Monthly Archives: June 2016

The project of the gliders and flying effect

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Jaana’s and Yiwen’s project was about the gliders and flying effect. The theme came out from the Finnish Curriculum and Yiwen’s will to have a project about gliders. For Jaana this theme was a great option, because Jaana’s and Petri’s students were on the 5th Grade and they studied physical information about the planes and flying effect during the spring 2016, so this project was easily integrated to their physics lessons.

From teachers’ point of view the main point of this project was collaboration between Finnish and Chinese teachers. That was the first time for both of us, so that’s why it was at first quite exciting. We tried to get to know each other via WeChat and in Beijing we started to work together and at the same time we got to know each other better. On the first day we went through our project plan and made decisions how to make gliders. Yiwen also showed Jaana, what kind of glider she had built with her students by using ready cut pieces. Jaana also showed Yiwen, how to fold a simple paper glider. As a common decision we decided to give students an opportunity to choose, how they would make the glider: by using ready cut pieces or folding the glider.

From students’ point of view the main point was to learn group working skills, learn information about the structure of the plane, to learn information about forces which affect to the plane during the flight and also to learn to make a glider by using different kind of materials and also to learn the techniques how to throw the glider.

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Our project plan contained 8 lessons. Lessons from 1-5 contained introduction, studying information about the gliders and flying effect, making mind maps in groups of 3-4 and presenting mind maps. We started this part in Beijing by teaching students the specific words in English and in Chinese, because words were quite new for students. To find correct words in English students used Chinese-English dictionary on iPads. Then they came one by one to the front of the classroom to clue words into the picture of the plane. At the same time we also discussed what is the meaning of each part and students found answers from Internet or just thought what could be the answer and then told their idea to the others. The most important question was, why the planes need all those parts and how those parts affect to the plane and flying effect.

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After the common start students made mind maps in groups. They got three questions to find out: how do you think each part of the plane affects its flying effect, which forces act on the plane during the take off, gliding and landing and why the plane can fly. To find information students used Baidu on iPads. One student also gave others a tip to find information from the site That was something new for others, because this time they found information mainly in English, although some of them also found information in Chinese and used Baidu translator to translate it into English or to translate information from English into Chinese. As a teacher I think it was a correct way to find and understand found information, because there were so much specific words that they didn’t know in English or in some cases not even in Chinese.

Students used 3 lessons to make their mind maps. After that they presented their mind maps to others. For them it was exciting that all students had to go to front of the class, not only one. During the presentation they also taught each others by drawing pictures and writing down the most important words f. ex. about the forces that affect to the plane. One group also showed animations from wikipedia about the aileron and elevator.

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In our project plan lessons 6-7 were for making a glider. In Beijing we offered students a possibility to choose, how they would like to make their glider: by using ready cut pieces or by folding a paper glider. On our demo lesson we had a 60 minutes to implement this part, so after a short introduction about our project and information rehearse with students, students started to work in pairs.

Many of our students chose to use ready cut pieces, but there were four eager boys, who would liked to know which one flies better, the folded glider or the glider made by the ready cut pieces. At the beginning of the lesson they thought that ready cut piece glider flies better, but after testing and adjusting their folded glider flow better, even through the open window. 😉

During the testing students also marked down how far their glider flies. Then they had to think about, how to improve their glider to fly further. For this they had a work sheet to draw the altitude and to mark down, how they adjusted their glider. This work sheet worked well and gave students more understanding what they are learning.

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Demo lesson was filmed from each corner of the class room. At first all students were quite excited because of the cameras, but quite quickly everyone forgot all the cameras. The audience followed our lesson in the hall next to our classroom. After our lesson we teachers went to stage to tell more about our project and about evaluation. All slides we made in both languages and all questions and answers we got and gave also in both languages. That way all members in audience understood what we want to say. Tiina and audience also asked us about our project and collaboration. Jaana answered all in English and Yiwen translated it into Chinese.

In Shenzhen we had a same kind of project, but in there their own teacher had started the project by making mind maps with her students. On the first day we had 4 lessons with the students and during those lessons students got to know information about Finland, made posters about the differences and similarities between the Finnish and Chinese schools and after that we taught them information about the gliders and flying effect. This time Yiwen taught them more in Chinese than in Beijing, because the students in Shenzhen were younger and they didn’t know so much about the theme in English. After the common start students continued working with their mind maps. Many of them made their mind maps both in Chinese and English, because writing everything in English was quite hard for them, they were so young. After finishing the mind maps they presented them to others in English. One boy was a translator for some groups, because they were so shy to have their presentation in English. This kind of collaboration worked well and every group could have their presentation.

