmented reality to create a video debate on the topic of human cloning.