Saturday was the culture festival at one of my schools. The students and teachers have been preparing for quite a while, and everything seemed to be pretty smoothly run. It amazes me how a horde of 12-15-year olds can pull together (with lots of teachers riding herd, but still) and create something enjoyable. All of the clubs had something planned - the drama club put on a play, the band had several performances, the photo club had a rather impressive exhibition, and the art club had a crafts and coloring thing going.
One of the more surprising activities was the science club's. Let me tell you, you'd never see a school in the US give a 15-year old kid a bucket of liquid CO2 and a ladle and tell him to go at it. No gloves, no goggles, just a crowd of young boys seeing what they can freeze and shatter. Granted, only the 3rd-year students were allowed to actually handle it, but they let everyone quickly dip their hands in for a feel at how cold it was. The 1st-years were no better off, they were given acetyl alcohol and would ignite it in a can and shoot a paper cup off the top. Little boys and fire. I'm pleased that they all seemed to enjoy these activities, and it makes me wonder if we allowed American kids to have the same freedom to do this, would we have more students interested in science.
The culture stuff was fun, but by far the biggest draw for the students, particularly the boys, was the arm-wrestling competition. Everyone wanted me to join in, but it wouldn't have been fair since I pretty muched wiped out all comers. There were two stages set up, complete with elbow rests and handles for the free hand. Before and after, people were permitted to come up and try their luck with anyone. So when I wandered into the courtyard, immediately I was pulled up and everyone wanted to try. I think I damaged my left shoulder. So I'll take it easy this weekend and try not to do too much. At least that's my excuse.