Science club students from Chiba Higashi High School recently became NASA astronauts! And they teamed up with many exchange students who are now studying at Chiba University on a ten day exchange. Six teams were formed, each team a mix of Higashi students and exchange students. Their task was to make a package for an egg so that it couldsafely drop from a height of nine meters or higher. This experiment represents astronauts living on the Moon and receiving supplies (the egg) from Earth.
Not only was this experiment a good demonstration of science, but it was also an excellent opportunity for students to use English. Since the exchange students couldn’t speak Japanese, they had to communicate in their shared language—English! In this way, English was used as a tool to plan, design, build, and test their package. At first, all the students were very shy, but at the end of the experiment everyone became very good friends and loved learning about each other’s culture. In fact, they were having so much fun that we went over time as they continued to talk, eat food,and teach and play Rock-Paper-Scissors using languages and even different handgestures from different countries! OH! And that game usually involved someone having to eat extremely spicy food, which we all laughed about.
As an English teacher, this was one of the most rewarding experiences. I saw my students successfully use English with others from around the world, and they really enjoyed it. I witnessed how useful English could be in our world which is becoming more and more globalized. I truly believe that using English as a tool to work on a team or to make friends is one of the most effective ways to learn English, and in this experiment students did both! I was very proud of my students and I hope to see more exchanges like this in the future.