The Positive Power of STEM at YCIS Shanghai

To some students, ‘STEM learning’ can mean ‘gruelling’ or ‘difficult’. But 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 in Primary school, the annual Science Fair was always one of my highlights of the school year. 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 various chambers within the heart in the Biology demonstration. I dreamed of one day being able to replicate this magic. As the years passed, my teachers were able to make my dream come true. Through the teaching of theories and our experiments conducted to understand the application of such theories, I discovered that the yellow and purple flames originated from the emission spectrums of sodium and potassium and that the chambers of the heart aid in double circulation and allow blood to be pumped around the body. When the day came for me to take part in the Science Fair as a student helper, I was able to truly appreciate the hands-on approach behind the STEM programme at YCIS Shanghai, and I enjoyed being able to amaze others with the magic of science.

Another word that comes to my mind is ‘fun’. While STEM courses may, rather unfairly, be associated with being rigid or strict, the STEM programmes and teachers at YCIS deviate from this stereotypical narrative in the best way possible. One teacher who was especially powerful in reshaping this narrative was our Chemistry teacher, Dr Liu, who proclaimed himself “The Flash”. As my Chemistry teacher for two exciting years, he was able to cement my passion for sciences with his entertaining classes and creative approaches to learning what could otherwise be bland topics. 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 that 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, I recommend that you come to experience the greatness of STEM at YCIS yourself!

By Elgin, Year 13, YCIS Puxi Secondary

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