October 2019

Nǐ hǎo! Chinese primary pupils visit Withernsea High School

As part of a three week tour of the UK, a group of over 30 Chinese pupils recently visited Withernsea High School where they spent the day learning about life in a British school.

The pupils, from two primary schools in Beijing, arrived on the morning of Tuesday 15th October and were ‘buddied’ up with Year 8 students from the high school. During the morning, they were given a tour of the school and attended lessons with their British buddies to get a taste of daily lessons in the UK. After socialising and dining together at lunchtime, the students all took part in a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) activity during the afternoon.

The ‘Supergrid’ activity saw students working in groups to build working models of wind turbines in an effort to explore construction techniques and efficiency.  Desktop fans replicated the wind required to turn the blades and multimeters were used to monitor the power being generated.

Each model was then connected to a wireless transmitter which sent live readings to a central computer. This unique wireless data system enabled real-time competition, with the readings being displayed on a screen at the front of the classroom. This was visualised as a map of Europe, with each ‘country’ displaying its turbine power output in milliwatts.

The efficiency of each design was closely monitored, encouraging further modifications and additional testing to compete with the other countries.

The project provided a great opportunity for students to work together, helping to create new friendships while taking part in a challenging yet fun activity.

The day ended with a traditional fish and chip supper in the school’s canteen, with grateful thanks to the Lifeboat Fish and Chip shop who did an amazing job of turning around almost 100 portions in no time at all.

Two days later, the Chinese pupils and Withernsea students were reunited at the University of Hull where they joined forces with students from Hornsea School and Language College to work collaboratively in another fun activity organised by UK STEM.

Mike Cargill, a former teacher who now runs UK STEM, commented: ‘The benefits of this interaction are significant as students share experiences and make friends as part of a global approach to education. UK STEM encourages local schools to get involved in STEM on a regular basis and it was great to extend our reach to our international guests as well.’

Beci Pindar, Deputy Headteacher at Withernsea High, added: ‘It was fantastic to work with UK STEM and welcome the Chinese pupils to our school. Students from Year 8 hosted a fantastic day which gave opportunities for all involved to share in an experience to learn more of a different culture. One of our school aims is to broaden horizons and this visit certainly gave our students an opportunity to do this.’

Commenting on the experience from a student point of view, Year 8 student Max Bunker said: ‘It was a new and exciting experience for me. I really liked giving our Chinese visitors a tour of the school and it was good to talk to them and ask them their thoughts. Communication was sometimes challenging because of the language barrier, but I enjoyed working with them and learning about their culture.’

With London, Oxford, Cambridge, York, Hull and Withernsea already ticked off their itinerary, the Chinese pupils will now visit Edinburgh, Manchester, the Lake District and Cheltenham before heading back home.

ABOVE: The visiting Chinese students meet Year 8 students on the steps at the front of school.

ABOVE: The Chinese pupils were ‘buddied’ up with Withernsea students. Pictured here is Max Bunker with Kairui Hu 

ABOVE AND BELOW: The students all enjoyed taking part in a STEM 'Supergrid' activity.