On the demo lesson in Shenzhen we had the same PowerPoint introduction than in Beijing in both languages and after that a short rehearse about the main parts of the plane in English. After that we taught students how to fold a simple paper plane. After that we told them about the schedule and they started to fold planes by using different kind of papers. They also had a work sheet such like in Beijing. During the testing students noticed that the paper can’t be too thin or too thick, so they had to test which paper could be the best option for folding.

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For me as a Finnish teacher this experience was amazing and this opened my eyes to see the meaning of the global collaboration deeper! It was nice to collaborate with the Chinese teacher Yiwen, all students, all professors from Beijing and also I learned a lot of Chinese culture and school system. I think I also learned, how to plan and have project with teacher who I haven’t known long – collaboration doesn’t depend on how well you know your partner, but it depends on how much you want to work together and find the common understanding.

My deepest will is to have more collaboration with Yiwen next year. 🙂

Planning the project plan and starting the collaboration

Raini and Sienna, Minna and Kathy and Jaana and Yiwen kept in touch during the Spring 2016 via WeChat. WeChat was the best option, because it worked both in China and Finland. It was also possible to use the Web WeChat with the computer, so it made communicating and sending attachments more convenient.

In China the volunteers also created the Finland-China chat group, that we used to communicate and share information about the conference. Tiina, Raini, Minna and Jaana also had their own group, that was easy way to keep in touch and share pictures while everyone was in the different school building.

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All Finnish-Chinese co-worker pairs wrote their project plan together about the theme that was suitable for both countries, for the students of both teachers and also for professors and team leaders in both countries. During the Spring all pairs chatted, sent attachments, shared ideas, improved the project plan many times and also Minna and Raini had a few Facetime voice calls with their partners before the Finnish team arrived in Beijing.

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After arriving in Beijing the Finnish team meet their Chinese partners for the first time. It was exciting moment for them all! After talking and getting know each other a little bit better, pairs started their work with students. All 25 students were at first very excited, because they didn’t know each other or even the Chinese teacher. That’s why on the first lesson we had to get to know each other by playing different kind of “getting know each other” games. The students also made the name tags by using their English name.

All teachers and students worked together in Beijing for 3-4 days before the demo lesson. During working Chinese professors and Tiina gave them advices how to improve their project and also told them how well all pairs worked together. It was nice to get positive feedback, because all teachers worked hard before and after arriving in Beijing.

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After every hard working day we had dinner with Chinese or Americans. In Beijing we got a chance to have a dinner in Mongolian Hot Pot restaurant. Guali ordered us the traditional Chinese food, f. ex. boiled chicken legs – that was new for all of us. During the dinner time we enjoyed also a traditional Chinese performance and saw how the noodles were made longer and longer. On the another evening we had dinner with our Chinese teacher partners. Then we tasted the Beijing roasted duck – it was so delicious and we also liked a lot of the dessert called “Bomb”.

The 4th GEC Conference in Beijing

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The 4th GEC Conference was held in Beijing from 15th to 16th of June 2016. The Finnish team arrived in Beijing on 9th of June. They had one day for sightseeing and from 10th to 16th of June they worked with their Chinese partners. Minna’s partner was English teacher Kathy from Shenzhen, Raini’s partner English teacher Sienna from Beijing and Jaana’s partner English teacher Yiwen from Beijing. They all worked in pairs with the group of Chinese 5th Graders. Tiina took part in the conference as keynote speaker, interviewer and commentator.

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Global Education Community (GEC) organised the international conference in the new school campus of Zhongguancun No. 3 Primary School. The new campus was opened only 100 days before, so we were invited to visit a brand new school. We liked the architecture of the school much as well as we were happy to see how much group working spaces they had, how well they had paid attention on co-working by having the openable walls between two classrooms and also how they had moved teachers’ desk next to each other so teachers were able to work together in the common lobby.

