Paul Zinni, Superintendent
18 King Street
Norfolk, MA 02056
For Immediate Release
Monday, Oct. 1, 2018
Media Contact: Benjamin Paulin
Email: [email protected]
King Philip Middle School Teacher Reflects on Time Teaching in China Over Summer
NORFOLK — King Philip Regional Middle School STEM teacher Susan Hall had a blast this summer travelling to China and teaching students about rocketry.
Hall spent July 20 through Aug. 20 in Shenzhen, China working for the Mast STEM Academy. The private school for students in grades 1-8 hires English-speaking instructors who are experts in teaching science, mathematics and engineering to elementary and middle school-aged kids.
“It was quite the experience being able to immerse myself in the cultural and social aspects of life in China,” Hall said. “But at the same time, teaching is teaching and kids are kids, so it was great to be able to give the students some of the same lessons that I teach to my seventh graders at KPMS.”
Hall was among a group of STEM teachers from Maine, Texas, Hawaii, North Carolina and South Carolina who taught at the institution, each of whom focused their classes on a particular area of expertise. The teachers each signed up for the program and were paid for their time at the school.
“The teacher from Texas was an expert in drones. The teacher from Hawaii taught marine science. My classes were based around rocketry,” Hall said. “I taught them about the Apollo program. They built rockets out of paper and other materials and powered them with rubber bands and Alka Seltzer. They made a mock lunar lander and used marshmallows as the astronauts.”
Hall created and implemented the STEM program at KPMS and is working on her dissertation to receive her doctorate in STEM education from Nova Southeastern University in Florida.
In her first two weeks in China she taught students in grades 6-8. She had three classes with 16 students each. In the next two weeks to she taught kids in grades 1-3 with about 10 students in each class.
All of the students spoke some English and there were translators in each class to assist with any language barriers.
“One of the big takeaways from my time there was that the Chinese really value their education and it can be very competitive. So the parents want to immerse their children in as much learning and educational activities as possible,” Hall said. “They also highly value American education and being able to speak and understand English is a big focus.”
Hall’s classes followed the Engineering Design Process where students were taught to:
- Investigate: Perform Research
- Originate: Design and Build a Prototype
- Evaluate: Test Prototype
- Re-Create: Fix Flaws and Make Improvements
- Communicate: Share Results
Through that process they were able to take Hall’s lessons and do hands-on projects about rocketry.
In her free time, Hall visited local tourist attractions and marketplaces.
“It was great to visit and it would be wonderful to have a fellowship with someone from China or another country where we could invite teachers to come teach at our school as a way to share our cultures,” Hall said.
On Monday, Hall found out that she has been invited back to teach at the school next year. She will be teaching her heat transfer unit, also known as “Save the Penguins,” which she also teaches to students at KPMS.