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November 26, 2019

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Fun and engaging in the positive power of study

To some students, STEM learning can mean challenging. For YCIS Shanghai students, STEM learning means a lot more.

The first word that comes to my mind is engaging. When I first came to YCIS Shanghai, Puxi Primary School, the annual science fair was always one of the school year highlights. I remember being left in awe by the sorcery of the yellow and lilac flames that I saw flickering from the Bunsen burners, and learning about the complexity of the heart’s chambers in the Biology demonstration. I dreamed of one day being able to replicate this magic. And as the years passed, I did.

Through the teaching of theories and experiments, I discovered the yellow and purple flames originated from the spectrums of sodium and potassium emissions, and the chambers of the heart aid in double circulation and allow blood to be pumped around the body. I was able to appreciate the hands-on approach behind the STEM program at YCIS Shanghai as a student helper at the school’s science fair, and enjoyed amazing others with the magic of science.

Another word that comes to mind is fun. While STEM courses may be, unfairly, associated with being rigid or strict, the STEM programs and teachers at YCIS deviate from this stereotypical narrative.

One teacher who was especially powerful in reshaping this narrative was our chemistry teacher, Dr Liu, who proclaimed himself “The Flash.” He cemented my passion for science with entertaining classes and creative approaches to learning.

For example, when teaching us about redox reactions, he would always bring out a clip of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion and say: “Just remember, LEO the lion says ‘GER’!” This was a great way to remember the “loss of electrons is oxidation; the gain of electrons is reduction.”

Of course, being an IB Chemistry and Biology student, the two words engaging and fun aren’t enough to describe my amazing journey through the YCIS Shanghai STEM courses. But don’t take my word for it, come and experience it yourself!


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