Join us for China STEAM at AHISD’s Summer at Heights

Registration for China STEAM summer camp* at Alamo Heights is now open! I am doing a week-long introduction to the Mandarin language and Chinese culture (multiple sessions) through science, technology, engineering, arts and math activities. Creating the curriculum for a half-day program that gives children the input that they need to acquire some Mandarin Chinese with STEAM activities is a tough needle to thread. Outlined below is part of the curriculum for this Mandarin Chinese summer camp.

For China STEAM, we will be combining STEAM (science, technology, engineering and math) and Mandarin classes. Luckily, Chinese culture has some great jumping off points, such as tangrams. Tangrams are puzzles that involve using seven flat shapes to make new shapes. Tangrams have three primary shapes, triangles, parallelograms, and squares. This is really convenient for a language class that is based on providing comprehensible input because fewer target words means more opportunities to repeat them. In class, the teacher can repeat “这是三角形” (this is a triangle) many, many times while demonstrating what a tangram is and how to put together a puzzle. The key is to use short, simple sentences to talk about the puzzles, with only words that the students know. This way, students will be able to follow the activity from purely a practical standpoint and also pick up the language through the repeated input.

We will be doing lots more in China STEAM summer camp. Chinese culture has great art, inventions, and games from which to get ideas for activities. The curriculum is not finalized, but I look forward to practicing calligraphy, doing printing, making parachutes and playing weiqi with the kids!

photo of tangram puzzle of an ox
Tangram puzzle of an ox, one of the activities that we will be doing at China STEAM summer camp at Alamo Heights 2018

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