The view from classrooms was also beautiful and through the wide windows the sunlight came inside. Outside they had also a nice garden where the students could learn to take care of plants, flowers, vegetables and trees. On the second floor they had also a big sports arena where the students played football.


To improve the air inside they had also thousands of plants. On the second day we got to know that every student has his or her own plant and it was their job to take care of the plants. We also got to know that all plants were risen by students. That’s why we saw many cuttings all over the school.

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Raini, Jaana, Minna and Tiina also visited other schools nearby. Those schools were older, but for us they offered a lot to see and it was also nice to meet other students and talk with them. Almost all spoke very good English and they also translated well, if someone didn’t understand. In one of the schools 6th Graders’ had also a show, where they song, danced, had a talk show in Chinese and played traditional musical instruments. For us it was nice to notice that old traditions were very important also in Chinese schools.


In the schools students used iPads, but BYOD method was totally new thing for students, because they were not allowed to bring their own mobile phones or other devices into school. However, for us the most interesting device was found in the library: students were able to load e-books on their own devices by using a QR code. Great idea! This could be suitable for Finnish schools, too.

Sightseeing in Beijing


During the 4th GEC Conference in Beijing Minna, Tiina, Raini and Jaana had one day and one afternoon to go sightseeing. At first they visited the Forbidden City.  The temperature was around +30 Celsius Degrees and the sun was shining. As a great surprise for everyone the sky was bright and we could see the clouds, too.

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The Forbidden City was amazing and huge! We loved all the old buildings, the beautiful decorations and paintings and also the history of the area was interesting. During the tour our guide translated the history information into English that helped us to understand the history of the area better.

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On the another afternoon Minna and Jaana visited the Lama Temple. In the Lama Temple their guide told a lot of Buddhism and they saw many different Buddha Statues. The highest one was 18 metres high. Their guide also told that it was one of the highest Buddha Statues in Beijing.

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After visiting the Lama Temple Minna and Jaana took a short, 15 minutes tour in Hutong area. Their guide told them that usually people who have small shops or restaurants nearby live in Hutong area. Their guide also recommend to taste the speciality called Honey milk. It was delicious, sweet and sour at the same time!


During these tours the volunteer students from Beijing Universities helped conference visitors and told us information about sights, Beijing, China, Chinese traditions and helped us also to find a taxi back to the hotel. Sometimes we also took a riksa taxi and yes, it was enough big for five people.


Volunteers also recommended us the good restaurants and the traditional Chinese food. It was a great opportunity to taste different foods and get to know more about the food traditions.

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On the last school day 53 students from Metsokangas Comprehensive School worked with the project with the theme of planes and the flying effect. During the introduction we watched together a picture about the plane. Teachers asked students to think and answer which parts are the most important while the plane is in the air. They answered wings, elevator and rudder. Then we talked a little bit why the elevator and the rudder are important, how the plane can land, how does to shape of the plane affect to the flying effect, which forces affect to plane and also  we talked about the shape of the wings. All students made a wing by using their hands. Almost all students knew that the bottom of the wing is straighter and the top of the wing is curved. Then we rehearsed how the air moves above and below the wing and how it is related to the flying effect.

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After the introduction teachers told students what they will do next. They had heard before that they will have a possibility to fold planes on the last school day, but before they started to fold their planes they watched one example video. After that teachers told them about the schedule and they started their action.

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At first all students had to decide which material they would use. Almost all decided to use printer paper that was easy to fold and it was light enough.

Students were allowed to use their own phones to find ideas how to fold planes. The most of them found instructions from Google or YouTube. After getting an idea what kind of plane they designed their own plane and folded it.

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During folding the planes they were also allowed to test their planes in the PE class where the final competition was organised lately. After testing they knew how their plane glided and got ideas how to improve their planes. Many students folded several planes and tested them to get to know which one is the best.

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After one hour planes were finished and decorated. For us as teachers it was nice to notice that almost all students liked more to fold planes than to decorate them. They used a lot of time to make their foldings better and they tested their planes many times before the competition instead of colouring them.

The competition with only one throw per student took 20 minutes with 53 students. However, this project worked well and students learned many new theoretical things about planes and the flying effect.

Next Jaana will implement the same kind of project in Beijing with her chinese co-worker Yiwen.

– Jaana, Petri and 53 students, Metsokangas Comprehensive School, Oulu, Finland –