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“Magician" in rural Chinese school builds robots to enlighten students' science dreams

(People's Daily Online)    17:43, March 12, 2019

Liu Yong teaches the science class for students (Photo/Changjiang Daily)

Jiangxia District Hongdeng Primary School, near Wuhan in Hubei Province, is a rural school with only 109 students. To help the students' scientific talents, a school “magician” has spent three months building educational robots.

Buying the required materials, designing projects and then welding them into a reality, this magician has created many robots, such as “Little King Kong who walks” and the “Magic Mechanical Arm”. The magician behind these amazing designs is Liu Yong, a teacher who has dedicated himself to rural education for more than 10 years.

After graduating in 2003, Liu went on to teach at Chiji Middle School and Hongdeng Primary School in Jiangxia District. Hongdeng Primary School is small in size, with few teachers, but offers many subjects. Liu Yong switched from the job title of art teacher to "general teacher", and his workload doubled.

He has taught mathematics, science, English and art, to name a few. Through many years of interdisciplinary teaching, Liu has enriched his teaching style and gradually turned into a "great magician" in the eyes of his students.

Liu Yong teaches the science class for students (Photo/Changjiang Daily)

Schools in big cities are often equipped with high-level “maker classrooms” for STEAM education, but limited conditions in rural schools can't satisfy these 21st-century requirements. “Creating conditions without conditions, I will do it for the children,” Liu said. Liu made his first robot, which stood at over one-meter tall, over the course of three months.

The robot looks goofy, but its joints are movable. Under Liu's operation, the robot can walk around the classroom. More than 100 children in the school have now learned about the robot, as Liu presents the theories and methods of production to his students.

"This robot is a fusion of interdisciplinary knowledge. Designing drawings requires mathematical knowledge and art skills, and programming requires IT knowledge," he noted. He now uses these robots as teaching tools for science classes, creating a “maker classroom” for rural children.

Besides robotics, Liu also holds painting exhibitions for his students. Student artwork decorates all corners of the school, with different themes for different seasons.

Liu said that he has a persistent focus on rural education and that he is willing to guard the growth of rural children. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Sheng Chuyi, Bianji)

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