This summer was a fantastic adventure. Over seven weeks we travelled to three schools in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Our academic mission was to teach students interesting topics from Electrical Engineering, Materials Science, and Chemistry, but also have a bit of fun too! We played fun games about American and MIT culture, as well as previewed some MITx and OCW courses. After class we’d often explore the campus and city with our students; they were very excited to share their culture and hometown, and brought us to amazing restaurants, majestic temples, beautiful parks, and other exciting sights.
But let’s be honest: it’s hard to sit through an hour of talking about chemistry of solar cells, especially on summer vacation. So we made sure to be flexible and active—maybe we had to shorten a learning module on-the-spot and transition to a dancing class. (The worst time was right after lunch.) Sometimes our students didn’t give us feedback that they were bored, so we had to keep the energy of our classroom up at all times!
If you go into the summer with a set of exciting games and activities, then you’ll set yourself up for success. We had a folder of presentations about life at MIT, games like Jeopardy and the Newlywed Game, and academic topics that might have related more to our students’ majors.
Here are some presentation templates that might be helpful for you:
- MIT campus tour in pictures: the surrounding area, a walk through the Infinite, classrooms, dorms, and the Back Bay (PPT)
- Intro to America: geography, a short history, 3 government branches, famous Americans, money, sports, weather, pets; discussing cultural differences (PPT)
- America Trivia Jeopardy: a traditional Jeopardy-like game with the categories Symbols & Landmarks, Famous People, Sport, Geography, and Food (PPT)
- International Culture Jeopardy: Germany, France, Russia, Peru, and “Grab Bag” (PPT)
- Online Learning Initiatives: a tour of MITx, OCW, and other sites like Coursera (PPT with inline videos)
- PPT Karaoke: a fun game of improvisation where you have 5 minutes to explain a random slide deck (Dropbox folder with PPTs)
Additionally, here are my favorite handouts:
- CETI Bingo: an icebreaker game where you have to go around trying to meet people who fit the descriptions in the table (DOCX)
- Very Short Stories: ever tried to write a complete story in just six words? This exercise makes brevity almost a refreshing requirement. Very popular activity with our students. (DOCX)
With enough preparation and quick thinking, it will be easy to keep students engaged and maintain a high-energy environment! Good luck and have an amazing time in your CETI adventure.