In China, Some Schools Are Playing With More Creativity, Less Cramming

  • 2016-08-22
  • NPR

At first glance, it looks like an ordinary gym class at a public school in Yibin, a city of about a million people in southwest China's Sichuan province.

But then you notice that the students are wearing signs: "Nitrate," "Sulfate," "Phosphate." In their game of tag, they chase the classmates they need to start a chemical reaction.

This is how gym and chemistry classes are combined at the Cold Water Well Middle School. Upstairs, in a combined history and math class, students use statistics to find patterns in the rise and fall of nations.

These experiments are the brainchild of former journalist Zhang Liang.

"What we're trying to tell them is that the real motivation behind all your studies is to help you realize how fascinating this world really is," he explains. "Once they get this, their own initiative will gradually emerge."