Nobody could have enjoyed science so much this summer as much these children did. Everyone had a blast!
From August 18-22, the Onna-OIST Children’s School of Science (OOCSS) 2014 took place at the Fureai Taiken Center in Onna Village. This is the fifth year of the program, which is hosted by the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) in collaboration with the Onna Village Office for children who live in the village or whose parents work at OIST. This summer, over 100 students and about 60 volunteers participated in the following six classes:
- Grades 1-2: Life in Water
- Grades 1-3: Okinawa Terrestrial Animals and Nature
- Grades 3-4: Colorful and Delicious Experiments
- Grades 5-6: Mechanism of Brain and Programming
- Jr. High School: Science of Everyday Life
- Pre School (Age 4-6): Fun Science
Since children were engaged in different activities each day, they arrived at the school every morning with excitement, thinking, “What will I learn today?” Schoolchildren in the lower grades stepped outside the classroom to explore nature by touching and observing wildlife. In the upper grades, the students were introduced to various experiments, such as studying DNA and programming LEGO robots.
"Studying ants is fun,” said Takumi Touyama, a third grader at Onna Elementary School who took part in the class Okinawa Terrestrial Animals and Nature. “I would like to continue studying about ants for the remainder of my summer vacation!"
“By showing them real marine animals, we introduced the children to the wildlife that is present around them, and they responded with excitement,” explained OIST Researcher Ken Maeda, who taught the 1-2 graders about life in water. “This year, we introduced freshwater animals for the first time. Since children in Okinawa are often exposed to touching marine animals, I hope they used this opportunity to become interested in river wildlife."
“I’d like to thank the Onna Village Office, the OIST staff and the student interns for making the program run more smoothly this year,” commented Mr. Tomohiko Teruya, an OOCSS secretariat member and the OIST Community Relations Section leader. “In the future, we would like to increase the choice of classes for children and continue making this program even more enjoyable.”
By Shunsuke Tamaki