Summer School of Science 2017

Many children experienced the joy of science at this year’s Onna/OIST Summer School of Science.

Last week, from August 21 to 25, Onna Village and OIST held the annual Summer School of Science at the Fureai Taiken Gakushu Center. Children from preschool age to junior high attended the school and had fun doing science activities in the classroom, outside, and even on the beach! This year marked the 8th anniversary of this event, with participation from 113 children. Classes were taught and supported by OIST members, as well as science teachers and nurses from Onna Village and the children’s parents. OIST also involved 8 interns from colleges and Universities around Okinawa.

The Summer School of Science had 6 classes this year, and included activities such as finding fossils and learning about flying machines.

“[When I am older] I want to create games with programing,” said Emika from the 5th and  6th grade class while learning how to create a version of the computer game Pong.

“It’s fun!” said Moeka, who was from the same class.

Kids from the 5th and 6th grade class learning how to program a game.

On Wednesday the “Life in Water” class for 1st and 2nd graders visited the beach to search for and collect marine animals. After collecting the animals, the students placed them in tanks nearby the classroom and observed the creatures’ behavior.

A student in the 1st and 2nd grade class searching for marine animals on the beach near the Fureai Taiken Gakushu Center where the Children’s School of Science was held.

Students in the 1st and 2nd grade class looking at what they found on the beach.

Preschoolers also had their share of fun, for example, by making spinning rockets, learning how to construct a string telephone, and mixing colors.

Preschoolers learning about mixing colors with OIST employee Sarah Wong and University of the Ryukyus intern Claire.

“It’s rewarding to see the look on [the kids’] faces when they discover something new,” says OIST employee Sarah Wong, who taught the preschool class on Wednesday and Thursday.

The University student volunteers also had a great time. “I’m coming [to the Summer School of Science] to help, but I’m learning too,” said University of the Ryukyus student and volunteer Ayumi. “I wish I had this same kind of program when I was a kid!”

At the Junior Science Program, students looked at neurons under microscopes.

At the Junior Science Program, held at Onna Jr. High School, students looked at neurons from mouse brains under the microscope and sketched them. They also learned how to use a special scale that helped them figure out the size of the neurons.

Mr. Tomohiko Teruya, the leader of OIST Community Relations Section, which planned and ran the Summer School of Science with Onna Village, says that every year many children want to join the Summer School. “It’s very popular, so I hope to be able to open another class next year.”

3rd and 4th graders having a paper airplane race.

The kids enjoyed their science-filled summer, and we hope they will continue to love and learn about science in the future.

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