Saturday, October 18, 2008

We fly to Beijing!

你 好

We have arrived safely in Beijing. What a modern journey! Alicia and Lucy took separate flights, and each flight took a separate route over the earth to get from Boston to Beijing.

Lucy flew from Boston to Washington, D.C., then from Washington D.C. to Beijing. She boarded her flight at 9:30 a.m. in Boston, and arrived in Beijing at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Alicia flew from Boston to Los Angeles, then Los Angeles to Beijing. She boarded her flight in Boston Friday evening at 6:15 p.m., and arrived in Beijing at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Questions for younger students:
In what direction did Alicia and Lucy fly to get to Beijing? North? South? East? West?
Look at your classroom map. Find Los Angeles. Trace the pilot’s route to Beijing.
Find Washington, D.C. Trace the pilot’s route to Beijing. You can use two different colored yarns to show the two different routes: one for Alicia and one for Lucy.

After Alicia left Los Angeles, what ocean did she fly over to get to Beijing? Take another piece of yarn and make a circle around that ocean on the map.

What oceans did Lucy fly over to get to Beijing? Look at the maps that are posted here – they show Lucy’s route.

Now, go the classroom globe. In one color, put a circle around these cities: Boston, Los Angeles, and Beijing.

Using another color yarn, put a circle around the ocean between Los Angeles and Beijing.

Book resource: Me on the Map

Questions for older students:
How many miles did Alicia and Lucy each travel to reach their destination?

How is it that Alicia left L.A. at 1:40 a.m. Saturday and arrived in Beijing at 5:20 Sunday morning, but her flight from LA to Beijing was only 13 hours long.

How is it that Lucy left Washington, D.C. at 12:12 p.m. Friday, arrived in Beijing at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, but her flight from D.C. to Beijing was only 16 hours long?

Where is the International Date line? What happens when you cross it?

Clue: Use your classroom map and the internet. Here’s a good site to check out:

Extension: For classroom or after school geography clubs: make a big map, marking the oceans, the major cities, the routes taken, and the International Date line.

We had aisle seats, and no view out of the window, so the only thing we saw on the whole journey was the inside of the plane! Lucy took these pictures of the video map on the screen in front of her seat. It was fun to keep track of where we were over the earth. As you can see, Lucy's route flew north from the United States, over Greenland, then over the North Pole, and approached Beijing from the North.

After we arrived in Beijing, we had to go through Customs and have our Visas checked;

then we went downstairs we went to the train shuttle that would take us to the baggage area to collect our luggage. We liked that the signs were all in English and Chinese - it made it easy to figure out where to go. Everyone from the plane was crowding toward the entrance of the train -there was a big sign that told everyone to "RELAX" - there's a train every 3 minutes!

After we collected our luggage, there was one more really important thing to do before we could take a taxi to the hotel! Can you guess what that was?

We had to exchange money! China uses different currency than the United States. We had to exchange our U.S. dollars into Chinese Yuan. Another name for yuan is ren min bi [ren min bee]. Ren min means "the people", so ren min bi means something like "the people's money."

Here's a great link with more information about Chinese currency:

You can see pictures of the paper money and the coins. Check it out!

Questions for students:

Alicia and Lucy have $100.00 [US]
They want to exchange their US dollars for Chinese RMB.
How many RMB will they get?

Clue: Here's a good currency converter site -

Extension Activities:

  • Use some of the currency vocabulary to create a math word wall

  • Print out copies of the Chinese currency, and draw you own in your readers and writers notebook, or even your math notebook!

  • Who is the person on the 100 yuan bill? why is he important in Chinese history?

  • Compare and contrast: what is the same and what is different about Chinese and U.S. currency? Use a magnifying glass to examine the front and the back. Teachers: chart the responses on chart paper

Design your own currency: who would you put on the front and why? What would you put on the back?

{Alicia says she would put Barack Obama on a $100 bill. On the back it would say "Yes, we can!"}

It was easy to find a taxi, they were all lined up outside the airport. The taxi driver said "ni hao" to Alicia, and she answered back, "ni hao!"

Lucy learned Chinese in college, and was very excited to be able to understand and speak with people when she got here.

Language lesson #1:
Ni Hao means "Hello"
你 好

xie xie means "thank you"
谢 谢

Zai jian means "good bye"
再 见

peng you means "friend"
朋 友

Beijing is so full of modern tall buildings - lots of concrete and glass. There still lots of construction going on after the Olympic games. When Alicia first visited Beijing in 2000, still a lot of old houses. Alicia was excited when she noticed the Olympic clock. She thought, "oh my goodness, am I really back in China?"

And cars! Lucy lived in Beijing 20 years ago, and there were only a few cars then - mostly taxis. Only wealthy people owned their own car. Now, cars rule the road just like in the United States.

That's all for now - we're tired!

It's 6 a.m. Monday morning here - what time is it there?

More later today! Zai jian pengyou!