On the final day of the workshop, the students were asked to create posters to display their research related to Cosmic Rays. A poster session was going to be held in the afternoon to allow the students to present their research to their peers, teachers, and physicists. This picture shows a group of students with their teacher preparing their poster. This group was one of my favorite groups all workshop long.See the trip: Beijing, China
2Teach's Thursday July 26th, 2012
As the end of my China adventure comes to a close...tomorrow is the last day of the workshop. Students finishing up their posters, lunch, poster session, closing ceremony out for one final dinner and that is all. I really can not believe I have been lucky enough to have this experience...just a high school physics teacher from Richmond fortunate to have an opportunity to be a part of something never done before! I have been treated incredibly well by everyone...I see flashes of light all the time, as the teachers, students, and staff are constantly taking our pictures. The kids have been kids...a wide range of abilities and interests and I think that our kids are just as amazing at home. The teachers have been teachers...some completely engaged in what we have been doing and working with their students every step of the way, others have been hiding out in the white room (AKA, the faculty lounge...really big, comfy white chairs and air conditioning). Our KITPC hosts have been amazing...I am so very thankful for our hosts and the students that have shown us around. Our weekend of sightseeing was unforgettable...pictures will never do justice to the sights (and, we were a part of the storm of the century...16 inches of rain fell in about 16 hours). I will not miss the cafeteria food that I affectionately called slop...oh, it was awful! It was free for us, but we eventually had to give up on it and go out to eat for lunch and dinner. Going out to eat was never dull...trying to communicate with someone that does not have a clue what you are saying is always interesting. The whole dining out process is so different...one menu, everyone shares the food, not really ever truly knowing what is going to be served or what you are eating, chopsticks, food comes out at random times, beer and water are usually served warm, unless you can somehow ask for it to be cold...good luck! The hotel was nice...smoking is allowed, HBO only shows old James Bond movies, and breakfast was a wonderful way to start the day with my incredible colleagues Ken, Bob, and Martin. We shared some amazing experiences that were made better because of them.
One final reflection, at least, for now...China is an amazing country that I describe as having a split personality. Young and old...the young people have a world open to them that their parents never had and it is obvious walking around Beijing...everyone is so young! It is almost like the older Chinese are being left behind? Beijing is a rapidly growing city in many ways and the young people are moving to it in a hurry...the apartment complexes are huge and right under them are these broken down old homes with no plumbing or electricity. They still teach what I call "drill and kill" out of tradition and necessity...45-60 students are common in a class. But, teachers are trying to do experiments and really enjoyed what we did this week. Students know that they are the future of China, but they are kids and are now distracted by all their new toys...the internet, cell phones, iPads...what is going to happen to them? Our hotel is big, has all the modern amenities, and is going through a huge renovation, but our towels have holes in them, the carpets are torn and stained, and the air conditioning works occasionally. The wealth is obvious, but it is new wealth...the cars are numerous and all brand new and most of them come from the finer European car makers, but right along side of the cars you will find all sorts of wheeled vehicles from mopeds to bikes that appear to be from the 50's. Speaking of vehicles, being a pedestrian is a challenge! If the cars do not get you, the mopeds will or the bikes or the other pedestrians so eager to get ...???? Right next to the busy streets every morning we would pass a group of elderly Chinese practice some form of Chinese martial arts as if there was nothing else going on around them...the split personality was everywhere. The Forbidden City and Summer Palace centuries old, right next to the brand new skyscrapers of downtown Beijing...you just could not escape it. A communist country that is prospering (?) on the backs of capitalist gains...for me, the split personality was most clear when I was on the Great Wall (built how many centuries ago?) and I reached the end of the wall that you could walk and there were a few people hawking souvenirs and I looked down and I could see the luxury hotel at the base of the wall. (Not much unlike America.)
China is an amazing country and I had an amazing trip!!