Bronxville Elementary School third-graders hosted two high school students from China on Feb. 5 and got immersed into the history and culture they’re studying about in their social studies classes.
The visitors, Haofeng Cen and Yin Yi Zhuo, spoke to all six third-grade classes about China’s geography, clothing, shelters, foods, traditions, celebrations and currency. They described what life in their hometowns of Nanning and Harbin is like and how China has changed over the years. They also taught the students a few words in Chinese and passed out money for them to touch and examine.
“It was a great way for our third-grade students to hear personal stories about a culture they are currently studying,” said teacher Veronica Fiore.
Fiore said her students learned how to interact with people from different cultures and nationalities in a respectful manner and break away from stereotypes and generalizations about others’ cultures.
Throughout the day, the students also traveled from one room to another to participate in paper cutting, calligraphy, Beijing opera and tai chi.
“It is very important that students are exposed to tangible moments of learning,” said teacher Justin Chao.
Along with the international visit, students had the opportunity to prepare and cook Chinese food. Other students participated in a Chinese New Year’s celebration, which also ended with a Chinese food sampling and gave students the opportunity to experience a variety of delicacies. They were exposed to familiar foods like noodles, vegetables and ribs, as well as the unfamiliar foods, such as snails and chicken feet.
“They learned about why people eat certain foods and what economic and geographic factors affect those decisions,” Chao said. “We are very grateful that we have been able to provide opportunities that make the ‘weird’ into ‘different, but accessible.’”