Are you ready for Mid-Autumn Festival? Today I am going to share with you the five most favorable hands-on activities that students will enjoy according to various feedback from Chinese teachers:
1. Make moon cakes (2-3 hours)
One of the most interesting activities is making moon cakes. Traditional fillings for moon cakes include: lotus bean paste, red bean paste, jujube paste, and egg yolk. While making moon cakes, you can tell the story of the moon cake and share its symbolism: the egg yolk inside stands for the moon and the round shape stands for family reunion. Through a hands-on activity like this, students are able to learn the language and culture while having fun doing a physically active task. The activity also accommodates kinesthetic learners and motivates young learners.
2. Draw and color a poem about the moon (1 hour)
Probably the most popular poem about the moon is “静夜思” (Jìng Yè Sī, “Thoughts in a Tranquil Night”) from 李白 (Lǐ Bái). You can first share “静夜思” with the class and then explain the meaning behind the poem. Afterwards, ask students to imagine and draw a scene from the poem. This activity facilitates learning by having students visualize the poem. It also helps students understand and recognize the important elements of Mid-Autumn Festival: moon and family unity.
3. Learn about the story of 嫦娥奔月 (1-2 hours)
Introduce the famous story 嫦娥奔月 (Cháng’é bēn yuè, Chang E Flying to the Moon) by showing a video on YouTube. Then, invite students to tell the story themselves. You can help them out by creating flash cards with words they have learned before that may be useful in their narration. Interact with students as they tell the story, such as asking: “What would the earth be like if there were 10 suns?” You can extend the activity by asking students to imagine what life would be like on the moon for 嫦娥. You can also have students create their own story of 月亮上的嫦娥. This way, students are able to practice their higher order thinking skills while summarizing the storyline and creating their own stories.
4. Shooting the sun game (1 hour)
If the students are all familiar with the story “嫦娥奔月,” you can play the shooting-the-suns game along with math. Glue 10 suns on 10 magnets and stick them onto the blackboard/whiteboard. Then, prepare some questions such as “why did Chang E eat the pill without Hou Yi?” or “what does the moon look like on Mid-Autumn Festival?” To play the game, divide students into two teams. The goal for each team is to “shoot down” as many suns as possible. To shoot down a sun, students must answer a question correctly; also, each time a student shoots a sun the student did the math. This transdisciplinary activity connects content to language when students use Chinese and their math skills at the same time.
5. Play a short skit on a mid-autumn festival(2 hours)
Have students write a short skit that involves celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival. For example, it could be about a family gathering in a garden where moon cakes and tea are served, and family members giving thanks for the harvest and praying for peaceful and harmonious future. In this activity, students can connect to their families and their communities, which increases their motivation of learning.
Do you have other fun and engaging activities not listed here? Share it with us in the comments below.