Learning Chinese Language: Vocabulary About Earth Day!

Yesterday was Earth Day or 世界地球日 Shìjiè dìqiú rì, and last night, our daughter’s Chinese teacher in her former Taiwanese public elementary school, Teacher Lee 李老师, organised a quick field trip for his 6th Grade class—a night hike on a mountain trail to see fireflies 萤火虫 Yínghuǒchóng.

In addition to learning more about nature and climate change, he added that on Earth Day, the kids should be going on a mountain hike so that they are not using up electricity at home doing homework “不在家开灯写功课 Bù zàijiā kāi dēng xiě gōngkè”!

He also invited  our daughter Yakuza Baby (her nickname, because she arrived while Colin and I were watching a Japanese gangster movie) to join the trip, which was very nice of him, as she has since left to join an international school. She was very glad to hang out with her former classmates!

The kids were definitely delighted by the opportunity to go on a mountain trail at night! I was just sweating buckets in the warm, humid night air climbing up a mountain! Teacher Lee kept saying to me, “出汗了,好啊,好啊” (it’s good to sweat). The fireflies were pretty magical though, and worth all the effort.


Teaching Mandarin and Other Subjects Using “Teachable Moments”

I’ve always been impressed by how Teacher Lee constantly tries to go outside the textbooks.

He always pays close attention to his students, so he has a keen sense of when the kids have a “need” to know something.

When such situations arise, he creates and uses “teachable moments” to increase the kids’ knowledge in a meaningful and timely way, expanding upon what they see in their texts. This might mean quickly organising an impromptu excursion to an event or exhibition, or inviting a guest speaker, so that the kids’ learning can really deepen and grow. 

So yesterday, with messages about Earth Day and the importance of nature everywhere, he decided to organise a spur-of-the-moment mountain hike at dusk to view the fireflies. 

This unpredictability always brings a sense of excitement and anticipation to his teaching.

And the parents have also gotten used to it and even formed a community around his efforts. Last night, the parents simply supported the impromptu “firefly hike” by using the parents Line chatgroup to arrange for several cars to pick the kids up from the 7-11 at the foot of the mountain, so they don’t get home too late for school the next day.

The firefly hike was both magical and educational, and an experience the kids are likely to remember for a long time.

Teacher Lee’s teaching has provided Yakuza Baby many amazing opportunities for creative Chinese learning. That’s why even though Yakuza Baby is in a different school now, whenever Teacher Lee sends out a message for yet another learning opportunity, we always jump to it.

Like many Taiwanese teachers we’ve encountered, Teacher Lee is also extremely eco-conscious and is constantly reminding kids to practice “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”(减少使用,物尽其用,循环再造 Jiǎnshǎo shǐyòng, wù jìn qí yòng, xúnhuán zàizào) and 出汗了,好啊,好啊” (chū hànle, hǎo a, hǎo a – it’s good to sweat).

On this Earth Day, we are grateful for these opportunities and for Teacher Lee in our journey learning the Chinese language.


Teaching Mandarin With Vocabulary About Earth Day


These are useful vocabulary for Earth Day for those who are teaching Mandarin at home or in school or those who are simply learning Chinese.

  • Earth Day 世界地球日 Shìjiè dìqiú rì
  • Reduce 减少  jiǎnshǎo
  • Reuse 重复使用 chóngfù shǐyòng
  • Recycle 回收 huíshōu
  • Global Warming 全球暖化 quánqiú nuǎnhuà
  • Pollution 污染 wūrǎn
  • Single use plastics 一次性塑料  yīcì xìng sùliào
  • Carbon Dioxide 二氧化碳  èryǎnghuàtàn
  • Ecosystem 生态系统  shēngtài xìtǒng
  • Biodiversity 生物多样性 shēngwù duōyàng xìng

If you have any questions or topics that you would like me to cover in the areas of education and parenting, please send me an email at yenyen@dimsumwarriors.com. I check all my emails personally and look forward to your questions. However, if you’re a student who’s trying to ask me to do your homework or project for you, I will most likely not have time to respond because I get way too many of those emails and it’s quite impossible to answer them all.

I am also hosting The Dim Sum Warriors Doodle Date, a FREE bilingual chat-and-draw-along session which is run via Facebook on select Saturdays at 10.30 am (Singapore time (UTC+8). If you are interested, learn more HERE.

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