Learning about Australia from Students in Sydney

Classroom Exchange
Our Upton Middle School students just finished connecting to the Reef HQ. Now, they are talking to middle school students at Scots College in Sydney.

We had 3 girls from our school, because everyone else is at soccer practice or other activities. The school we connected to was an all boys school, so it was a fun exchange.

Our students started by telling a little about our town, St. Joseph and the schools in the district. Then they shared a presentation about their area, including their beaches. We learned all about rugby and cricket, and some of the best Aussie sites to see. Another presentation from the Australian students covered the flora and fauna in their area.

Here are some questions we asked each the Australian students. Our students had used CultureGrams to compare the countries and prepare questions.

  • What brands do you usually wear?
  • Australians live longer than Americans, so why do you think that is? Our students think it’s because of smoking in the U.S. Do people smoke a lot in Australia?
  • How many of you have cell phones?
  • What are some of the popular books around your school?
  • When you think of Americans, what do you think of? (loud, “out there”)
  • What do you think is most important for us to learn about Australia?
  • What TV shows do you watch and what bands do you listen to?
  • What do you have for pets?

Some of the funny word differences that we really laughed about were:

  • thongs in Australia, flip flops in the U.S. (lots of red faces on both sides with this one)
  • “heaps” in Australia, “lots” in the U.S.

Some of the questions they asked us were:

  • What are popular sports in Michigan?
  • What do you do in an average day?
  • Is basketball big in your area?
  • Do you travel around the U.S. a lot?
  • Do you have South Park on TV?
  • When you think of Australians, what do you think of? (surfers, kangaroos)
  • Have you ever heard of Steve Irwin?
  • Do you play rugby?

A funny line from Australia was “we’re the only country that eats our emblem.”

These two experiences were part of a unit on Australia and turned out to be a great experience. We learned some lessons about scheduling and hopefully will have more students on our end next time.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.