Italian, American teens visit Lago di Fimon
May 10, 2013
VICENZA, Italy -- Vicenza Middle School students experienced a unique field trip April 30 when they traveled to nearby Lago di Fimon to learn about the history and ecology of the lake along with students from the Ugo Foscolo school in neighboring Torri di Arcugnano.
"It is the first time that we have done an exchange at the lake, we normally go to schools," said VMS Italian teacher Isabella Pani. "We started the exchange program with Torri di Arcugnano middle school three years ago and we have it every year."
After a quick introduction, the students broke into four groups that consisted of half Italian, half American students. Each group conducted to a separate lesson and then rotated through the others. Subjects of discussion included the archeology, flora and fauna of Lago di Fimon.
Seventh-grade VMS science teacher Kim Stephenson said, "Students worked in groups to learn about the flora (flowers) and fauna (wildlife) of the area. The learned a little bit about how the lake was formed, and then observed micro-vertebrates and conducted water studies. The experience was enjoyable and as one student said, 'It was educational but not boring. It was a cool opportunity to learn about how the Italians study at their school.'"
Lago di Fimon is the oldest lake in Northern Italy and is believed to be 170,000 years old, according to the science and math teacher from Ugo Foscolo. During the Ice Age, the land was frozen from the Arcugnano region all the way to what is today Asiago. As it began to melt away more than 2,000 years ago, Italy was under water, and as the sea receded the lake formed because of the hills that surround it. The land the surrounds the lake is very fertile today and corn was brought to Italy from the U.S. and was grown around it.
One segment focused on water quality. Students got to examine the water, checking its temperature and pH balance.
During a break in one of the lessons, the Italian students began asking questions to the VMS students in English. The ever popular "Are you a fan of Justin Bieber?" turned out to be a good icebreaker and led to other questions about sports, pets and America.
Students were encouraged to exchange phone numbers and emails to make contacts with each other.
"It is important to have these exchanges because our students can feel the differences between the two school systems, and also because they can practice Italian language while meeting new friends," said Pani.
"I know some of them will keep in touch after they have met," she said.