One Week in Groenlo!
Saturday, 13th May
After spending the first night at our guest families, we met in the morning to drive to Amsterdam with the bus so that we could fetch our Spanish friends from the airport Schiphol. With our Spanish friends we explored the city. Of course it was really important to buy souvenirs for our families, for example the wooden shoes, stroop waffles or Amsterdam T-shirts. After having completed our first trip through the city which made quite an impression on us, we went to the central train station of Amsterdam to welcome the Italians. Afterwards we had again some time to enjoy our first day together. Tired from shopping and discovering the city we went home by bus in the evening and relaxed a bit before the entertaining party started. At midnight we drove home – like real Dutchmen on bicycles.
Sunday, 14th May
Luckily we could sleep a bit longer, because we only met in the afternoon to play farmergolf in cow fields. Farmergolf is a typically Dutch game, in which you try to hit a ball with a wooden shoe in order to get it in holes which are in the middle of cow fields. We had so much fun spending time with our European friends while we were stepping through the Dutch flat nature. As a great treat at the end of the day we ate pancakes in a pancake restaurant. Afterwards we met all together at one Dutch student’s house and were playing internationally known games.
Monday, 15th May
This was our first “official” day at school, although still serving as a get-to-know time with all the participating students. After arriving at Marianum (the Dutch school) and being greeted by the chief of the project, Frans, we explored the building in small groups. The hallway in the art wing resembled a small museum, showing the most beautiful art works of students, the science labs were equipped with the newest technology. As we were later told, the school was renovated and expanded a couple of months ago, giving space to a better working environment for the students. After the school tour we had the opportunity to listen to international lessons by Germany and Italy. The hard work at school was followed by an equally exhausting but much more fun team building activity at Voshaar (loyal to the Netherlands traditions we used our bicycles to reach our destination). Since we ran out of bikes a little, after the adventurous programme we used a very Dutch trick to get to our dinner place: we cycled with two people on one bike! Dinner took place at Marieke’s (one of the Dutch girls) house, where we could try the Dutch, Chinese-influenced food. Our week has already had an amazing start!
International Lesson by Germany
Teambuilding at Voshaar (Building a raft and some climbing)
Tuesday, 16th May
Tuesday morning started with the first real school day of the week. The schools showed their first workshops to the others and we worked in little groups. After that we had a lecture by Peter from the Dutch National Metrological Institution, but because he wasn’t in Groenlo he talked to us on Skype. The topic was climate change and it was very interesting. When the talk was finished, we had international lessons with the teachers from the other countries. This was really cool because that way we could see how lessons are given differently. In the afternoon, we cycled with the whole group of about 40 students and two German teachers to Zwillbrock, Germany, where we listened to another very interesting lecture about the biological station there. Afterwards, the guide showed us pink flamingos at a lake near Zwillbrock. For some of us, it was the first time to see these animals so it was an exciting experience. When the programme was over, all the students went to one of the Dutch girls, Marieke’s, house by bike. There we were eating food and having drinks and enjoying our free time with the group while singing, dancing or just talking. It was a really nice evening and we had a lot of fun.
Looking for Flamingos @Zwillbrock
Spot the flamingo… badly cropped
Wednesday, 17th May
Wednesday morning started with the workshops prepared by the Dutch, Italian and German students. The majority of the workshops was about ice melting and the rising sea level caused by it. The students who didn`t prepare a workshop had the opportunity to look at all the experiments and had to take notes. The workshop was finished at 12 o´clock and we had a break of 30 minutes. After that we had some more international lessons by Spanish, German and Italian teachers, and it very interesting to see how lessons are taught at other schools and in other countries. At 14:15 we had to choose if we wanted to go singing or do some sports. The singing group went into a classroom and they started a little karaoke competition which was very funny. The others could choose between soccer and volleyball which was very exhausting because it was the warmest day with around 30 degrees. After that the group split up and we went to the Joey’s house (a Dutch guy) and made some very tasty pancakes. After that most of the students met at the Marieke’s again where we sat in the garden and enjoyed a calm evening.
Workshop about plants in the climatic change
Thursday, 18th May
On Thursday, we had to meet in the parking lot at the school in the early morning. The bus was already waiting for our group to bring us to the university of Wageningen. Having arrived there, we were greeted by an assistant professor who prepared a presentation about the chemistry of water in lakes and the effects of them on global warming. He also gave us the opportunity to test or knowledge on global warming in a form of a quiz. After the discussion about our central topic, we had a short guided tour at the university. During the tour, we were shown an experiment in which students tried and actually succeeded in winning electricity from the chemical reactions happening in the roots of plants. Afterwards, we explored an almost self-sufficient university building and our guide explained the new inventions that can help humans to reduce their energy consumption and which are in fact used in this building. For example, there is a system installed that cleans the sewage water by running it through algea and other plants before it is released into the public sewage system. “It’s probably the cleanest water running into the sewers”, the guide stated.
Having discovered the biggest part of the university, we walked to another building, where our our host had kindly ordered a lunch at the canteen. After the lunch, the bus was already waiting for us, so we got in and drove back to Groenlo. Most of us did not go home, though, but went directly to one of our Dutch friend’s house. We spent the whole evening there, our Italian friends even cooked pasta and the Spanish girls baked croissants for us. It was really entertaining and fun with them and we talked a lot about everyday life in the four different countries. We stayed there until 11 PM but most of us were really tired, so we just went home with our hosts to go to bed to be fit on Friday.
Lecture at the University of Wageningen
Bioelectric potentials in the soil-plant system (Wageningen)
Friday, 19th May
On Friday we went to school by bike in the morning like almost every day. For the first lesson we could choose between lessons by Spanish or Italian teachers. After that we sat together with our group from Germany and talked about the last days, what we have learned and what kind of experiences we made with the students from the other countries. When we were done with that we had free time until 5 pm and most of us went to the supermarket to buy some typical Dutch items. In the evening we met in the hall of the school with everyone from the project and also some parents to celebrate the last evening. Additionally a video contest took place as each school had been asked beforehand to produce a videos which raises awareness for environmental problems. Every school could vote which was the best one but obviously we could not vote for our own video. Marianum and Pieralli won. Subsequently we ate the ordered Chinese food all together and the parents received a thank you card and a rose from the guest students. Then we went home to get ready for the party which a Dutch student hosted at her home. All the students were there and had a lot of fun while singing karaoke and talking. The last evening with the group was really nice and no one wanted to leave… But sadly we all had to.
Creative upcycling of an old geographic map of France at Marianum
Of course one of the most important parts of the project was to create the workshops with different topics. Our topic was climate change. The workshops were developed in groups of two to three pupils. For the last six months our whole group met once a week to work on them. After we had finished our work we tried it out with a class from our school. Furthermore we showed them to the pupils from Italy and the Netherlands when they visited us in Kempten in March 2017.
One of the experiments explained how the emission of long range waves differs when they originated in darkly or brightly coloured surfaces. That was possible to illustrate with an iron whose heating plate was covered with two different colours and a thermometer using infra-red light. Another experiment showed that the sea level doesn’t rise if swimming ice, for example an iceberg, melts. However, ice stored on land heavily contributes to rising sea levels! Moreover we had a model from a melting glacier which helped us to remind people of the consequences of the climate change that specially affects higher altitudes like our alps. We had a lot of fun with the creation of our workshops and also in explaining them to our partners.